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2013 Honda CB1100: MD Ride Review

We were not the only ones to name the 1969 Honda CB750K as Bike of the Century when the year 2000 dawned. It is hard to overstate the impact of that machine on both manufacturers and enthusiasts. If you look at the entire CB lineage, that impact is vastly greater, of course. Honda is understandably proud, and the CB1100 introduced in 2010 in Japan (available here for the first time this model year) reflects that pride.

The 2013 Honda CB1100 we tested recently, contains an 1140cc, fuel injected, air cooled inline-four cradled by a twin loop steel frame. Its specifications include disc brakes at both ends, controlled by Honda’s Combined Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS is optional).

Compared to the 1969 CB750, the CB1100 has gained roughly 50 pounds (claimed curb weight is 540 pounds), and roughly 50% more engine displacement. Seat height (now 31.3 inches) is roughly the same, and both bikes feature a five-speed transmission.

The original CB750′s 68 crank horsepower pushed it to nearly 125 mph top speed. If it didn’t happen upon a three-cylinder Kawasaki two-stroke 500, it was the fastest thing available in its day. The 2013 CB1100 puts out a claimed 86 crank horsepower, which seems quite pedestrian when compared with modern sport machinery of similar displacement. But that peak horsepower is accompanied by a healthy 68 foot pounds of torque delivered at 5,000 rpm.

The modern CB makes do with 3.9 gallons of fuel capacity (versus 4.7 gallons in the 1969 CB750). Unlike some retro models available today, the CB1100 has 18″ wheels that make it look that much more period correct (although, it should be noted that the original CB750 had a 19″ front wheel).

The 41mm forks and dual shocks offer spring pre-load adjustment. The tires are modern radials, but they feature the narrow dimensions (110 wide in front and 140 wide in the rear) of an older machine. The U.S. market gets the single Candy Red color shown in the photos for 2013.

Sitting on the new CB1100 is comfortable with its relatively low seat height and traditional, upright rider triangle.  Honda is known for well-sorted ergonomic packages, and the CB1100 puts the rider in a relaxed position of control.  Despite the relatively low seat, there is a reasonable amount of leg room (something often lacking on modern machinery).

That sense of comfort and control is only reinforced when you pull away from a stop for the first time.  The clutch engages very smoothly and predictably,  and the strong low-end power has you effortlessly underway.  Handling is surprisingly light and confident at low speeds, which we attribute to good steering geometry and the tall, narrow tires that have you quickly wondering whether modern sport machinery has sacrificed some ease in direction changes for ultimate grip with its fat rubber.

The handling is fluid, both at low speeds and as the pace increases.  The big CB rolls easily on its side, but never feels twitchy or incapable of holding the line you have selected.  Depending on how you carry your feet on the pegs, you may be rubbing the toe of your boot, or the pegs themselves, before you know it.

The engine is strong and linear in its power delivery, although you won’t be mistaking its acceleration for that of a modern superbike, or, for that matter, a modern 600cc supersport.  Nevertheless, it has all the thrust you need, particularly around town where its low rpm torque actually surpasses that offered by most modern bikes.

The long-pull throttle softens power delivery even more, but you get used to this.  The friendly, relaxed way this bike responds to your right hand is consistent with everything else about it.  The brakes are strong and progressive (and several leagues removed from the single front disc, rear drum configuration in 1969).  In short, this is an extremely easy-to-ride 1140cc four-cylinder machine.

It is also very pleasurable to ride . . . not in an adrenaline-laced manner, but more in the manner of a sporting cruiser.  It is lighter, more nimble and faster than most cruisers, but it offers a similar, relaxed enjoyment that has you appreciating the scenery and the scent of the air.

It also has that stout unflappable demeanor that can immediately remind you of an old Honda you rode “back in the day” (such as a CB, or even an older, naked Gold Wing).  The slight,  but generally not unpleasant tingle sent through the hand grips can bring back memories, as well.

In addition to its ability to hustle confidently through twisty roads, the CB1100 is rock steady in a straight line at higher speeds.  The lower seat helps reduce the wind blast in comparison to some other naked bikes.

The five-speed transmission always did its job, but it could feel a little clunky at times, particularly when down-shifting, which precedes fairly aggressive engine braking.

The vibration felt through the bars had me thinking about thicker grips, and even reminded me of some of the older puffed-up handgrips that were popular responses to the vibrations inherent in this engine design.

Like other large displacement standards, you could use the CB1100 for just about anything . . . from commuting to canyon carving to two-up touring.  It wouldn’t be ideal for any one task, but it is capable of all tasks.  Among the Honda accessories offered are heated grips and a luggage rack.

One of the most impressive things about the CB1100 is the styling.  The lustrous red paint on our test unit could not be faulted, and the chrome fenders and tire/wheel profile  just look right.  The only thing we can fault is the gray, plastic side covers that really should be color-matched with the tank.  You could also argue about Honda’s choice to anodize the tire spokes black, rather than leave them silver.  Everything else about this bike looks like a properly restored, and upgraded, air-cooled CB from a different era.  Parking at a coffee shop, a customer approached me and asked how old my beautifully restored Honda was.  When I told him it was a 2013 model, he was shocked, but at least he had a basis for understanding how flawless it looked.

