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Why Can't Honda Sell India's $900 100cc Street Motorcycle In The USA?

This is the memorable CB100 from 1972, but the same engine still powers hundreds of thousands of motorcycles across Asia today.

This is the memorable CB100 from 1972, but the same engine still powers hundreds of thousands of motorcycles across Asia today.

Right Now You Have To Shell Out Between $3,000 & $6,000 (!) To Ride Away On The Smallest Street Motorcycles!

You have to wonder why GM and Chrysler went under. Could it have anything to do with the fact that they were simply not producing the types of automobiles that the customer wanted? Both manufacturers were total losers when it came to smaller economy models. The Caliber was the most economical offering from Chrysler and it was a rolling pile of dung that looked like an elephant sat on a minivan, performed like a slug on wheels, and was as long lasting as a nitroglycerin milkshake machine. On the GM side, the profoundly repugnant, dated, poorly designed, badly built, underperforming and ridiculously fuel thristy (I have a friend who gets a completely unacceptable 26 mpg on his '09) Korean Daewoo Kalos rebadged as a Chevy Aveo is an embarrassment with a bowtie badge.

Now that we're on the subject of not providing the vehicles that the public wants, let's discuss the various motorcycle manufacturers. These companies are so damned busy carrying on a horsepower and displacement war where gargantuan, Brobdignanian 2.3 litre juggernaut motorcycles that generate 140+ horsepower are considered "sedate cruisers," and you can buy a motorcycle straight off the dealership floor that will comfortably break 200 mph, that they have completely ignored the overwhelming market demand for an affordable, small, easy to handle, "starter bike" for students, commuters, shoppers, and Sunday cruise riders.

There are only four, count them, four street legal motorcycles offered for sale in North America in the 2009 model year that are even as small as 125cc. They are:

2009 Aprilia RS125 - MSRP: $5,499
2009 Honda CBR125R - MSRP: $2,999
2009 Husqvarna SM125 - MSRP: $5,799
2009 Kawasaki Eliminator 125 - MSRP: $2,799

Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW, Harley Davidson, Triumph and other manufacturers are not represented because, obviously, they couldn't give a rodent's derriere about small entry level motorcycles.

The outrageous 2009 Husqvarna SM125: Add about a thousand dollars, shop around, and you can drive home on a 2009 Harley Davidson Sportster. Is anyone crazy enough to actually buy this thing at this price?

The outrageous 2009 Husqvarna SM125: Add about a thousand dollars, shop around, and you can drive home on a 2009 Harley Davidson Sportster. Is anyone crazy enough to actually buy this thing at this price?

Or you could save $300 over the price of the Husky above and buy this 2009 Aprilia RS125. Groan...

Or you could save $300 over the price of the Husky above and buy this 2009 Aprilia RS125. Groan...

Waaaaaay down on the price scale from the Husky and Aprilia, this 2009 Honda CBR125R is still one buck under three grand!

Waaaaaay down on the price scale from the Husky and Aprilia, this 2009 Honda CBR125R is still one buck under three grand!

Here we have it, folks. The lowest priced 125cc motorcycle available in North America today, the 2009 Kawasaki Eliminator 125 with an MSRP: $2,799. Such a deal! NOT!

Here we have it, folks. The lowest priced 125cc motorcycle available in North America today, the 2009 Kawasaki Eliminator 125 with an MSRP: $2,799. Such a deal! NOT!

These prices are utterly outrageous. It would cost well over $6,000 to ride the Husky out of the dealership once tax, PDI, etc. is tagged on.

Where do "entry level" riders have $6,000 to blow on a starter bike? Where? In Dubai? Brunei? Certainly not in the USA or Canada!

If you shop around you can find brand new 2009 economy cars for $7,999. And the manufacturers are trying to sell "entry level" motorcycles for a couple of grand less?

Completely looney tunes.

That's why I read with special interest that Honda was about to debut a 100cc single cylinder motorcycle in India that would sell for approximately 42,000 rupees. That works out to $882 with the current exchange rate, and as compared to the laughably overpriced small bike dreck that is currently in North American dealers showroom floors, it's the deal of the century!

There is NO excuse to not sell a sub $1,000 100cc Honda single in North America today. It's not like you have to re-engineer a 100cc motorcycle for emissions, crashworthiness, safety standards and all the overbearing standards which stifle importation of low priced automobiles from countries such as India and China. Very minor tweaking of Honda's India 100cc would make it more than suitable for North American sales.

