When Honda introduced the beginner-friendly Navi for the North American market in 2021, it turned a lot of heads. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more urban transportation alternatives were needed, and Team Red planned to recruit more riders with the scooter-inspired moto. However, the Navi isn’t Honda’s first attempt in attracting younger riders to the sport.
The Cub EZ90 was first introduced to the world in 1991. The EZ90 aspired to lower the barrier to access with futuristic moto style and tried-and-true scooter utility, if the name didn’t give it away. The EZ90’s sturdy steel frame, 90cc single-cylinder engine, and automatic transmission made it ideal for beginners, but it was what it lacked that made it stand out.
To make operating easier, the baby Cub did away with the shift pedal and clutch lever, and an electric starter allowed non-gearheads to drive. The sealed end chain drive gave another layer of protection to the product, making it suitable for safety-conscious clients who were still interested in two wheels. The EZ90 has era-appropriate bodywork as a result of Honda’s belief that off-road situations would be the optimum arena for that launch.
The Cub’s style was equal parts scooter and ’90s Dakar Rally bike, delivering motorcycle flare with twist-and-go ease of operation. The EZ90 took its off-roading heritage seriously, from the long travel suspension to the handguards, the skid plate to the semi-knobbies.The 3.9 inches of front travel and 4.3 inches of back travel may not be enough for full-send trail attacks, but it’s plenty for puttingt along fire roads.
Beginners aren’t the only ones who have chosen the Cub EZ90. The tiny moto, unlike the road-going Navi, was widely utilised as a trail or pit bike. The EZ90, like the Navi, included a storage box where users could stow away small personal things. While the Cub EZ90 blazed trails, Honda also built the Cub EZ-Snow, a winter-ready version of the Cub EZ90.
Unfortunately, the scooter-inspired trail bike was only available from 1991 to 1996. Of course, the EZ90 is the Navi’s spiritual forerunner, but the newest miniMOTO should have a longer lifespan.