So now you can buy a flawless CB with modern brakes, suspension and tires here in the United States without going to the trouble of building one yourself from a decades old clunker, or finding the money to buy a previously restored classic.  If you have been stretching your adrenal glands with superbikes of late, this might not be your cup of tea, but Honda never intended this bike to serve that purpose.

The 2013 Honda CB1100 gets all the important retro elements right, while delivering a riding experience that combines the simpler joys of piloting an older machine with enough modern performance to erase any of the annoyances of doing so.  If the styling tugs at your heartstrings, you won’t be disappointed with how the CB1100 works beneath you.  At a U.S. MSRP of $9,999 ($10,999 with ABS brakes), the CB1100 offers a lot of motorcycle and nostalgia for the buck.  Visit Honda’s web site for additional details and specifications.

230 Comments

  1. TomS says:

    This is a beautiful bike, and it is nicely proportioned. Regarding the horsepower and weight: I’ll note that this bike has a few fewer pounds and a few more HP than my 1975 Kawasaki Z-1 900, a bike more than capable of scaring the crap out of me at the time (although I’ve since had my sense of perspective warped by modern sportbike power).

    For those wanting a few more ponies, I’ll bet the engine has more in it, and the bike looks amenable to adding personal touches.

    Well done, Honda.

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  2. Kagato says:

    Beautiful bike, the flanges on the tank do not bother me at all. I am wondering though, why Honda did not go for hydraulic lifters, which were used on the 1980′s Nighthawks. Also, for the folks concerned about the chain drive—modern chains are about as trouble free as they can get.

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    • goose says:

      Really? So you replace the drive system in your car every 15 to 20K miles?

      Goose

      • Kagato says:

        modern chains are about as trouble free as they can get

        Report this comment

      • mickey says:

        30,000 miles on each of my last 2 x ring 530 chains. Only time they needed adjustment was when I pulled the back wheel for a new rear tire. These new chains really are amazing compared to the ones that came on ne original 750 Honda which was lucky to get 12,000 miles with many adjustments before it was shot.

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      • billy says:

        Really? So you replace the tires on your motorcycle every 60k to 80k miles?

        Thankfully cars are not motorcycles.

        Report this comment

    • 70's Kid says:

      I think people are getting somewhere between 20K – 25k between chain/sprocket changes these days without too much effort. How often does a shaft drive on a bike need to be serviced or rebuilt and what kinds of costs are associated with such maintenance? Do most people do his work themselves?

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      • mickey says:

        All I’ve had to do to the shaft system on my ST 1300 in 32,000 miles is change about 6 oz of 80 wt gear oil 2 or 3 times. I expect no issues with it in 100,000 miles or more.On some bikes a shaft makes a lot of sense, such as a heavy touring type bike, but they do add weight, cost, and complexity that is not necessary on a street roadster. A chain system is cheaper for the manufacturer and allows consumers to alter their gearing, something that cant be one with a shaft, but the chain does require periodic maintenance and replacement.

        Wonder how many people know that Honda once made a chain driven sports car?

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  3. Wayne says:

    I have been waiting 30 years for a replacement for the 1100f. I have had many bikes since (including 8 presently in my garage), but not one of those machines combined the power, handling, comfort, versatility, user friendliness, and elemental motorcycle simplicity of the CB750/900/1100F series. In truth, many times I have felt overwhelmed by the performance potential of machines I owned: I am an experienced, safe rider, always seeking to improve my skills, but frankly, unless you have a road race track to frequent regularly, it is impossible to learn to safely exploit the capabilities of a modern motorcycle. It also annoyed me endlessly that race track ergonomics and power characteristics became the standard, which I attribute to self-aggrandizing motorcycle magazines dismissing real world performance and comfort for lower lap times. If you don’t think this one dimensional performace focus hasn’t alienated past and future customers, ask Harley owners; they are honest enough to admit they can’t/won’t/don’t want to ride a race track cultivated motorcycle. Recognizing that, many HD riders are missing out on the satisfaction that a nimble, dynamic, vigorous motorcycle can provide. The CB1100F reestablishes the notion that the rider, and the total riding experience receive the highest priority. An aside:. I am in Canada, where they have the Powerhouse dealer network. My local shop is not a Powerhouse dealer, and was unable to get or even have a confirmed delivery for me (even though there were unsold units in Powerhouse dealer showrooms). I happened to be in the US and found one on the showroom floor. I bought it on the spot. After 3 weeks of ownership, I am thrilled with this bike. Could have a little bigger tank, but otherwise exactly the refined, modernized, yet true to it’s roots motorcycle I was hoping for.

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  4. kawzies says:

    For a UJM I’ll take my Kaw Z750s over this any day. 100HP to the rear wheel, lighter weight, liquid cooled, and a fairing to boot. Nice fat 180 rear tire which isnt gonna fly out from under me when challenged. At 25,000 miles still runs and looks like new. It was canned after 2 years of selling in the states-too practical-not enough “nostalgia” or “racing” quotients. Which is why the nostalgia styling is required here ….and for the recreational weekend rider this is an ok bike. But for real riders and commuters it’s kind of a big heavy lump. There’s 2 sitting at my dealer waiting for homes-but it figures that here in the SF Bay area where the real riders ride more practical bikes are more in demand.

