By Tom White
“Out-of-the-box winner”—that is exactly how Monark marketed their motocross machines. The 21-horsepower, six-speed, 54mm x 54mm Sachs 6B engine came with a Motoplat transistorized ignition and a 27mm Bing carb. A chromoly frame, Ceriani forks and Girling shocks were just some of the high-quality components used in this fabulous machine.
Monark was known as Cykelfabriken Monark AB until 1927 and Monark Crescentbolagen (MCB) after that. Monark built its first motorcycle in 1908. By 1959 they had won the 500cc World Championship with Sten Lundin in the saddle. Lundin’s victory was the pinnacle of Monark’s success, but it didn’t last long—they ceased motorcycle production in 1960.
Monark came back in 1970 to introduce its first 125cc motocross bike. The initial U.S. importer of MCB was Rockford Motors in Illinois. Later, John Olson of Inter-Trends would take over as the importer of Monark with offices in Costa Mesa, California, and Wilmette, Illinois.
In 1972, the Monark 125MX was the envy of every 125 rider. Monark had its greatest success since 1959 when Marty Smith finished second at the 1973 125 National Championship race at Arroyo Cycle Park—now called Glen Helen (Ray Lopez won the event on a Penton). After Honda introduced the CR125 Elsinore, Monark sales dropped. They made their last bike in 1976.
1971 MONARK 125MX FACTS
WHAT THEY COST
The suggested retail price was $975.00. Our Early Years of MX Museum Monark was restored by Bill West and is valued at $10,000. In all, 3480 Monarks were produced from 1970 to May of 1976, and around 1100 came to the U.S.A.
American importers brought in the 125 MX and 125 Enduro models. You could special order a 100cc model factory direct for an additional $100. In 1973, Monark introduced the GS and GS Pro models that featured 24 horsepower. The GS models had a lemon-yellow gas tank, whereas the MX models had orangish tanks. GS models were the last hurrah for the Swedish brand.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Besides the Ceriani forks, Girling shocks and 27mm Bing, make sure it has the original Akront rims. The standard Trelleborg tires are nearly impossible to find, as are the stainless steel fenders of the pre-’73 bikes. If the standard expansion chamber in the two-part exhaust is in good shape, that is a real bonus!
Vintage Monark in Oceanside, California, is the best source for hard-to-find Monark parts. Go to www.vintagemonark.com or call (760) 754-8177.
For more info on classic bikes go to www.earlyyearsofmx.com