1936 Harley-Davidson EL

1936 Harley-Davidson EL

No brand has dominated the American motorcycle market quite like Harley-Davidson. Through brilliant engineering, stylish design, and the constant prioritization of cruising over racing, Harley-Davidson has earned an almost religious following in the United States.

Harley’s History

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has been in business since 1903, making it the longest-standing motorcycle company and one of only two (along with the Indian Motorcycle company) to make it through the Great Depression.

33 years after its founding, the designers at Harley drew up plans for the EL, which would later come to be known as the Knucklehead. The Knucklehead marked the beginning of an all-new era of design from the American classic, Harley-Davidson.

First in its Class

The Knucklehead had the first overhead-valve, V-Twin engine ever produced by Harley, and its design paved the way for all future models with similar designs for generation after generation to come as consumers flocked to the Knucklehead’s unprecedented power and aggression.

Aside from having Harley’s first-ever overhead-valve V-Twin, the Knucklehead had significantly improved steering capabilities and suspension specifications engineered specifically to allow the vehicle to travel at higher, more rugged speeds without rattling the bones out of its riders.

Timeline of Versions with Changes

There were five major years in the history of Harley’s EL: 1936, 1939, 1941, 1947, and 1950. Each of these years marked significant changes in design; however, as most of these changes were simply cosmetic, only two true generations of the EL are of any great importance.

  • Harley-Davidson EL (1936-1941)

In 1936, the EL hit the ground with explosive force, drawing the attention of the newly enfranchised consumers. This model sported a two-cylinder engine with a 61 cubic inch (roughly 999.61cc) displacement, Linkert carburetors, and a four-speed manual transmission.

More than just something amazing to look at, famous in part for its “clenched fist” design from which it draws its nickname, the Knucklehead was a force to be reckoned with.

  • Harley-Davidson EL (1949-1952)

In 1949, after more than a decade of cosmetic changes, minor tweaks, and subtle alterations, the final generation of Knuckleheads began to roll off the assembly tables. These models saw the most in-depth reworking of the design.

The engine displacement was changed to 1,208cc, horsepower was increased to 55, and the suspension was improved to further refine the legendary cruising smoothness for which Harley-Davidson has always been known.

The Knucklehead in the News

Very little new information has come to light regarding this age-old classic, however it has been featured in the National MC Museum’s online articles.

An American Icon

The Harley-Davidson LE, stagename Knucklehead, has been used in the production of dozens of classic TV shows and films. Imagine that! A classic in the classics.

Social Groups

As with any Harley-Davidson, finding American motorcycle fan groups for the Knucklehead is an incredibly easy task, though finding an owners group, on the other hand, might prove to be a near impossible feat of research.

The Harley-Davidson EL – Knucklehead

Though its name is reminiscent of a doofus or an idiot, the designers behind the production of the Knucklehead were anything but stupid. In fact, this legendary design proved to be as influential to the world of superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters as it was beautiful to look at.

1974 Bultaco Pursang MK4`

When people hear the name “Bultaco,” they typically respond, “What’s that?” unless they’re familiar with Steve McQueen, Peter Fonda, and other bigshot hollywood icons from the past couple of decades.

This is because neither the Bultaco brand nor the Pursang line have etched their names into the halls of legends, but the unsung heroes at Bultaco nonetheless created a world-class classic with the Pursang.

Leading the World in Diversity

Bultaco first began designing the Pursang in 1964 under the name MK1. The explicit purpose behind the production of this motorcycle was to race and to win. Despite the relatively short length of total production (17 years), Bultaco produced 13 different versions of the Pursang.

Bultaco averaged a new design for the Pursang almost every single year. While each version had somewhat different characteristics, they all utilized a similar engine design despite the various alterations made for each MK number.

Design

The common engine design took the shape of a two-stroke, air-cooled engine, although the rest of the schematics changed from model to model. The only displacement option for the original MK1, for instance, was a 250cc engine; whereas, the MK15 enjoyed three different possible sizes: 125cc, 250cc, and the much larger 420cc.