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    • 70's Kid says:

      Everyone likes different styling. Whether considered nostalgic or not, the styling of the CB1100 truly appeals to me because it simply looks the way I prefer a motorcycle to look, unlike the design of the Z750. I can understand how others might prefer the looks of the Z750 though and doubt that few would find both bikes truly visually appealing.

      As far as your comments concerning commuters and big heavy lumps — I’d be curious just how big and heavy the CB1100 felt to you when you rode it (if you actually did so)? Based on my time with the bike so far, I feel that Dirck did a good job of relating what the riding experience is like. The Honda feels surprisingly light to me in every day use. Personally, I’ve really been enjoying commuting on my CB1100, but then I don’t live in the Bay area and suppose I’m not considered a “real rider”.

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      When I think of the consistent, two-wheeled commuters I know and see on a daily basis where I live, I’d say the vast majority ride much heavier lumps than this – 80% (maybe more) are commuting on cruisers rain or shine. Hopefully they’ll read your post so that they know they are not “real” riders and commuters. It really bugs me that they think they are.

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    • Trent says:

      I also have a Z750S, and see it as having the best features all around. Power, relatively high mpgs, low insurance. Of course, I also own a sportbike (ZX10R) and a cruiser (M50). I understand why Honda did what they did with the CB1100, and I hope they sell a bunch of them. But if I were in the market for a new Honda, I would tend towards the CB1000R instead.

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  5. Richard says:

    Hooray, a first cousin for my 2003 Bandit. Funny how so many of us think motorcycle purchases are rational decisions made on weight, wheel size, comfort, maintenance intervals, number of gears, etc. Some people will see this bike, fall for its retro looks and simplicity, sit on it and find it feels right, and buy it. Others will think they need 120HP to ride on American streets and buy something else. Others will think they need adventure touring capabilities to ride to the mall, and buy something else. And regardless of what they buy, all will have fun riding.

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  6. Provologna says:

    PS: I’d take BMWs R1200R over this. I know Kawaskai’s 1100 and 1200cc Eddie Lawson Replicas were liquid cooled, but even the 1100 made well over 100hp. Seems like Honda could have blessed this with more power and another gear. It’s likely that it would have to be smaller to be lighter, and then it would loose usefulness for 2-up riding.

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Suzuki’s air-cooled Bandit 1200 from the day also made 100 rwhp.

      Report this comment

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      And I agree; I’d take the R1200R over this as well. You get a lot more for the $3,000 premium. Unless classic UJM styling is on your must have list, the BMW seems to offer more bang for the buck. (NEVER thought I would use that cliche in reference to a BMW motorcycle.)

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      • mickey says:

        Its the only bike in the BMW lineup you can use that line with lol and then only comparing it to a retro model. BTW BMW makes a retro BMW R1200 R called the “Classic. ” with striped paint and spoke wheels but its 15 grand. So you get the same motor and frame but spoke wheels and tubed tires and they charge you an additional grand for it.

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  7. Provologna says:

    While driving by my local Honda/Yamaha dealer in Logan, Utah (Cache Valley about 115k population) I saw through the window what I thought was a superb condition 90s Kawasaki 550cc I-4 UJM. Entered the store and was even more surprised to see I was wrong, it was this shiny new Honda CB1100.

    I owned about 75 bikes including a 79 CB750F, 77 CB750K, a ton of 70s GS1100s, etc. The 2013 CB1100 was fueled. I only sat on it on the dealer showroom and felt the fuel sloshing L/R/L/R…The fuel weight seemed high, but Dirck mentioned nothing re. this, so my complaint is probably nothing.

    I do have a lot of affection for large bore I-4 UJM and did notice I fit well on it, which is rare because I’m so large (KTM’s Adventure 900 fits me like a glove).

    For whatever reason this bike did not really push my buttons, which surprised me. I think I’d prefer, as at least one other person may have posted, something lighter, maybe smaller displacement (but same power), with shaft or belt drive, and sportier looking with a 1/4 or 3/8 color matched fairing.

    Still, glad Honda “jumped off the ledge” and brought it here.

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    • mickey says:

      I owned about 75 bikes including a 79 CB750F, 77 CB750K, a ton of 70s GS1100s, etc. The 2013 CB1100 was fueled. I only sat on it on the dealer showroom and felt the fuel sloshing L/R/L/R…The fuel weight seemed high, but Dirck mentioned nothing re. this, so my complaint is probably nothing.

      Remember theres only 3.9 gals up there so not too much weight up high

      BTW the 79 Suzuki GS 1000 weighed 20 pounds more and had 1 more horsepower than the CB 1100

      Report this comment

  8. Doc says:

    Here’s an old saying for you; If I have to explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand.

    Report this comment

  9. MGNorge says:

    Dirck, you sure know how to stir the masses and their opinions! Your site is over the top and fantastic! Thank you and all that help make this site as good as it is. When are we going to see more video reviews?

    Report this comment

  10. ham says:

    I will put four tail pipes on. Repaint the side panels…and everyone will want to touch it:)

    Report this comment

  11. blackdeth says:

    I’m holding out for the cafe racer version. Honda said they would not bring the CB1100F to the US, but eventually did, so I’m hoping the cafe racer variant will be imported. Too bad Honda originally said they would not import the CB1100F, because I believed them and put a bunch of money and improvements into my aging FJ1200. Now I’m reluctant to throw all that away, but I might for the cafe racer CB1100F.

