HONDA SUPER CUB C125 (2019 - 2021) Review
- Easy-to-ride, retrotastic commuter
- Inspired by biggest-selling two wheeler
- More stylish (and cheaper) than the bus
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£110|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Honda Super Cub is as instantly recognisable to non-riding folk as a Harley-Davidson. Once upon a time there was a C50, C70 or C90 outside every house, shop and factory in the land. Affordable, super-cheap to run, staggeringly reliable and ridden on a car licence, from the 1960s to the 80s, the Cub was the bike that dad went to work on – because only well-to-do households could afford two cars.
- Related: Honda C90 bike review
- Related: Honda Hunter Cub not coming to UK
- Related: Best 125 motorbikes
When they’d been passed through several bob-to-work owners these brilliant bikes ended up thrashed around fields, with skiving nippers getting a day’s entertainment for 50 pence of fuel. For many people their first taste of a two-wheeler was caning a beat-up Honda (mine was a C90 with deafening home-made exhaust, XL185 rear shocks and old tights stretched over the carb inlet).
The charming Honda Super Cub 125 is a digitally remastered version of the much-loved classic, fit for the 21st century (and despite the original having carried on in production, its late 2018 launch marked the first time a Cub had been imported to the UK for years). Visually it’s modelled on the very first 49cc C100 Super Cub from 1958; it’s great to look at, fine quality and very well detailed, though might strike more of a chord with UK buyers if it looked like the versions we all remember from the 1970s.
At 125cc it has the largest engine of any Cub and a four-speed ’box instead of the old three-speed affair. Wheels are cast, the dash is digital, and it’s a keyless ride too. The trademark leg shields are present of course, though the C125 isn’t as practical as modern scooters – there’s no underseat storage and no room for a pillion. It’s also quite pricey, and there are plenty of faster 125s as well.
Despite these shortcomings it’s hard not to fall for the Honda’s character, economy, ease of use and assured reliability. Short hop commuting and urban transport doesn’t get much cooler.
In 2019 the Honda Super Cub C125 won Best Scooter in the MCN awards. There's a thriving scene for this bike online, so once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may consider joining one such as the Official C90.co.uk Club on Facebook.
.@HondaUKBikes Super Cub isn’t as practical as their own, and considerably cheaper, SH125 scooter. There’s no underseat storage, nor is it as fun as their recently launched Monkey bike, with which it shares the same engine – but we still love it. #Watch our mini review here: pic.twitter.com/Jj5XGeHsIk— Motor Cycle News (@MCNnews) February 1, 2019
During 2021 the Honda Super Cub C125 fell victim to ever-tightening emissions regulations, with the firm confirming it won't conform to the new Euro5 standard. Subsequently it's not longer possible to buy a new one.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Old-school Cubs featured leading-link front suspension, where the front end would rise under braking. The internal bushes would squeak amusingly too. The C125 uses conventional telescopic forks, meaning greater reassurance and confidence (and conventional feel) when braking in tricky conditions. There’s ABS as well but only on the front wheel, so you can still do field bike-style skids.
Suspension is typical basic commuter, though with a lot better control and ride quality than Cubs of yore. The C125 is also a lot heavier than the C50/70/90 used to be, so feels more secure – and the 17in wheels mean it’s a tad less nervous than small-wheel scooters. At a little over 100kg it’s clearly not heavy though, and with slender tyres (70/90-17 front, 80/90-17 rear) it can be tossed about effortlessly. Plenty of feel and grip for a scootery-step-thru-moped thing as well.
Having a new-fangled front disc brake might grate with Cub traditionalists, but it’s essential to provide decent stopping ability. If you’d tried the appalling drum on my 1973 Honda C50 then you’d understand the need.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Honda’s horizontal four-stroke single can still trace its roots right back to the 1950s. The Super Cub’s air-cooled, two-valve, 125cc unit is shared with the MSX125 and Monkey Bike, and politely putt-putts out around 10bhp (with an exhaust note pleasingly reminiscent of the old Cubs).