Each model in between MK1 and MK15 had varying size possibilities, subtly different weight classes, and minor changes to the frames, which for the most part were simple cage frames supported by telescoping front and traditional rear shock suspensions.

Timeline of Versions with Changes

Bultaco created over thirteen different versions of the MK series under the Pursang name between 1964 and 1981. These models were named MK1 though MK12, skipping 13 and 14, and concluded the line with the MK15. However, none would become quite as famous as the MK4.

  • MK4 (1969-1971)

Weighing in at only about 220 pounds, the Pursang MK4 was an incredibly lightweight vehicle capable of hitting high speeds while maintaining incredible agility and control.

The design of this model differed from others primarily via the use of a 244.29cc engine equipped with AMAL carburetors and a combined combustion-electric-generated 12:1 compression ratio.

News Regarding the MK4

Although the MK4 was exceedingly popular in Spain and western Europe, it never became a household name in the United States. This lends itself to explain the reason why there hasn’t been much news in this part of the world pertaining to the long-out-of-production MK series.

Famous Media

However, just because it wasn’t a household name doesn’t mean that it wasn’t ridden by a household name. Bultaco Pursang MK 4 doesn’t get the English coverage that it deserves as a powerful racing vehicle today, but at least it got plenty of coverage when Peter Fonda used it as his choice of motorcycle in the 1969 hit film Easy Rider.

Social Groups

It’s likely going to be hard to find a social group for Bultaco motorcycles in English, but luckily enough, Facebook has a great new automatic translation system capable of translating from Catalan or Spanish into English at the click of a button. Try out this relatively small group.

The Bultaco Pursang MK4 – an Unsung Classic

If the world were just a little more connected and there were fewer language barriers, Bultaco’s Pursang MK4 might have still lived at the height that it did in the racing circuits of the 1970s.

Speculation aside, all we can say for sure is that the speed and clarity of riding one of these Spanish superbikes still shocks suspensions and owners alike.

1975 Laverda 750GTL

Laverda was reborn when they began production of the 750GT. Prior thereto, the Laverda brand was known for decent motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters; however, when the 750GTL hit the ground, Laverda stopped burning money and started burning rubber.

A New Face for the Company

Laverda was founded in the late 1800s initially with the intention of being a manufacturer of farming-style engines. The firm got off to a decent start and, almost 30 years later, the grandson of the founder created Moto Laverda, the motorcycle wing of the company.

Moto Laverda went on to create mildly successful motorcycles and engines for all kinds of different demand niches, including motocross, off-road, and other casual consumer purposes.

It wasn’t until the mid 1970’s that Laverda would produce a motorcycle of such incredible quality as to cement their name in the history of the motorcycle design even after going out of business in 2004.

Brand New Design

The 750 series officially began with the 750GT in 1968; however, auto-aficionados claim that it really got started when it released a new generation of superior superbikes in 1974.

The four-stroke, SOHC, parallel-twin engine with two valves per cylinder used in the 750 GTL was a significant step up from the air-cooled, four-stroke, 753cc, parallel-twin of the 750 GT.

Timeline of Versions with Changes

All in all, between the years 1968 and 2003, Laverda produced 28 different generations of 750-style motorcycles. Those produced in 1968 helped draw attention to the improvements in design that, come the 1970s, would eternally captivate riders the world over.

  • Laverda 750 GT “American Eagle” (1968-1969)

Let’s start at the beginning. The “American Eagle” kicked off Moto Laverda’s 750 line in 1968 with a better than average engine configuration, improving public perception of of Laverda motorcycles. However, the line didn’t secure the company as a serious competitor in the world of superbikes until the 750 GTL was released.

  • Laverda 750 GTL (1974-1975)

For this model, the designers and engineers at Laverda built on the designs of the Laverda 650, which had been in production earlier. This motorcycle was almost identical to the 650 except for a few major improvements including a lower compression ratio and an rejetting of the carbuerettors.