  12. Sam S says:

    With such low HP, why couldn’t Honda have gone with a belt drive? THAT would have been a nice low maintanence, every day ride.

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    • MGNorge says:

      Aren’t belt drives more expensive? Since this is a retro machine would that be an element that would detract from that? Aren’t today’s chains much better than years ago and require less maintenance than in the past? Just sayin’!

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  13. stinkywheels says:

    This makes me want to see if my friend would sell me back my GS1100E. I know he’s not riding it and I’ve missed it. It had a little more power, holds a little more gas and is about $9k cheaper. I hope Honda sells a bunch of these to get the others to make them. I’ve already got to many bikes or I’d be in line. I showed one to my brotherinlaw and he was drooling, but he’s a Yamaha guy and doesn’t wanna dilute his collection.

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  14. SausageCreature says:

    My Honda 919 weighs less, has more power, handles better and stops faster. Plus I have it set up to my liking with a luggage rack and removable top case, adjustable foot pegs, adjustable levers, fly screen and carbon fiber slip-ons. It’s stone-axe reliable and suits my needs perfectly.

    Nevertheless, I’ll be trading it in on a CB1100 later this year.

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  15. Schmutz says:

    Crazy resemblance to 1986 Yamaha SRX 600. Loved the way that looked as well; owned one for a while. Time for the updated version from Honda???

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  16. Hela says:

    Hey Mickey….

    CB is $ 4000 (40% less) less than the R 1200R which runs on 17″ wheels..it also has less than a 5 gal gas tank ( fine motorcycle though, I wouldn’t mind having one except there are no Beemer dealers close to me and I hear,maintenance is really expensive.)

    That would be 28.58%.

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  17. mickey says:

    Here are some comparisons for the Beemerphiles

    CB is same price as BMW C650gt scooter which has 60 horsepower, 49 ft lbs torque, weighs more, and runs on 15″ wheels

    CB is $3000 less than F 800GS which also has a smaller twin motor with less horsepower and torque and runs on tubed tires

    CB is $ 4000 (40% less) less than the R 1200R which runs on 17″ wheels..it also has less than a 5 gal gas tank ( fine motorcycle though, I wouldn’t mind having one except there are no Beemer dealers close to me and I hear,maintenance is really expensive.)

    Report this comment

    • VLJ says:

      No doubt, regarding the purchase price disparity between the R1200R and the CB1100. In terms of the maintenance costs, though, this particular Honda won’t hold nearly as much of the brand’s usual advantage over the BMW. Unlike most every other Honda with their 16K valve adjustment intervals, the CB1100 cuts that number in half, recommending the major service every eight thousand miles. And those are shim-under-bucket adjustments involving overhead cams, as opposed to the BMW’s simpler locknut affair with the heads hanging right out in the breeze for easy access. Yes, the recommended interval for the BMW is only 6K miles, but it’s a significantly simpler job. Also, there is no chain/sprocket maintenance required with the BMW.

      Much of the cost disparity between the two bikes can be explained by the higher spec of the BMW. It obviously offers more features.

      In terms of the fuel capacity, there seems to be quite a bit of debate as to what the size of the R1200R’s tank really is. While the owner’s manual says it holds 4.8 U.S. gallons, real-world practice shows that it accepts 5.5 gallons. I have never run mine dry and still I’m always able to put an indicated 5+ gallons in the thing.

      I don’t know that the two bikes are competing for the same buyer. They certainly were in my case, and had the Honda just been available I would have grabbed it first, no two ways about it. That’s the one I really wanted, but Honda took too damn long to bring it to the U.S. market. Otherwise, though, I would be curious as to how many prospective buyers of either bike are also considering the other.

      My guess is…not very many. Apples and oranges, is likely the common perception.

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    • Tom R says:

      Some great apples to oranges comparisons, Mickey.

      Report this comment

      • mickey says:

        Yea sorta only the complaints were too heavy, not enough horsepower, wrong size wheels, not enough fuel capacity, costs too much. Just trying to show weight, wheel size, horsepower, wheel size has nothing to do with value or percieved value…you can pay as much or lots more for a lot less if you look for it.

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      With the exception of the R1200R, there isn’t anything in the BMW lineup that even remotely compares to the new CB. So I don’t really follow your point here. :-)

      If you must compare, the R1200R makes about 30% more power, has six gears, shaft drive and still manages to weigh 40 lbs less than the CB. Is that worth the extra $3,000 (compared to the ABS-equipped CB)? I think so. I know people who spend that just trying to get 10% more power out of their bike.

      Of course the target market for the CB1100 doesn’t buy spec sheets. They are looking for a well made, modern UJM that takes them back to the good-ole days.

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  18. Mark says:

    There is nothing more satisfying than owning a beautiful, well finished motorcycle.
    the deep paint, the quality finish that endures for many years.
    Recent Asian motorcycles have lacked this key ingredient that first put Honda on the map. This bike brings it back. I hope Honda gives us a few years of this model to allow it to catch on and the aftermarket to gear up…like Triumph did with the Bonnie.

