Startmonkey 200 | CR Tested

Known in the trade as a “Hot box,” the Startmonkey 200 is a small, rechargeable, portable jump-start device, identical in all but size to the ones used commercially to facilitate jump-starting vehicles without the hassle of jumper cables. Typically, industrial hot boxes are heavy and have clamps the size of catchers’ mitts, which makes them impractical for motorcycle use. The Startmonkey 200 is a downsized version fitted with the appropriate cables and clamps, and it’s motorcycle-friendly.

Overall, the Startmonkey is a well-made, high quality tool that does exactly what it promises, which is jump-start your bike in an emergency. Understand that the Startmonkey is designed to fire up an otherwise healthy bike that’s got a dead battery. For example, if you’ve inadvertently left an accessory on, or let the bike sit for an extended period without charging the battery, then the Startmonkey should be able to get the engine up and running. If all else is kosher, the charging system will soon return the battery to full health, and under those circumstances the Startmonkey performs admirably, and deserves a full four star rating.

I do have some reservations, however. While the Startmonkey is compact as far as hot boxes go, it’s still going to take up a fair amount of space in your saddlebag, and if you don’t have bags, you’re going to leave it home—so it won’t be handy when you’re stuck in some out of the way location because you killed the engine with the kickstand instead of with the key when you parked.

My second concern is the price. Although the Startmonkey is well worth its $200 tag, it isn’t the type of tool you’re going to get a lot of use from, and if you are, I’d suggest you repair whatever’s causing the problem before the next ride. There is a bang for the buck issue, and you really need to consider how much you’ll use the Startmonkey, as opposed to, say, a really good battery charger.

The bottom line is that while the Startmonkey is handy but it's something more suited to a repair shop or dealership than to the casual mechanic. For that reason alone I can only give it 2.5 stars. – Mark Zimmerman

Price: $200.00
Rating Two and a half out of five stars