The 2019 Honda Super Cub 125 | ROAD TEST
It’s like the old ones but so much better in terms of styling, finish, rideability and more importantly credibility.
VIDEO | Scrambling on the Super Cub
Honda Super Cub C125 details
The mines were a place where men were men and women weren’t,”
On the road
Obviously, most Super Cubs will spend the majority of their time on the road and luckily that’s where it’s best suited. Using the same engine as the popular and very nippy Honda Grom and recently reintroduced Monkey Bike, it’s no surprise that the Cub is fairly quick off the mark. The gears are well spaced and you can hit the rev limiter in each one if you like, I also found myself accidentally slipping the auto clutch at times by resting my heel on the gear pedal (I’m sure a few hooligans will enjoy both of these attributes whilst showing off).
Although the test bike was brand new it quickly got to 60mph and I saw 65 on the clock, which isn’t bad at all. The only time it felt a little underpowered was whilst going up the odd big hill but knock it down a cog and it’ll power through it.
Big wheels keep on turning
The 17″ wheels make life so much easier, especially around the area where I live. The lasting tribute to the many mines around here are some very uneven roads and plenty of subsidence and potholes. Larger wheels make things much easier than a conventional 10″-13″ scooter wheel would. Those IRC tyres are fairly good as well, with temperatures close to freezing and roads mostly damp they never had me worried and they drop into corners quickly.
I found the twin shock rear end to be nicely damped, the chrome and colour-coded red shocks look retro but work well enough. They’re not adjustable but I didn’t feel like they needed it anyway. The front end was a little harsh for my liking though, hit a smallish pothole and it felt like the conventional front forks were bottoming out. Remember though this is a £3399 commuter rather than a sports scooter. Although I’m sure that won’t stop some owners from riding these to beyond the limits of man or machine. It’s that kind of bike, you just want to have fun with it. I can imagine three or four mates blasting off to the seaside, streamlining each other, tucked in as tightly as possible to try and coax out every last bit of the 9.6bhp on tap. Any advantage you can get is important on a 125, ride in a group of 125s and winning is the only thing that matters. I’ve had many a belly laugh doing group 125 tests in the past, waiting for the rider in front to miss a gear, mess his braking up or take a wrong line into a bend. You’re sat behind willing them to make a minor mistake and allow you to take advantage.
Drum and disc
It’s worth noting that the Honda comes with a 220mm disc at the front end, keeping things retro at the rear is an old-school 130mm drum brake but to be honest I thought the brakes were just about perfect for this machine. Not too powerful but they’ll stop you under control, especially with the single channel ABS up front. I was surprised at just how much control I had whilst off-roading with both brakes firmly on downhill.
Back in the 1970s/1980s there were hardly any twist and go scooters in existence, you either bought a ‘proper’ scooter, a motorcycle, or a Puch Maxi style moped. That meant at the time the C90 and it’s C70/Cub family had quite a captive audience. If you didn’t want an Italian scooter, a Japanese motorbike or a weedy moped you’d buy a Honda Cub. Things have changed though in the last 30 years. The late 1990s scooter boom meant twist & go scooters became all the rage, suddenly there was hundreds of scooters to choose from with auto transmissions (making them easy to ride for novices), storage space beneath their seats, room for a top box if extra space was needed and in the case of machines like the Gilera Runner and Italjet Dragsters they also had very quick and easily tunable two-stroke engines. All of a sudden youngsters and older riders were excited to ride scooters for pleasure and commuters had a good choice for the more mundane ride to work.
It’s not a fridge freezer
That leaves the Honda Super Cub out on a limb slightly. There are better equipped, more practical modes of transport for both commuting and pleasure. The Cub only has a measly 3.7-litre tank for instance.
There are cheaper 125s around and if you’re looking for a simple commuter tool Honda have machines in their range that might suit you better, the PCX 125 costs just £2929 and is a great scooter, the SH 125 costs £3359, or go top of the 125 range with the Forza at £4689 (£1290 more than the Cub but money well spent).
Why be sensible?
Luckily the good thing about us two-wheeled nuts and petrol heads is that we don’t always opt for the sensible choice, biking isn’t like buying a new fridge. We don’t always care if the salad drawer is too small or the ice dispenser has to be plumbed in. Biking is all about the living, breathing machine. It’s about the character, the way something makes you feel. This Honda may not be the dream machine for many but for lots of others, it will be just what they’ve been looking for.
The Honda (Super) Cub is back, it’s better looking than it ever has been, it gets the latest four-stroke 125cc Honda engine so it’s more powerful than it ever was. Maybe the Super Cub has come back at just the right time. Lots of middle-aged men are looking for kicks. They grew out of superbikes, are sick of the licence threatening power of naked bikes but still need something to have a bit of fun with. The new Honda Super Cub may well just fit that gap quite nicely. It’s by no means a cheap 125 but it is reassuringly Honda. It may not be as easy to ride or practical as an ordinary scooter but it still ticks plenty of boxes and that’s what biking is all about.
Words, photos and video: Iggy
Action shots: Linsey
Honda Super Cub C125 specs
Engine Type: Single cylinder, 4-stroke, air-cooled, fuel injected, 2-valve, SOHC
Maximum power: 9.6bhp
Torque: 10.4Nm @5,000 rpm
Front suspension: 26mm telescopic forks
Rear suspension: Twin shock absorbers
Front brake: 230mm disc (single-channel ABS)
Rear brake: 130mm drum
Front tyre: 70/90-17M/C IRC tyre
Rear tyre: 80/90-17M/C IRC tyre
Seat height: 780mm
Fuel capacity: 3.7 litres
Colours: Pearl Nebula Red/Pearl Nilvata Blue
Contact: Honda Motorcycles
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