Honda is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Japan and has been since it started production in 1955. At its peak in 1982, Honda manufactured almost three million motorcycles annually. By 2006 this figure had reduced to around 550,000 but was still higher than its three domestic competitors. In the 1960s Honda, along with other Japanese companies, began exporting to the United States and Europe in large numbers.
The Honda Z series was a lineage of mini bikes commonly referred to as the "Monkey" or "Gorilla" because of the way people are said to look when riding one. They were based on a style of miniature bike ridden by monkeys as a circus act prior to the Second World War. The first Honda monkey was released in 1961 and designated model number Z100, later Monkeys were generally designated Z50. Most Z-series bikes are small, light, collapsible motorcycles made for convenience and ease of transportation. Their outstanding feature is a 50cc four-stroke engine with an over head camshaft.