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The new millennium

Despite its popularity, Honda ceased production of the Dax in 1999. Around this time Honda's patents on the Dax design expired and Honda sold the production rights to Jincheng, a Chinese motor manufacturer. Jincheng already bought the designs of the Honda Monkey and Honda CF Chaly, and launched their first replica at the end of the 90's under the names Panda, Funrider, Singa, Quickfoot and others. Honda had one demand when selling the Monkey designs. Honda retained the rights to use the Monkey moniker and to produce a new series in small numbers of 3 models (including gorilla) every year. This Monkey was so popular with collectors, especially in Japan, that Honda didn't  stop the production completely. Another reason could be the huge inventory of parts for these bikes, which were still in stock. This way they could slowly reduce these amounts.


2 years later, Jincheng rolled out a reproduction of the Dax/CT70 model nearly identical to the original, which was marketed under a number of different names in different countries. This model has almost all the specifications as the most recent Dax. After the launch of both Monkey  and Dax clones, the distributors and end users started to complain about the poor quality of the first series. The frames were welded badly and finishing seemed to be an afterthought. The paint was applied in a single thick layer, without primer and frequently bubbled and blistered since the frames had been stored outdoors for weeks prior to painting. Other problem areas were bad chrome plating and faulty electrical system components. Later production was improved, and slight changes implemented, such as the seat, which was replaced with the nicer old style unit.. There is also a model with a front disc brake, called the DX90, a model Honda never produced.

The discussion if its right or wrong to ride Honda clone/knockoff will likely never be resolved. A lot of Honda lovers will probably never accept the Chinese repops, while a majority of youngsters looking for a trendy bike, but not a scooter, will not be too concerned where their new CT70/Dax was manufactured. Some people are buying the newer Chinese bikes as project bikes without dents and rust, using them as the basis for their own custom machines, discarding the shocks, decals, and even engines in some cases and replacing these components with Honda and JDM aftermarket items. Weve seen a few add old style CT70 engine guards, giving the bike the look of the older, classic, models. One issue looming large in the future is that the Chinese replicas can be difficult to register for road use. There are huge variations in registration requirements from one country to another and even from state-to-state in the U.S. 17-digit VINs have been a U.S. federal requirement since the early 1980s and new EPA regulations may come into play. None of the Chinese knockoff bikes can be registered in Japan, ostensibly due to quality concerns. The positive side to this is that most parts are interchangeable between the Hondas and the reproductions, thus parts are certain be produced and be available for many years to come. Almost unbelievably, Honda still offers replacement parts for their CT/ST and Z50 models after all these years. Honda, in addition to producing top quality, does the best job in the industry of supporting their old models for years, even decades. There are also new generation Honda parts available, such as engines, which are of a superb quality standard, albeit at a higher price than similar items from China, large displacement engines in particular. For some that wont matter, but you do get what you pay for and it is reassuring to have the option of top-quality pieces.


Another important factor that keeps the CT70, Dax and Monkey alive is the large number of collectors and owners who like to customize and tune their bikes. In Japan this hobby is enormous and the Japanese have shown boundless imagination in finding new ways of customizing these bikes. This has resulted in a proliferation of tuning/performance parts manufacturers in Japan, like Kitaco, Takegawa, Daytona, Dragon Racing Parts along with a number of newer, smaller companies. There is a large number of specialty parts available from these companies such as exhausts, tuned engines, carburetors, body parts, custom wheels, brakes, backstep kits, engine tuning parts, transmissions, plus appearance items. Because of the weak dollar, shipping costs, limited production and in some cases distribution (i.e. limiting the number of dealers) these items are not cheap or widely available for everyone, especially in the U.S. This can make the hobby an expensive proposition, however, it isn't in all instances.

In 2001 Honda introduced another new mini under the name of "APE". This bike is built for the Japanese domestic market, and some claim it is because Honda got stuck with a large stock of CY50 and CB50 engines .One question remains, will the original Honda Mini disappear forever after this one? Somehow, we doubt it


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