Tag Archives: Honda

Honda to release an e- version of its popular Super Cub scooter

This article shows off the new concept of the e-super cub scooter. It’s a super popular and rugged scooter for commuting, and now Honda is releasing a more environmentally friendly one. No news yet about an American or European release, but 2018 will begin the production for Japanese and other Asian markets. 

Would you buy one if they came to your country? Share comments below!

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Scooter Pic of the Day

A Sunni gunman in Beirut, Lebanon with an AK-47.  This Elite 150 was pressed into service the other light during the rising Sunni/Shiite clashes that have been escalating due to the war in Syria.  While it’s never good to make light of strife in any part of the world, you have to admit that if you’re going into war on a scooter, a Honda is a reliable choice.

Image courtesy of scoothub on Tumblr


And, for a REAL modern scoot: The new Piaggio Fly

While some makers of original retro bikes are giving up and caving to the modern demands of everything for zero effort, Piaggio is introducing a bike made specifically for the modern scooter rider, the Fly. 

Now I’ve always liked the Fly’s basic approach.  I’m not a fan of the dealership tactics in the US that pretty much cost you 30 to 40 % on top of the MSRP just to buy one of their bikes. But the Fly is a bulletproof reliable automatic that I would encourage EVERYONE who is looking for a dead-stop reliable commuter bike to look into. 

And, with the Fly being one of Piggaio’s top sellers, this new one should do well.  So , what do you think of the new direction in styling. It’s a subtle difference, but definitely in the vein that Yamaha and Honda have started in Italy’s market. 


Over at the In N Out with the Phoenix Meetup Scooter Club

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So, I had a weekend night with no shows.  This meant, as a production tech with no life, I had zero on my plate on a hoppin’ Friday night.  But, I saw on the local Phoenix Meetup board a notice that there was going to be a meet at the Tempe In-N-Out burger joint.  So, after a quick wash of the scooter and a fill up, I headed out to finally try to be social with *other* riders in the valley.

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As it turned out, it was a great time! There were about 12 others there on bikes of all types.  From a couple of Chinese rides to top-of-the-line Vespa GT300’s, there were even a few Kymcos (Including my trusty little Agility) and even a 4-Stroke Stella and vintage style Honda Helix!

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Turns out that the rider, Keith, is a reader of this very blog!  It was crazy hearing him recount articles that I have written on this very page… it was like someone was actually reading this drivel.  And, it was a first chance for me to hear a 4-stroke Stella in person, and it’s almost too quiet.  And, it didn’t “smell” right, but that’s the 2-stroke enthusiast in me.  Otherwise, it was a sweet machine.

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Another bike that caught my eye was this Honda PCX.  It was a really slick machine at night, but after sitting on it I came to the conclusion that, after riding the Agility, the seat “hump” on the PCX’s saddle was just in the wrong place, forcing me forward. But, from the owner’s reports there is more than enough power, if it weren’t for the limiter chip installed in the bike from the factory. Major suck on limiters..

As I mentioned, there were a few Chinese scooters there, but they were all running which was unusual in it’s own right.  One of the riders, Prescott, was already mentioning his interest in looking for a step up from his ride (which cost about $1049 from what he reported).  But, it sounded in working order and he like the rest there was a great guy and very welcoming!

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There was even another Kymco in the mix to welcome others of the Taiwanese marque.  This Grandvista had a few years on it, but from the looks and sound you would never know!  These bikes hold up extremely well and seeing one look this good after a few years only increases my confidence in my bike.

It was a great meet up and I had a chance to finally meet some other riders in the valley. It was honestly refreshing not having to deal with the vintage-snobs and the cliquish club riders that have pretty much faded into obscurity in the valley.  Hopefully I can get on a few more of these rides when I can get even a little time off. 

And, the weather was PERFECT: 71 degrees and clear skies.  Can’t get better than that.


In the Wild: Another Agility!

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It’s not exactly Earth-shattering, but in a city that prides itself on a plethora of “bro-dozers” and “cowboy Cadillacs” seeing scooters is always refreshing.  And, as the economy has taken a sharper downturn than the financial gurus would like us to believe, quality makes of scooters have been coming to the forefront.  Of course, this also means there are a ton of Chinese junker clone scoots coming out of the woodwork too.  But, I think many people are getting wise to their tactics.

This also means new brands or brands that aren’t well known may fight against the stigma that every bike not a Vespa is a “Chinese” scooter. Really, it’s the Chinese clones that have ruined the reputation of scooters in the US as being “real” bikes.  But, companies like Kymco, Genuine Scooter Company and SYM have thankfully not given up.

