Friday, September 7, 2007

The Most Popular Motorcycle In History?

One of my earliest motorcycle memories is the day, when I was perhaps 8 or 10, when a friend's father brought home a brand-new Honda 50 and gave all the neighborhood kids a ride around the block. No helmets, of course; those were innocent days. I think we were required to get parental approval, but I don't think anyone was told they couldn't go.

That was around 1964, and the Cub had already been in production for 6 years. It's still in production 43 years later, and Honda recently celebrated the production of the 50,000,000th Cub. (Actually, the current bike is the Super Cub but the lineage goes right back to the original 50cc Cub).

The Cub isn't just the most popular motorcycle/scooter in history, it's also the pickup truck of the third world. It's to Asia what the F-150 Pickup is to the US. Do a Google search for "Honda Cub" and you'll see hundreds of photos of people carrying chickens, tires, pigs, and whole families on a Cub. It's cheap, the automatic clutch makes it super easy to ride, it's stingy with gas, and as close to indestructible as a vehicle can be.

Curiously, although it's sold all over the world, the one place you can't find it is North America. That's a pity, as there's certainly enough demand; original used Cubs command premium prices. At a price of around $1,400, which is what it sells for in most of the world, I'd think Honda could sell enough here to make it worth their while.

More info can be found here:

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