One of the great pleasures of working with vintage bikes is getting to see firsthand how designs have evolved over the years and this is never truer than when discussing the Honda Supercub. Since it is the world’s best-selling bike and its shape is so iconic, it is easy to forget that it didn’t come out of Hamamatsu in quite the form it takes today. In fact, after the first run of Cubs, there were complaints from customers, resolved by everybody in the company working day and night and sales reps visiting the customers in person. Japanese work ethic and customer service helping to bring us this legendary machine.
The earliest Supercubs were the C100s, first produced in 1958. While the basic outline is the same as more recent Cubs, on closer inspection there are some significant differences. The handlebar structure is different and about 7cm narrower than the later Cubs. It has a tiny little headlight and protruding “tsuno” (horns) indicators; the muffler is flat rather than round; the handlebars are an early version of the kamome (seagull) shape, later revisited on Deluxe models, albeit on a larger scale; the leg covers are different and the bike itself is smaller all over than its descendants.
This is a truly remarkable piece of motorcycle history. Honda hit the 100 million mark in production of Supercubs this year but very few of the original C100’s still exist, complete and in original condition. Ours has the leg covers and original paint and although it has the kind of patina one would expect with age, it is in remarkable condition overall.
This C100 is a real treasure. Like any treasure, it is not easy to find and even harder to replace. If you appreciate motorcycle history, this is a rare opportunity.