There’s definitely a stigma to motorcycle riders being bad boys, but in the 50’s, those were pretty much the ONLY people who rode bikes. Motorbikes were looked down on by the average joe, and Hollywood only reinforced the stereotype with classics like The Wild One and Easy Rider. But Honda didn’t want to sell to the outlaws and thugs. They wanted to make a bike that not only everyone could ride, but would want to ride. They came up with the Super Cub.
Honda looked at everything wrong with bikes at the time and addressed them in the Super Cub. Motorcycles are too big. The Super cub was tiny, even a kid could ride. They’re intimidating. The Cub was cute. No roughneck would ride a bike like that. With a 50cc engine, you weren’t breaking any land speed records, but that didn’t matter.They got 200+ MPG, they were fun, they were affordable, and they were indestructible.
To top it all off, they paired it with an amazing advertising campaign: You meet the nicest people on a Honda. Simple and brilliant. Nice people ride Hondas. Myths dispelled, hearts warmed, and wallets opened. To this day, the Super Cub is the number one bike in the world. Occasionally I’ll see one of these here in L.A., but in China, I’d see hundreds of Super Cubs a day. Thailand could easily have a million. Now, 50 years later, Honda wants to do it again with the E.V. Super Cub, and I have a feeling they can pull it off. If Honda can dispel all the negative thoughts about traditional electric vehicles, they may just have another instant classic on their hands.
One reply on “Honda reinvents the bike that invented them”
I love the bike and the poster, so retro.