Honda Super Cub C125 vs. Aventon Level E-Bike: Back To Basics

Although mopeds are arguably even easier to own, for much of the world, motorcycles are some of the most affordable motor vehicles. And one of the cheapest is the Honda Super Cub C125, the modern version of the best-selling motor vehicle ever. But thanks to electric motor assistance, e-bikes are able to keep pace with modern city traffic. And an electric bicycle like the Aventon Level is even cheaper than the Super Cub. But what happens when the two two-wheelers venture outside the city? Say, on an extended road trip?

The 2021 Honda Super Cub C125 vs. its ancestor

The side view of a red-and-white 2021 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS
2021 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS | Honda

To date, Honda has sold over 100 million Super Cubs, from the original 50cc model to the latest 125 ABS version, Cycle World reports. And a key part of the motorcycle’s appeal—yes, it’s a motorcycle, not a scooter—is its simple approachability, Cycle World reports. For the 2021 Honda Super Cub C125, that simplicity comes thanks to modern technology.

The 2021 Super Cub has a fuel-injected 125cc single-cylinder engine and 4-speed transmission; the same as the Monkey and the Grom. However, the Super Cub’s transmission has a centrifugal semi-automatic clutch, Motorcyclist reports. So, instead of pulling on a lever, you just twist the throttle and press the shift lever. That’s something the original Cub also had, Motorcyclist reports.

However, the original Cub didn’t have LED lights, a front disc brake with ABS, or a digital display with trip meters, fuel gauge, and a clock. The 2021 Honda Super Cub C125 also comes with a proximity key and an electronic mechanism for its under-seat storage. Plus, the extra power means the new Super Cub is a bit more ‘super,’ Cycle World reports. Realistically, the 2021 model tops out at 55 mph, Rider reports, about 15 mph more than the original.

How does the Aventon Level stack up?

A gray 2020 Aventon Level e-bike
2020 Aventon Level e-bike | Aventon

As an e-bike, and therefore a bicycle, the aluminum-frame Aventon Level is lighter and simpler than the Honda Super Cub C125. However, that doesn’t make it stripped-down. For example, unlike the Super Cub, the Level has a standard rear cargo rack.

The Level is a Class 3 e-bike, ElectricBikeReview reports, which means it goes up to 28 mph with pedal-assistance. It offers 5 levels of assistance, which the rider can adjust on the fly using the backlit LCD screen and handlebar-mounted controls. There’s also a handlebar-mounted throttle capable of powering the Aventon Level up to 20 mph.

The rear view of a gray-and-cream 2020 Aventon Level e-bike
2020 Aventon Level e-bike rear | Aventon

Delivering this speed is an 8-speed Shimano Acera derailleur and a 48V rear hub motor. The motor is powered by a removable 672-Wh lithium-ion battery. On average, Aventon claims the Level e-bike has a 40-mile range, and that the battery takes 4-5 hours to recharge.

Hydraulic Bengal Ares disc brakes help keep the Level under control, as does a Suntour front fork. Interestingly, it has 1” less front suspension travel than the Super Cub: 2.9” to 3.9”, RevZilla reports.  

2021 Honda Super Cub C125 vs. Aventon Level e-bike: transportation down to its essentials

Cycle World recently compared the 2021 Honda Super Cub C125 and the Aventon Level e-bike in a modern-day follow-up to an older piece. In 1977, now-veteran bike journalist Peter Egan went on a multi-day, 303-mile trip to Iowa’s Pikes Peak with his cyclist buddy John Oakey. The original trip featured Egan on a 1964 Honda 50 and Oakey on a Stella 10-speed race bike. So, how did the duo find their steeds’ sequels?

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Cycle World found that the Aventon Level’s quote range is somewhat accurate. Over long distances with elevation changes, the e-bike averaged 35 miles on a charge. Hence why Oakey brought along a spare battery. As for the Honda Super Cub C125, while it can handle 55-mph stints, it’s most comfortable in the 35-45 mph. Though it doesn’t struggle with hills quite like the 1964 bike did.

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The performance is roughly in line with what both of these 2-wheeled vehicles are designed to do. The Aventon Level, like most e-bikes, is meant to be an urban commuter, able to speed up errands while still letting you get some exercise in, ElectricBikeReport reports. It’s a similar story with the Super Cub, which was designed to be an inexpensive, simple form of transportation, RideApart reports.

In short, the Aventon Level and the Honda Super Cub C125 are transportation stripped down to its basics—without feeling basic.

Which should you get—the motorcycle or the bicycle?

In terms of price, the Aventon Level is significantly more affordable than the Honda Super Cub 125. The e-bike starts at $1599, while the motorcycle starts at $3749. You could get two Levels for the price of one Super Cub.

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However, it’s worth pointing out that, if you run out of battery, the Aventon Level is just a 63-lb bicycle. The Super Cub, meanwhile, is an extremely efficient motorcycle: Cycle World saw just under 172 mpg.

As such, while both are great city-environment commuters, they serve slightly different purposes. If your daily routine sees you zipping continuously around town, the Honda Super Cub C125 will likely be more convenient. But if your loop is small, and you’re fine with working up a sweat, an e-bike like the Aventon Level should serve you well.

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