This model’s 744cc displacement and 65 horsepower enabled it to both hit and maintain speeds at well over 100 miles per hour.

The Laverda 750 GTL  in the News

There is little mention nowadays of the 750 GTL. It was removed from production more than forty years ago after a short two-year production span, adding it to the rank of short-lived but never forgotten motorcycles.

The 750 GTL as a Hollywood Star

Multiple variations and generations of Laverda’s 750 have been used in film and TV since the late 60s. In fact, the 750 lines has almost two full pages of credits on the IMCDB.

Social Groups

Because of the limited popularity of the Laverda brand and the fact that it has long been defunct, it is incredibly difficult to find any large social groups online. If you’re looking for small groups like this one on Facebook, though, you’re in luck.

The Laverda 750 GTL – A Lost Masterpiece

Unfortunately, despite the massive success of the 750 line in the seventies, it wasn’t enough to prevent Laverda from going out of business. Some might say that that’s what you get when you tease the people with a masterpiece of design and then remove it from production after only two years.

1940 Indian Chief

Far beyond just a standard scooter, motorcycle, or superbike, this model is the Chief by more than just its name. The 1940 Indian Chief was once also the Chief of the smooth ride and chief of handling. Hop onto the saddle of this classic motorcycle and let’s go for a ride.

Chief of its Line

The Chief first went into production in 1922 as a replacement for an earlier model produced by the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company: the Powerplus. What the Powerplus lacked in functionality, the Chief improved by incorporating the general design of the earlier Scout as well as updated technology.

The Chief went through multiple iterations; however, due to its technical specifications, smooth ride, and exceptional handling, the 1940’s model would be the one to live on as a classic.

What Makes a Chief a Chief?

The 1940’s Chief was the first in its line to use a sprung frame that significantly increased the line’s already noteworthy handling and further smoothed out the ride.

This combined with the skirted fenders, full-bodied chassis, and rear plunger suspension system gave anybody lucky enough to ride the 1940’s Chief a legendary sense of security and comfort behind the bars that only a Chief could provide.

Timeline of Versions with Changes and Pictures

The Indian Chief has been produced by a handful of manufacturers as well as used as a title given to rebadged Royal Enfield Meteors in 1959, but nothing beats the real thing.

  • Indian Chief (1922-1940)

The original model hit production in 1922 with a larger variant called Big Chief, released in 1923, designed for use with a sidecar. Both models were based on the earlier Scout design.

  • Indian Chief (1940-1948)

The 1940 model is regarded as the chief of the line with its rear plunger suspension, sprung frame, and signature fenders.

  • Indian Chief (1950-1953)

After skipping a year during the post-war recovery, the Chief was reintroduced in 1950 with girder forks styled after those on the Sport Scout to replace the leaf-sprung trailing-link forks used prior to this release. After 1953, Indian stopped making any motorcycles until 1999.

  • Indian Chief (1999-2013)

The reintroduction of the Chief by Indian after 46 years initially made itself manifest by independently engineering copies of Harley-Davidson Evolution engines instead of building on the traditional Chief.

  • Indian Chief (2014-present)

By 2014, everything from the engine to the fenders was different from the prior versions of the Chief line. Doubtless, there are a few auto aficionados who refuse to acknowledge any Chiefs built after 1948 as “real” Chiefs.

New Developments for the Chief

While the Chief continues to be produced in its new form, it bears virtually no similarities to its original style nor to its former status. Nowadays, the greatest acknowledgement of the 1940’s Indian Chief is on its throne in Gary Sanford’s collection at the Frist Art Museum.

The Chief in the Media

In 2018, on the popular TV reality show Pawn Stars, a 1940 Indian Chief ridden by Steve McQueen himself was almost sold for $85,000, but that price wasn’t enough to convince the owner to let go of the priceless classic.

The Chief’s Tribes

If you’re looking for social groups to discuss your love for the “real” Chiefs made from 1940 to 1948, then look no further than the Indian Motorcycle Owners Group on Facebook, which has more than 16,000 members as of 2019.

