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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before the GROM was cool with it's 125cc motor and it's 5 speed trans, there was the ZB50! I never thought I'd own one, frankly, I thought they were kinda lame. Sometimes, opportunities arise and it's hard to say no.

I'm currently working to get this thing shipped from CA to GA. It hasn't run in about 7 years, which is when the owner suddenly passed away. The brother, is selling on his behalf. I ensured him it was going to a good home and it'll get lots of love and pavement time.

The details of the bikes exact conditions are murky, the brother lives in Texas and only recently went to check out the bike (brother also had two Z50M's but those are being kept). I have a few photos to go off. Overall the bike looks to be fairly complete, I'm no expert but I immediately noticed the lack of blinkers and the dents in the tank. I also noticed a key in the ignition which is fantastic! I also caught relatively low mileage of 445 miles, but it seems the bike has been through it's paces.

For those who own or have owned these bikes, what are some thing I should look for to upgrade. I have access to Japan for parts, I'd like to find an exhaust and some no fade Kitaco pads minimum. I have already found a black MONKEY R tank and the MONKEY R tail fender piece. It doesn't bother me if I'll have OEM blinkers but I'll continue to search.

  • Should I try to grab a front wheel with a disc, would it be easy to set up? Do the ZB forks support caliper or do I also need Monkey R/RT fork legs?
  • Motor swaps - 125, 140, 170, 190? I've seen guys do 190's, that might be the goal.
  • What hard to find "rare" JDM parts should I look for? I'm not very familiar with the scene as I am with the Monkey's.
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If you’re doing anything cosmetic please get rid of that atrocious US rear end!!!
 

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I still have this exhaust for sale.
Also have a new in box Daytona 190 motor listed in another classified ad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, small world. He contacted me about working on the the Z50M's.
Gee, I wonder who told him ;)

I suggested you by proximity and expertise and also a gentleman in Colorado named Barry, who specializes in old Z50M's.


I still have this exhaust for sale.
Also have a new in box Daytona 190 motor listed in another classified ad.
Thanks for dropping by to let me know. While I am interested in both, I'm not financially able to commit right now. I've had a lot of big ticket things come up the last two weeks I'm recovering from. It also didn't help my wife decided to take the dog on a prohibited beach and incur a $300 fine! I'll reach out to you in the near future when I'm ready to buy.
 

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LOL about your dog getting fined. That is rough.

I would keep the cosmetics more OEM, only because so many of these bikes are missing their rack and tail light. I do love the Monkey R tail light, tank, and seat, but they go together more so than select parts on a zb.

Front brake can be NSR fork legs, caliper, rotor, and even master cylinder on a Monkey R front hub. I ran this setup on a Z50R and loved it. I wish I kept the monkey r front hub. None of the 10" wheels can easily fit a caliper with pistons on the backside of the caliper.

If you are already committing to the Monkey R parts, I would do a nice aluminum swing arm too. maybe some other dressy parts. do you have an APO to ship from in Japan? I am buying parts quite often for my JDM minibike parts addiction.
 

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The bike looks nice and complete and in good shape! Provided the price is right, I think it will be a perfect bike for you. Will fit nicely with your others and has better ergos over the Baja.

What are you thoughts on the overall look you are going for? Clip-ons and hugger front fender?


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
LOL about your dog getting fined. That is rough.

I would keep the cosmetics more OEM, only because so many of these bikes are missing their rack and tail light. I do love the Monkey R tail light, tank, and seat, but they go together more so than select parts on a zb.

Front brake can be NSR fork legs, caliper, rotor, and even master cylinder on a Monkey R front hub. I ran this setup on a Z50R and loved it. I wish I kept the monkey r front hub. None of the 10" wheels can easily fit a caliper with pistons on the backside of the caliper.

If you are already committing to the Monkey R parts, I would do a nice aluminum swing arm too. maybe some other dressy parts. do you have an APO to ship from in Japan? I am buying parts quite often for my JDM minibike parts addiction.
It seems NSR fork legs are more available than Monkey R legs (only see one set). I'll see if I can piece together a front end. I'd like at minimum to have a front disc for the bigger motor and stopping power. Am I looking for a specific Monkey R swingarm or are there other compatible ones? Is anything compatible with the R? This is all new to me.

I get regular shipments from Japan, while I'm not in the country anymore, I still have a close friend who hooks me up. I shop YAJ and Croooober too often. I'm going to be in a tricky place when he leaves and USPS isn't available to me anymore.