    Report this comment

  19. Mark says:

    It is beautiful.
    I wish for more power…not tons more, but 90 at the row.
    Also wish for a lighter 750 version with 70 rw hp

    Report this comment

  20. Another Mike says:

    As soon as the CB1100 was announced, I knew I was a goner. The looks, the Honda reputation, past Honda experiences…
    All good memories. I am 62 now and no longer need 250 mile between gas stop tanks, nor do I need over 100 h.p. on a naked bike.
    What I need is a balanced bike.
    I sold my mint 1976 CB550F to buy this bike. Yes, it was tough. I have owned a lot of bikes, over 80, but I think this 550F is the prettiest. But comparisons in the experience of RIDING, the feel of confidence on a bike, that it will do what it is asked to do, in the friendliest of manners, nothing I have owned, including lots of BMW’s etc. measures up to the CB1100. Just my opinion.

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  21. Hair says:

    Give me a set of spoke wheels, some ketchup and mustard and I’ll eat this thing up. This bike would make a great daily rider.

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  22. Angel says:

    Beautiful, I want one!

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  23. takehikes says:

    For some of us this is the perfect answer. I have no room nor bank account for a fleet of bikes. We need a good UJM.
    On top of that there are a ton of guys out there that lusted for the original CB750 and never satiated that lust. I’m seriously considering selling my Road Star and my 73 HD chopper to fund one all around ride…..and this would be it.

    Report this comment

  24. Ralph says:

    I am trying very hard not to drop by the local Honda dealers, for I fear this bike would seperate me from my money. This bike really appeals to those of us who fell in love with motorcycles in the 70′s. It just looks right. Yes, it won’t perform with a modern liter bike, but that isn’t the point. And, like most who will buy this bike, I already have modern 150hp and 193hp fire breathing monsters.

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  25. denny says:

    One thought which comes to my mind is why for example Suzuki does not try to revive glory of their early GS models in similar fashion. Why they keep siting on minority sales with rather ungainly Bandit 1250? Also, Yamaha was proposing one time a retro bike; who knows where that is. Competition is definitely good thing.
    This will not take anything away from Honda and its svelte new CB.

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  26. DucTech says:

    You see a finished bike, I see a blank canvas!

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  27. Joey Wilson says:

    The ‘gorilla in the room’ vis-a-vis the CB1100 is Triumph:

    My local ‘Ride Red’ dealer easily sells more Triumphs than Honda for the last several years running. The Bonnies and that big ‘classic’ part of Triumph’s range has quietly become big sellers: High quality, reasonable prices, and that terrific blend of ‘looks old, works new’ has been quietly building big momentum around the country, with terrific new Triumph products like the 675 Daytona piling on to the rush.

    Honda is big enough to build and sell lots of things at the same time. Thank goodness they’ve gone from Runes and DN-01′s to the CB, the new 500′s, the NCX, the F6B, etc. I honestly do believe Honda when they say this is a bike that those of us of a ‘certain age’ would appreciate and aspire to (sign me up!), and the rest of you can go back to your CBR/RR’s and Gold Wings and Shadows. But now, that Bonneville SE I was admiring, well the halo’s looking a little rusty . . . . Oh yeah, I too wish they’d left the engine cases and wheels silver as well.

    Now if they’d think about bringing back a real Interceptor . . . .

    Report this comment

    • mark says:

      I was going to bring up Triumph too.

      I’m glad Honda has gotten over their weird responses to questions no one asked like the Rune and DN-01, and is putting out practical, well-thought-out bikes like the new 250R, the NC700X, and now this CB1100. The CB is a gorgeous bike, and I expect it would be a lot of fun to ride. I just wish they’d priced it more aggressively. For $2000 less, you can pick up a brand-new Bonneville. Yes, it may be 300cc smaller and make a little less power, but it’s also about 50lbs lighter. The Bonnie is a great bike with a lot of character, gorgeous looks, and at this point, a good-sized aftermarket; those $2000 saved over the Honda would buy lots of farkles or go-fast parts.

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  28. richard says:

    Went to my local Honda dealer with my money. They had 2 – both sold. wasn’t even allowed to sit on it to make sure i liked the riding position. They say they won’t be getting any more ’til next year !!!! FFS.

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  29. Doc says:

    I have been waiting since ’07 for this bike and am happy to report I love mine. After the bike was announced, went to my local dealer and told him I wanted one. Picked it up April 5th. The pictures do not do it justice. Flanges? Wheel color?? The whiners are digging deep. Not going to hurt my feelings. This bike takes me back to my 1981 CB900F. My favorite bike of all time. And I have owned some good ones. As far as power and weight, the MSO shows 528 lbs and 88hp. Five pounds and 1 hp less than my 900F. So I figure performance should be fairly equal to the 900. Handling is very good and light feeling. First thing I noticed in the curvy stuff. With no chicken strips. And to me the bike does not feel that heavy. Sold a Road King to get it so that could be the reason. The Harley weighed about 210 lbs more. The hydraulic clutch is the best I’ve ever used. Feels almost cable operated. Great feel. So is it perfect? No. But it is perfect for me. And you BMW owners who think you have a better bike. Bring your bike over to the house. I’m sure I’ll plenty wrong with your bike.

