Cuddly Honda Super Cub Turns Into Beast, Looks Meaner Than Some Harley-Davidsons
Like it or not, even the many fans of the Honda Super Cub have to admit this particular two-wheeler is not exactly custom material. The underbone machine is a huge customer favorite, but most of the time we don’t get to see the results of investments made in customization processes.
The Super Cub is one of the longest-running nameplates in the Japanese bike maker’s portfolio. It was introduced all the way back in the late 1950s, and since that time, it sold over 100 million units, becoming in effect the world’s most-produced motor vehicle (and that includes cars).
Given the huge number of them on the market, it was only natural for some owners to customize their rides even if, as said, we don’t get to see such projects all that often. Yet this week, thanks to a garage called K-Speed, we’re treated to exactly that, a too-good of a Super Cub not to discuss.
The Japanese say this is their first custom Super Cub C125, but even so, they seem to have nailed a look that might even put some Harleys to shame. The conversion rides closer to the ground than its stock siblings, the front end has been completely restyled, and much larger wheels than we’re used to were fitted front and back.
The rear end has been chopped as well, making the motorcycle look more like a vintage bike than an overgrown scooter. The black paint spread head to toe enhances that impression even more.
K-Speed says no changes were made to the thing’s engine and brakes, but even so, the price is about three times higher than that of a stock machine. Whereas, for instance, you could buy the 2021 Super Cub C125 for just under $4,000, this one has a retail price of over $13,000.
On Twitter by Honda Powersports: Monday’s passing of Dick “Bugsy” Mann, American Honda sends its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and fans. Mann’s 1970 Daytona 200 win aboard the CR750 (the racing version of the CB750 four-cylinder) was momentous in Honda’s history Thank you, Dick, and godspeed.
The Honda CB750 Changed the Way Motorcycles Were Made, Raced and Sold
Though now highly prized for their potential as re-imagined cafe racer machines, the venerable Honda CB750 was – back in its infancy – the bike that changed the game.
So how did it happen that the Japanese took over the worldwide motorcycle manufacturing industry? To a large extent, it came down to the creation of a single model.
With five consecutive championship titles under their belts, Honda decided to withdraw from the World GP circuit in 1967 with a plan to develop high-performance consumer motorcycles at the forefront of their vision.
While Honda exported more than half of their output back in the mid-’60s, they didn’t make a large-displacement sport bike model which would appeal to the hardcore rider in the U.S.
And it’s not like the honchos at Honda failed to notice that glaring deficiency. Sales of Honda motorcycles in America were flagging in 1966, and the company knew a brand-new worldview was in order. While the company had created the Dream CB450 in 1965, they were still being outgunned by big bikes from other makers. The CB450 sold well, but for the vast majority of American riders, it just didn’t have the requisite zing and bottom-end torque they craved.
What really drove Yoshiro Harada, the head of Honda product development at the time, was hearing the news that Britain’s Triumph was deep in the development process of a high-performance, 3-cylinder 750 cc engine. With the ante thus upped, Honda laid out plans to compete by creating their own 750 cc engine, which would lay down 67 horsepower to overtake the juice you could get from the 66-horsepower Harley-Davidson’s 1300 and the proposed Triumph Triple.
Though Honda was already the industry’s leading maker of motorcycles (due in no small part to the success of the most popular motorcycle in history, the Super Cub), the introduction of the CB750 sought to become the world’s top manufacturer of quality motorcycles as well. They were up against some formidable competition as comparable models from Triumph, BMW, and Harley were already on the road.
So what were the targets? Honda wanted to make a long-range, high-speed touring machine, so they turned to science for answers in the form of a newly-minted paradigm dubbed “ergonomics.”
Those targets included: Stability at highway cruising speeds, a reliable and cooled braking system that would handle frequent rapid decelerations from high speed, minimal vibration, and noise to fight rider fatigue on long hauls with a rider position which complimented the smoother power plant, lights and instruments which were large, gauges which were easy to read, easy maintenance and servicing for all the various modules of the bike and the use of top-quality materials and production techniques.
Perhaps the most significant innovation for Honda’s showpiece bike? The adoption of disc brakes. While that design decision proved costly and time-consuming, it was also a stroke of brilliance and one which made the CB750 a favorite of the serious riding set.
