Small Size, Maneuverability, And Economic Operation Made It The Most Popular Motorcycle In The World

After much speculation and anticipation, Honda finally released the all-new Super Cub C125 ABS to U.S. dealerships in January 2019, and will carry over into 2020. This iconic ride brings the same 124.9 cc powerplant that drives the popular Grom coupled with a semi-automatic, clutchless shifter, and four-speed gearbox delivering the same ease of operation that helped to make the original such a hit. A disc front brake and ABS bring the classic design closer to modern standards, but the looks are straight outta’ the ’50s for a genuinely dated vibe that is impossible to imitate. Entry-level pricing provides the icing for this charming little cake in order to endear itself to that critical market segment, but I’d argue that this ride is good for more than just as a trainer.

  • 2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
  • Year:
    2019- 2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    125 cc
  • Top Speed:
    60 mph
  • Price:
    3649
  • Price:

Honda C125 Super Cub Design

2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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With over100 million units built as of 2017, that makes the Super Cub the single most popular motorcycle in the world by a significant margin.

First off, I feel it’s important to establish a pedigree of sorts here. The original Super Cub rolled in 1956, and although Honda quit shipping them to the U.S. back in 1974, the factory kept cranking ’em out for the rest of the world, to the tune of over 100 million units built as of 2017. That makes the Super Cub the single most popular motorcycle in the world by a significant margin. Now that you’re suitably impressed, let’s evaluate this newest version from the appropriate perspective.

Right off the bat you’ll notice that it seems to share much in common with classic scooters due to the legguards that form a nice protective pocket for your stems and the step-through area that follows close behind. It isn’t quite a full step-through, not even close in fact, but it does allow for easier mounting and provides a reservoir for riders who dare to wear a dress or skirt on their two-wheeled commute.

Viewed in profile, the overall design describes an “S” as the lines flow down the fairing/steering column, back up under the seat to then drop off at the rear fender. At the front end, sheet-metal shrouds engulf the forks and continue up into a scooter-style handlebar fairing that carries a cyclops LED headlight with a chrome model badge to dress it all up. But where’s the tank, you ask? It’s tucked away under the seat — all one gallon of it — and it’s kept secure by a lock that releases electronically for push-button access.

Behind the 30.7-inch tall solo seat, a small luggage rack makes up for a lack of the scooter-like storage compartment, but I can’t help but wonder if the lack of passenger amenities may be a sticking point for some. Oh well, aftermarket seat-maker’s kids need to eat too. ’Course, it does have a pair of passenger footpegs mounted on the swingarm, so I guess you could bungee a wadded-up jacket to the luggage rack in times of dire need.

The rearward lighting is kept compact by LED technology so everything remains proportional to the rather narrow rear fender, and as simple as it seems, the painted shock uppers just seem to tie everything in the rear together quite nicely. Symmetrical, 17-inch wheels do their bit to both help the Super Cub handle like a proper motorcycle, and help it look like one too, in spite of all the scooter-tastic design characteristics. In a bid to help improve its utility as a commuter, the factory threw on a small storage compartment under the right sidecover so you can store your possibles out of the weather.

Honda C125 Super Cub Chassis

2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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Very basic suspension, not surprising, but ABS on the front disc gives a modern touch to the classic vibe.

The Super Cub seems a bit shy as the steel standing structure is all but completely hidden by the sheet metal with only the swingarm and bits of suspension visible. Under the front-fork shrouds, a set of 26 mm forks do their bit with 3.9 inches of travel, an increase over the previous generation, but nothing in the way of adjustments. Out back, a pair of dressy shocks support the rear end with 3.3 inches of travel and the same tweaks as the front end: none.

It would be an exercise in understatement to say that the Super Cub doesn’t need any help in cultivating that wonderful classic panache, but still the factory felt compelled to put a 110 mm drum brake on the rear end. Oh well, to be fair, the whole thing weighs in at only 240 pounds, so there’s only so much energy to manage in the first place. A 220 mm disc and twin-pot hydraulic caliper slows the front with ABS protection on board and the safety it provides, something the entry-level riders should certainly appreciate.

The steering head comes set at 26.5-degrees with 2.8 inches of trail on a short, 48.9-inch wheelbase with a 70/90 and 80/90 hoop on the front and rear, respectively. Cast wheels kind of ruin the classic look a little bit for me, ’cause of course this ride would look even cooler with wire wheels.

Rake (Castor Angle): 26.5°
Trail: 2.8 in (71 mm)
Suspension, Front: 26 mm hydraulic telescopic inverted fork; 3.9 in. travel
Suspension, Rear: Twin Shocks; 3.3 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Hydraulic, single 220 mm disc w/ two-piston caliper, ABS
Brakes, Rear: Mechanical leading trailing; single 110 mm drum
Tire, Front: 70/90-17
Tire, Rear: 80/90-17

Honda C125 Super Cub Drivetrain

2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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While the engine is rather typical for its displacement bracket, the drive system is anything but, with semi-automatic operation to give a more engaging ride.

Honda powers the Super Cub with a 124.9 cc, air-cooled thumper, the same one used in the Grom. While the factory is typically tight-lipped about performance, we know that the Grom had a new engine in 2019 and that the ’18 version produced 9.7 horsepower and 8.04 pound-feet of torque, so I expect the new mill will fall out somewhere in that neighborhood. Probably even a skosh higher. Honda says top speed is 60 mph, but unless you are very petite and not carrying any gear, you will likely see closer to 50 mph.

