Thursday, February 19, 2009

Review - Super Cubs I've Known and Loved...

In order to re-constitute the blog, I'll make an entry today that summarizes the Super Cubs I've owned in the past - some of which I've restored and/or customized.

How did I get interested in Super Cubs in the first place? I can still remember the day, back sometime in the mid-1960's when as a 3rd or 4th grader I first caught sight of a Super Cub. A bunch of us were waiting for the school bus one morning as usual, and as it happened, the bus didn't show up that day (this was not so unusual in my home town in those years - today it would probably result in a lawsuit). As we started to drift away back to our homes, one little girl's dad rode up to the bus stop on this really unusual motor bike, stopped and said to her, "hop on", and off they went!

I was impressed by that handsome, quiet, and dignified machine - so attractive and elegant! Very much unlike the Harleys and Indians that thundered through town occasionally, typically in packs; straddled by burly dudes with beards and tatoos, frightening little kids and old ladies and looking as if they enjoyed it.

I was always hoping for the bus not to show up again so that maybe he'd come by the bus stop. I don't remember it happening again, but I did see him drop her off at school once or twice when she had missed the bus. Boy, did I envy that kid!

Years later, when my son suddenly announced he was going to buy a motorcycle, I decided to go with him to the training course (it was the only way I could get him to agree to it - being 19, he was convinced he didn't need any "training"). Afterward, I thought getting a small-displacement bike to ride around the neighborhood, and of course that little Honda from long ago came to mind. I looked it up on the Honda website and found it's name - "Super Cub". A quick search on Ebay turned up multiple Cubs for sale.

First I bought a 1981 C70 Passport (still a Super Cub, just a different model name), then a 1982 C70, then a 1969 CM91. By this time my wife was getting concerned. I sold two of the bikes and kept the '82, and had a great time re-styling it to look more like the original Cub of the early '60's. Then, due to some sudden financial pressure in 2008, I sold it as well.
Our finances improved, thankfully, and now I have two Cubs - a '70 C70M, and a '65 C100. Both are in need of restoration, so that will be my weekend hobby for the next several months.
Sometime this year I'm going to purchase a new, 2009 SYM "Symba". This is a Super Cub made by a company in Taiwan that used to make them under license from Honda for the Taiwan domestic market. The quality of the Symba is even better than the original Honda, and SYM has updated it in some key areas (suspension, engine, transmission, etc...) that make it probably the best, most advanced Cub ever. If you're interested, check out my other blog dedicated to the Symba: http://www.teamsymba.com/.

OK, here's my first Cub:

This is an '81 C70. It was mechanically sound, and all I did was to clean it up and style it a bit to look like the bike in the "Look of Love" Youtube video. It was a lot of fun, though.




My 2nd bike was a '69 CM91. The photo above is not the actual bike I bought off Ebay - I owned it for so short a time I didn't get a picture taken. It was in fair shape - not nearly as nice as the museum sample above. Right after I won the auction I saw an '82 model that I really preferred as a project at that time. So, I sold the CM91 only a few days after I got it (for the same price) to a fellow Cub-lover who had lost out to me on the original Ebay auction.



This baby was my first real restoration project. I did all I could to re-style this '82 to look more like a '60's Cub: had a custom seat cover made, replaced the stock muffler with one that looked more retro, changed the front turn signals, the emblems on the front fork and on each side of the gas tank, put on a new chain guard, and added a center stand. In addition I installed new: cables, tires, chain, sprockets, kick start lever, shift lever, hand grips, and (as a final touch) added a rear hard-case.


3 comments:

  1. OMG my heart hurts when I see that yellow '81 Passport....I owned an identical one back in '88. I got it from my father who was supposed to carry it in the back of his motorhome but didn't because he said it was underpowered for two persons. He got it from a friend who used it a bit on campgrounds and it was still like new ! I did the mistake of trading it at a Honda dealer on a Honda lawnmower ! He figured $300.00 for it...It was in showroom condition and had around 400 miles !!!! Sorry I'm still crying....But if only the canadian importer will bring that Symba....

    Michel - Levis, Quebec, Canada

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  2. He he ! I found a 1980 yellow Passport for sale this past week end with 9000 km on it and I made an offer ! Pretty decent bike, with some buffing and waxing it will do a pretty decent commuter and it will give my Kawa ZZR600 a break ! Thanks for giving me the push I needed to get another one of these !

    Michel - Levis, Quebec, Canada

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  3. Hello! Great pictures and detail. I love the basket on the '82. I've never seen one like it. Is it original? Where could I pick one up?

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