Released to the U.S. public in January 1969, the announcement of the new bike’s retail price, $1,495, was met with stunned silence at a dealer meeting in Nevada. The other shoe had officially dropped. Large-displacement bikes were selling at that time for between $2,800 and $4,000, and the 2,000 dealers on hand for the announcement exploded into applause when they recovered their wits.
And they had good cause for their optimism. The CB750 immediately commanded a premium sales price in dealer showrooms of between $1,800 and $2,000 to get one out the door.
Featuring an integrated crankshaft and metal bearing to replace the split-type, press-fit crankshaft with a needle bearing used in previous Honda motors, the CB750 was a great leap forward in design as well as price.
As great as this new machine was, the company initially had a serious problem. They could only manage to make something like five bikes a day, and that was clearly not enough to meet the demand for what had become a major hit with the market. Production was pushed to 25 units per day and then to 100 units, but that still left an enormous pile of backorders building up under and an entirely expected sales landslide.
It became clear that the production of the original sand-molded crankcases would never meet the rate requirements of mass production, so the factory switched over to producing crankcases of a metal, die-cast construction. The bikes were such a hit with the riding public that the production of engines and chassis was moved to a Suzuki factory in mid-1971. The “sandcast” CB750 models are now fetching enormous prices from collectors of up to ten and fifteen times higher than their new-off-the-line premium price back in the day.
But what really made the bikes a smash hit with the public?
Performance. Pure and dependable performance.
The factory racing team at Honda R&D took the new machines to compete at a 10-Hour Endurance Race in August 1969 to coincide with the commercial launch of the big bike, and Honda dominated, notching one-two finishes with the teams of Morio Sumiya and Tetsuya Hishiki taking first place and Yoichi Oguma and Minoru Sato pulling in a close second.
The deal was done when rider Dick Mann blew away the field on his CR750 during the AMA Daytona 200-Mile Race run during March 1970. The field was now wide open for large-displacement Japanese bikes, and in 1972, Kawasaki launched the 900cc ZI to compete on the big-bike stage…and the rest is, as they say, history.
A 40-year-old Honda bike with no mileage on it has been rediscovered and is up for auction after the disapproving father of its first teen owner banned him from riding it and locked it away in storage for decades.
The 1981 Honda CB100N was bought brand new by the youngster in his youth while he lived with his parents.
However, his boyhood fantasy of riding a motorcycle never materialised because his strict father banned him from riding it.
Instead the machine was left to languish in storage for the next four decades.
After his father died the unnamed owner, who is now aged in his 50s, was tasked with clearing out his house in Bridgewater, Somerset, and stumbled upon his old but immaculate bike.
He agreed to sell the time-capsule Honda to neighbour Graham Tozer who has now put it up for sale at auction.
The bike still has its original tax certificate with an expiry date of July 31, 1982. The odometre displays the exact mileage of a mere four tenths of a mile.
Mr Tozer, 64, said: ‘I’m a collector of classic bikes and cars, so six months ago my neighbour called me up and said they needed rid of it.
‘He was born in the house and spent all of his life there. When he was a youngster he really wanted his own bike but when he brought it home his dad wouldn’t let him ride it.
‘He’d saved up for such a long time to buy it but his father just said, ‘you’re not going on that. You can stick it in the shed’.
‘Apparently his dad was really strict. He was ex-military and he was the boss of the house.
‘I would have loved a bike like that when I was younger but my dad probably would have done the same thing.
‘To have a motorbike from the eighties which hasn’t been touched is so unique. It really is like the Holy Grail for collectors.’
George Beale, a specialist at Charterhouse Auctioneers of Sherborne, Dorset, said: ‘These bikes were ordinarily used for commuting, so those which are still on the market from the 1980s tend not to be in the greatest condition.
‘But with a little work this one could be like brand new, which is incredibly unusual for something so old.
‘It would be rare to find any vehicle from the 1980s without any miles whatsoever. It just so happens that this young boy’s tyrant father was far more forceful than he was.’
The Honda is being sold with a pre-sale estimate of £2,000 at the Haynes International Motor Museum on October 14.
The Harley-Davidson scooter was considered ‘highly maneuverable and well balanced’ and definitely looks nice with its identifiable aesthetic from the early 1960s. Now, more than a vehicle, it is a piece of art.
