In 1959, in a market dominated by performance bikes from the United States and Great Britain, Honda introduced the Super Cub C100, a 49cc step-through machine with an automatic clutch, enclosed chain and a speedometer that went all the way up to 60 mph.
It’s easy to understand how the big manufacturers of the day, including Harley-Davidson, Triumph and BSA, might have overlooked the little Honda. The Super Cub generated a modest five horsepower from its 49cc overhead-valve engine. Cruising speed was in the neighborhood of 40 mph.
But power wasn’t the point. The Super Cub was designed to be user-friendly. It was easy to ride, even if you had no experience on a motorcycle.
Here’s a look at some fun facts about this fun motorcycle.
1. It cost all of $245.
2. Thousands of buyers flocked to Honda showrooms to purchase what was, in many cases, their first motorcycle.
3. In 1962, Honda released a CA100 made specifically for the United States, with a tandem seat and no turn signals.
4. The bike’s air-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke engine pumped out a claimed 4.5 horsepower at 9,500 rpm.
5. The bike had a claimed top speed of 43.5 mph, weighed 143 pounds dry, and had a 0.8-gallon fuel tank.
6. The bike got a claimed 254 miles per gallon.
7. The image that Honda wanted to project for this little motorcycle came into sharp focus in 1963, when the company’s ad agency adopted the famed “You meet the nicest people. . .” slogan.
8. A sales brochure expanded on the theme: “The Honda 50,” it said, “is changing the transportation and recreation preferences of economy-conscious, fun-seeking people all over the world.”
9. Remember the 1960s tune “Little Honda” performed by the Beach Boys and the Hondells? Yep, this is the bike that inspired the song.
10. The Super Cub is back. The 2019 Super Cub C125 ABS costs $3,599. The Pearl Niltava Blue machine features a 125cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, fuel injection, a plush seat and ABS brakes. For more information, go to powersports.honda.com.