Tokoya Cross/Champ/Moto Monkey/Dirt Monkey

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This is just a simple guide about the above named Mini Bikes. I have seen many of these advertised as 1960's or 1970's, so I thought a few words of straight talking may save a wasted bid/journey.
What has prompted this is the amount of references to 're-listed due to time waster. Unfortunately, any listed Monkey Bike or Mini Bike WILL attract younger bidders, some with no stars at all. This results in messages after winning of  'my Dad will not now bring me to collect' or 'will you now deliver' or 'I didn't realise I had no transport'.
This guide does NOT include real Monkey Bikes, and I regard these as being Honda, nor the Chinese copies, all of which have a place of their own.
Lets start. The bikes I am talking about were made in Riga, Latvia during the Soviet era and for a while after up until 1995'ish. They were imported by a Family firm in North Lincolnshire that eventually ended up as Offroad Leisure (UK) ltd. They ceased trading in 2006. They seem to have used the name 'Champ' a lot, also Moto Monkey, Dirt Monkey (there are other makes using these names also however) even Farm Monkey, although this appears to be only in Ireland, and Tokoya Cross. The last name to imply a Japanese connection, no doubt. It may be they were instrumental in importing the Traka-Champ, with the Indian manufactured, Italian influenced engines, but I digress.
All of the Riga built bikes use the same tank as the full size Soviet mopeds, this is a start to identifying. They all, normally use the same springing on the rear, it's not a shock absorber, there' no oil inside. All the forks look the same. It's best to right click on any of the photos and save them to your drive so you can compare what I mean.
None of the early bikes are worth thinking about for use. The Champs had a Soviet engine, marked USSR sometimes that had flywheel failures, I have two marked by the dealer  in permanent pen 'Useless'. I've just bought one that starts on easy start, but 'pops and bangs' as the seller said. Clearly seals gone or the crank ready to jump out the box! Even with the later Dirt Monkeys, a Czech (Still Soviet at the time) engine by Jawa was used, but the majority for sale have the head and barrel off, so clearly something fails here. Incidentally, they have a toothed drive belt within the engine that cracks up from age. I have some spares marked 'Polish Engine' but goodness knows what that was. For a brief time a 'V50' engine was used. At the moment, I have not seen/bought one of these for myself.  ALL of these models are only suitable for static display, or restoration as decorative items. They are not reliable enough as a useful bike for kids, believe me!
The very last imports used an engine classified as V501M. This is clearly marked in raised letters on the left engine case. The right engine case has 'DELTA' on it but in cyrillic, so it's barely recognisable. These are the only one to consider buying as a useable bike. Even then, they really should be all working. Cluches tear off, they seize because of the failure of kids realising oil has to go in the petrol, and various attempts of repair normally result in a box of bits listed as 'all there'.
The V501m engine really only started in 1986, so a bike listed as '1970's', clearly isn't? I am told the last import of 300 bikes were never paid for, and the factory had other problems that forced it's closure mid 1990's. BY 1991, the Soviet support had gone and times were tough in Riga. The V501M engine was used in loads of full size mopeds in the Soviet Bloc, (along with the same petrol tank even!) and Youtubing 'V501M' will bring up a mixture of stunts being performed by youth of the old USSR!
Just as an aside. I actually have collected a few of these, but all for display. I researched the firm on Companies house and have talked to ex-dealers, but I am in no way an expert, just accrued knowledge.
My humble opinion, and it IS biased, is that these 'Soviet' inspired machines ARE things of beauty. Powder coating one of these in bright orange, with silver powder coated wheels and handle bars is on for the summer, or even Nato green?  Soviet items in all fields are becoming more and more sought after. These bikes take up little space, are easily restored, the rough construction seems to be inviting, and levers, bars cables etc can come from anywhere, jumbles are full of quirky bits if you have insight. I have even bought one where the front mudguard was a bit of 75mm plastic gutter, cut down. I'm sure in Russia they do exactly that to keep them running.
There's only one way to buy a child a Mini/Monkey bike. Put you hand deep in your pocket and buy Genuine Honda 4 stroke, in a genuine Honda chassis. No oil mixing, reliable, tough and always re-saleable. I also collect new Chinese bikes, and sometimes I shudder at the plastic chromed items and foot pedals that can be twisted by hand .
I hope this guide hasn't been too doom and gloom, but may give you a little more info for you to make a decision?
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