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Honda C90 Scooter Motorbike Review

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Honda C90
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

The ‘updated’ version of Honda’s bum-basic commuter only needed a few upgrades over the original 1960’s design – CDI ignition is the main benefit, reducing maintenance. Otherwise, it’s still the crude but charming plod-along it always was – only emissions killed it off in the EU, variants of the Cub are still on sale in Asia.


MCN rating rating is 1
Owners' rating rating is 5

The C90 is slow. Breaching a real 50mph is good going, and the semi-automatic three-speed gearbox’s high ratios are good for fuel consumption, not acceleration. But it does what it needs to – gets from A to B simply, cheaply and reliably. The heel-and-toe clutchless gear change is easy for a complete novice to understand, and doesn’t mark your shoes either.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 1
Owners' rating rating is 3

Again, the C90 Cub’s chassis isn’t built for speed – all it does is connect the wheels, engine and rider. The leading link forks rise under braking, and even with the standard drum brake the unloading of the front wheel can lead to a crash on slippy surfaces. But treat it as a commuter rather than a sports bike, and it’ll comfortably carry you about town – the suspension and full-size wheels give a much more comfortable ride than a scooter. 


MCN rating rating is 1
Owners' rating rating is 2

There is very little too a C90 – leg shields, a fuel gauge and a decent seat are the extent of the luxuries, but then it is built to do a simple job on the cheap. Owners often add screens, top boxes and boards for the taxi driver’s ‘Knowledge’ – if you want any of these, it shouldn’t be a problem finding the spec you want.

Honda C90 Cub (1985-2002)

Detail Value
New price £1,699
Used price range View Honda C90 bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 85 cc
Power 8 bhp
Top speed 50 mph
Insurance group 2 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 5
Engine rating is 1 rating is 5
Ride & Handling rating is 1 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 1 rating is 2
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 5
Value rating is 4 rating is 5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 5

The C90’s build is simple – a handful of tools will cover most maintenance tasks, though the robust nature means little repair is needed. The pressed steel chassis is prone to rust on old, neglected or high miles bikes around the rear wheel arch – check it hasn’t got near the rear suspension mounts. The swingarm is susceptible to rust too, the header pipe rots and the wheels can give out – all of which are easily inspected, preventable or curable, so you can afford to be choosy when buying. The engine should need little more than faithful oil changes (it can easily burn through the tiny capacity) and valve clearance checks.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

In the current harsh economy, the C90 will win a lot of friends. They cost little to buy, insure, fill with fuel, service or repair – there’s no reason a C90 will ever leave you out of pocket, and as long as you accept it’s built for one purpose, you’ll be happy with it. A complete bike in any state rarely fetches less than £100 – you can really run them in to the ground and still sell them on. Find a Honda C90 for sale.


Insurance group: 2 of 17

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Model History

1984: New model. Cub has new engine, chassis and styling compared to earlier C90s. Unchanged throughout model life.

Other Versions

Honda C90 Cub E/S: Introduced in 1985, the E/S is identical except for an electric start. There’s no real advantage to having it – the kick start is easy to use, so only the truly weak should seek one out. Performance suffers slightly because of the need for a bigger flywheel to charge the larger battery (which is more crucial to keep charged – a standard bike doesn’t really need a battery to run.


Top speed 50 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 8 bhp
Max torque 3.5 ft-lb
Weight 82 kg
Seat height 760 mm
Fuel capacity 4 litres
Average fuel consumption 100 mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 2 of 17
Engine size 85 cc
Engine specification 2v ohc air-cooled horizontal single, 3 semi-auto gears
Frame Pressed steel spine
Front suspension adjustment none
Rear suspension adjustment none
Front brakes Single drum
Rear brake Single drum
Front tyre size 2.25-17
Rear tyre size 2.50-17

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25996 miles



1860 miles



3320 miles



1500 miles





Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(1 review)

  • My Honda C90


    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    First of all I have to agree with part of the review given on the C90. It is very basic, the suspension and breaking are bad and it is slow. But wasn't that the point all along? I owned by C90 for 13 months and rode it to work every day. My total expenditure for that time was £15 on one oil change. Nothing else. Petrol was about £3 for 10 days of riding. I reckon I was getting near 130mpg out of it. For the money you pay for a C90, you can't expect much and yet you get so much in terms of reliability. I left my C90 standing for more than a month when I upgraded to a CB500 and it started with no problems by using the kickstart. My only complaints were the front suspension and the front drum brake. Also, it always felt that it could have done with a fourth gear. Then again, that would be the Honda Innova. All in all it was an excellent bike which I will buy again the moment I have my own garage to put it in. Peace of mind was the greatest thing this bike had to offer.

    09 October 2009


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