Proof? Dunno if it’s proof, but I saw another new Agility 125 on campus today! This gentleman bought  it from the dealer in Avondale (who charged him freight, assembly and “paperwork” on top of tax/title/license, while my dealer informed me that freight and prep are included in the MSRP by Kymco… interesting).  The Agility is priced right and has a modern look without the modern Piaggio or Honda price.  And, it’s made in a plant OWNED and regulated by Kymco, even if it is on the Mainland.  Far different than those build-and-forget crap Chinese scooters.

Good to see I’m not the only one on campus who gets it!


On The Road Agaaaaaiiiinnnn…..

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It’s been a while, I know.  But life has thrown some severe curves at us.  It has eaten up two bikes that I have tried to incorporate into my life and along the way thousands of dollars. During the journey homes have been shifted, friends gained and lost, jobs gained and a long trudge to two degrees has evolved.  But, the while is over.

Actually, it took a LONG while, and even then it was a fight but here it is: The new steed of mine!

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A 2013 Kymco Agility 125!!!!  Top speed of around 65mph (a smidge faster once broken in I am told), amazingly tight construction and a price that wouldn’t even bag me a clean USED Vespa.  And, it comes with a  2 year warranty! 

With Kymco’s hard push into the US market, I could no longer ignore the marque.  After finally test riding one I realized something pretty profound: They have passed some of the Japanese in build quality, and their “commuter” bikes like the Agility actually may be BETTER than Piaggio’s budget line of Flys and Typhoons!  I am dead serious in this respect too.

I would have to be.  I don’t make enough money to throw around on bikes that “maybe” better.  I had the option of buying a 2009 Piaggio Fly 150 with only 900 miles for about $800 less, and I *still* went with the Kymco. 

That is how Impressive it is in build and performance.

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Looks may be a bit debatable since you either love or hate the modern styling.  There is a lot of treated plastic on this bike (hence it’s flat black finish), so it’s going to take a lot of upkeep with the plastics protectant.  But, the wheels run a 12” rim, unlike the Genuine Scooter Co’s Buddy which rocks 10” steel rims.  The handling shows with the larger, wider running gear as well.  The suspension is VERY tight and almost rough, but in the corners this bike grips hard, making use of that tight suspension. It’s not as smooth and refined as the Vespa, but this bike is $1,899 MSRP.  Yep. That’s the everyday price.  Out the door, I paid $2149. 

You try finding a bike this well built for under $2200!  I couldn’t.

So, there it is.  I will do a proper report once I get more than 12 Kilometers on the machine.  Until then, stay tuned!


“The Replacements” Part 2: What’s more iconic than Vespa?

The days of the “off season” are in the final third for me.  This summer has been particularly hard for my household as some of our regular readers know since the death of the Genuine Scooter Company Rattler 110 I was riding.  Ultimately not proving up to the task, I had to reconsider what I need in a daily driver scooter and have been coming up with some great options.  But, many of them lack that “thing”: Style.

Before we talked about the Kymco line of bikes: Well engineered, well “liked” and affordable.  But, shopping for one of those is about as passion-stirring as buying a new laptop.  It’s an appliance with Kymco.  Granted, they are some nice appliances and fun to ride, but they don’t have that “fun” built in with an image and a scene like Vespa (who now charges heavily to be a member of that club).  But, I started thinking about what I like about small motorbikes and scooters and why I don’t ride a Harley or a sportbike anymore.  It’s that world-culture factor: Knowing that what you ride is not only universal, but in any culture carries a certain identity.  Vespa will always be the fashionista’s transport: Style on a budget (at least back in the day). It was glamorous and Bohemian.  Hip and very European.  But, that’s not the only direction one can go…

The most popular motorbike in human history was the Honda Super Cub.  The original Honda Cub was actually a bolt-on motor that was made to convert bicycles into motorcycles by Honda back in the early 50’s, and was quite popular.  But, Soichiro Honda wanted MUCH more for his customers, so he developed the Super Cub: A 4-stroke (high tech for the time) 50cc scooter that could hit 50mph with a “semi-automatic” transmission, large stable wire spoke wheels and bicycle-like simplicity. 

It was a hit!  EVERYONE on Earth wanted one.  It wasn’t the style that grabbed you, but the simplicity and affordability.  It was the great equalizer.  Everyone from farmers in Vietnam to university students in Kent to the son of a coal miner in Kentucky could afford one and ride it until Armageddon.  Everyone in all corners of the world has a story or two of their encounter with a Cub.  Even the Beach Boys wrote songs about it (granted they were under commission by Honda, but even that was forward thinking for the time).  It was truly the People’s Bike.  By 2008, over 60 MILLION of these sewing-machines-on-crack were sold and  it had secured it’s place as not only the most popular motorized form of transport in human history, but fell into that position of being the Vespa’s alternative nerdy cult-bike.  If you couldn’t afford a Vespa, you sure as hell could afford a Cub! 

