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The History & Development of Cubs

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These popular "red engines with white tanks" for bicycles were successfully marketed by developing a nationwide network of bicycle dealers and shipping the engines in cardboard boxes.



- Engine : Air-Cooled 2-st. Single

- Displacement : 50cc

- Max Power : 1PS / 3,600rpm

- Max Speed : 35km/h

- Dry Weight : 6kg

- Other : Pedal-Type Starter, Chain Final Drive



Featuring an inverted engine, its simple method uses rubber rollers to rotate the bicycle's rim. Sold through Bridgestone's tire and bicycle dealer networks, 300,000 were produced between 1952 and 1958.



- Engine : Forced Air-Cooled 2-st. Single Reversed Deflector-System

- Displacement : 38.5cc

- Max Power : 0.85PS / 4,000rpm

- Max Speed : 40km/h

- Dry Weight : 6kg


The Early Days

The earliest mopeds, introduced in the early 1950s, were nothing but bicycles with a helper motor in various locations, for example on top of the front wheel. These were commonly called cyclemotors. An example of this type is the VéloSoleX brand, which simply had a rubber roller driving the front tire. A more innovative design was known in the UK as the Cyclemaster. This had a complete powered rear wheel which was simply substituted for the bicycle rear wheel, which originated from a design by two DKW engineers in Germany. Slightly larger machines, commonly with a 98 cc engine were known as autocycles. However, some mopeds, such as the Czech-made Jawa, were derived from motorcycles.


A further category of low-powered two-wheelers exists today in some jurisdictions for bicycles with helper motors—these are often defined as power-assisted bicycles or motorized bicycles. Some jurisdictions, however, may categorize these as a type of moped, creating a certain amount of confusion.


Some mopeds have been designed with more than two wheels, similar to a microcar, or the three wheeled (two front, one back) transport moped.



The word moped was coined by a Swedish journalist in 1952, as an abbreviation of motor and pedal


Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asian countries, mopeds are classified as small motorcycles similar to Honda Supercub, sometimes called underbones, they are also known as kapchai in Malaysia. A kapchai moped is usually powered by small 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines ranging from 50 cc to 125 cc, but recently the displacement range was increased with the introduction of the largest displacement kapchai model, Yamaha Y135LC.


In Malaysia, kapchai bikes may apply the same highway speed limits as cars and larger motorcycles since modern kapchai models are capable to reach the top speeds of about 120 ~ 130 km/h, therefore all kapchai bikes are allowed to be used on public roads and expressways. However in Indonesia, mopeds are not allowed to be used on Indonesian tollways. In the Philippines, many underbones, especially the Honda XRM are modified, some are "pimped out" with stereo systems and neon lights, while others are tuned for illegal street racing. The mopeds can also been seen in Vietnam.


Derestriction and Performance Tuning

In juristrictions where mopeds are limited by power output or top speed it is common for mopeds to be restricted in some capacity. Some mopeds are restricted by simple means, such as plates or washers which may be removed to increase speed—some dealerships will unrestrict a moped for free or at minimal expense. Other mopeds, however, are restricted by their design as a whole. Such mopeds require aftermarket parts to increase performance. Common means for increasing performance on 2-stroke mopeds include adding an exhaust pipe with a larger expansion chamber, installing a larger carburetor, and/or installing a speed kit with a larger cylinder or with reed valves.


The speed gained by such modifications varies greatly on the specific engine and on the combination of modifications performed.


Most mopeds can be upgraded, without problems to a 70cc engine, by replacing the original cylindre with a aftermarket cylindre - Mainly produced in Italy by Polini, Malossi, Athena, Hebo (sub-producer of Athena), Metrakit etc. these companies are specialists in producing 'racing' or sportskits (which lasts better, and doesn't require extreme maintenance - good for every day mopeds) for many kinds of 2- and 4-stroke engines. They also offer great sponsor deals for licensed racers, who race on certified racetracks.


In South East Asia where underbones are very popular, there exists a healthy market for aftermarket and tuner parts. Many enthusiaist modify their underbones either for show, installing small sound systems and neon lights and custom paint jobs, or for racing, inceasing the engine power and fine tuning the suspension.





