Honda 2019 super cub 110 2018

The original Honda Super Cub C100, in the Japanese “sea và sky” livery. Photo courtesy Honda.

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“You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”

The year was 1963 and American Honda, which opened its doors in Los Angeles barely four years prior with eight employees, wanted lớn change the way car-loving Americans saw motorcycles. When Honda came to lớn the United States in 1959, fewer than 60,000 motorcycles were sold here annually, with most of those being domestic & European models larger than 500cc.

Dealers were skeptical of this bold, upstart new Japanese company, essentially telling 39-year-old General Manager Kihachiro Kawashima, “Good luck, but you’re just splitting a small pie into even smaller pieces.” Undaunted, Kawashima responded: Fine, we’ll make the pie bigger on our own. & the key to that bigger pie was the 50cc CA100, the “nifty, thrifty Honda Fifty,” known in japan as the Super Cub.

“To succeed in the U.S. Is to lớn succeed worldwide. Khổng lồ take up the challenge of the American market may be the most difficult thing lớn do, but it’s a critical step in expanding the export of our products.” –Takeo Fujisawa, Senior Managing Director và co-founder of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Honda’s “You meet the nicest people” ad campaign has become the stuff of legend, and it almost single-handedly changed the American motorcycle industry forever. Image courtesy Honda.

The Super Cub was designed lớn be accessible: a bike anyone could ride, rugged enough to lớn handle the rough unpaved Japanese roads & with a quiet, fuel-efficient engine. Honda fitted it with its first-ever semi-automatic centrifugal clutch transmission, meaning gear changes were initiated by simply toeing the gearshift lever, no clutch required. The Japanese mã sản phẩm was painted a lovely “sea & sky” combination of dark & light xanh with a contrasting red single seat, reportedly inspired by Mr. Honda’s penchant for wearing a red shirt và driving a red sports car.

Read our First Ride nhận xét of the 2019 Honda Monkey!

The American version, meanwhile, had two-up seating và a bright, toy-like red & white paint job that reflected American Honda’s strategy of marketing the Super Cub as something fun và unthreatening, the perfect accessory for modern youths of the Jet Age. It was a marked departure from the image most Americans had of motorcycles and “bikers” in general, personified by somewhat dangerous, đen leather-clad young men, a la Marlon Brando in “The Wild One.”

And it was a booming success. In 1961 Honda sold 17,000, in 1962 35,000 & in 1963, the year of the “You meet the nicest people” campaign, 90,000 CA100s were sold in the States.

The Super Cub’s new image was “unlike anything that Americans had imagined before. It was that of a completely new vehicle; a motorcycle that simply didn’t seem like one.” –Kihachiro Kawashima, General Manager, American Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

American Honda Motor Company got off to a humble start at this small, unassuming building on Pico Blvd. West of downtown Los Angeles. The building is still there, albeit with a new owner. Photo courtesy Honda.

Unfortunately, lượt thích most booms the Super Cub ran its course in the U.S., with sales peaking in 1965 & then declining until the model was retired in 1974. It was replaced by the larger displacement C90 and C70 Passport, the last step-through Honda motorcycles sold in the States, which themselves disappeared from our shores after the 1983 mã sản phẩm year.

The Super Cub lived on elsewhere, however, especially in Southeast Asia, where reliable, efficient, rugged and inexpensive two-wheeled transportation is a necessity. As of October 2017, more than 100 million Super Cubs had been sold worldwide, the most by far of any motorized vehicle in history. Meanwhile, the unassuming Super Cub had started a revolution, introducing Japanese motorcycles lớn the American masses & throwing the door wide xuất hiện for the “Japanese Invasion” that swept the U.S. Motorcycle & automotive markets in the late 1960s & beyond.

The 2019 Honda Super Cub is just as much time machine as it is motorcycle. At a glance it can be hard to lớn differentiate between old và new. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

Return of the Super CubThe year 2019 marks American Honda’s 60th anniversary and also the return of its breakthrough model, now dubbed the Super Cub C125. Based around the air-cooled 125cc single used in the Grom & the Monkey, the 2019 Super Cub is almost as much a time machine as it is a motorcycle.

Fuel injection replaces the carburetor, 17-inch wheels are cast rather than spoked & carry modern tubeless tires, the front disc brake has standard ABS, there’s no kickstarter and the instrument is a combination LCD fuel gauge/odometer/tripmeter/gear indicator with analog speedometer. But the bike still uses that same semi-automatic centrifugal clutch–since utilized in everything from Honda’s mini dirt bikes khổng lồ ATVs–and it looks almost exactly the way it did 60 years ago, in the classic Japanese “sea và sky” livery.

Analog speedometer & LCD gear indicator/odometer/tripmeters/clock/fuel gauge. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

Since every story must start at the beginning, our press launch ride started at the original location of the American Honda Motor Company, a small, nondescript trắng building on Pico Blvd. West of downtown Los Angeles, where we swung a leg over our time machine–er, motorcycle.