Imagine you’re minding your business selling V-twin motorcycles from Milwaukee and then you see a manufacturer from Japan selling nippy compact imported bikes and little scooters in a market you’d been very popular in. What do you do? Simple, build a scooter yourself. And so Harley-Davidson did when in the late 1950s, Honda surfaced as a competitor.
Harley’s answer was called the Topper.
The Topper remained in production for only five years with production estimates in a four-digit figure, Jalopnik writes in a report. Barring the electric concepts Harley now has, the Topper was the only scooter the manufacturer ever built and also mass-produced. One of these has been found and is now heading for auction at Mecum’s Las Vegas Motorcycles 2022 auction.
Unlike the big V-twin that power H-D motorcycles, the Harley-Davison Topper was powered by a two-stroke single-cylinder that delivered between 5 to 9 hp. It came in three models. It is not known which one of them is heading to Mecum.
All that power was sent to its wheels through a continuously variable transmission. American Motorcyclist magazine from November 1959 mentions a pull start cord hidden in the chrome instrument cluster.
The Topper was considered ‘highly maneuverable and well balanced’ by the same magazine and definitely looks nice with its identifiable aesthetic from the early 1960s. Now, more than a vehicle, it is a piece of art.
Imagine being able to say you own a Harley-Davidson scooter today. And if you want to, you could. Mecum’s auction is set to begin on 25 January 2022 until the 29th of the month. Interested? Look for the Harley-Davidson Heritage Collection.
The inaugural Dubai Motorcycle Film Festival has taken place in the UAE. The three-day event featured bike builds, short character-driven films to full-length documentaries that reveal the spirit and soul of the motorcycling community.
It is the brainchild of Festival Director, Ian Carless, who told Euronews that it was a challenging process choosing the films, “There’s a lot of content out there, as you can imagine, particularly for motorcycles. So choosing the films… the hardest part of that was actually which ones to leave out.”
Over 30 films were screened including Song of Sosa from Director, Cam Elkins, who discussed the importance of these platforms.
“These kinds of festivals just really give filmmakers, particularly motorcycle filmmakers, the opportunity to tell a whole diverse range of stories from different cultures and backgrounds”, he said.
Getting the event off the ground was also a rewarding challenge. Rhett Maxwell the General Manager of Honda UAE said that he was thrilled to be part “of the beginnings” of what he expects to be a massive event in the future. “Stuff in Dubai starts small, but it never stays small”, he added.
Highlights of the film festival included screenings of ‘Fast Eddie’, the story of a World War II veteran who still rides every day, and ‘Rebel Riders’, a film showcasing extreme Vespa Scooter subculture in Indonesia.
Local filmmaker Michael Vosloo showcased ‘WhyWeRide’ – an uplifting short about women riders in the desert.
“I think for many people that haven’t ridden and mainly also for females, if they think that biking is not for them, this is the film to watch. It’s very short, quick to the point. It’s a lot of fun” he told Euronews.
The second edition of the festival hopes to build on this years’ success and has already been scheduled for February 2022.
The title for the longest motorcycle in the world belongs to an Indian who built one that measures 86 ft and 3 in (26.29m). Bharat Sinh Parmar holds the Guinness World Record since 2014. That didn’t sit well with the guys from Bikes and Beards, who decided to bring that record to the United States, using a vintage Japanese bike.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Bikes and Beards is the YouTube channel of SRK Cycles, a bike dealer based in Pennsylvania. This isn’t their first unusual vlog, as the whole purpose of the channel is to redefine the way you use a motorcycle and push the boundaries of human creativity. In case you haven’t slept well at night wondering if you can run a motorcycle underwater for 10 minutes, do browse their channel and you’ll find out.
The common approach for others who’ve tried to build a long motorcycle has been to place the engine and the drive train on the front, then add a long swingarm and then the wheel in the back. But there’s a simpler way to do things, which is to build two square tubes at both ends of the bike and have them welded on the motorcycle. The long frame would then get connected to those tubes.
The guys’ bike, a 1980 Honda CB750 Custom motorcycle, ended up measuring 108 ft, which was a success, not to mention the fact that everything was accomplished within one week.
In order to break the record, the motorcycle had to prove it can actually handle itself on the road, taking turns and everything. Bharat Sinh Parmar had to ride his for 308 ft (93.8 m) without putting his feet down, to break the previous record. But the Bikes and Beards guys took their stretched bike for a 1,058 ft (322 m) ride, crushing the Indian’s record.
