I know the title sounds like a troll post but here me out. First, watch this video:
In this famous ad last year in preparation for the launch of the new Cub it featured ordinary people using it. Businessmen going to work, delivery men delivering things, farmers, fishermen, ladies shuttling things from gardens, kids going to school, etc.
Years ago when I wanted to buy a bike that was EXACTLY how I pictured myself. I did not want anything fancy, hi tech, speedy or macho. I pictured myself as the guy going to work around the city in my nice simple bike. The people in that video is the person I want to be. A simple guy with simple needs on my simple bike that I intend to own and use for the rest of my life. The fact it was crazy simple to fix, cheap and reliable factored in greatly to this picture.
Now take a look at this thing and tell me if it fits that lifestyle:
Is it beautiful and stylish? Yeah sure. Is it full of modern amenities that make it reliable and safe? No doubt. Would I enjoy riding one? Most likely.
But is it still the same bike for the ordinary guy I described above? Hell no.
First of all it is complicated. It now has ABS, a fancy smart key function that lets you turn it on from afar and the seat opens via an electric motor.
None of those people in that video would want those because it’s too complicated and potentially expensive if it gets broken, with special mention to the seat. We do not want anything superfluous or excessive in our bike. We intend to use this thing for the rest of our lives, right? Why then would you risk breaking high tech stuff or attracting thieves if you could get by with the simple and time – tested drums or disks, a normal key and a seat you can lift up WITH YOUR HAND.
And finally here are the prices, from a recent post by a Manila dealer:
- HONDA Super Cub C125 ₱280,000
- Super Cub 110- ₱190,000
- Super Cub 110 (60th anniversary)- ₱195,000
It doesn’t make sense from any standpoint. From a regular bike lover’s perspective 280k is Royal Enfield, KTM or higher end Honda / Yamaha territory, somewhere in the mid to just below high end of a modern 250~400cc bike. For that kind of money I can buy several 1970 Cubs and restore them to better than new condition.
Clearly Honda is pricing this to match the modern Vespas and Lambrettas which are priced in the P125k ~ P185k for a 125 or 150cc.
And that’s where the wheels really fall of Honda’s sales proposition because to me those brands are rich boys toys’ territory, the exact and complete opposite of the simple, innocuous working man going about his business image in my head. Vespas may have been popular to the ordinary Italian back in the 60’s, but today mostly rich people buy them usually for display because even fewer use them.
Am I condemning this bike then? Not necessarily. Honda doesn’t say it’s for the ordinary man anymore so it isn’t lying in its ads. They’re saying they’ve brought the Cub to the modern age and that’s probably true.
Let’s put it this way. Bikes are either tools or toys.
Is the new one relevant to the spirit of the older Cubs? That of a simple, reliable and cheap tool which are the reasons why I love it so much? Well, no, and that’s ok with them because they’re targeting richer people who want toys.
And that’s why I don’t like it. Maybe if I become super rich I’ll buy a bike to keep in my garage and hardly use I would, but not today. And frankly I hope not ever.