And, yes, there would be sales. Lots of them. North America is ripe for another "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" campaign. A 100cc Honda is the perfect substitute for legs, and at over 100 mpg, would be gobbled up as fast as they could be produced for the North American market.

So, what about it Honda? Are you still going to try to keep foisting inexcusably outrageous hyperbike suicide machines like the Honda CBR1000RR, or two wheeled Krystal Koach limousines like the Gold Wing, or are you going to start listening to your customers who want A NICE, CHEAP, ECONOMICAL, RELIABLE, FUN LITTLE BIKE???

The 100 cc Honda Single was sold in North America in a wide variety of models to suit almost every "entry level" street and even mild off-road rider untl 1975:

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 Many of the Honda 100 images come from this Vintage Honda site.

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Comments

Wade Thiel from Indianapolis on June 23, 2020:

More and more small displacement, affordable machines keep popping up. We won't get a $900 machine, but you can get a new bike like a Kymco K-Pipe for $2k, which is super reasonable.

Rob Auerbach on August 06, 2019:

I could use a Honda 100 SL in my life right now. I'm 70 and I've ridin a lot of high cc bikes but this bike would make a great too toot around.

Mark on May 20, 2017:

I want that Husqvarna...such a sexy Supermoto better than the other options. And yes I'd spent the money if I hadn't gotten a SM510R already.

Go on a testride with one

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on September 25, 2015:

Hi Gaffo and thanks for the info. Do you have a link to where I could look at one? I can't find a Zhenhua outlet in the US.

gaffo on September 24, 2015:

Amen - great article. 10 yrs ago I looked into buying a motorcycle. I assumed someone offered a 125/150cc (like in the 70s/80s - I rem them here in the US as a kid back then). Well surprise surprise, Yamaha had a nice CB125, as did Honda (both sold all over the world - EXCEPT HERE!! another nasty surprise - no only did the small bikes disappear - but all the remaining ones were NOT Standards, and/or they had plastic crap all over them! looked like a transformer dork-mobile! - or some dub bloated-whale Cruiser ;-/. So I gave up for 0 yrs, and waited for the Chinese to fill the void (just like the Japs did in the 70's) - well I think the Chinese stuff is now "good enough" - they've had 20 yrs to reverse-copy the old 60's Hondamonkybikes/CT70's and Suzuki R90's (Skyteam and ZhenHua both make these and have for years. I've done my research - these bike are all over Finland/Germany/England and Austrlia (Nations that had a Monkeybike culture) - and their owners are happy with them. So, if HONDA will not provide and now play the same Game Truimph did 50 yrs ago - fook-em, I say. Go China! I just bought a 1969 replica of the original Honda Monkeybike z50a /w a sidecar by Zhenhua (drop shipped to by front porch - fully assembled) . All I need to is the PDI (lock-tite the bolts/ silicone-seal the electrical connections/ ACF-50 the chrome/ lube the chain)..................all for 1100 bucks - no tax and free shipping from Atlanta. MCO and Bill of Sale from City of Industry CA - both bike and paperwork showed up -week after internet buy. Tagged and Titled shorty after.

mechanically simple - simple air cooled engine, 110 cc (made by Locin - reputable engine builder - they make engines for BMW BTW), simple carb.

so WHEN something breaks - I can learn how to fix it myself. I don't want Hi-tech! (that means I pay others to not-quite fix it properly while ripping me off at a dealer shop)

Not all Chinese stuff is decent. in fact it probably 50/50 now at best. Replicas have the best reputation because the Chinese have had 20 yrs of making them and the original is Honda design is simple to start with (so replicas are a safer bet). Some of the Scooters - like Tank and Tao Tao are utter shiet however.

Its takes several months of trolling forums to do the research on the Chinese offerings - and get info from the hourse mouth (i.e. owners). and most of them are as I said in Europe.

good day.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 08, 2014:

Hi Rich,

Are you saying that it can be bought in Mexico? If so, it's worth a trip across the border to get one!

Rich on February 08, 2014:

We were on Cozumel in Mexico last week (Feb. 2014). The cook at the hotel just bought a 2014 Honda 125 for $1,500 U.S. It looks just like the bikes of the 60's and 70's. I apologize in advance for the poor picture. Cameraphone before dawn as we were leaving for the airport.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pfs4x2jgou067ji/Rich%20%...

I wanted that bike sooooo bad!

terry on July 31, 2013:

Go to www.motorcycleatvforsale.com. any scoot or bike size 1/2 off

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 22, 2012:

I'm the opposite Wayne, with a 30 inch inseam, but I agree that it would be great for motoring around town!