- Related: History of the Honda MSX125
This means the Honda Super Cub C125 isn’t desperately brisk. 55mph is a comfortable cruise, topping out at around 65mph, and pace evaporates on long inclines. There’s enough performance to fit with modern traffic though, and it’s in keeping with the feel and character of the model.
Economy is excellent: it might be some way off Honda’s claimed 188mpg but ridden briskly the Super Cub returns 124mpg. The tiny 3.7-litre fuel tank means a range of just 99 miles (fuel light on by 80), but that’s hardly an issue for commuting capers. And it’ll do more – dawdle around town and economy easily gets above 140mpg.
Earlier Cubs had various nicknames over the years, including 'plastic pig', 'crunchy' and 'slammer'. The latter two were thanks to Honda’s gearbox with centrifugal clutch – you just prodded it into gear at standstill, opened the throttle, and then stamped up and down the ratios. The system is still used on the C125 though there’s now a giddy four gears to mash through.
The rocker-style gearchange has a sequential pattern: tap down with your toe for first, again for second and so on, and go back through the 'box using your heel on the other end of the lever. Or keep tapping forward and the Super Cub’s gearbox will go first, second, third, fourth, neutral, back to first… Oh, and it has the benefit of an enclosed final drive, like on original Cubs.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
It’s a pleasing thing. Honda’s fit and finish are very good, paint is deep and glossy, and the Super Cub’s detailing convincingly captures the spirit of the originals. Things like the silhouette, rear shock mounts, swingarm and leg shields are great touches.
The four-stroke single is renowned for longevity, so you shouldn’t get any reliability issues. Ever. Brake banjos go furry in all-year use and some of the plastic chrome parts don’t feel like they’ll last forever, but this is nit-picking.
Our Honda Super Cub C125 owners' reviews show a mixed bag of results, from those who adore their bike to those who wish it wasn't built down to such a bargain-basement price.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The C125 is nicely made, efficient and fun, though at £3449 new it was £400 more than Honda’s own best-selling PCX125 scooter. The Super Cub has less practicality than either the PCX or the similarly priced SH125i, and it doesn’t have their rev 'n' rip ease either.
Thing is, the C125 has oodles more charm and at-the-bars pleasure than any of these. If you’re buying a bike to use every day, regardless of conditions, then it’s got to make you want to ride it – and this is where the Honda Super Cub scores. Far more pleasurable for sunny evening trundles for half a best at the Slug & Lettuce, too.
Honda are also pushing their PCP offer on this bike, with a monthly payment of £75 and 0.0% APR payable if you put down a deposit of £169.83 and sign up for 25 months and 4000 miles per year. Honda also offers fixed-price service plans for that added bit of financial transparency.
Keyless ride, LED lights, alarm, immobiliser and classy display? Check and check again. However, the C125 falls short of scooter rivals by not offering passenger accommodation or underseat storage. Even the neat rear rack is an official accessory. You've got a choice of two colours - red or blue - and neither costs any extra.
As with all new Hondas, the C125 Super Cub comes with a free Datatool tracker as standard.
There are oodles of aftermarket options to increase the C125’s flexibility, from screen to top-box and even Harley Street Glide-style panniers. They obviously all add to the outlay, though.
|Engine type||Air-cooled 2v single|
|Frame type||Back bone steel pipe|
|Fuel capacity||3.7 litres|
|Front suspension||27mm conventional forks, non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Twin shocks, non-adjustable|
|Front brake||220mm two-piston caliper|
|Rear brake||130mm rear drum|
|Front tyre size||70/90 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||80/90 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||188 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£20|
|Annual service cost||£110|
5 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||10 bhp|
|Max torque||7.7 ft-lb|
|Top speed||65 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
- 1958: Inspired by the popularity of mopeds and scooters in Europe, Honda introduce the C100 Super Cub: a 49cc four-stroke step-thru’ with built-in leg shields and highly practical enclosed final drive. It lives on through many variants and has become the most popular two-wheeler of all time – they’ve made more than 100 million. See our Honda C90 review for a detailed model history of the UK’s favourite version.
