1973 Monark 125MX
“Superior Performance at an Outrageous Price” – Dirt Bike Magazine
The Swedish Monark brand was well known for its off-road bikes in the 50’s and 60’s. After Sten Lundin won the World 500cc Motocross Championship in 1959 on his four stroke (I believe this bike may now be in Terry Good’s collection), Monark began considering the development of lighter two stroke models. Although the first two strokes were produced in 1970, I think the first models available in the US were the 1972 production bikes which were comprised of Bing carbureted, six-speed Sachs engines, two-piece down pipes, Ceriani forks, Girling shocks, Akront rims, Metzler tires, Magura controls, metal tank and fenders, and a Motoplat ignition. The beautiful blue and yellow paint scheme of the Monark’s was spectacular. To this day visitors of my collection always gravitate to the Monark.
These Sachs “B” engines were also being used in Rickmans, Pentons, DKW’s, Tyrans, and probably other brands that I’m not aware of. Sachs also provided the front and rear brakes to Monark. Interestingly, they were both interchangeable.
Shifting was obviously a problem, as Dirt Bike stated “If Penton and Monark continue their economic clout, it seems they should be able to get Sachs to redesign the tranny so there is only one neutral.” However, of the suspension Dirt Bike stated “Though the ride is not as soft as the Bul 125, it is like a Caddy if you’re used to a Yammie AT-MX.”
At a retail price of $975 it was considered more expensive than anything in its class, but also one of the best 125’s available at the time. Monark 125’s were ridden by some of the fastest riders in the country before the big four Japanese 125’s were introduced. The most successful Monark rider at my hometown track (Motorsports Park) was Scott Wallenburg who raced a sleeved down 125 in the 100cc class and also a 125 in the 125 class. Scott turned pro with some success then went on to work at Cycle Times, Dirt Bike, and MXA magazines and is now publisher of Racer X. Another rider on the west coast was also riding the wheels off his Monark, his name was Marty Smith. Marty Smith and Bruce McDougal were hired away from Monark by Honda to contest the new Elsinore in the first year of the 125 National Championship.
The 1974 GS125 was the last 125 that Monark offered.