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  30. Gutterslob says:

    Lovely thing. Even that horse in the pic seems to fancy it.

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  31. HotDog says:

    Seems some of us, if not one in particular, like to hear our voices echo of the wall of the insane asylum. I for one, believe that Honda did a beautiful job designing this bike.

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  32. Bob says:

    As someone noted earlier, Honda did tease with one of these several years ago. Silver with a black stripe…What took so long? It is an attractive bike, and I hope it rides better than a 1969 CB750. When I ride old bikes, I’m always looking for 6th gear..something Honda apparently thought unnecessary. And, something tells me the 750 would have taken it stop light to light. At around 11.5 out the door, does anybody think they’ll be a big seller?

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    • mickey says:

      Define big … Most dealers are selling everyone they have gotten. This may be due to an initial rush by those previously aware of it, but it appears those that have bought them are mainly between 45 and 65, have had and still have numerous bikes in their garages, and who have had a yearning for just this sort of motorcycle.

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  33. Frank says:

    For some people (like me) it’s the most beautiful motorcycle ever. For the others, buy and ride something else. Simple.

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    • thoppa says:

      Beauty isn’t enough for me. I’d like something that performs too. If they chopped off a cylinder and made it 825CC triple, under 430lbs, and 85hp/70ftlbs it might ride as good as it looks.

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      • MGNorge says:

        If this were a triple it would be a totally different bike and miss the point here, pay homage to what came before. If this particular bike and what it has to offer doesn’t fit what you’d want to buy then move on.

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      • Dave says:

        ” 825CC triple, under 430lbs, and 85hp/70ftlb”

        Are these numbers are even possible to hit (esp <900cc/70lb/ft)? 430lb is super-sport territory.
        I think that's a pipe dream for under $15k.

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        • thoppa says:

          I see this bike as a great styling exercise but not a great bike. I love the looks but I’d never actually buy one when there are bikes like the MV Agusta Brutale 800. However, the Honda could be a great bike and a great styling exercise if Honda stop resting on their laurels and start moving forward. The torque is possible if the engine is long stroke with VVT etc, but this will give less maximum power because of the limits on piston speed and hence the rev limit. The weight is possible for a triple, but not so easy for a four.

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  34. Gronde says:

    What’l she do in the quarter? Probably a lot slower than a 1983 CB1100R that weighed less and made more horsepower….30 years ago!

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  35. Jake says:

    When I look at the photos, it makes me think of Mike the Bike.

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  36. Azi says:

    Wonderful bike. I hear the tank’s a little on the small side though?

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  37. mickey says:

    I picked mine up the day before Easter. Thursday I sold my gen 1 FZ-1 I was holding onto in case I wasn’t happy with the CB. I am. Although the FZ is a better motorcycle in most every measurable way (exceptions being ergos, and transmission action) sometimes there are elements to a motorcycle that press the pleasure sensors in the brain that are not able to be measured empirically. This is a very fine motorcycle and it makes you want to just go ride. Go to CB1100 forum.com and try and one of the 100+ new members ( and more joining every day) that isn’t thrilled with their CB.

    It may only hold 3.9 gals of gas, but I rode mine pretty hard this afternoon, and it returned 54.3 mpg on regular gas. I can go over 160 miles before having to stop for gas, and there are a whole slew of bikes that on’t go that far on a tank.

    Compared to other retro bikes,its true competition for consumer dollars, it’s better finished, has more power, looks better, sounds better, handles better or at least as well, comes with a centerstand and costs very little more.

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      • Scotty says:

        Sounds better and handles better than a V7 Guzzi? Don’t get me wrong I love the CB think it looks wonderful and would have one tomorrow. But I’d not take it over a V7 Stone with hard luggage…its too late for me I’m gone and lost to Guzziness after 10 years on a Breva750.

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        • mickey says:

          Lol..you Guzzi guys are something else. I have ridden a Breva, almost bought one. Bought a Triumph Bonnie T 100 instead. But trust me on this, there is no comparison, the CB is far and away the better machine..better than the Guzzi, better than the Triumph, better than the Kaw W 650( which I’ve also ridden) ..but that really is hard for a Guzzi rider to comprehend. All I can say is find one to test ride.

          Btw those are the bikes this CB should be compared to, being a retro.Can’t wait until someone does a retro side comparison.

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          • Scotty says:

            Fair enough Mickey – for me ultimate power ain’t so important but light weight (40+? kilos lighter maybe more?) and shaft drive and the twin feel score over the Honda. But the Honda is a great bike no doubt about that. My history is hotted up singles SRX600 and SZR660 and to tell you the truth I have only ridden an inline 4 on the track..and that was 2005 (CBR600RR, Bandit 1200, Kawasaki 750 and FJR1300 for a bike magazine) and on that day the triples I rode were more to my taste.

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  38. Greg F says:

    I love this. I saw one a couple of weeks ago at a dealer. Just a beautiful bike. So it doesn’t have 120HP. So it doesn’t have a 240mm rear tire. I like the idea of a simple design that allows me to throw my leg over the seat easily enough and have enough room to move about on it. I like the upright riding position too. Just get on it and go. That’s the way it should be. I mean, I like going fast at times but, long ago felt things were getting to fast. I don’t need to have the fastest bike. I don’t need to impress people anymore. I just want to ride and have a bike that’s ultra reliable and fast enough to still feel a bit like a hooligan. I’d probably consider an after market exhaust/tune for this. Maybe a few mild upgrades. I’d be happy as could be with it.

