Published on Thursday, 01 February 2018 11:39
Written by Saigoneer.
Honda recently released the newest model of its iconic Super Cub bike.
Honda’s Super Cub is the best selling motor vehicle in world history and in October 2017, the Japanese company produced its 100 millionth bike. The slender, user-friendly bike has also reached cult status in: it is so popular in the country in particular that the nation is referred to as the “Super Cub Paradise.” Recently, to commemorate the milestone, Honda Japan has updated both the bike’s Super Cub 50 and Super Cub 110 for 2018, according to Cycle World.
The news source elaborates on the 2018 revamp: “The engine updates are minimal, getting low-friction technologies applied throughout and a new, tougher and lower-friction piston and cylinder. Honda has also added needle bearings to the shift drum axis to improve the shift feeling by making it lighter and smoother, and the Super Cub gets a new two-stage catalyzer muffler to comply with emissions regulations.”
In a return to its roots, the new model also boasts a retro style. Angular elements of more recent versions have been abandoned for the sake of flowing curves and rounded, elongated features. Drum brakes and LED lights are included in the minimal upgrades to the throwback style.
Apart from the two staple models, Cub 50 and Cub 110, the company has also released new “Pro” versions of them, which utilize smaller 14-inch wheels instead of normal 17-inch ones, a larger front basket and a larger rear luggage rack.
The 2018 versions of the Super Cub were just released in Thailand earlier this month, and some local bike fans have already started getting creative with it. To celebrate the release, Thailand-based K-Speed motorbike shop, which also dabbles in customization, has produced what they call the “Super Power Cub.” Honda Thailand gave the team a brand-new Super Cub and just 30 days to flex their creative muscle.
The result was a sleek black-and-white “beast,” with wing-shaped handlebars and “sawtooth” tires. The team also installed custom switches, redid the wiring, and reworked the bike’s overall stance while still maintaining its old-school feel. More photos and details about the “Super Power Cub” can be found here.
Honda has been producing the Super Cub for almost 60 years. Its long-term success is owed to its affordability, durability, and early innovations such as a pedal clutch and a low-frame that made it easier for female riders wearing skirt to maneuver. The Japanese automaker named it by combining the then-fashionable term “super” with the English word for a “child of a beast.” The bike also ushered in the brand’s iconic advertising slogan “you meet the nicest people on a Honda.”
“The Super Cub that has been loved by drivers around the world represents the starting point of Honda Motor Co., which is to produce useful vehicles,” company President Takahiro Hachigo said.
Vietnam’s unique history with the Super Cub begins nearly 50 years ago when American military officials stationed in Saigon purchased 20,000 bikes. Following that, nearly all of the 750,000 Honda motorcycles imported between 1967 and 1969 were Super Cubs. One of Honda’s resident officers of the time admitted: “Some days we received orders totaling more than 10,000 machines, and our head office in Japan had to check to make sure that we had the right number of zeros.”
The 16-year embargo that began in 1979, banning the import of the Honda bikes didn’t damage their popularity. Instead, the Super Cub proved its durability in the absence of available official replacement parts. One story claims, however, that around 20,000 Super Cubs per year skirted the embargo and entered the country.
They were so ubiquitous in Vietnam that until this day, some people still say “Honda” when they mean “motorbike,” according to VnExpress. In the 1980s, Super Cubs in Vietnam would sell for an ounce of gold or several thousand dollars at the time. Many families keep their old bikes as cherished souvenirs.[Top photo via BIKE EXIF]