James May and the Art of Motorcycle Reassembly

James May Honda speed awareness course

This video of former Top Gear and now Grand Tour presenter James May reassembling a Honda Z50 “monkey bike” over 30 minutes is not a mechanic’s guide to reassembling a motorcycle.

It’s actually quite an entertaining ramble through the motorcycle fanatic’s philosophy of motorcycles, riding and keeping your tools tidy. 

Apparently the average time viewers look at a YouTube video is just over a minute and the first thing they do is check how long the video is and then pull the scanning bar to the most interesting points.

Not so with this half-hour video in his series, “The Reassambler”, in which he reassambles household items such as a food mixer, record player and Hornby train set.

James May is Captain Slow

Like slow cooking, the infamous “Captain Slow” presents his version of  slow TV and it must be enjoyed in its entirety.

I never once felt like scanning ahead, just relaxing in May’s warm and avuncular Pommy tones and going along with his observations about life and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

It actually took about 13 hours to record the half-hour video which is distilled down to an entertaining 30 minutes. 

James May has always been a keen Honda fan with a collection of Honda and other mainly Japanese bikes.

In the video he extolls the virtues of the Japanese company that he says helped bring down the arrogant British motorcycle industry.

Monkey Bike2018 Honda Monkey Bike hefty price

Meanwhile, the monkey bike is a suitable motorcycle to be reassembling as the manufacturer has reassembled the bike to give it new life.

Sales of the monkey bike began in March 1964 with the Z50M model, and production ended in 2017.

However, the bike returned to manufacture last year with some modern updates including ABS, LED lighting, five instead of four gears and a standard clutch with a lever, not a centrifugal clutch.

Last year a monkey bike owned by John Lennon sold through H&H Classics at the National Motorbikes Museum for £56,250 (about $A100,300, €63,150 $US77,900).

John Lennon on his Honda monkey bike valuable hefty price
Lennon on his monkey bike

It is the highest price paid for a monkey bike and almost double the estimated price of £30,000 (about $A52,000, €33,700, $US40,000).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.