The Indian Chief – An On and Off Again Classic

Whether you ride for the timelessly smooth feel or the ease of handling and control that it gives you, you have to admit there’s nothing quite like the 1940’s Indian Chief.

Royal Enfield Bullet

By the time you’ve heard the pop of its mufflers, the Royal Enfield Bullet, like a bullet from a gun, will already be long gone. All that will be left behind is the cool silhouette of this classic motorcycle cruising off into the distance.

The Bullet’s Trajectory

The Royal Enfield Bullet has consistently been in production longer than any scooter, motorcycle, superbike, or other motor vehicle ever produced by a wide margin, with 88 years of burnt rubber under its tires.

First designed in England in 1931 with a highly reliable 350cc engine, the Bullet was quickly conscripted by the British Army and British Royal Air Force to be used in the wars that followed.

What Makes a Bullet a Bullet

Initially built as a four-stroke single cylinder motorcycle with a highly reliable 350cc engine and a unique set of center-spring girder front forks, the 1931 Bullet was already something to behold.

Shoot to 2019 and you have a bullet with a 5 speed constant mesh gearbox, spark ignition, electronic fuel injection system, and—of course—the classic 4 stroke single cylinder engine, but with an improved displacement capacity of 499cc.

Timeline of Versions with Changes and Pictures

With an 88-year-long production line, the Bullet’s tech has changed, but rarely has its general design.

  • Royal Enfield Bullet (1931-1939)

The original Bullet differentiated itself from the majority of others of its time by introducing centre-spring girder front forks instead of the standard steel.

This was the model used by the English military in the Second World War.

  • Royal Enfield Bullet 350 (1939-1949)

Technically, there was little to differentiate this model from the prior model, though the cab was fitted with two rocker boxes in an attempt to improve the engine’s volumetric efficiency.

  • Royal Enfield Bullet (1949-1956)

After complaints that the Bullet was starting to lag behind for its time, its engineers decided to move the frame to a completely sprung design with unique telescoping forks in the front and hydraulic shocks supporting the back end.

  • Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and 500 (1956-1964)

This model is when the British manufacturers and Indian manufacturers began to grow apart due to the British decision to modernize, as opposed to the Indian decision to continue supplying the Indian Army.

  • Enfield Bullet (1965-1995)

Aside from the name of the bike, almost no changes were made to this “newer” model.

  • Royal Enfield Bullet 350, Electra, and Machismo (1995-1997)

The engines of these models were swapped out with either 346cc single cylinder cast-iron engines or lean-burn, OHV engines to accommodate tightening emissions standards.

  • Royal Enfield Bullet 350, Electra 4s, Electra 5s, and Machismo 500 (1997-2009)

British models produced during these years began to have newer five-speed gearboxes; however, the Indian producers rejected them in favor of keeping with tradition.

  • Royal Enfield Bullet 350, Bullet 500, Electra 4s, Electra 5s, and Machismo 500 (2007-present)

Today, the Bullet series is available with the UCE engines for the first time in history, featuring an all new (to the line) fuel injection system.

The Bullet in the News

Unfortunately for the Bullet line-up, the biggest news expired with the end of the Second World War. Prior to 2007, news came in the form of inquiries as to whether or not the Bullet would pass emission standards or simply die out. Today, the Bullet cooly rides on out of the limelight.

The Bullet in the Media

Any historically accurate portrayal of officers in the British Army or the Royal Air Force in World War II will showcase the cool and efficient ride of the early Royal Enfield Bullets with their 350cc engines, typically hauling sacks of supplies and ammunition on side-mounted “saddlebags.”

Not Your Average Bullet Clubs

With a history as long and vibrant as the Bullet’s you can find clubs everywhere from the U.S. to India.

The Royal Enfield Bullet – The Longest-Running Classic

Even after almost 90 years in constant production, the Royal Enfield Bullet continues to dominate the world of classic motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters.

Harley-Davidson XR750

An offroader’s dream come true, the Harley-Davidson XR750 is a dirt-road classic specifically designed to bring home the gold on off-road racing tracks such as the AMA flat track racing circuit.

