I'd seen them on the road, not in numbers that would overwhelm the more familiar Honda Wave's and Yamaha Fino's that travel the Soi's of Bangkok, but in numbers sufficient enough to make me sit up and take notice. The Honda Super Cub, without doubt the most iconic powered two-wheeler ever made, the bike that mobilised the world, the most produced vehicle in history, 53 years in production and more than 6,000,000 produced to date.
I'd heard that Honda were reintroducing the Super Cub, but I'd only seen pictures, nothing in the flesh. In photographs the new Super Cub had looked lovely, but it was clearly a representation of the original and not a faithful reproduction. The Super Cub's that I was seeing here in Thailand seemed different to Honda's offering, more original, authentic and true to the original design.
Last year in Phitsanulok, I'd bought a beautiful pair of Converse shoes; comfortable, stylish and robust. They've served me well for a year of walking, riding and travelling. While treating them to a jolly good Spring clean I'd noticed something rather strange written on the side: 'COAVERSE' not 'CONVERSE'. Unless Converse are employing dyslexics in Quality Control, then clearly these beautiful shoes that I've loved and worn for a year are not original 'Converse' products. However, they cost half as much as the originals and with the exception of spelling, pass muster at every inspection.
When the opportunity came to get up close and personal with one of these bikes, I took it. Like my beautiful shoes, the only difference between this bike and a Honda Super Cub seems to be literate in nature: The engine side casings don't say 'Honda', but 'Tiger'. This is in fact the Tiger Retro 110, made in Thailand by the Tiger Motor Company in Bangkok.
It's a faithful, and I assume legal, reproduction of the original. So much so that when the time comes to source replacement parts, you refer directly to the Honda Super Cub parts catalogue. Owners of original Honda Super Cubs might scoff at the this bike, but after a short test ride I fell in love with it, warts and all; low power, four clunky slick-shift gears, brakes to die from and suspension that ignores all advances in technology and knowledge. In a word, The Tiger 110 Retro is BEAUTIFUL.
Where should I take this Tiger?