Honda C125 Super Cub
I've been really amazed at just how good my little C90 has been and I enjoy riding it almost a much as any of my other bikes, including the GL 1500 SE GoldWing! No, I’m not saying it’s a sports bike or an accomplished tourer but it’s just so much FUN! Needless to say, I sat up and took notice when Honda started making a modern version of the bike that they have made over 100 million of in the last 60 years. The time has long gone when you could easily find a slightly ragged C90 for a tenner! Some pristine low mileage earlier bikes have climbed to over two grand now, so with a price tag of a bit over £3k for this new model, it seemed like a good idea to investigate further.
This is my C90 as bought - only the engine needed stripping and checking so I could repaint it to match the excellent finish on the rest of the bike.
Honda seem to have improved on what they had without spoiling the overall concept and the specification is quite impressive. Gone is the carburettor and fuel injection has taken its place, the 3 speeds in the original gearbox with foot operated clutch and gear change has now increased to 4 speeds, again with that rotary system where neutral can be selected directly from top gear - as soon as you are stationary. The drum front brake with that see-sawing leading link fork arrangement has been replaced by a front disc with ABS at the end of a pair of conventional telescopic forks. LED lights and indicators, the latter operated by a conventional switch on the left handlebar, rather than the previous non-intuitive method on the right hand side, are welcome improvements. Electric start and no kick-start might be seen by some as a drawback - we’ll see! Honda’s smart key system will be fine for me I’m sure and does give a little bit more security, even having a movement alarm incorporated in an effort to stop it being loaded into the back of a (probably stolen) ‘scrote-mobile’. The quite narrow section tubeless tyres are mounted on some rather attractive alloy wheels with diamond turned highlights.
I studied many pictures and ‘You Tube’ clips but didn’t even have a test ride before deciding to buy one, surely it wouldn’t be a backwards step from my C90 after all these years of improvement? I considered at one point perhaps chopping my GoldWing in for one, as at 70 I’m not getting out on that very often and have a perfectly good CBF 600SA with panniers and top-box if I need to do a long trip. Problem would have been that I would most likely have had to part with a barrow load of cash PLUS the ‘Wing to get one! I did the deal with Ecosse Motorcycles in Aberdeen who advised me against paying cash for it as Mother Honda we’re giving a £300 deposit contribution if you used their interest free finance scheme over 3 years. What! ‘It’s cheaper if I use your money rather my own’ ‘Yes’ came the reply, so I paid a very meagre deposit and bunged the 3 grand into more Premium bonds - you never know, I might even cop for a few £25 prizes in the next 3 years. I just pay eighty odd quid each month by direct debit and won’t even miss it. I realise that they can then pester me to trade it in sometime now they have their teeth into me but I’m not that easily persuaded, preferring to buy things rather than have them sold to me.
I was originally going to incorporate collecting the bike with a trip from home in Orkney to my Sister’s in Aberdeenshire but it was getting difficult in February with the spread of the virus, so I just got McAdie and Reeve, our local excellent local hauliers to collect and deliver it home. I was even more impressed with it when I first clapped eyes on the real thing and initially only rode it up around our quite long drive a couple of times before putting it way in the garage.
First impressions on a short ride later: Very quiet, smooth and nimble and the gear-change/clutch is streets ahead of the older models. Typical crap mirrors again from Honda and although rock steady - I already knew what my elbows looked like! Who on earth modelled for this? Without an obvious bodge it’s impossible to alter them so they would be useful. The following day I had a 40 odd mile drive in lovely sunshine on some of Orkney’s finest roads with fantastic views around every turn and took it up to around 50mph for a couple of short spells without it feeling in any way stressed.
The single seat (the only option available) is very comfortable and my initial fears of not being able to occasionally slide back and forth seem unfounded and all controls are more or less exactly where I would want them. The brakes are obviously a big improvement over the earlier models with a nice progressive feel to the front disc set up. Cruising along our well surfaced roads at around 45mph would be my choice to put a good few miles into a day’s ride. I opted for the Honda rear rack and I have a spare base plate for my Q/D Honda top box so that will make it even more versatile.
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