MILAN (Reuters) – Italian scooter maker Piaggio said on Monday it had set up a consortium with Honda Motor Co., KTM AG and Yamaha Motor Co. to encourage the use of swappable batteries for electric motorcycles and light electric vehicles.
The Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) aims to broaden the use of light electric vehicles, such as scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, and support a more sustainable management of their batteries, a joint statement said.
It will focus on issues such as battery life, recharging times, infrastructure and costs and will work on defining international standard technical specifications for swappable batteries.
The companies in the consortium said they welcomed others joining them to extend standards to as many companies as possible.
“Urban mobility is going through a delicate transition moment towards electrification. Thanks to this consortium, motorbikes will keep their key role,” Piaggio Chief of Strategy and Product Michele Colaninno said.
Honda’s Motorcycle Operations Chief Officer Yoshishige Nomura said the consortium’s objectives aimed to make electric motorbikes more convenient for clients, as their “use on large scale can substantially contribute to the creation of a more sustainable society”.
Piaggio Group owns iconic two-wheeler brands such as Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, among others.
It begins with the story of the legendary Suzuki Hayabusa. When that beast launched back in 1999, it triggered a hurricane of anxiety among various manufacturers – and it all came down to the top speed of the bike – a stunning 194 mph.
The Hayabusa represented a quantum leap in speed and made it the fastest motorcycle you could buy and ride on the streets. In fact, it took the title away from the already insanely fast Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, and it did it by a startling 14 mph.
In answer, Kawasaki announced the creation of the Ninja ZX-12R, and it promised a top speed of more than 200 blistering miles per hour. That announcement led regulators to consider tamping down the lust for speed among manufacturers, and it also led to what’s come to be known as The Gentleman’s Agreement among the top motorcycle manufacturers across the globe.
As the story goes, the “agreement” called on manufacturers to set the upper limit on motorcycle speed at 200 mph. Since then, that agreement has been violated to varying degrees, and here are some of the motorcycles that flirt with – and exceed – the barrier posited by The Gentlemen’s Agreement.
The Yamaha YZF-R1M, which purports to achieve a top end of 185.7 mph, has itself become legendary for its on and off-track precision and power. The R1 line and the street legal R1 models achieve their punch following a power-and-less-bulk formula.
Offering lightweight carbon-fiber construction and powered by an explosive 998cc, liquid-cooled “cross-plane” inline-four, the R1 creates 200 hp and offers 89.2 lb-ft torque. When that kind of juice moves through its 6-Speed manual, the R1M does 0-60 mph in a snot-loosening 2.3 seconds. One of these beasts will set you back just over $26,000 USD.
Next up on this rogues gallery is the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. This KTM is a naked hypersport bit of lunacy that packs a 1301 cc, 75-degree V-twin motor into a novel frame. The 1290 Super Duke R wacks the limits of physics to the tune of 180 hp and cranks out 103 lb-ft of torque.
At a svelte 462 lbs. dry weight., the Super Duke R covers 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds and is limited to 186 mph. If you must have one, this KTM will set you back right around $18,000 USD.
The Hayabusa is back, and the 3rd Generation variant uses the same 1340cc inline-four motor to produce a healthy 188 hp and 110 ft-lbs of torque and covers 0-60 mph in a serviceable 3.2 seconds.
While it’s now restricted to 186 mph top speed, it does its progenitors proud. It will be priced at just north of $22,000 USD.
The BMW S1000RR represented a huge technological leap for the time, and when it launched in 2009, it was packed to the brim with electronics and rider-assist features unheard of even for the sophisticated ‘ultra bikes’ of the time.
The latest iteration, the 2021 BMW S1000RR is powered by a water/oil-cooled inline-4 motor that generates a stunning 205 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque.
In ‘Race Pro Mode’ it covers 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds and is capable of reaching a top speed of 192 mph. All that performance does not come cheap and the sticker price is expected to come in around $30,000.
An Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory is a sublime example of Italian design and engineering and an amazing achievement when you consider the fact that the has only been in the game since the end of the Second World War. Aprilia is dedicated to motorcycle sports and they use the competitive anvil to forge their lightning-fast and supple machines.