    Personally, I see Honda getting some undeserved flack for making bikes whose goal is to NOT beat out the next Kawa/Suzuk/Yama but, to improve the riding experience overall. The CBR500R, CB500F and CB500X may invoke sneers and chuckles by certain crowds but, I think Honda is on to something. The CTX700 and CTX700N have blown away seasoned test riders who applaud these bikes. Not my cup of tea mind you but, could be the start of something.

    I see these as perhaps the most exciting days of MC’s. The upcoming 2014 KTM 390 Duke? THAT is what I’m talking about! Ninja 300′s? Yup. Even the Honda CBR250R. I sat on it at the dealer (Repsol Edition) and had to admit that it was off the charts cool.

    Hey, I grew up learning to ride on Honda SL100′s, CB350′s, the 450 Scrambler and Hodaka’s! Even the Trail 90 which I have always thought Honda should bring back. But you know what? Those days were by far the most fun I’ve ever had motorcycling. I see Honda as bringing back fun and by redefining “fun” as not necessarily “faster” or “fastest” even but, by just plain old “fun”. What’s wrong with that?

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Even the Honda CBR250R. I sat on it at the dealer (Repsol Edition) and had to admit that it was off the charts cool.”

      ok, let’s sign these papers and get you outta here.

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  39. VLJ says:

    I’m right there with LDC. This was the bike I wanted more than any other, ever since I first read the reports and saw the pictures. That was, what, four years ago?

    I’ve been waiting for it and waiting for it. Finally, following this year’s Intermot show and the lack of any news regarding the CB1100′s imminent arrival to our shores, I gave up. I bought a BMW R1200R. Of course I know that my bike is better in almost every measurable, objective comparison, but this Honda is just so gorgeous and ‘right’ to me.

    I’m glad I have my bike because it does more, but still….

    In any case, having now seen a CB1100 in the flesh, I agree with the author’s possible quibbles. The motor and wheels should have remained silver, as they are in the ones we saw the past few years in Japan and Oz. I have no problem with the silver side covers. They look fine to me. I also enjoy the relatively small size of the bike. It really does seem more like a 750 than an 1100, and the seating position is absolutely perfect.

    Besides the wheels and motor color thing, there are only four other items on my wish list before I would deem this thing perfect overall. One would never happen, since it’s not part of the CB DNA: shaft drive. I just prefer shaft drive on a real-world (read: not a race bike) motorcycle. Next would be the option for factory hard bags. Hey, this thing is comfortable. I don’t merely want to tool on down to the coffee shop on it, I want to whip out some maps and travel on it. Towards that same end would be item number three: a larger fuel tank. 3.9 gallons? That’s it? Really? Come on. I know it reportedly compensates for its lack of a proper-sized tank with excellent fuel mileage, but there is no reason not to have both. Make it five gallons, minimum. Lastly, I want more than 75 rwhp/65 foot-lbs of torque out of a modern 1100 inline-four, air-cooled or not. While I’m sure that it performs perfectly adequately anyway, I want more than ‘adequate’ from such a bike. No, I don’t expect it to boast class-leading power as its forebearer did, but I do want it to be in the same basic ballpark as other liter-plus standards.

    For those four reasons, yep, I think I will remain (belatedly) content with my BMW. I’m still more attracted to the Honda, but it doesn’t quite hit all the marks for me.

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    • VLJ says:

      Oh, and to Michael_H’s clearly tongue-in-cheek comment about the tank flanges, I nonetheless agree. On a bike this beautiful, that’s an obvious aesthetic flaw that never should have found its way onto the production bike. It wouldn’t have been a deal-breaker for me, but I would have thought, ‘They shouldn’t have allowed that, not on something this classy. Come on, Honda.’

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  40. Tom R says:

    Almost looks straight out of the 1970s or 80s, but I guess that is the point. I think it is an attractive motorcycle, but 86 hp from an 1130cc 4-banger motor, and pushing 540 pounds? This is a case of doing less with more…

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “This is a case of doing less with more”

      i’m afraid low states of tune are S.H.O.P. (standard honda operating procedure). even for their sports models. i’ve studied their engine specs over the years relative to their competition and it’s pretty obvious that it’s not by accident, but the result of commitee. we know they can build anything they want… and outbuild everybody in the process. the only logical conclusion is they choose NOT to.

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    • Norm G. says:

      ps: i’m sure they’re also major emmissions compliance issues to contend with on this air cooled mill. the higher the state of tune, the more NOX potential.

      • VLJ says:

        I agree with you that this is clearly a case of Honda simply choosing not to give it more power. On the other hand, I don’t think there is any doubt that they could in fact keep C.A.R.B. happy while imbuing this thing with an easy 100 rwhp and 75 foot-lbs of torque within a reasonable rpm range. If BMW can manage it with an air-cooled 1170cc Boxer twin, Honda can certainly do the same with an 1100cc inline-four; and to my way of thinking, they should have. 100 rwhp is hardly shooting for the moon. It’s not as if it would then suffer from a peaky, difficult-to-ride lightswitch of a powerband. Not at all. It would just be a more satisfying ride.