Built for the Dirt

Prior to the 1969 racing season, Harley-Davidson consistently lost in the world of flat-track racing; however, the 1970 change to the AMA rules put other manufacturers on an even footing for the first time. The XR750 was Harley’s attempt at vying for superbike dominance.

The original XR750 was a motley arrangement of other designs and parts that ordinarily wouldn’t be thought of as great fits for one another. Somehow the engineers at Harley-Davidson not only made it work, but did so in a way that would cement its position as a classic for decades to come.

Designed for Speed

Unlike scooters, motorcycles, and even other superbikes of its time, the XR750 was built with a claimed 295 pound weight, 82 horsepower at 7,700 rpm, and reported top speeds of 115 miles per hour.

Combined with the steel twin loop full cradle frame and aluminum-rimmed spoked wheels designed specifically for dirt tracks, the XR750 was a bonafide powerhouse.

Masterwork Improvements for a Top-of-the-Line Racing Bike

  • XR750 (1970-Present)

Specifically designed for dirt-road racing, the XR750 has retained its general design since its inception in 1969, only making additions to modernize technological specifications from individual model to model. This model has become so successful, in fact, that 29 of the 37 AMA Grand National Champions from 1972 to 2008 won behind the wheel of an XR750.

  • Sportster XR1000 (1983-1985)

The XR1000 was meant to be a version of the XR750 optimized for street racing; however, due to poor performance and low sales, it was discontinued after only two years.

  • Sportster XR1200 (2008-Present)

Thirteen years after the failure of the XR1000 came the XR1200. Though it is far from the street-racing version of the XR750, it has so far been better received than the XR1000.

XR750s in the News

While the XR750 is still in production and still widely in use by professionals in the flat-track racing circuit, other models are being produced in the same or similar niche, leading to the possibility that the XR750 might be on its way out.

Harley-Davidson announced in 2018 four new motorcycles, including the Streetfighter, which is derivative of the XR1200, essentially making it the grandchild of the XR750.

Celebrity Endorsement of the XR750

Professional motorcycle racers in AMA flat track racing use quite a few XR750s, though the most notable rider of the XR750 model would definitely have to be Evel Knievel. He famously used XR750s in many of his jumps and other stunts, a testament to the high-performing power of these superbikes.

XR750 Social Clubs

If you’re looking for a community of like-minded individuals fascinated by the XR750, look no further than AMA racing groups. Consider going to events near you or joining one of the many on Facebook.

The Harley-Davidson XR750 – An Unexpected Classic

While it may have been built in only four months and as a reaction to an apparently spontaneous decision to change AMA racing rules, the engineers at Harley-Davidson nonetheless managed to craft an awesome sports bike to last the test of time both on and off the track.

Triumph Bonneville

With “Triumph” literally in the name, it’s no wonder this bike cannot be stopped. Among enthusiasts of motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters, the Triumph remains consistently popular. No matter how many times Triumph cancels production, the Bonneville model retains its popularity and drive, as any classic would.

A History of Victory

First production of the Bonneville began in 1959 and was cancelled in 1983, at which point production only ceased because the company went out of business. 

However, the persistent popularity of the Bonneville prompted Lee Harris to revive it for a second round of production from 1985 to 1988.

Then in 2001, production was picked up for a third time by Triumph Motorcycles and continues to date. With victory in its name and throughout its history, you can only wonder what’s in the chassis.

Created with a Vision

The inspiration for the Bonneville came primarily from consumers in the United States who wanted a Triumph motorcycle with improved performance. The Bonneville T120 was produced to satisfy this demand and capitalize on this lucrative western market.

Due to the widespread success of the T120, two more designs were to follow, one by Triumph Engineering and the other by Triumph Motorcycles.

Designed to Persistence in Mind

The T120 was marketed as the best motorcycle in the world, and with a 649 cc air-cooled, OHV 360-degree parallel-twin engine capable of speeds above 100 miles per hour, it very well might have been, had the frame not wobbled so dangerously.