- 2019: Honda reintroduce the Cub to the UK with the C125. Styled like the 1958 original but brought right up to date.
- 2021: Tightening emissions standard mean Super Cub 125 is taken off sale.
There’s only this one, although the engine is also used in the MSX125 and Monkey Bike.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA SUPER CUB C125 (2019 - 2021)
4 owners have reviewed their HONDA SUPER CUB C125 (2019 - 2021) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£110|
Annual servicing cost: £120
The bike is fun to ride and gets admiring glances all the time. The storage space is non existent but presumably people know that before they buy the bike. Once run in the engine is brisk up to 40mph, but again I was expecting that. What I wasn't expecting was how involving it was to ride. You can when changing down actually blip the throttle once the foot lever begins to move it starts clutch disengagement and the gear snicks in without any snatch, which makes gear changes so smooth, I use it to commute and to do odd trips to town and it is perfect for that. I would not use it regularly on dual carriageways or motorways because it is at its limit at 60mph. The gear sequence is always down on the front pedal to go up the box Like a racing box so Neutral - pedal down to 1st down to 2nd down to 3rd down to 4th. To change into a lower gear is by using the back pedal but it has a great feature in that if you stop in 4th gear you can go down again into 1st and start again!
40 miles is no problem but I am five foot eight with a 30 inch inside leg and it is perfect for me. In commuting roles and busy traffic the bike is unbeatable I also find that moving the bike around is so easy I am 62 and have a K1300GT as my other bike and When I have t\o go somewhere in the city it is the keys to the Cub I reach for. Away from the lights up to 40mph it beats most cars away from the go. The brakes are perfectly adequate for the weight and performance of the bike. I am also astonished by the cornering capabilities I only have 5mm chicken strips on the tyre edge which is a real hoot.
The engine is quite smooth and has a nice easy beat. It is not powerful but the secret really is keeping momentum so plan well ahead and keep the power on, blip the throttle on downshifts (as soon as the pedal de-clutches) this makes gears changing a pleasure. 3rd gear is the gear you will spend a lot of time in until it is run in then it will hold 4th no problem at 30mph.
Superb quality, I don't believe the chrome plastics will last forever but it looks great. The paint is so deep and beautiful it really gleams. There is one point to note! if you intend to fit a battery optimiser then you may have to file a flat on the terminals of the charger (as I did) to make it fit that is because the battery terminals are tiny and the charger terminal diameter hits the bottom of the battery terminal so it wont sit flat, it took me a while to figure what was going on.
I got in the first week 135 mpg in the following month I got 145mpg after 450 miles I now get 172 mpg. That mpg is fill to fill so is absolutely accurate and I believe it will get to 180 mpg. The secret is keeping momentum and planning well in advance, I drive the bike quite hard and I think the secret is getting as fast as you can to the speed limit. The engine is so tight when new it needs running in firmly without going daft.
The keyless ignition is a great feature as is the alarm. I like the fully enclosed chain and adjusting it is easy. The tyres grip really well, I cannot comment on wear but I think it will be slight. The seat is comfortable and the reach to the bars is spot on.
Buying experience: Bought the bike over the phone from Hunts in Manchester the whole experience was spot on!
Great build quality and a very good finish. Ridden hardish it'll do 120 to a tank. But then you really do need to fill it up. The seat it the biggest bugbear. It is a little on the small side and slightly too far forwards. It's not uncomfortable as such as 120mls is doable in one hit. Should have been a dual seat.
Personally I think the brakes are spot on. Plenty of progressive power and feel from the front. The rear is a drum set up but works well. Compared to the original Cub these brakes are awesome. The handling is very stable and predictable, the rear suspension can crash a little over the larger potholes. It tracks well around bends and is easy and safe to hustle along on.