The long-stroke plant runs a 52.4 mm bore with a 57.9 mm stroke and a compression ratio of 9.3-to-1 with Honda’s PGM-FI to meter the fuel and a SOHC to time the two-valve head. While the engine is rather typical for its displacement bracket, the drive system is anything but. A centrifugal clutch couple engine power to the four-speed transmission, so there’s no need for a clutch lever, just roll off the throttle and change gears with the heel-toe lever. This semi-automatic operation is easy, intuitive, and delivers a more engaging ride than the CVT you find on proper scooters.

Engine: 124.9 cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Valve Train: SOHC, Two-valve
Bore x Stroke: 52.4 mm x 57.9 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.3:1
Induction: PGM-FI w/ 24 mm bore, automatic enrichment
Starter: Electric
Transmission: Manual; four speeds
Clutch: Semi-automatic centrifugal
Final Drive: Chain final drive; 14T/36T

Honda C125 Super Cub Price

2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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MSRP puts the Super Cub squarely in the entry-level range.

The 2019 SC125A Super Cub rolls directly over into MY20 with a change in color and price. Pearl Nebula Red replaces the blue sheet metal, and the second tone on the legguards and side covers is a creamy white that leans more toward “bone” than the crisp, cold white from MY19 paint package. Price went up $50 to make the 2020 MSRP $3,649.

Color:
└ 2019: Pearl Niltava Blue
└ 2020: Pearl Nebula Red
Price:
└ 2019: $3,599
└ 2020: $3,649

Honda C125 Super Cub Competitors

2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
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The C125 will steal some buyers from the alternative choices while carving out a buyer base all its own.

What does one pick to compare to such a unique little ride as the Super Cob C125? Sure, there are a handful of popular 125s on the market right now like the very Grom-like Z125 Pro from Kawasaki, and of course the Grom itself, but they’re much different machines. Honda also builds other motorcycles with strong scooter influence such as the Integra and X-ADV, but these are packing far too many cubes to be a proper competitor. Oh, there’s the Monkey, but it’s another Honda product, as well, although its dated design puts it into the same kind of retro-class as the Super Cub even if the design is more akin to the aforementioned pit bikes.

At the end of the day, the C125 is such a neat and unique little ride, I expect it will steal some buyers from the alternative choices while carving out a buyer base all its own. I just hope Honda’s plan for a limited U.S. release isn’t too narrow in scope; it’d be a shame if they shot themselves in the foot on this.

He Said

“Love it! What a cute little ride. You can just imagine a million of them packed into and round urban traffic in some Asian city, and with good reason, the small size, maneuverability, and economic operation are all solid attributes. Is it too small for many American cities? Probably, but there are plenty of places where you could get away with riding one, no problem.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I can really see where this appeals to the new generation of motorcycle riders, which is likely why Honda is bringing it back to our market after 40-some years. Timing is everything, yes? And really, it doesn’t get more classic than this. The 2020 Super Cub looks amazingly like a meticulously restored original including the original Honda logo, until you look closer to find modern touches like the LED lighting and a front disc brake. As a competitor, I might have gone with the KYMCO K-Pipe, though I can’t say exactly why that springs to mind.”

Honda Super Cub C125 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 124.9 cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Valve Train: SOHC, Two-valve
Bore x Stroke: 52.4 mm x 57.9 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.3:1
Induction: PGM-FI w/ 24 mm bore, automatic enrichment
Starter: Electric
Transmission: Manual; four speeds
Clutch: Semi-automatic centrifugal
Final Drive: Chain final drive; 14T/36T
Chassis:
Rake (Castor Angle): 26.5°
Trail: 2.8 in (71 mm)
Suspension, Front: 26 mm hydraulic telescopic inverted fork; 3.9 in. travel
Suspension, Rear: Twin Shocks; 3.3 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Hydraulic, single 220 mm disc w/ two-piston caliper, ABS
Brakes, Rear: Mechanical leading trailing; single 110 mm drum
Tire, Front: 70/90-17
Tire, Rear: 80/90-17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 75.2 in
Width: 28.3 in
Height: 39.4 in
Ground Clearance: 5.4 in
Seat Height: 30.7 in
Wheelbase: 48.9 in
Fuel Capacity: 1 gal
Curb Weight: 240 lbs
Top Speed: 60 mph
Details:
Color:
└ 2019: Pearl Niltava Blue
└ 2020: Pearl Nebula Red
Price:
└ 2019: $3,599
└ 2020: $3,649

Further Reading

Honda Made History with Its One Millionth Super Cub

Honda created history with 100 million Super Cubs out of its factory gates Exterior
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See our article on the one millionth Super Cub.

Motorcycle Manufacturers Are Scrambling For New Riders

Motorcycle Manufacturers Are Scrambling For New Riders
- image 725024

See our article on the shift in the market.

Honda Grom

2017 - 2019 Honda Grom
- image 776527

See our review of the Honda Grom.

Kawasaki Z125 Pro

2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
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See our review of the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.

Honda Integra

2016 - 2018 Honda Integra
- image 781510

See our review of the Honda Integra.

Honda X-ADV

2017 - 2018 Honda X-ADV
- image 781332

See our review of the Honda X-ADV.

Honda Monkey

2018 - 2019 Honda Monkey
- image 779432

See our review of the Honda Monkey.

KYMCO K-Pipe

2013 - 2018 KYMCO K-PIPE 125
- image 772579

See our review of the KYMCO K-Pipe.

Honda

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
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Read more Honda news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: honda.com, kawasaki.com, kymcousa.com

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