The later models increased the engine capacity, replaced the dangerous T120 frame with a safer duplex frame, and eventually even improved top speed. What else can you expect from a model with an on-again off-again production history under two firms over a 60-year period?

The Bonneville’s Multiple Versions

  • T120 (1959-1983)

Based on the earlier designs of the Triumph Tiger T110, the original T120 Bonneville was an improvement in all aspects except safety until the issue of the wobbling frame was solved in 1960.

  • T140 (1973-1983; 1985-1988)

With a 744 cc air-cooled OHV parallel-twin engine, the T140 resembled the T120 in most aspects; however, the T140 differentiated itself in increased power, improved transmission, and better safety performance than the T120.

  • New Bonneville Models (2001-Present)

Nearly a dozen new models have entered into production since 2001, including the Bonneville 800 (790cc engine), upgraded T100 (865cc engine), and many more after 2007 (all of which received 865 cc engines). By 2009, all new models were being produced with electronic fuel injection systems and carburetors without ever sacrificing the trademarked Bonneville design.

Bonnevilles and the Silver Screen

In 1982, Richard Gere starred in a film entitled An Officer and a Gentleman, in which he traveled on an early-model T140E owned by the production studio Paramount pictures. Paramount also used that same motorcycle on the set of Mr. Jones a few years later.

Other famous celebrities such as Brando, Dean, and McQueen are also said to have owned and enjoyed the smooth look and feel of the Bonneville line.

The Bonneville’s Recent Victories

Triumph Motorcycles is still actively producing multiple variations on the Bonneville, from the remastered T120 to the relatively newer Bonneville Bobber. The best place to look for news about the newer production line for the Bonneville series would be Triumph Motorcycles.

Interesting Groups for Bonneville Fans

There are great options for socializing with other Bonneville riders. One of them is specifically designed for newcomers to the world of Bonneville. If you’re more of a seasoned rider or you already know your way around a Bonneville, then check out Facebook.

The Triumph Bonneville – A Lesson in Victory

Just like the people who ride them, bikes of the Bonneville line cannot be stopped. Ever since their creation in 1959, the Bonneville line has persisted as a life-long classic.

Honda CB77 Super Hawk

Speed, power, and reliability. That’s what it means to ride a Super Hawk. The raw capabilities of this motorcycle and the reliability of the Honda brand allowed the Super Hawk to pioneer the path of high-performance motorcycles, leaving its competition to the dust and burnt rubber.

Born for Speed

Designed by Honda with Grand Prix racing in mind, the Super Hawk quickly gained a cult following among racers, sport bike enthusiasts, and of course average consumers.

First designed in 1961, the Super Hawk was the first superbike ever produced by Honda. Although the Super Hawk was discontinued in 1968 to be replaced by the more contemporary in appearance CB350, in its few short years of production the CB77 became a hotly demanded motorcycle.

Designed to Win

The CB77 was built with a 305 cc OHC straight-twin engine, battery and coil ignition, and a telescopic fork suspension housed in a tubular steel frame, rather than the pressed steel common to bikes of the time.

This 28 horsepower engine, massive for the day, had a low compression ratio of only 8:1, but was nonetheless capable of speeds just over 100 miles per hour. This made it one of the fastest motorcycles commercially available in 1961, and a natural choice for speedsters looking for something a little more thrilling than the average scooter.

One Model for the History Books

As with all motor vehicles, the Super Hawk experienced minute changes, alterations, and improvements from year to year before its eventual discontinuation; however, only one official model has earned its place in history: the CB77.

  • CB77 Super Hawk (1961-1967)

Whether idling on the street or soaring in the prix, the original Super Hawk model was a marvel for its time. Capable of near-record-setting speeds, the CB77 out flew competitors and sold to the tune of more than 137,000 units in a time when the global population wasn’t even half of what is today.