It's a little vibey through the foot pegs and more so the bars when higher up the rev range. I fitted a set of grip puppies and the problem has disappeared. Up until about 250mls the motor felt very tight and lacked any real torque. Headwinds and gradients were a bit of a trial. After the 250ml mark the engine seemed to free up a little and felt much better. It took to about 900mls before it was performing to its full potential. The overall performance isn't startling but is good enough. On the flat it'll cruise at 60mph full loaded with camping gear.
Overall the finish is really good. I've had mine 12months now. There is a bit of corrosion on the brake pipe unions but nothing to get upset about. It starts on the button every time. I'm happy with it
Purchase price is a little on the high side , but hey it's a new 125cc Cub (insert smiley face). It sips fuel but in all honesty another 1/2 ltr fuel capacity would have been nice.
I like the dash set up. The LED lights are a nice touch. The fuel injection works faultlessly. However it should have had a side stand as original equipment and a dual seat.
Buying experience: I had mine brand new from a dealer. It was a new, just out model, so I paid full up price. I knew I could have waited a few months and got one cheaper, but was happy to pay the money and enjoy the bike for what it is.
Too many bad things, I wont buy another in fact I am looking to get rid of it soon.
The ride quality is not bad but crashes a bit on potholes. Otherwise handles well. The brakes are very poor indeed. The back brake is useless with no bite at all and too slow to respond (totally useless). The front brake is not much better needs a strong grip to slow down and is very spongy.
The engine is very nippy but very vibey over 40mph, overall not very good as it is very tiring to ride at speeds over 40mph.
usual honda build quality
Easily does 140 mpg driven hard.
There is no storage at all, the digital dash board cant be seen at all in certain light conditions, the fuel tank is too small, seat is far too far forwards and you start slipping forwards when braking or going down a steep hill. I had the optional carrier fitted and a top box. I had to remove the top box after two rides as it affected the handling too much and the wind was blowing the back of the bike all over the place.
Buying experience: The bike seemed fine in the dealership, the problems showed up after running in period. I'm not looking to get rid of it in a hurry, there are just too many bad things (seat too far forwards, poor brakes, harsh engine, poor dash board, tiny fuel tank needs filling after 80 miles).
Annual servicing cost: £100
I bought for use on tarmac back lanes and it's superb for the purpose but also works well for me in town. Honda have sorted the transmission out and unlike the C90 it goes into first smoothly with no crunch and selects all gears up and down equally smoothly too. A lovely little machine that exudes quality and is a delight to ride. Cruises at 45 mph all day and can also execute a high speed cruise too, at 50! Acceleration is fine for the type of machine it is. Fuel gauge is very handy but the light comes on too early (better that than too late though). I'm currently averaging about 150mpg. A great companion for my larger machines and just about the best fun you can have on two wheels in my opinion. Also helps avoid the plebs who think that only their type of machine is a real bike and that everything else is rubbish, this machine bridges gaps like few other motorcycles can. The gearbox provides an engagement with the machine that twist-n-go cannot. Has rare 'character' and comes highly recommended if you don't have an ego problem and want to enjoy the simple and basic pleasures of motorcycling.
Ride is a little harsh but not unbearably so. Brakes excellent, front disc works well, not managed to encourage the ABS along just yet but overall the machine inspires great confidence and on back lanes its lightness makes it much easier to handle there than my larger machines. Taken in context the handling is exactly where it should be: light, predictable and rewarding.
Gear indicator is clear, fuel gauge is handy, speedo easy to read, trip meters easy to use: simple! Hinged seat is easy to use and the optional rack is very handy. Fuel filling is easy even though it is an infrequent occurrence. Leg shields work quite well and I am 6 feet tall. Enclosed chain is a great thing. In order to study things other than the anatomy of the elbow I did need to fit mirror extensions, something which potential owners may wish to reflect on.