The Honda Super Cub debuted in 1958, 10 years after the establishment of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (The original Honda Cub had been a clip-on bicycle engine). It was decided to keep the name but add the prefix 'Super' for the all-new lightweight machine.
Honda had discovered how to increase the power and efficiency of 4-stroke engines by increasing engine speed (RPM), and the company set about breaking into a market sector totally dominated by the 2-stroke models of other manufacturers. So successful were they that the Honda Cub became the most successful motorcycle model in history, and made huge contributions to Honda's sales and profit. Honda used the slogan You meet the nicest people on a Honda as they broke into the English speaking world, until then dominated by British motorcycles.
In 1964, two larger engined versions were offered, the CM90 (OHV 87cc) and C65 (OHC 63cc) with slight alterations to frame and styling. Around 1967, the whole motorcycle was uprated, the 50cc engine going from pushrod 4.5bhp to SOHC 4.9bhp (a bored-down C65 engine), and similarly the 90cc was redesigned with an OHC engine. Though the basic design of Cub remained unchanged, slightly new styling features and improvements were integrated. In the 1980s, Honda fitted a new capacitor discharge ignition system (CDI) to replace the earlier contact points ignition, thereby helping to meet increasingly strict emission standards in markets such as the US. However, many experts on the Cub testify to the fact that Honda used the CDI system for better reliability and fuel efficiency, with the emissions improvements being an appealing by-product of these goals.
In the 1980s, a larger 100 cc GN-5 engine model was introduced especially for Asian markets. The newer 100 cc model branched off from the Honda Cub model design, with new features such as a telescopic front suspension to replace the older leading link suspension, and a 4-speed transmission to replace the older 3-speed transmission used in Honda Cubs. These changes were not incorporated into the Honda Cub line-up, not interfering with the timeless and dependable design of the Cub, but rather, were integrated into new models such as Honda Dream in Thailand and Honda EX5 in Malaysia. These bikes were never intended to compete or replace the Cub in the very strong Japanese domestic market, but were more suited for the lucrative Asian export market.
In the late 1990s, Honda introduced their newer NF series motorcycles, known as Honda Wave series (Honda Innova in some markets) which use steel tube frames, front disc brake and plastic cover sets in various displacement options: 100 cc, 110 cc and 125 cc. Though not Cubs, these bikes sold consistently well particularly in European countries, where the production of Honda Cub models had been previously discontinued. However, the production of Honda Cubs in Asia, Africa and South America still continues today even though the newer Honda Wave Series and other designs have been introduced alongside the Cub.
1,800 mm (71 in)
660 mm (26 in)
1,010 mm (40 in)
1,175 mm (46.3 in)
75 kg (170 lb)
AA01E air-cooled 4-cycle SOHC single-cylinder
49 cc (3.0 cu in)
Bore x Stroke
39.0 x 41.4
Max Power output
4 PS (3.9 hp) at 7000 rpm
4.7 N·m (3.5 ft·lbf) at 4500 rpm
80 km/h (50 mph)
Forced pressure wet sump combined use system
Fuel tank capacity
4 L (1.1 US gal)
146 km/L (410 mpg imp/340 mpg US) (30km/h fixed area travelling test value)
Wet multi-plate, operated both by centrifugal action and by gear-lever.
3-speed rotary type (4-speed some models)
3.272, 1.764, 1.190
Reduction gear ratio
Kick (electric start optional on some models
Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI Magneto) system (earlier models Flywheel contact-breaker points)
Leading link (also known as Bottom link)
Swinging fork (also known as Swing arm)
Tire sizes (F/R)
2.25-17 33L / 2.50-17 38L
Drum, cable operated
Drum, rod operated
Low floor backbone pressed steel tube system