  • VTR1000F SuperHawk / Firestorm (1997-2005)

Also known as the Firestorm, the VTR1000F SuperHawk was named in a clear nod to the classic CB77. Though the Firestorm never grew to the height of popularity the likes of its Super Hawk predecessor, its modern specifications absolutely did justice to the Super Hawk name.

With a 996 cc V-twin engine and 103 horsepower, the Firestorm was capable of hitting top speeds of just over 150 miles per hour.

Super Hawks in Hollywood

In 1964, none other than Elvis Presley starred in a film entitled Roustabout, in which he cruised around on a pristine CB77 Super Hawk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oaogsYqSag&feature=player_embedded

The CB77 was back in the limelight after being used in a cross-country roadtrip in 1968 that served as the inspiration for the 1974 novel by Robert M. Pirsig entitled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Super Hawks Today

Nowadays, for all but the more passionate auto aficionados, the CB77 has fallen from the spotlight it once enjoyed. Aside from the revolution of the Super Hawk in the form of the SuperHawk from 1997 to 2005, there’s not much new going on in the history of the CB77.

Super Hawk Social Clubs

As a symptom of the CB77 Super Hawk’s membership in the world of classic motorcycles, there are countless motor vehicle groups associated with the powerhouse sport bike. One of the most well known is SuperHawk Forum, but there are countless more from Facebook to Twitter.

The Honda Super Hawk – A Real Powerhouse

Although it has fallen from the world stage like many greats before it, the name “Super Hawk” still rings loud and proud in the workshop of any motorcycle, superbike, scooter, or auto body shop across the country, if not the world.

Honda Super Cub

With modern technology in a classic design and high performance in a commercial package, the Honda Super Cub has it all. In fact, out of all the other motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters in the history of the world, none has been produced as much as the Cub.

But what makes the Honda Super Cub the most popular motor vehicle ever produced? Climb onto the pillion and I’ll show you what I mean!

History

The Super Cub first entered production in 1958, two years after two of Honda’s founders returned from a visit to Germany with the knowledge that they either needed to find a way to compete with the widespread popularity of lightweight mopeds or to let their business fall by the wayside.

In the end, Honda chose not only to compete, but to set the industry standard for decades to come by mass-producing affordable, lightweight chassis with a single-cylinder, bullet-proof engine in a sleek design.

Tech Specific to the Motorcycle

Nowadays, the Super Cub is more than just a moped-inspired motorcycle.

The 2019 Honda Super Cub C125 comes with: a 124.9cc air-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke engine; a fully transistorized ignition; a 9.3:1 compression ratio; and a SOHC valve train with two valves per cylinder.

All of these specifications serve to elevate the Super Cub from a timeless classic to a high-performance motor vehicle.

Timeline of Versions with Changes and Pictures

Given a 61-year production line, the designers at Honda have had plenty of time to improve upon their original design.

  • Super Cub C100 (1958-1965)

The 1958 Super Cub initially found a very limited market, due to a recession in Japan at the time of production as well as consumer complaints regarding slipping clutches.

  • Super Cub C50 (1966-1977)

The introduction of the OHC engine enabled Honda to better design the lighting systems of their motor vehicles. The C50 saw improved headlights, taillights, and flashers.

  • Super Cub C50 (1978-1982)

In 1978, the C50 model received design alterations that resulted in a quieter exhaust and improved rev torque for an even safer ride.

  • Super Cub 50 Super Custom (1983-1990)

This version of the Super Cub’s primary difference from previous versions was a new engine with improved fuel economy.

  • Super Cub 50 Standard (1991-2006)

Aside from a few minor design changes, the 50 Standard most notably differentiated itself from the 50 Super Custom with the addition of a mechanical fuel gauge.

  • Super Cub 50 Standard (2007-2016)

This version of the 50 Standard model saw few changes but significantly increased safety performance by decreasing the probability of punctures.

  • Super Cub 50 (2017-2018)

This model sought to revert to the original C100 style by removing all of the minor changes that accrued throughout the decades. The 2017 model also included LED lights for the first time. 

