To borrow some hyperbole from James May, the Honda Cub is “the single most influential product of humankind’s creativity.” That’s a bold statement, but to his credit, the Cub has contributed more to motorcycling, and perhaps transportation in general, than any other vehicle. It’s sold over 100 million units, mobilized growing nations and in America specifically, it helped popularize motorcycling at a time when the bikes were seen only as the miscreant’s preferred means of conveyance. Though the Cub was once a fixture in American motorcycling, the model was discontinued in the United States about 40 years ago despite soldiering on pretty much everywhere else in the world.
Until now. In an unexpected and welcoming bit of news, Honda has announced that it’ll be bringing the Cub back to America in the guise of the Super Cub C125. And like the original, it’s designed to be approachable to new riders. For one, the 125cc single-cylinder engine (the very same used in the popular Honda Grom) is hooked up to a four-speed semi-automatic transmission that still requires the rider to select gears manually, but doesn’t require a clutch. This will certainly be more approachable to new riders apprehensive to traditional manuals. The model also comes equipped with ABS brakes as standard.
The design is a dead-ringer for the original, and the step-through profile will make mounting and dismounting easier for pretty much any conceivable rider. It’s also just an iconic shape whose old-school charms are impossible to hate. Honda notes that the current press images are not of the U.S.-market model, but it’s a safe bet that the final version will not be much different, if at all. Hopefully, the blue-and-cream color scheme and red seat remain, too.
There’s a caveat: Honda says it will come here in “limited quantities.” There’s very little elaboration on that, but we certainly hope this isn’t going to be made inaccessibly finite to the point that newbie riders who are interested in the Super Cub’s fascinating heritage, grin-inducing design and accessible build can’t get their hands on one. Because given that Honda projects a fairly low $3,599 MSRP when it goes on sale in January 2018, this could potentially reignite a passion for motorcycling in the U.S. as it did decades ago.
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