Almost 50 years after disappearing from the U.S. market, the world’s best-selling motorbike – or a minimum of a completely trendy model of it – is returning to America: Honda’s legendary Tremendous Cub. Within the years since its 1959 launch, the Tremendous Cub has bought over 100 million models worldwide – a staggering sum. The Tremendous Cub’s effectivity, performance and worldwide attraction is nicely documented. What’s much less so is the important thing position it performed in Honda’s fortunes within the late ’50s and early ’60s, turning into an virtually instant best-seller and offering much-needed money move whereas post-war People obtained cozy with Honda’s identify and larger-displacement bikes – which they ultimately did, and in droves. The query, then, is that this: Can the Tremendous Cub reignite the two-wheeled passions of each boomers and millennials, and assist raise Honda and the general motorbike market out of the new-bike-sales doldrums?
The Good: Like the unique C100 of 1959, the new-generation Tremendous Cub is practical and pleasant. There’s keyless ignition (simply hold the fob in your pocket) and electrical begin to get you going, a ‘clutchless’ four-speed to maintain you there (simply bang away on the lever) and a useful LCD gear indicator to let you recognize what gear you’re in. It’s whisper-quiet, gasoline mileage is great (you’ll recover from 100 mpg), the step-through chassis design means it’s straightforward to leap on and off, and there’s a disc brake up entrance with ABS (together with a drum-type rear) to sluggish you down. It’s mild and maneuverable at relaxation and whereas shifting, the seat peak is manageable for all however probably the most inseam-challenged, the drive-chain is enclosed for longer upkeep intervals, security and quiet operation and there’s that Honda reliability you simply can’t beat. Lastly, it appears good, seems to be proper, with simply the correct quantities of retro type and badging.
Who It’s For: Within the very late ’50s and early ’60s, when the Tremendous Cub was first launched to American consumers, and particularly after Honda’s ‘You Meet The Nicest Individuals on a Honda’ advert marketing campaign started to penetrate the nation’s consciousness (counterbalancing motorcycling’s then-prevalent leather-jacketed thug picture), the Tremendous Cub was for – and chosen by – everybody. Older people, households on tenting journeys, school college students, commuters, youngsters on the lookout for enjoyable, and so forth. That focus on viewers hasn’t modified, actually, as Honda understands it must promote to child boomers and a youthful demographic if the new-gen Tremendous Cub goes to be a hit for Honda and from an general market-expansion standpoint.
Watch Out For: Bothersome bits are few and minor. Most significantly, although it might be apparent, it have to be stated that the Tremendous Cub shouldn’t be authorized for freeway driving. The driving place is a tad cramped for taller people, with a solo seat that’s a bit too near the handlebar. This makes six-footers (and above) need to scooch again on the softly-padded solo saddle, which has a raised portion on the again, and the seat’s foam/pan edge can start to chew one’s buns after 30 or 40 minutes. A two-place seat would alleviate that by permitting taller riders to maneuver again a bit, however it’s not but obtainable. Additionally, suspension is a bit softly sprung for bigger people, although wheel management stays respectable even on rougher pavement thanks to only sufficient damping. There’s no sidestand (centerstand solely) and storage is restricted to a tiny aspect compartment, although a storage rack is obtainable as an adjunct. Lastly, the shift pedal is a bit of cumbersome to make use of; decrease toe and heel contact factors can be useful right here. In any other case, general performance is sort of good.
Options: With retro styling being all the craze lately you’d anticipate there to be tons of retro-styled scooters obtainable… and there are, from Honda (Metropolitan) to Yamaha (Vino) to Vespa (too many to rely) and even from a handful of latest Chinese language corporations. And whereas there’s nothing fairly just like the Tremendous Cub – at the least not but – there are turn-key options in Honda’s personal catalog, together with the sporty Grom and equally retro Monkey – a tackle the legendary Z50 Mini Path that turned so many youngsters on to bikes within the ’60s and ’70s. There’s additionally the Honda Passport, an early-’80s model of the Tremendous Cub, sometimes obtainable on the used market.
Evaluate: To introduce its 2019 Tremendous Cub C125, American Honda returned – actually – to the place all of it started: 4077 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, just some miles west of downtown. The 100 x 20-foot storefront that housed American Honda when it first established itself within the U.S. in 1959 – with eight staff, two from Japan and 6 People – is an acupuncture and herbology store now. However because of some intelligent vinyl sheeting and an applicable prop parked out entrance, the place seemed fairly near the best way it did again in these very early days when American Honda was principally an unknown Asian amount straining to hawk a small handful of unique-looking and -named bikes – certainly one of which was the first-generation Tremendous Cub – at established bike outlets, sporting items retailers and hardware shops.