The RSV4 1100 Factory is powered by a 1099cc V4 engine which turns out 217 hp and 90 lb-ft of torque. And perhaps most critically, it weighs just 390 lbs and that finely-balanced power-to-weight ratio means it can do 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds and achieve a reported top speed of 198.8 mph. The Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory sports an MSRP of $25,999.
Known for the subtlety and innovative character of their designs, Ducati remains iconic for their blend of finish, style and pure power. The Panigale V4R combines carbon fiber and their signature desmodromic engine, Desmosedici Stradale R 998 cc Inline-4, produces 221hp straight out of the factory and you can ramp that power up to 234 hp with the addition of an Akrapovic full-racing exhaust.
The Desmosedici Stradale motor puts out 92 lb-ft of torque and travels from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds before ultimately achieving a top speed of 199 mph. You can be the proud owner of a 2021 Ducati Panigale V4R for just under $23,000.
As we near the top of this list, we find a pair of Kawasakis perched near the pinnacle. The ZH2 and the Ninja H2 are both said to be capable of 200+ mph, and these novel supercharger-boosted motorcycles feature 998cc inline-4 motors that crank out 200 hp and 101 lb-ft of torque.
The ZH2 with the ability to cover 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds and reach a top speed of more than 200 mph also represents a devil’s bargain of sorts. For 2021, Kawasaki ZH2 is priced at just over $17,500.
The lunatic Kawasaki Ninja H2R – with a stated top speed of 248 mph, is a track-only machine and therefore not allowed on our list. The H2R does hold the record holder for top end speed as it reached a snot-loosening 250 mph in just 26 seconds. For 2021, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is priced at $29,500.
But the bike at the top of the list of mad-dog bikes you can ride on the street belongs to the Lightning LS-218.
Electric motorcycles are clearly the future, and the neck snapping torque offered up by an electric motor is surely attractive to wild fools in search of speed at all costs.
The Lightning LS-218 is powered by a 380V electric powerplant coupled to any of three battery packs: 12, 15, or 20 kWh. At its top tuning settings, this nearly silent monster churns out 200 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque and can reach a top speed of 218 mph.
Coupled with a demented 0-60 mph time of just 2.2 seconds, it takes the top slot when it comes to streetworthy guts. The 2021 Lightning LS-218 comes in at around $39,000 USD out the door.
Of course, most of these figures are reported by the manufacturers and results may vary according to conditions and tuning…
When a motorcycle model stays popular over the decades, it’s not a good idea to mess with it too much. Honda knows what makes the Africa Twin and Africa Twin Adventure Sports such crowd-pleasers, so it makes sure to only introduce enough upgrades to improve what’s lacking and give the bikes a fresh look.
Honda introduced the XRV650 Africa Twin in Europe more than three decades ago. What we now know as the Africa Twin is actually a “brand-new motorcycle from the wheels up,” which was launched in 2016, keeping the original version’s popular characteristics. According to Honda, this athletic-looking bike, with a comfortable chassis, proved to be a versatile riding option, from daily commutes to weekend adventures.
In 2018, the manual transmission and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) versions of the Africa Twin were upgraded with a Throttle by Wire (TBW) control and three riding modes, extended torque control options, and benefited from improved engine response and sound. That same year, the Africa Twin Adventure Sports for off-road riding was introduced, with features such as greater range, longer-travel suspension, and upgraded wind protection.
At the beginning of this year, the CRF1100L Africa Twin was “comprehensively redrawn” for a more aggressive, compact look, while the CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports benefited from enhanced technology, including the Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment option.
For 2022, the Africa Twin is equipped with an aluminum rear carrier as standard, while the Adventure Sports model features a new 5-stage adjustable screen that is 4.3” (110 mm) lower, for improved visibility, without decreasing weather protection. Also, both DCT versions feature new settings that are meant to make handling in the first two gears even smoother.
In terms of looks, both models are updated with vibrant graphics. The 2022 Africa Twin boasts black aluminum side covers with a red rear subframe and ‘Big Logo’ graphics. The 2022 Africa Twin Adventure Sports is equally striking, with ‘Cracked Terrain’ graphics.
My fears of there being ice over the pass were unfounded and the road was dry. It was the stop at Tarras that provide us with chilly clues. I got talking to a lady who drove from Tekapo in the morning. She told us that the first club group ran into dense hoar frost and thick fog all the way from Tekapo to the Ohau turnoff. The guys who left 20 minutes later missed most of it.