Underbones are usually built around a singular tube frame (the "underbone") that supports the whole bike. This frame usually runs low across the length of the bike providing for a step through similar to a scooters and giving the class its name. The engine is mounted under the frame (usually laid flat on its side) and uses the similar manual sequential transmission as used in bigger motorcycles, but with automatic centrifugal clutch. However, some underbones use manual clutches, especially performance models. Unlike true scooters, underbones still use a chain drive and are ridden like regular motorcycles (compared to scooters which in general utilize a feet forwards riding position).


Most underbones are still using carburetors for the fuel system, with the exception of Honda Wave 125i which uses fuel injection. While most motorcycles have their fuel tanks positioned at the top front part, the fuel tanks in underbones are located below the seats. All modern underbones use capacitor discharge ignition for the ignition system.


Underbones usually carry engines of about 50 cc to 125 cc with the largest displacement being 150cc for bikes such as the Suzuki Raider 150.


The origin of the word "kapchai"

The word "kapcai" or "kapchai" is originally a slang derived from Malaysian Cantonese, its origin is from the word Honda Cub. Honda is a popular brand in Malaysia and as the result for this, all underbone motorbikes were called "kapcai".

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World's biggest seller


It can be justly argued that the Honda Super Cub is the most important machine in the whole history of motorcycling. Certainly in terms of sheer volume the Super Cub series of scooters has outsold every other powered transport vehicle ever made. As a sturdy machine for daily, often arduous use it has had no equal. Many manufacturers dreamed of creating a two-wheeler with genuine mass appeal, but Honda was the first to make it reality with the C100.


Clever engineering produced a machine that even those intimidated by normal motorcycles felt happy to approach. Hidden under the moulded front weather shield and yet efficiently cooled by air, the engine provided enough power for carrying both its rider and various loads ranging from luggage to live farm animals. Large diameter wheels and ample seating offered comfort comparable with larger touring motorcycles. Also, the automatic clutch meant that riding the Cub could be quickly mastered by people who had never controlled a powered vehicle before. And the 'step-thru' format created a fun two-wheeler easily ridden by people of all ages and both sexes. A brilliantly successful advertising campaign throughout the American media promoted the Cub and improved the image of motorcyclists with the now legendary slogan: "You meet the nicest people on a Honda."


The first-generation Super Cub, developed under the direction of company founder Soichiro Honda, was designed to be a new type of versatile scooter that anyone could ride with ease. At a time when 2-stroke engines were the norm, the Super Cub was fitted with a revolutionary, high-performance 50cc 4-stroke engine that offered superb economy and durability. The creative design also featured a low-floor backbone frame for easy mounting and dismounting, large plastic leg shields to protect riders' legs from dirt and wind, and other innovations.


Since then the Super Cub has undergone many improvements, resulting in remarkable increases in both driving performance and fuel economy, but the basic design and concepts remain unchanged. Its original styling has made it the scooter of choice for business use-in fact, the name "Cub" has become synonymous with working scooters.


The Super Cub was first Honda motorcycle exported and sold in the U.S., eventually becoming the world's best-selling vehicle. As proof the original concept and design was perfect is the fact that today's C50, C70 and C90s have only detail changes to set them apart from the machines of 25 years ago. It has since then been popular with customers in more than 160 countries worldwide. Currently manufactured in fourteen countries centered in the expanding motorcycle market of South-East Asia, the Super Cub is a practical scooter that enjoys a strong reputation around the world.




Cubs Development Throughout The Years



First Version of the Honda Super Cub, 1958 Model.



In 1960, HONDA SPORT CUB C110 was produced by applying intake and exhaust techniques from Honda's RC GP racers to the Super Cub C100 engine, high output was achieved. A sporty upswept muffler and manual clutch made it very popular among young riders.



In 1960, SUZUKI SELPET MA-1 aiming for more performance and luxury than the Super Cub produced this moped featuring the class' first electric starter equipped with a magnetic choke and a 4-speed transmission.



In 1961, YAMAHA MOPED MF-1 was Yamaha's first 50cc model. This unique semi-scooter features a monocoque frame with integrated headlight and a horizontal- cylinder engine.