The bike looks nice and complete and in good shape! Provided the price is right, I think it will be a perfect bike for you. Will fit nicely with your others and has better ergos over the Baja.

What are you thoughts on the overall look you are going for? Clip-ons and hugger front fender?


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I have no idea on the look, I'm going to have to do some searching for inspiration. I just can't give into getting a Grom, I have to be U N I Q U E.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ew. Shipping was expensive, USHIP is still a great service but man with gas prices up it cost me way more than I wanted.

Should have the bike late next week? Pretty excited! I wont do anything besides try to get it to run for now. All my big plans are going to have to wait until I get home next August/September.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know what I said but dude wants to trade one of my 88cc builds + $350 cash for his 190 5 speed. I'm working on trying to make it happen. Am I going to regret not getting an E-start model? The SSR 170 wasn't great to kick, I have a feeling this one wont be any more fun.

Also, is 190 just too much for this bike? Should I be looking at just a 140? I don't want to build something that isn't enjoyable to ride. I guess worst case if the 190 is too much, I shouldn't have much trouble trading down?

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For swing arm, any DRUM brake ZB50 / Monkey R / Monkey RT is standard so you can run drum or disc. When I bought Brad's ZB50, it came with the G-Craft Triple square tubing swing arm for a ZB50 and it was super nice. Then I had the G-craft bracket to run a brembo crab caliper on the drum brake nub.

I wonder if your buddy would feed my crooober addiction and ship stuff over for me. I'd toss him a few bucks. haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I found one aftermarket aluminum swingarm so far but it was NIB so it was still pricey. I saw Webike has some options which is nice too but I'm more of a used market price kinda guy.

I think I'm going to try and source a R/RT front end. Might have to piece it together but it seems like the easiest solution for a front disc set up. I know I'm going to have to build the bike around a bigger motor to be safe. The bike shows up together so I'll comb over it, see if I can get the stock motor running for now. If not, I have a nice 88 on the bench.
 

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I think the common theme is adding stock monkey r front and rear hugger fenders if you do the monkey r front end. I will approve. The stock motor will run, these engines run with basically no compression as long as the carb is good. Keep in mind you need a perimeter frame intake manifold for whatever engine you use.
 

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While ZB50's are incredibly cool bikes, I caution anyone that is over 5'5" on investing huge money to build them into machines they expect to ride for periods of time longer than 45 minutes. About a decade ago, I sunk some money into a ST90(clone)...and the build was impressive. It had a bored and stroked midsize motor making 157cc, custom wide spoked wheels, blah blah...it looked fantastic. At 5'9" i found it to be very uncomfortable for riding any distance or length of time. I was really let out that I had invested so much time and energy into this and didn't like riding it.

So my recommendation might be to first get it running and ride it around and see if you can handle to tightness and smallness of the bike...if you love it, then invest the money. Otherwise, you could end up with a very expensive thing that's just constantly in your way in the garage.
 

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Fatcaaat, good to see you still post. I remember your big motor builds from years ago. Did you hit any speed bumps? Hitting a very mild speed bump was probably the main reason for selling my built up ZB50. It hurt in all of the worst places.

All in all, the over adjustable rear sets were 100x better than the g-craft fixed rear sets, but I would still prefer traditional pegs (50 stunt).Takegawa low bars were okay, but I agree 100% that these bikes are made for short adults.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
While ZB50's are incredibly cool bikes, I caution anyone that is over 5'5" on investing huge money to build them into machines they expect to ride for periods of time longer than 45 minutes. About a decade ago, I sunk some money into a ST90(clone)...and the build was impressive. It had a bored and stroked midsize motor making 157cc, custom wide spoked wheels, blah blah...it looked fantastic. At 5'9" i found it to be very uncomfortable for riding any distance or length of time. I was really let out that I had invested so much time and energy into this and didn't like riding it.

So my recommendation might be to first get it running and ride it around and see if you can handle to tightness and smallness of the bike...if you love it, then invest the money. Otherwise, you could end up with a very expensive thing that's just constantly in your way in the garage.
Lucky for me, I'm 5'5! My riding duration most likely wont exceed 45 minutes. I rode my Baja in stock configuration for hours all over Japan, wasn't great but it was doable. My garage is already full of expensive speed bumps, all these motocompos and can only ride one bike at time!

It seems a 190 is just excessive and the amount of money needed to build a safe bike around it wouldn't be worth it. Maybe I should just turn this 88 into a 108, already has that nice 4 speed bottom end.
 
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