Standing there, squinting and purposely blurring my eyesight – and listening to the faint sounds of a 1959-spec time machine whirring throughout me – was eerie and funky directly, a flashback kind of second that match the state of affairs and material completely. Right here I’m, I assumed, three years earlier than I used to be even alive, watching American motorbike historical past being made…
Very similar to the constructing and the backdrop, Honda’s new-generation Tremendous Cub is a cool and useful mixture of retro and trendy – all of which turned apparent once I walked as much as the unit with my identify on it in ‘American Honda’s’ parking zone. The Cub appears interval retro, little question, with the acquainted step-through form, leg fairings, valanced wheel fenders and molded, nacelle headlight. It’s fairly small, too, and feels critically mild (Honda claims 240 kilos absolutely fueled) if you roll it off the middle stand.
In fact, modernity slapped me upside the top as I used to be handed the Cub’s ‘sensible key,’ an digital fob just like the one in your late-model automotive, which you should maintain in your individual whereas driving. Lighting the Cub takes a slight push on the plastic change immediately in entrance of you, turning it (as you’d an actual key) after which urgent the electric-start button on the fitting bar. The acquainted bup-bup-bup of a horizontal OHC Honda single greets your ears and instantly settles into a wonderfully syncopated fuel-injected cadence. No choke lever or throttle finagling is important, which rookies and veterans alike will recognize.
Shifting is straightforward and hassle-free because of the Cub’s centrifugal clutch-assisted (no clutch lever) transmission, which lets you shift gears whereas standing nonetheless or shifting by merely urgent the heel-and-toe shift lever. The sample is four-up, with impartial on the very backside. Sarcastically, this little bit of ultra-functional know-how isn’t new (although it’s been refined through the years), because it appeared on the unique C100 Tremendous Cub approach again within the late ’50s – and made, as firm founder Soichiro Honda used to say, “noodle supply boys very comfortable,” as they might experience one-handed and by no means even have to consider grabbing a clutch lever.
Out on LA’s floor streets, because the C125 isn’t authorized for freeway driving and isn’t quick sufficient for that type of use, anyway, the Tremendous Cub is simply highly effective sufficient to maintain up with automobiles and vans in 35-to-45 mph, cease light-to-stop signal America. Acceleration from the 124.9cc OHC four-stroke single (principally the identical engine powering Honda’s Grom) isn’t overly brisk, however it will get the job carried out easily and quietly. When it comes to dealing with and stability the Tremendous Cub acquits itself properly, going the place you level it with none undo steering or chassis histrionics, whereas braking efficiency from the disc-type and ABS-equipped entrance binder and drum-type rear is nicely above common and simply modulated – one other plus for newbies.
Verdict: Regardless of my ergonomic- and suspension-related nitpicks, I can’t see the Tremendous Cub being something lower than a real hit for Honda and with consumers – younger or previous, rookie or veteran. It’s a type of uncommon bikes that spans the demographic panorama, interesting to boomers in a method that reminds them of their motorcycling youth (or the motorcycling youth they needed), and in addition to a youthful era turned on by the thought of two-wheeled transport and the aesthetic of an period they will solely examine and picture. As a grizzled, old-school motorcyclist, somebody with 45-plus years of driving, racing and motojournalism underneath his belt, I’m a part of that more-seasoned goal demo. And I can inform you the $3599 Tremendous Cub – which prices the identical as Honda’s best-selling Grom – very undoubtedly labored for me, each aesthetically and functionally. Particularly whereas standing in entrance of that worn storefront at 4077 Pico Blvd.
What Others Are Saying:
• “Driving the Tremendous Cub, it’s exhausting to not get caught up within the nostalgia of all of it and place your self again in an easier time. It’s really easy to journey, you end up paying extra consideration to the world round you, having fun with the sights and sounds. Should you stay in an enormous metropolis, it might be a great various to a automotive or motorbike to run your errands or commute to work.” – Troy Siahaan, Motorbike.com
• ““This little scooter is full of interesting design, useful engineering, and earnest intent– the identical qualities that made the unique mannequin so interesting in 1958. The Tremendous Cub appeals on a primary degree due to that intrinsic mechanical honesty.” – Basem Wasef, Autoblog
• “The Honda Tremendous Cub is cute, snug, and peppy sufficient to get me round city. The seat peak is approachable for shorter riders, and shifting is straightforward sufficient when you get the grasp of it.” – Julia Lapalme, Revzilla
Honda Tremendous Cub Key Specs
Engine sort: 124.9cc air-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder
Gasoline Mileage/capability: 100 mpg (approx.), 1.zero gallon
Weight: 240 kilos with a full tank of gasoline
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