Wayne on October 22, 2012:

I was looking at that bike. 32 inch seat, 7.6 horsepower. Even my 36 inch inseam could tough it out for a few miles, and that would be enough horsepower for commuting around town. Better yet, keep it as simple, add 5 horsepower, and raise the seat a couple inches for us tall guys. Honestly, even if priced slightly under the CBR, I'd be interested.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 20, 2012:

I finally found it. Here's a ;ink:

http://www.heromotocorp.com/en-in/cddawn

It's a four stroke.

Wayne on October 20, 2012:

Well, maybe Yamaha is coming up with something. Gizmag dot com has a write up on the Yamaha Y125 concept bike. It looks weird, but if they made it look a bit more "motorcycle-like", I'd be interested.

Oh yeah, it still needs to be affordable. Fingers crossed.

osreinstall on August 09, 2012:

Worked on motorcycles for years. Did major engine work and modified them for the track, mostly 2 strokes. Both on & off road. Can spot them a mile away.

I went to Honda of India to see what was offered. The only source that matters. 4 strokes were the only engines but these guys are not your CB series. They have plenty of body work and you are hunched over in a sport position. They are not stripped down and simple. They are also more expensive than 42,000 Rupees. Prices are not locked down and they are climbing now projected at 48,000 Rupees according to their online write ups. Not the website I showed you earlier.

What was uploaded was a H100S in 1986 and was unreliable and discontinued 2 years later. Cycle Chaos provided the correct data. Wrong image but somewhat accurate article. Talk about misleading. Looks like I have to go to dozens of websites to get accuracy.

Never mind.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on August 09, 2012:

Every source says it's a four stroke. That's why I asked if you had a source that says it's a two stroke. Apparently, you made that decision yourself.

osreinstall on August 09, 2012:

rushlane-dot-com/honda-motorcycle-and-scooter-india-100cc-bike-will-be-shown-at-2012-auto-expo-1220146

Since no HTML is allowed highlight this and copy & past and put period html on the end and period for -dot-. I don't know why I have to do your work for you. A simple search like, Honda 100cc India works for me in duckduckgo.

Take a real good look at that motor with the exhaust exiting that low on the cylinder and the simple cylinder head.

Honda quit making the cb100 40 years ago.

cyclechaos-dot-com

Then search for cb100.

A 4 cycle 100cc would be under powered for a quick trip on the thruway to the next exit ramp. Go to Suzuki-dot-com and look up the 250cc road bike 4 cycle single. Gets 80 mpg. Around $3700.

You guys may laugh at those muscle bikes hitting something, but I would rather not be hit in the backside by an earth moving device because my bike was too slow. I can always choose not to go fast on the wrist rocket. I also don't want my knees up near my shoulders.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on August 07, 2012:

"The Honda 100cc bike in India is a 2 cycle engine with a carburetor that is crankcase pumped."

Do you have a link to that info? The only Honda 100cc bikes I'm aware of are all 4 cycle.

osreinstall on August 07, 2012:

Yes there is a good excuse. The Honda 100cc bike in India is a 2 cycle engine with a carburetor that is crankcase pumped. You would have to use DFI, (direct fuel injected) like Bombardier of Canada uses to meet EPA laws. Honda also vowed never to sell another 2 cycle engine to the 1st world market. Also this would drive up costs quite a bit, probably another $1000 and the EPA would tighten up it's rules again. Also if there was a demand for 100cc 4 strokes, Honda would build them. Another thing, there was razor thin profits in the UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle). It's a bygone era. People already voted with their wallet.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on August 02, 2012:

I remember the Honda 50's/70'/90's tooling around Arizona streets years ago, and I had a 200cc Triumph, but nothing like that is for sale in the US anymore. I suspect it is out of fear of lawsuits.

I wonder if one can be ordered.

steve burkett on July 14, 2012:

there is a HUGE market for 100cc to 400cc commuter style motorcycles. right now, one rare breed is Royal Enfield (500cc). Women, men, college students, etc who dont want an overpriced trendy moped, or a huge overweight 200mph bike. just something simple to get around town. like all the bikes in Asia.

Wayne on June 15, 2012:

I did a search of "why are there no commuter motorcycles in america" and found this post. I'm a middle-aged man who wants to get back into motorcycling, and would love to buy a small displacement commuter bike. Another problem I have is that I have long legs. I just got a 1980 CX500 that will be fine when I'm done spending a small fortune fixing it up, but would be thrilled if Honda would bring the CB223S to North America.