Just over 60 years ago, the world was introduced to one of the most iconic motorcycles ever – The Honda Super Cub. It is a motorcycle that changed a lot of things - from designs and ergonomics to marketing campaigns, to the way how people looked at motorcycles. It slowly went on to be the most popular Street Motorcycle, the most popular commuter, and continues to be the most sold motorcycle of all time!
What you may not know is that a brand-new Honda Super Cub 125 is here – and it is carrying over the legacy of the best motorcycle of all time. So, it is time we dive into everything about the newest edition and to know why this bike is so important, we need to revisit the reasons why The Honda Super Cub is the happiest bike of all time!
Let’s go back 61 years, and the year is 1958. Motorcycles are not really a method to commute for regular people, and most of the bikes are really not a proper daily rider for most people – and the number of female motorcycle riders is as rare as a shooting star. Bikers are known for being really rough and tough people or those who just wanted to go fast.
Honda had just cemented itself into motorsport history having won the Isle of Man TT, and Soichiro Honda was chasing his dreams of making a motorcycle which would be the people’s bike. A bike for the masses that they could use on a regular basis. It was an idea he’d had for some time but it was a project of love where only the best standards would be good enough. Thus, after a lot of experimenting and development, the Honda Cub was born.
The Honda Super Cub was not only a commuting motorcycle, but what it was, a revolution in the two-wheeler world. Not only the automobile scenario, but it also created some of the most iconic marketing adverts ever!
Making a bike for the mass market was the easy part for Honda, what really was the challenging bit, was making people understand what the bike really was.
The Honda Super Cub was unlike any motorcycle anyone had ever seen. People had seen the loud roaring cruisers and stripped-down racers, but The Honda Cub was nothing like any of them. It created its own segment or genre of Commuting Motorcycle. Therefore, the term “Mini Moto” was introduced.
Honda Super Cub – Everything About the Bike
In terms of design, the bike was pretty bare bones and basic yet compact. The skeleton of the bike starts with a steel based monocoque chassis with the engine placed in a horizontal shape right along the central spine. The engine placement was nothing like anyone had ever done before – and the placement alone added a lot to the motorcycle. The engine got better air flow, and as it was sitting in the middle of the bike, it meant better weight distribution for better handling.
The bike had 17-inch wheels which made it really unique and separable in comparison to scooters. The fuel tank was under the hinged seat. The bike had a round shaped headlight and an analogue speed gauge. The seat was shaped to be really comfortable, and the rear space could be used to carry goods.
The Honda Cub had a 49cc engine with really low compression ratio, which produced around 4.5hp at most. The top speed was claimed to 43mph and that was ok, this was the bike it was always intended to be. The beauty of the engine was that due to its low compression ratio and design, it could even run on really low quality fuel and starting the engine with the kickstart didn’t take much effort. Again, these were deliberate design features for the benefit of the rider.
All of these features were really impressive on their own, but the Honda Cub had something no one has ever seen before – a clutchless transmission! The motorcycle had a three-speed manual transmission, without any clutch. This made riding this bike so easy that people of every age, gender, shape and size could use it. That ethos has remained true through to today.
Honda Super Cub – The Happiest Bike
The Honda Super Cub was already a great bike on its own, but it was the marketing and the initial message from the company which helped create and support its cult following. Even today the adverts and marketing techniques are considered classics.
The advertisement for the new Honda Super Cub started with a simple message “You Meet the Nicest People On A Honda”, an advert, that turned a motorcycle company into “The Motorcycle Company”
Before the arrival of the Honda Super Cub, motorcycles were not really a vehicle for the everyday commuters. They either used cars, bicycles or other methods of transport, definitely not motorcycles! The reasons behind this was that motorcycles were considered as something out of the ordinary. They were meant and built for very specific types of people, and especially in Europe and USA, people didn’t really see their purpose. Everything changed when Honda launched the Super Cub, and the adverts followed.
The major change came when Honda started using female figures in their advertisements. These depicted a housewife or working women riding a motorcycle. This was really not the scenario of the era, but these positive messages along with the great performance and easy usability of the Cub provided a vision that quickly became cult like. It opened up a realisation of changing attitudes and challenged stereotypes.
Honda Super Cub 125 2019 – The Legacy Continues
Since then, an array of different types and variations of the Cub have come and gone. Tweaks and changes have been made, but the core of the bike always remained the same. It has always been the same small bike with underbone horizontal engine, and a clutchless manual transmission.
The latest version of the Honda Super Cub is a really special one. With one glance, you can see how much it reflects the original, but of course with a few added mod-cons. The bike has a similar design along with some modern features, but from the front mudguard to the rear taillight, it carries over the legacy of the original.
The bike is powered by a 125cc four stroke engine. Even though it has the same round shaped headlamp, the same seat design for great comfort, and similar looking taillight, it doesn’t lack any modern features. The wheels are still 17-inch, like the original bike, but now they are alloy wheels. The engine has a fuel injection system and electric starter, and the front brake is a disc brake with ABS for better performance. It most definitely has the soul of a definitive Honda Motorcycle.
At the end of the day, that is what should matter the most, and Honda Super Cub is definitely The World’s Happiest Bike!