  • Super Cub C125 (2019-)

The newest addition to the Super Cub family, discussed in greater detail above, maintained the classic design of the C100.

The Cub in the Spotlight

As recently as 2017, news outlets were heralding Honda’s production of its 100-millionth Super Cub motorcycle, further cementing the design’s rank as the most-produced motor vehicle of all time.

Celebrity Endorsements of the Super Cub

While Honda’s Super Cub hasn’t appeared in any major video games or been endorsed by any prominent American celebrities, it has achieved widespread critical acclaim the rest of the world over, particularly in Japan.

Super Clubs for the Super Cub

With more than one hundred million of these models having been produced, you would be hard pressed to not be able to find any social groups surrounding it. Despite its lower popularity in the US, there are even Facebook groups explicitly dedicated to American owners of the Super Cub.

The Honda Super Cub – A Timeless Classic

After nearly a dozen major model changes, one hundred million models produced, and more than six decades of history, the design and style of the Super Cub C100 lives on, manifest in the chassis of every Super Cub that has ever followed. You should expect nothing less of such a timeless classic!

Honda Rune

Have you ever wondered what Japanese styling could do to an American style superbike? The answer is the Honda Valkyrie Rune.

This is one of those superbikes that only had a short run. Honda created and manufactured this motorcycle to appeal to the American muscle motorcycle market. They did their job well, infusing it with enough Japanese style to make anyone look twice and wonder if they just saw a superhero ride by.

Is That a Real Motorcycle?

This motorcycle is that stunning and unique. It seems so much like a movie prop that owners report people asking them on the street if it’s real. Some people call it ugly. Others call it breathtaking. Everyone stops to have a look. 

Though it’s got a Japanese design, the Honda Valkyrie Rune was made in the United States. Specifically in Maryville, Ohio. This limited edition was released in 2003 and was only produced for the single production year, 2004. 

Lacquered all in black and chrome, it looks more like a fully custom motorcycle than a production line bike. How has this motorcycle never had a starring role in a film? It’s a shame. Hollywood, if you’re listening you need to make a film starring this motorcycle. 

Low-slung Cruiser

Unlike a lot of Japanese bikes that sit up high, this monster bike is slung down low to the ground. It’s a smoother ride than most other low bikes, thanks in large part to the largest brake discs of any Honda superbike, clocking in at 330mm in front and 336mm in the back. 

The weight of this motorcycle makes it way more substantial than the little scooters running around out there. A massive 400kg monster, this bike feels like a solid piece when riding it. It’s made for high speeds, which makes handling it at in-town speeds tougher. It’s worth it for the looks and comments that passers-by call out along the route. 

This thing was made for being looked at.

Production of the Rune

With only a year and a half of production, this is among the coolest but hardest to find motorcycles out there. 

The bike boasts a 1832cc, six cylinder motor that’s horizontally mounted. It’s part of the Valkyrie line of motorcycles by Honda, which were in production from 1996-2003 and then restarted in 2018.

Originally inspired by the 1995 Tokyo motorcycle show, the creators at Honda set out to take design and muscle to the next level, creating a truly unique bike that would be unlike anything they’d ever built. More power, exploding onto the highway, and pushing past old manufacturing limitations that they knew they could move beyond. It was that quest for power that in part took so long to get from the spark of genius to the finished product. 

Production of the Rune affected other American made Honda motorcycles, like the Gold Wing, which now boasts the same 1832cc engine as the Rune. The designers of this motorcycle intentionally sought to boost the power of their motorcycles across the board through the hefting of the Rune, and it worked. 

Cool for a price

Originally selling for a cool thirty thousand dollars, the Honda Rune has only gone up in value since it was released. Repair costs are substantial due to its low production time. The original production cost was estimated to be more than three times the selling price of the motorcycle when it was new, meaning Honda always intended to make their money back on parts and in free marketing.

The concept for the design was called “neo-retro” by the marketing people at Honda, and that honestly pretty well captures it. 

This motorcycle was meant to inspire consumers, and it’s hard not to feel inspired by it.