The very first Super Cub C100 was introduced in 1958, Honda’s 10th year of existence. Designed by Soichiro Honda and his long-time business partner Takeo Fujisawa, its stated aim was straightforward: ‘to provide the joy of playing a useful part in people’s lives’ and in the process becoming the world’s most successful private transport bike.
Nearly 60 years later, in 2017, the 100 millionth Super Cub was built, making it the most popular motor vehicle the world has ever seen. And along the way the Super Cub’s simple attributes of style, reliability, frugality and sheer usability have never gone out of fashion; it has quietly achieved exactly what Soichiro and Takeo wanted – to get people mobile and keep them mobile.
Up until now the latest model – the Super Cub C110 – has been available in Japan, where it’s proved popular with business users including the Japanese Post Office, and South East Asia, where it’s found a place in people’s homes as private transport.
Aware of a whole demographic of urban riders – both younger and more mature – who are looking for retro-inspired machinery with real credibility and head-turning style, Honda is unveiling the Super Cub C125, an evolution of the legendary machine and the next chapter in its long history, designed for modern life in a busy city.
The Super Cub C125 marks a new page in the unique story of a vehicle with such universal appeal that it has been sold in over 160 countries, and with such an instantly-recognizable look that it was the first vehicle in Japan to be granted a 3 dimensional trademark.
While the look does not deviate from the classic template, an increase in power and torque thanks to its 125cc engine helps keep the Super Cub ahead of city traffic; its automatic centrifugal clutch has also been upgraded to match the output boost and give ultra-smooth, quiet gear changes.
The steel frame too, has been optimized with a tuned rigidity balance that maintains the Super Cub’s famously welcoming usability. Longer travel front and rear suspension, 17-inch cast aluminum wheels and disc front brake deliver a supple, confident ride with strong stopping power. Full LED lighting brings a modern touch, the Smart Key day-to-day convenience.
Pearlescent paint highlights the evocative design of the Super Cub C125, which will be available in the following options Pearl Niltava Blue and Pearl Nebula Red.
The Super Cub 125 is designed with one word in mind; universality. In other words, it has to be easy for a wide range of people to use. A key part of this ethos is the laid-forward ‘S-shaped silhouette’, which runs from the step-through space to rear mudguard, making access on and off easy.
There is a clean, high-quality look and feel to all the detail parts, with an elegant balance between the smooth, gently-curved body parts and the hard edge of the leg guards and front and rear mudguard tips. The rear guard is ultra-thin – and made of pressed steel rather than plastic – to help emphasize the classic ‘S-shape’ silhouette.
A key element of Super Cub from the first model is the ‘unit’ steering, which unifies the separate elements – forks, handlebars and leg shields – into one cohesive whole. On the original machine the handlebars, shaped to be like the wings of a bird, were a tactile and welcoming sales point and the new Super Cub C125 – with its forged, tapered handlebar wrapped in curvaceous molded resin incorporating the switchgear and instruments – mirrors this motif.
The grips are placed in a natural, easy to hold position and complement the straight-backed riding position, which gives excellent forward and all-round visibility. Aiding comfort, the seat uses thicker, high-density urethane foam than the C110 for enhanced comfort and is also cut back on both sides up front, helping ground reach.
All lighting is contemporary and crisp LED while the instruments highlight the depth of the overall design with two lenses separated by dual chrome rings; the outer ring houses the sweep of the analogue speedometer’s needle plus warning lights, the inner an understated, digital display.
A modern finishing touch is the Honda Smart Key; put it in a pocket and forget about it, the Super Cub C125 is live and good to go. It also controls the immobilizer as an extra theft deterrent, and is equipped with an ‘answer back’ function whereby the indicators will ‘blink’ at the push of a button to make finding the vehicle easy in busy parking areas. And, with a nod to its forebears (and underlining its Honda history) a historical 3D ‘Old Wing’ logo crowns the Smart Key fob.
Fun, easy handling has always been another Super Cub strength – it even inspired a Beach Boys song in the 1960s (‘My little Honda’). To maintain its reassuring nature, but upgrade it for the 125cc specification, the Super Cub C125 started with the C110 tubular steel ‘backbone’ frame as a base. The rigidity balance has been tuned around the headstock and engine hangers, to optimize performance for the larger capacity engine while handlebars and seat are now rubber mounted. The foot pegs also feature rubber inserts.
Rake and trail are set at 26.5°/71mm with wheelbase of 1245mm. Wet weight is 109kg. Front telescopic forks feature 100mm travel, the twin rear shocks 84mm to soak up bumps (10/19mm more than the C110) while elegant 17-inch cast aluminum wheels add stability and steering precision. Tubeless tyres are fitted, sized 70/90-17 front and 80/90-17 rear. A 220mm front disc brake and single-piston caliper is matched by a 130mm rear drum.
The air-cooled two-valve fuel-injected SOHC 125cc unit has been enhanced cosmetically with a matt metallic-look paint finish and chrome detailing to give it a premium look, and also updated internally to improve the riding experience.
Engine noise is kept to a minimum by the use of helical primary gears and higher precision crank journal bearings. Bearings have been added to the shift drum for a slicker gear change; rubber is employed on the shift arm (also to reduce noise) and optimized clutch damper rubber reduces shift shock. The Super Cub C125 engine returns 66.7km/l (WMTC mode), giving a range of approx. 245km from the 3.7L fuel tank.