In about 11 months, Honda will stop making the iconic Super Cub 50, as well as its sibling with the slightly more modern styling, the Cross Cub 50.

The reason? In simple terms, math. 

You see, in 2025, Japan's emissions standards are due to get tighter, particularly for sub-50cc mopeds. In Japan, Honda produces about 80 percent of the bikes that fit this description that are sold, and it handily owns the market.

However, that doesn't mean the overall sales numbers are great. With the rise of e-bikes and e-scooters, the popularity of little 50cc mopeds has dropped drastically in recent years. And while part of the popularity of 50cc mopeds is that you can ride them in Japan without needing anything more than a simple driver's license (no motorcycle endorsement of any kind required), the same is also true of e-bikes and scooters.

So where's the advantage of the 50cc moped anymore?

Honda Discontinuing 50cc Bikes In Japan
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The Numbers Tell The Tale

Back in 1982, which was seemingly the period of peak 50cc moped popularity in Japan, an impressive total of 2.78 million of the adorable little guys were shipped by manufacturers that year. 

Contrast that with the 92,824 units shipped in 2023, and you don't even need a calculator to work out that the trend is decidedly downward. If you're Honda, how much sense does it make to rework that powertrain to comply with the new emissions standards if the sales don't make it worthwhile, especially when MSRPs range from about ¥ 247,500 to ¥ 308,000 (about US $1,550 to US $1,929)? 

The math, as they say, isn't mathing. Honda Japan saw the writing on the wall, and made the decision to cut the 50cc mopeds loose in May 2025. The new Japanese emissions standards go into effect in November 2025.

Honda Discontinuing 50cc Bikes In Japan

For what it's worth, the company has already been working on building out its electric offerings in a comparable power range, although they've also mainly been aimed at delivery business use. Think of the Benly e:, Gyro e:, and Gyro Canopy e:.

Going forward, Honda will shift its focus to both alternative fuels (electric and hydrogen projects are both in the works) and its 125cc and above range on the combustion side.

Incidentally, in September 2023, the Japanese government also announced plans to consider reclassifying 125cc and below motorbikes as "motorized bicycles" for purposes of licensing. If adopted, this would essentially make 125cc and below mopeds the new 50ccs, allowing licensed drivers of cars to operate them without specifically needing to obtain a motorcycle license in the country.

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