Someone at Honda has been playing with a time machine. Late last year, the Japanese firm released a modern update of the 2019 Monkey, and now it’s following that up with an update to the best-selling vehicle of all time: the Super Cub. Both bikes join the popular Grom to form a trio of two-wheelers that Honda calls its “miniMOTO” lineup with the slogan of “miniMOTOs, Max Fun.”
It’s not as iconic as “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” but it still gets the point across; as motorcycles keep getting bigger, faster, and heavier, Honda wants to remind you there’s still plenty of joy to be had with little bikes. With the Super Cub, it’s hoping to make that fun as accessible as possible—this bike is all about ease of use.
All three minimotos share a 125cc air-cooled single and a four-speed transmission, but the Super Cub has a semi-automatic clutch that’s operated as you shift with your left foot. Riders who have never used a clutch lever before have nothing to fear: just twist the throttle and go.
What you won’t have to twist anymore is a key. The Super Cub is equipped with a smart key system that allows you to keep it in your pocket at all times. The system controls the ignition as well as the seat lock. The bike must be turned off to open the seat, but once you pop it open you’ll get access to the helmet holder and a button that opens up the right side cover for a storage space that includes the manual and tool kit. You’ll also see the gas cap for the 1-gallon tank, which yields an approximate range of 100 miles.
Other features that make the Super Cub approachable for all riders include tubeless tires, full LED lighting, and an LCD dash that includes a fuel gauge. But the most encouraging component for a new rider is the one-channel (front wheel only) ABS. The front brake (a 220mm disc) provides good feel, and the ABS is a reassuring backup on wet or rough surfaces. The rear brake (a 110mm drum) is on the weak side and the lever requires more force than expected before you feel any meaningful deceleration.
Beyond the features, the other reason the Super Cub is so easy to ride is its diminutive size. With a seat height of 30.7 inches and a claimed curb weight of just 240 pounds, the C125 is manageable for almost everybody. The light weight makes it easy to maneuver at low speeds, even if it’s just to get the bike up on the centerstand.
The Super Cub is best enjoyed at leisurely speeds in town. Compared to the other minimotos, the C125 is slower off the line because of the heavier 17-inch wheels and the semi-automatic clutch, but the bike is more than quick enough to keep up with traffic. The benefit to the larger wheels, when paired with surprisingly stiff suspension, is that the Cub is capable on pothole-infested pavement or dirt roads if you want to put one on the back of your camper. With that said, the wheels are so narrow that the front end can feel twitchy if you’re leaned over near the Cub’s top speed of approximately 60 mph. Everything feels planted at speeds that are more town-friendly.
My main issue with the Super Cub is the lack of storage space, but Honda will offer a rear rack as its sole accessory. It probably should have been standard equipment. There are provisions for passenger pegs, but the US model will not have them so you’ll have to source them from the aftermarket or another country if you want to bring a friend.
Because the Super Cub is so easy to ride, it appeals to a wide variety of customers. Honda has obviously made an effort to target women, youngsters, and first-time motorcyclists, but experienced riders will appreciate how convenient the machine is as long as they don’t need to ride on the highway. With a MSRP of $3,599, the Super Cub is a little spendy when compared to 125cc scooters, but the big-bike technology and excellent build quality justify the price. Built in Thailand, the C125 feels like it was assembled to last for decades.
When Honda first came to the US in the late ’50s, it was concerned that the Super Cub might struggle to find buyers in a country where most people were obsessed with cars and the few who liked motorcycles were looking for high-displacement machines. Some riders think we’re in a similar situation nowadays. The solution six decades ago was all about meeting “the nicest people on a Honda.” But we don’t need nice riders, we need new ones (sure, bonus points if they’re nice). The 2019 Honda Super Cub retains the charm of the original while removing most of the intimidating aspects about riding a two-wheeler. That’s what makes it excellent as a first bike for a rookie rider or an addition to a veteran’s garage as a tool to share the joy of motorcycling.
2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS Technical Specifications
|Engine:||124.9cc, air-cooled, SOHC, single-cylinder, 2 valves/cylinder|
|Transmission/Final Drive:||4-speed w/ semi-automatic centrifugal clutch/chain, 14T/36T|
|Front Suspension:||26mm inverted fork; 3.9-in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Twin shocks; 3.3-in. travel|
|Front Brake:||2-piston caliper, 220mm disc; 1-channel ABS|
|Rear Brake:||Mechanical leading trailing; single 110mm drum|
|Seat Height:||30.7 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||1.0 gal.|
|Claimed Curb Weight:||240 lb.|
|Available:||Early March 2019|