The Toyota Corolla is to cars what the Honda Super Cub is to motorbikes. They’re the best selling vehicles in the world (for their respective segment. Toyota just sold its 50 millionth Corolla in August of this year, more than any other car available. Though the Honda Super Cub series has the Corolla beat, with over 100 million motorcycles produced in its 63-year run.
The Honda Super Cub is the best-selling motorcycle ever built
First released in 1958 to post-war Japan, the Honda Super Cub was an instant success. You see, Japan was still rebuilding around that time, and their road infrastructure was rough around the edges. This is true for many developing countries, and because of this, durable and reliable scooters were the popular choice.
For those who either couldn’t afford or didn’t need the Toyota Crown automobile, introduced in the same year, the Honda Super Cub was the perfect solution. The remarkably simple 50cc four-stroke engine was unique for its time, as most bikes used two-stroke engines instead. This made the Super Cub’s engine more efficient and dependable.
It only took three years for the bike to reach one million sales, hitting the milestone in 1961. In 1967, they reached five million sales. And this sales trend continued to grow exponentially until, in 2017, the total amount of Honda Super Cubs produced hit 100 million. That means the Super Cub isn’t the best-selling motorbike of all time, but the best-selling motor vehicle.
And throughout the years, there have been various different iterations of the bike, which spread the bike’s popularity into different segments.
The various variants of this Honda motorbike
The first Honda Super Cub was called the C100, followed by the C102 in 1960, which made minor tweaks to the bike including new ignition components. The big changes came around in 1971, when Honda introduced the News Cub. Mechanically, the bike didn’t change much. But three canvas bags and bigger brakes allowed it to carry upwards of 300 newspapers. That trim featured 50cc, 70cc, and 90cc engine options
But in the 80s, after the oil crisis called for a change in vehicle economy, Honda made appropriate changes to the motorbike. They stuffed their Econo Power Engine inside, which gave it a fuel consumption rating of 105km/liter. In freedom units, that 247 mpg. So if you’re willing to cruise at a constant 30 mph, you could go on a 700-mile road trip with just one tank of gas (though I wouldn’t suggest it, since those older Super Cubs can’t get over 50 mph).
Other minor changes were made and more trims were introduced, such as the Little Super Cub in the 90s. When retro styling grew popular, Honda shrunk the bike down to its original size (it’d grown a bit over the years). And in 2005, Honda made another mail delivery version of the bike, the Press Cub, which appealed more to the states.
But the big change came in 2018, when the Super Cub C125 was introduced. With a bigger engine and more advanced technology, this is the Honda Super Cub for the modern-day.
Specifications of the modern day Super Cub C125
The engine is a 125cc single-cylinder engine. And it has a four-speed semi-automatic transmission and ABS brakes as standard. But beyond that, the appeal of the Super Cubs between when they first rolled of the line in 1958 to now is their unique and clever styling.
Take a look at the 2020 Honda Super Cub pictured above. It looks retro, with its big headlamp and interesting color scheme that sticks out in a world of dull colors. But not all of it is just for show. Those two swooping pieces on either side of the bike are wind deflectors, keeping your legs from getting terribly cold.
Clever designs like this, as well as general durability and simplicity, are the biggest appeals of the Honda Super Cub. It’s a motorcycle that can handle urban streets and parking, or undeveloped bumpy roads. And if you’re inclined to buy one right now, you only have to fork over $3,749.
So if you’re looking for a city runabout, or just want a simple beginner motorbike, then the Honda Super Cub is an excellent choice. After all, it’s been the top pick around the world for over 60 years.