One of the world’s most famous marketing campaigns, a song by The Beach Boys and incredible sales figures are the things most associated with the famous Honda Cub. But the reality is that the biggest impact the little Honda has had on the world is its offering of cheap and reliable transportation to the masses. Produced in more than fifteen countries, the Super Cub has sold over 100 million units, and yet you could go to all four corners of the globe and you’d be hard-pressed to find a single example with a story as good as this very bike. Long before it became a brilliant custom with its trick HRC Africa kit out, this 1983 Honda Cub C90 built by Malaysia’s Nasir Morni, belonged to his father and has literally been in a coma and custody, before becoming the Africa Cub. 

Nasir is from from Kuching, Sarawak, and having recently completed the build of this cool as can be Cub, he successfully competed at the Art of Speed Malaysia show. But you have to go back four decades to unravel this incredible tale. Having rolled out of a factory in ’83, Nasir’s father bought the bike in Malaysia brand new to serve as his daily commuter. The following year it was time for little Nasir to start school, and his Dad popped him on the back of the Cub and dropped him at the front gate. It would be one of the endless commutes they would share, and the Honda served the family faithfully until 2005.

Then, sadly, the bike was stolen and the purple and white motorcycle that had been a member of the family for so long, was feared lost forever. Nasir still had many photos of the bike, including one standing beside it with his school bag for that special first day. But as the years passed, the family had to accept that they’d never see their faithful servant again. “However, in a twist of fate, the bike was miraculously recovered by the police but only made known to us by the year 2020, much to our disappointment due to its dire condition, as it has been in the police impound yard for the past 15 years!”

It was joy and heartache all at the same time, by a miracle they had their motorcycle back, but it was in as bad a shape as you’re ever likely to see any bike. But after 15 years in custody and being so beloved, Nasir knew the bike deserved a new lease on life. “The build is inspired by the Honda Cub Trail Series (Honda CT). The market for Honda CT is quite small & unfortunately, it is not going into the Malaysian Market. Eyeing the bike for so long, I decided to use my Dad’s 1983 Honda Cub C90 as a base model for the project.”

Only the unique frame remains, everything else was either too far gone, covered in more mould than was worth risking illness over or simply not up to the job. The recovered bike had miss matched wheels, spokes for the rear and a mag on the front, so one of the first steps was to build up a set of hubs and lace them with stainless spokes to a pair of ProTaper alloy rims in gold. Attaching these to the frame, the suspension gets a significant upgrade, with some serious long travel front forks gripped by new triple trees, and for the rear end, a set of 340mm fully adjustable shocks, to allow the Cub to conquer all conditions.

You’ve probably already guessed, but Nasir had a particular bike serving as his inspiration, “this Honda Cub is re-imagined as the Cub Trail by HRC, a mini version of the big daddy 1988 Africa Twin RD03, the iconic Dakar Rally bike back in the day.” And Nasir took that inspiration very seriously when he not only kitted the bike out with a disc brake front, featuring a custom caliper mount, but he also gave it the full white lower protector, just like the original race bike. Above, a set of ProTaper bars with white bark busters look the part and show this machine has form and function in spades.

To get that form spot on, Nasir sought the assistance of his friend at Rocketeer Custom Art, who has done an incredible job at laying down the classic HRC white, blue and red colour scheme across the Cub’s unusual tins. The white body, the colour heavy upper half, the lines of the rear fender, and the attention to detail is incredibly faithful to the original, but to achieve the same for the decals was going to be a problem.

Most of the graphics just couldn’t be found, let alone bought, so with a photo of the Dakar Africa, Nasir sat down at his computer and created them all by eye using Adobe Illustrator. Not only is it the love you’d give to a family member, it looks so damn good.

Back to the functional aspect of the bike and the “Africa Cub” gets the whole rally kit out, with a grilled-out headlight, reserve fuel cell, custom fabricated steel carriers, a mid-frame cover and bash plate for extra protection and even a set of folding footpegs should a random rock try and ruin your day.

The engine doesn’t miss out either, having been beautifully restored, polished and painted, and the carb now takes each breath via a pod filter. But it’s the exhaust that really captures the eye, with a full stainless custom system winding rearward and just past the heat guard is a sweet race muffler.

The blue seat and gaiters are just the perfect finishing touch, and having lived an already incredible life, this truly superb Super Cub is ready for another riveting chapter.

[ Nasir Morni ]