In 1962, HONDA PORT CUB C240 was developed to offer wider market appeal than the Super Cub, it used a redesigned C100 engine. Features included light weight, ease of operation and a low price.



In 1963, HONDA HUNTER CUB C105H was designed as a trail bike for the U.S. market. Based on the Super Cub 55, it featured off-road knobby tires and a large rear sprocket for climbing hills. The Hunter Cub has its roots in this machine.



In 1963, BSA K1 BEAGLE was developed for young European riders. This moped-class motorcycle uses a pressed frame like the C110.



In 1964, HONDA SUPER CUB CM90 was the first 90cc Super Cub. It was powered by a newly developed engine based on the C200's engine. Its easy to use 3-speed transmission and centrifugal clutch were the same as on the Super Cub 50.



In 1966, eight years after its debut, HONDA SUPER CUB C50 was produced. The Super Cub's engine design was changed from overhead valve (OHV) to overhead camshaft (OHC) and a larger, more visible taillight and turn indicators were added.



In 1966, HONDA LITTLE HONDA P25 was developed especially for women, the Little Honda was designed to be ridden like a bicycle. This moped-type P25 featured easy-to-operate hand brakes and a pedal-started OHC engine built into the wheel housing.



In 1969, HONDA LITTLE HONDA PC50, based on the Belgian C310, this pedal-equipped stepless-transmission model borrowed its simple look from the P25. It was sold in Japan, Europe and the U.S. and enjoyed world-wide popularity among Honda fans.



1970-1971, Honda C70M (also called C70MK0 or CM70) was introduced in USA, Canada, Asia and Vietnam.



In 1971, HONDA SUPER CUB C50 was the first major refinement of the Super Cub since its debut in 1958. The fuel tank is located in the frame under the seat, giving the bike a smart, elegant appearance.



In 1976, HONDA ROADPAL, a new design for women, this model featured 14-inch tires, low seat position, and a new starting system. It offered all the convenience of a motorbike, coupled with the simplicity of a bicycle.



In 1977, YAMAHA PASSOL, specially developed for the ladies' market, the Passol, sold using the catch phrases, "I like it because it's easy," and "Soft Bike," led the first scooter boom of the eighties. Women also helped assemble it at the factory, creating a small stir at the time.

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From 1980-1984, HONDA C70 Passport, the elder brother of Honda Cub C50, with more power, same cheap economical ride and reliability was produced.



In 1980, the Yamaha 80 moped model was introduced into the market in 1980 with a classy caption:-” YAMAHA 80 , ADA KELAS “ Designed for easy mobility, the high performance 79cc 2-stroke engine of the Yamaha 80 boasts of low fuel consumption & reliability with a CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) to boost combustion efficiency & engine performance.



In the 1980s, a larger 100 cc GN-5 engine model was introduced especially for Asian markets. The newer 100 cc model was a major upgrade of the previous Honda Cub models, with new features such as a telescopic front suspension to replace the older leading link suspension, and a more efficient 4-speed transmission to replace the older 3-speed transmission used in older Honda Cubs. The 100 cc model was known as Honda Dream in Thailand and Honda EX5 in Malaysia



In 1988, HONDA Super Cub 100EX, the first Thai-made motorcycle exported to Japan.



1991 - Suzuki FB 80 (80cc)



1991 - Suzuki FB 100 (100cc)



1991 - Suzuki RC 100 (100cc)



In 1992, HONDA Motorcycles had built 20 million of these machines.



In 1997, Honda Little Cub C50 was the 10 millionth Honda to roll off the assembly line. Sporting the new Super Cub look and equipped with 14-inch wheels and a low seat height, it is easy to ride.



In 2004, the production of Honda Cubs in Asia and Africa still continues even though newer Honda Wave models have been introduced. Not only are they continuing, but sales for Super Cubs have increased in Japan with new upgrades on the engine, making it even more powerful, more economical and cleaner than ever before. With all due respect to the newer, plastic body designs, the original Cub model is as popular and as stylish as ever.





Note : The informations within are sourced through the web and are non exhausive. This thread is purely to provide our members with a brief idea how some term comes about and the appreciation of past vintage make and model that contributed to the present ride the Cubs Community sees today.

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