And, it’s that everyman approach that makes the Cub so appealing.  While Vespa took great lengths to avoid being a motorcycle at all costs, Mr. Honda examined why motorbikes were difficult, and stripped away the bits that weren’t needed.  He then invented ways around the parts that made riding a motorbike hard, and designed everything to be easy to maintain, fix or replace for anyone with a box end wrench and a screwdriver.  Vespa made motorbikes stylish and desirable, Honda made them practical and effective. 

Sadly, Honda pulled the Cub (known as the Passport in the US and Canada) out of the market in 1983, and production stopped on these bikes by Honda and it’s affiliates in 2008.  Granted in most of the world, there are hundreds of metric tons of these bikes around and parts are plentiful and still produced in mass quantities.  But, in America’s bike-deprived culture, the Cub really isn’t as well remembered.  They sold well here… for a small bike.  But, they didn’t have the cult status that the rest of the world (especially in Japan, Southeast Asia and Western Europe) attached to them.  But, in 2009, yet another major Taiwanese motorbike firm took a note from LML’s playbook and dusted off the factory machines of a bike they once made…

SYM was another “sub-factory” out of Taiwan just like Kymco, PGO and companies like LML and Bajaj in India.  They took on the task of making the popular bikes for the big boys in Japan and Europe when the factories were too full and the orders too great.  SYM’s claim to fame was being the 2nd birthplace for tens of millions of those same Honda Cubs sold worldwide.  And, when Honda retired the model, SYM saw that the nostalgia and desire for these bikes was still high. And, with the new retro trend sweeping the post-industrialized world, how could they say no?

Hence, the SYM “Symba” was born!

Get it? “SYMba” Cub/Lion Cub?  OK… so it was a ploy on naming, but at least it’s a better name than most Taiwanese translations (That, and the Taiwanese name for this bike is the “WoWow”.  Yeah. Not kidding).  The new Symba took the exact frame and tooling of the Honda Cub, but improved it: Bumping the displacement from 70cc’s in the 2008 final model to 101cc’s, adding modern telescopic forks and adjustable suspension, CDI ignition and increasing the horsepower from a whopping 4bhp to …6.7bhp.  Yeah, may not seem like much with a whole 5 lb/ft of torque, but this will scoot you to 55-60mph and give you a REAL WORLD 100mpg!  Other than that, nearly all of the measurements and design elements remain the same as the original.  This can be a good thing for spare parts and accessories, but this also means that the “quirks” of a semi-auto transmission, drum brakes and carburetion remain.  It’s truly a vintage bike updated to keep that exact feel, but with a higher quality finish.

And, there’s a SYM dealer in North Phoenix!!!!!

The downside is that I cannot test-ride one. They only order them from California since they aren’t as big a seller here in the Southwest.  But, in 3 days they can get one in my choice of black, red or baby blue and they don’t even charge “dealer fees”, “assembly” or  “document prep” fees.  Refreshing in an era of death by a thousand service fees. The now-standard-for-Taiwanese-major-brands 2 year parts/labor warranty is also appealing.  The only downside is that SYM’s import partner, Alliance Motorsports, weren’t the first ones to bring them to the US.  They had a shaky partnership with a group called the Carter Brothers who weren’t so truthful about their financial status when SYM first started wanting into the US market.  Soon, the Carter Brothers were so underwater that their warehouse in the US suffered a “mysterious” fire that took out all of their backstock of bikes and made it rather convenient for them to claim insurance money that was greatly needed.  This led to SYM dropping them like a hot rock, but also set back their US plans and leaving a bad taste in the customers they had won over.  They are back in the game, but supplies and dealer support are still a back burner concern.  They retain a solid and well-loved reputation overseas and in many parts of Europe and Asia, but they are on the mend in winning back US confidence.

But, at $2399US, this is a tempting bike.  It’s like the flipside of the Stella by Genuine Scooters.  It’s retro, original and true to the bike that started it all, but in a nerdier fashion, and that has some appeal!

I still have a little over a month and a half since there is no hope of early financing before my new season starts and my grants hit.  So, there’s still room to reconsider. But, this is winning. Even my wife is starting to *really* want one!  She finds it non-threatening and “quirky cute”.  It will definitely stand out on US roads, and if other reviews are anything to go by, it may be the smartest choice for my desire to have a vintage bike but a need to have it reliable.