WORDS: Ross // IMAGES: Honda and Gary D Chapman
Remembered fondly by bikers from all walks of life right across the globe, the Super Cub has made a name for itself over the last sixty years as a bulletproof, do-anything machine – most at home on the daily commute, but capable of traversing the glove too. Since production first began back in 1958, Honda has sold over 100 million models in various iterations of style and capacity. And to celebrate hitting the milestone and cement its place as the best-selling machine of all time, Honda has revamped its Super Cub for 2018 —with a pretty major styling revision and a raft of technical updates.
To put it through its paces, we’ve spent the last month using the little Cub as a daily commuter, seeing how it stands up to the cold, wind, rain, grit and grime that defines riding through the winter in the UK.
The Super Cub C125 is, by nature, a simple and stripped back machine – and it always has been; carefully balancing budget and customer expectations with performance. Settling into the seat for the first time, I was surprised by how substantial the little Cub feels, despite its diminutive proportions. It is a tiny little machine though; lightweight and low. The seat stands at 780mm, and as a result of the step through design, should be easy to get on with for even the shortest of riders. I’m a fairly gangly 6ft 1”, all arms and legs, and expected to feel a little cramped on the Cub – but somehow I didn’t; finding it extremely comfortable, even for long stints in the saddle.
The Super Cub is powered by the same motor that’s found in Honda’s hugely successful Grom (MSX125) and its new Monkey 125. Essentially, it’s a super simple and extremely reliable air-cooled single cylinder four-stroke with air-cooling and two-valves – which kicks out a fairly respectable 9.5bhp of power at 7,500rpm and 7.7lb-ft of torque at 5,000rpm. As you’d expect, it’s not the most powerful 125cc machine on the market, but it’s still got plenty of beans to get the jump on most four-wheeled traffic off the line. Ringing its neck on the open road – you’ll have to be pushing hard to hold it at 60mph, but I found it was quite happy to sit at 50mph all day long.
To get the Cub moving there is a heel-toe gear shift setup, just like on the original Cub. It’s super easy to use too – thanks to its new user friendly centrifugal automatic design which works to disengage and engage the clutch automatically while you shift up or down the box.
Conventional telescopic forks are one of the new additions to the new Super Cub, replacing the old leading link style setup. Although it’s definitely a marked improvement, it’s still not the most sophisticated of systems. Perfectly capable around town, with a more than adequate level of comfort – you’ll only really notice its shortcomings as you begin to pick up the speed on slightly sketchier surfaces.
For braking, the Cub is equipped with an ABS assisted 220mm disc and single piston caliper up front, and a 130mm drum at the rear. Same as the suspension – it’s not an earth-shattering, innovative setup – but it’s more than capable of pulling the bike to halt with ease, thanks in part to the Cub’s low power and low weight.
I didn’t expect to enjoy myself quite as much as I did on the Super Cub. Sure – it’s no high-speed mile muncher, but for bombing around town I reckon the lightweight, agile and super easy to ride machine is hard to beat.
FOR THE FULL FIRST RIDE REPORT, CHECK OUT THE UPCOMING APRIL ISSUE OF MOTORCYCLE SPORT AND LEISURE. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
Honda Super Cub C125
Engine: 125cc air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke 2-valve
Gearbox: 4 speed transmissions with a wet multi plate clutch and automatic centrifugal clutch
Max. Power: 7.1kW @ 7,500rpm
Max. Torque: 10.4Nm @ 5,000rpm
Brakes: (F) Single 220 mm hydraulic disc (R) 130mm drum brake
Suspension: (F) 26mm telescopic fork (R) Twin shock
Wheels: 10-spoke cast aluminium
Tyres: (F) 70/90-17M/C 48P (R) 80/90-17M/C 50P
Frame: Mono-backbone steel frame
Seat Height: 780mm
Kerb Weight: 109kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.7 litres
Fuel Consumption: 188.4 MPG (claimed)