Sunday, 25 January 2015

An 'ultimate Cub' joins the fleet

Dealer's photo of the Honda Innova 125i that would soon be joining my fleet

I love my little Honda C90 and it has taken me on many fantastic trips on 'Little Bike' outings. However, with only 7bhp and three gears it sometimes struggles to keep up with Malc and Ivan on steep hills. Things I like about the C90 are its lightness, small size, nippyness, and character so any more powerful alternative would need to retain those characteristics. There's really only one bike that does that while offering a bit more power and 4 gears - the Honda Innova 125i.

My Honda Innova 125i near home this morning

These little Hondas - from the Honda 50 through to the Innova 125i are known as 'Cubs', and more than 60,000,000 of them have been made; probably the 'most produced' machine of any type anywhere. The 125i is the ultimate development of the Cub; basically the same as a C90 but with a steel tube frame instead of tube and pressed steel, the same engine but with more capacity and electronic fuel injection, and the same mechanical gearbox and semi-automatic clutch but with 4 gears instead of 3, hydraulic disc front brake instead of mechanical drum, and more sophisticated suspension. It's also about the same size and weight as a C90. The Innova is no longer available in UK and has been replaced by the SH 125 with a completely new design of engine with continuously-variable belt drive in place of the Cub's gearbox. So for some time I have been on the lookout for a nice example of this 'ultimate Cub'.

My Honda C90

A couple of weeks ago I found one advertised that was from the last year of manufacture (2012), one previous owner, and being sold by the dealer who originally supplied it and has serviced it from new, and it was less than half the price of a new SH 125. It was in Indian Queens, Cornwall, (what a great name!) so too far to go and see so I took a chance and bought it unseen. It arrived in the large van of a specialist bike moving company last week, looking every bit as good in the flesh as it had in the pictures on the dealer's website. All it lacked was a top-box but that was soon rectified after I sourced one on the web and fitted it to the bike's rear rack.

The Innova, complete with top-box 

The Innova and the C90 on a sunny winter morning

I've ridden the bike a few miles now and can confirm it is just like a C90 except with more power, better brakes and handling, and that very useful extra gear. But unlike the C90 it will probably never be a 'classic' bike. So the question is, whither the C90? Should I keep it or sell it? My head says I should sell it as the Innova will do all that the C90 can do and more, and four bikes (Moto Guzzi Griso, Freewind, Innova, C90) makes the garage a bit crowded. But my heart says keep it, as it's an appreciating classic better than money in the bank and being in excellent condition it's a nice thing to own. But bikes don't like being neglected; they need to be used, and would the C90 see enough use now the Innova is on the fleet?

Watch this space!

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