Sardinia’s MAAN builds one burly Super Cub for Honda Motor Europe!
The Honda Super Cub C125 is the remastered version of a beloved classic, modeled after the very first 49cc C100 Super Cub of 1958, which was featured in Honda’s famous “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” ads — a campaign that would change the public’s perceptions of motorcycling.
The 21st-century Super Cub C125, introduced in 2019, features the same 125cc air-cooled two-valve four-stroke horizontal single as the popular Honda Grom and Monkey bike. While the Super Cub won the 2019 MCN Award for Best Scooter, Honda actually classifies it as a miniMOTO:
“First, Honda wants to make 100 percent clear that this is not a scooter. The Super Cub is listed under their “miniMOTO” sub category of standard street motorcycles (along with the Grom and Monkey), and the Super Cub is a step-through variation of the miniMOTO. What’s the difference? Motorcycles require shifting a manual or semi-automatic transmission, while scooters are all automatic.” —Revzilla
The Super Cub has four gears with a heel-toe shifter, no clutch lever, and you can actually blip the throttle on downshifts — much more engaging (and fun) than most scooters! Up until recently, all versions were single-seaters.
Recently, Honda Motor Europe Ltd Italia reached out directly to one of our favorite workshops, MAAN (Motocicli Audaci — Audacious Motorcycles) of Sardinia, commissioning a fun, two-seat custom prototype:
“We had carte blanche from Honda for the realization, with the only exception of the two-seater: it was a great stamp of confidence from the winged house.” –Nicola Manca, MAAN
Indeed! Not surprisingly, MAAN team members Nicola Manca (@miciogattillo), Matteo “Moor” Murgia (@m.o.o.r.72 ), and Stefano “Wolf” Minerba (@treperdieciallottava_ms) decided to give their Super Cub an off-road / enduro flavor. After all, Nicola co-founded Dust ‘n Sardinia, an annual three-day trek across 300+ miles of southern Sardinia, completely off-road, which raises money for select charities each year, and the workship got their start building scrambler / enduro bikes to participate in the event.
For this build, they kept the frame and engine intact, utilizing CAD and 3D-printing to produce elements that utilize the OEM attachment points — such as the new carbon and composite side panels, which house the high-mount exhaust. The tail is inspired by the Porsche RS ducktails of yesteryear, and the front end is an homage to the glory days of enduro, featuring a disc brake cover and single-piece “vinduro”-style headlight / number plate.
“The paintwork and pinstriping are also inspired by the old Porsches. We wanted to create a vehicle that was aesthetically appealing, with a sporty feel, but also capable of standing out at the opening night of an opera, in a mix of elegance, fine materials, and aggression.”
Honda absolutely loved this two-seat scoot. Appropriately, the “SuperCub X” will now be exhibited at the ISDE (International Six Days of Enduro) and then will participate in the 2021 Dust’n Sardinia. Given the bike’s reception, the MAAN crewis already working on a second prototype.
SuperCub X: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Nicola Manca, but there’s probably no need for me to introduce myself again, as I’ve already appeared on BikeBound with several builds.
With me, in the SuperCub X realization team, as always Matteo “Moor” Murgia, who takes care of the design, graphics, saddles, and paint aspects of all the works of MAAN — Motocicli Audaci — as Art Director. And Stefano “Wolf” Minerba, who supported us for the detailing and electrical part.
MAAN Motocicli Audaci is a customization atelier that, for this build, received an order directly from Honda Motor Europe LDT to revisit the iconic Super Cub in a fun key.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
It is a Super Cub C125, 4-speed automatic, single-seater version, which has been completely revised in spirit and structure, becoming a two-seater with an off-road vocation.
• Why was this bike built?
It is a prototype that was initially intended as a preview for the new two-seater Super Cub C125, but given the quality of construction and the appeal of the vehicle, it was decided to postpone the launch compared to that of the 2021 C125 two-seater version.
We had carte blanche from Honda for the realization, with the only exception of the two-seater: it was a great certificate of confidence from the winged house.
The bike will now be exhibited at the ISDE (International Six Days of Enduro) and then will participate in the Dust’n Sardinia – V Round. Given the many requests from the press and for its presence at other events we are already working on the realization of a second prototype.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
While we had complete freedom of action, we decided to move forward with an industrial approach. In fact, we reused as many of the original parts as possible, redesigned some of the structures in CAD, and 3D-printed them using only the original attachments.
The frame structure remained the original, as did the engine. But we decided to exploit some of the iconic structures of the vehicle such as the two-tone side plastics, here made of carbon and composites, to become technical and not just aesthetic elements, thus making the element a heat shield for the exhaust.
Even the elongated seat rests on its original structure, which has been revised and adapted. We made sure that the vehicle was as “industrializable” as possible and therefore producible on a large scale, but we never expected this kind of success!
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The customization work has mainly concerned the front and the tail. We riveted the sheets and rebuilt them in order to have a duck-tail like the old Porsche RS duck-tails, while the front is inspired by the old regularita / enduro grille, with the headlight lower and the number holder on top.
We also had to rebuild the steering yoke to accommodate the risers and more generous handlebars. The customization also included the trim, increased by 4 cm, and the high-passage exhaust, and we have also inserted a characterizing element in the form of the front guard, also designed in CAD and printed in 3d.
The paintwork and pinstriping are also inspired by the old Porsches. We wanted to create a vehicle that was aesthetically appealing, with a sporty feel, but also capable of standing out at the opening night of an opera, in a mix of elegance, fine materials, and aggression.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Like all unnamed prototypes, the Super Cub has hidden its nickname behind an X. But X is also a typical motocross letter, so in the end we liked it and called it simply SuperCubX. Honda liked the name, so that’s how it was presented.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The machine boasts a very reliable and careful fuel consumption (70km/liter). Now it is capable not only of dealing with city traffic, but also light dirt roads, sand, and obstacles. It’s a vehicle that has the taste of freedom, so riding it can only be beautiful.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Of all the details, the one we are most proud of is the high-passage exhaust integrated into the fairing. Among the many custom Super Cubs, this is a unique and never seen element, but when we first looked at the vehicle we thought it could only go there and were amazed at how we were the first to think of it. Maybe it’s because we’re used to scramblers where the high pass is almost mandatory….