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The first clue this is a 2019 model, not a ’62, is the key–or lack thereof. The proximity-sensing fob locks & unlocks the side cover storage (large enough to hold the owner’s manual and not much else) và seat, under which are two helmet lock hooks & the fuel filler, & enables the ignition. Turn the ignition knob lớn “on,” thumb the starter button & the Super Cub purrs to life.

The new Super Cub’s keyless ignition lets you remotely lock/unlock the seat và side cover. As long as you’re in close proximity it enables the ignition as well; simply push the knob to activate, then turn it lớn the “on” position and thumb the starter. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

For a rider used lớn clutching or even Honda’s own automatic DCT transmission, it takes a bit to get used to the lack of a clutch lever while continuing to toe a shifter. Neutral is at the bottom, then it’s all up from there, gears one through four. The lever itself is a heel-and-toe design, & a couple of testers remarked that it was easier lớn push the heel plate for upshifts, especially with thick boots on.

The transmission uses a centrifugal clutch và a standard spring-loaded clutch plate; when you toe (or heel) the shifter the clutch plate pulls away, the gear changes và the plate returns. The system responds best to an easy-going pace, befitting the Super Cub’s personality. I found that pushing rather than jabbing the lever & operating the throttle just like I would on a traditional bike–rolling it closed slightly during shifts–resulted in the smoothest operation.

Wheeee! You won’t win any drag races, but the 125cc single has enough get-up-and-go khổng lồ keep up with traffic…up to lớn about 55 mph, that is. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

Jenny’s GearHelmet: Shoei JOJacket: Olympia JanisJeans: Bolid’ster Jeny’sterBoots: Rev’It Royale H2O

Like the Grom & Monkey, the Super Cub isn’t designed for speed–55 mph is about the most you’ll comfortably do, và 45 is even better–but the larger 17-inch hoops bestow a stability the other two lack & make it feel more like a “real” motorcycle. Our demo ride meandered south and west, including plenty of impatient L.A. Traffic, hills, road construction and even a police escort along the sandy boardwalk in Redondo Beach. The Super Cub handled it all with charm và grace, coaxing smiles from scowling, gridlocked drivers lượt thích a lion tamer soothing a roaring beast.

Modern LED headlight is highly visible for daytime riding. Traditional front fairing design allows some wind protection for those chilly mornings. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

The little single, which probably generates 10 horsepower on a good day, feels smooth & comfortable, thanks at least partially khổng lồ rubber pads on the rigid-mounted footpegs và the thickly padded red solo saddle. There is no adjustability khổng lồ either the 26mm inverted front fork or the twin rear shocks, and no passenger accommodations (Honda does offer a nice accessory chrome luggage rack, however). Parking involves dismounting while holding the 240-pound xe đạp upright, then lifting it onto its centerstand (there is no sidestand, nor is there a parking brake).

Check out our Best Bikes for Smaller Riders (and Budgets): 2019 Edition here.

Our pack of Super Cubs got a police escort onto the pier at Redondo Beach, where tourists và locals alike gawked at the stylish blue-on-blue motorcycles. We just grinned back. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

After rolling through the green hills of Palos Verdes, we turned our backs to lớn the sea & cruised to lớn the Honda North America campus. Our time machines had brought us full circle, from 1959’s single, humble storefront with eight employees khổng lồ the sprawling, 101-acre North American headquarters of the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Honda had one more surprise for us, however.

Blocks away from the main campus, it maintains a private collection of cars and motorcycles, from the first Civic khổng lồ milestone motorcycles khổng lồ the latest IndyCar racecars. There they wheeled two bikes out of the museum, a 1961 Japanese-spec C100 Honda 50 và a 1980 C70 Passport, & let us take them for a quick spin. Pull the choke knob and give it a kick–the smooth purr feels immediately familiar. Three gears instead of four, a drum brake up front, but otherwise these were the same fun, easy khổng lồ ride motorcycles we’d been traveling on all day. The circle closed, the story begins again.

The tác giả takes a spin on a 1980 C70 Passport, the last step-through Honda motorcycle model to be sold in the U.S. Honda North America’s Jon Seidel rides just behind her on the new Super Cub. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

The Super Cub represents everything Honda was và has become, especially in the U.S. Where it, aided by some deft marketing moves by American Honda, almost single-handedly altered American motorcycling culture forever. We’re happy to see it again, and maybe it will even inspire a whole new generation of “nice people” to lớn take up two wheels.

2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

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2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS. Photo by Drew Ruiz.Side cover holds small tool kit và not much else. Photo by Drew Ruiz.2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS. Photo by Drew Ruiz.Heel/toe shifter is designed lớn be easily used in anything from thick riding boots to lớn slick dress shoes. Photo by Drew Ruiz.