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        • Norm G. says:

          re: “If BMW can manage it with an air-cooled 1170cc Boxer twin, Honda can certainly do the same with an 1100cc inline-four”

          turns out the “flying deutschemen” can’t hang. that air-cooled twin now has “wasser” caressing the jugs.

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          • VLJ says:

            Yes, the GS now boasts a little bit of additional water cooling and fifteen more crank hp, but the air-cooled version still offers a true 100 hp/77 foot lbs of torque at the wheel spread over a mighty wide swath of two-cylinder acreage.

            That 1200 Twin is only 30 cc’s more than this 1100 I-4, and it meets every emissions requirement on the planet.

            I’m reasonably certain that Honda could have massaged similar numbers from this mill, with no problems in retaining its easygoing nature. I highly doubt that anyone would have complained about having a bit more power. It would not have made it any less enjoyable to ride.

            Regardless, I still love the thing. I definitely want one.

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        • Dave says:

          It makes 68lb/ft @ 5k/rpm so it’s a torque tune. A poster above claims he got 54.5mpg too. It’s tuned the way they want it. If hp/torque figures are important, they’re likely important to people shopping for a different category of bike. I bet this has as much power as you’d want in this chassis.

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        • Jake says:

          No, but the R1200R makes horsepower and torque at a higher RPM — peak torque is 1000 RPM higher than the Honda CB1100 (so much for twin-cylinder grunt…).
          If you’re looking for a smooth “Gentleman’s Ride”, the Honda CB1100 is probably it? Certainly more-so than ringing the neck of that boxer-twin.

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          • VLJ says:

            Its peak torque may arrive 1000 rpm higher but it also makes substantially more torque, period, while weighing forty fewer pounds. One certainly does not have to wring the neck of an R1200R if the goal is smooth, effortless grunt. It offers that in spades. If, however, one also happens to want decent top-end power at the ready, it clearly trumps the Honda by a wide margin.

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    • Bud says:

      Interesting that you choose to compare this bike to the CB750. A more appropriate comparison might be the 1983 CB1100F.
      A quick check of wikipedia shows that the 1983 CB1100F produced 108 bhp @ 8500 rpm and weighed 536 lbs.
      So, after 30 years of technological advancements, this CB1100 is slightly heavier, has a slightly larger engine displacement and makes only 4/5 as much peak hp.
      Of course, you can argue that cherry-picking a couple of specs doesn’t paint the whole picture and that this new model gets better fuel economy, produces less emissions, is more comfortable and/or handles better. Fair enough.
      It’s a nice bike, I’m sure, but hard to get excited about.

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      • Gary says:

        Honda may have claimed 108 hp, but I doubt they delivered that to the rear wheel. I remember that bike. I owned a GS1100.

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        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I am sure the 108 horses didn’t all make it to the rear wheel. But the 86hp is a claimed number, too, which won’t all make it to the rear wheel. The claims are probably fairly comparable.

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          • Gary says:

            Jeremy … the difference is that manufacturers were less honest back in the day. Today they are held to higher standards of accuracy in reporting. I doubt that the 70s/80s air-cooled fours were more powerful than this new bike.

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        • Bud says:

          Claimed hp has never been rwhp. As far as how accurate the claimed hp is, I wouldn’t assume they were fudging the numbers much then or now. It’s not like there weren’t dynos around back then to verify mfr claims.

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    • MGNorge says:

      I think in answer to your worries about lack of horsepower you could take a look at a few of the diesel cars on the road. Typically down on horsepower to like-size gas engines but producing a large grunt of torque at low rpm. It may not be for everyone but just look at all the diesel pundits popping up all over the Net crowing about the virtues of diesel engines. As the article points out, if you’re a speed junkie you probably should look elsewhere. Those that see beyond outright power and speed will find something to like.

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “just look at all the diesel pundits popping up all over the Net crowing about the virtues of diesel engines.”

        hey, how ya doin’… :)

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      • Rokster says:

        Having owned two diesel vehicles in South Africa I have to agree. One you get spoiled by that immediate response at low revs you will forever find “normal” gas vehicles very irritating. This is why my wife and I are waiting for the Chevy Cruze Diesel to try before buying a new car.

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  41. John says:

    I was the first kid on my block to get one of these bikes. It fits nicly into my garage with my six other street bikes. The review is right on in terms of the looks the bike gets. What is not mentioned is the physical size of the CB. It is 750 sized. It is dwarfed by my ZZR1200. This gives the bike a certain “rightness” and serves to make the engine look even larger. Yep, there is not a lot of power coming from the engine room, but my bike is super smooth. There is pleny of power to get you into triple digit speeds (although not far into that territory). Handling is accurately described as light and surprisingly competetant. I’ve removed the side markers and added a compact endcan. No other mods contemplated. The CB is simply that good.

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  42. Mike says:

    Now bring back the Hawk GT 650! And the original VF750F Interceptor!

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    • jake says:

      Now you are talking. The Hawk GT was the best, most neutral handling bike I have ever rode. And the Interceptor which was red, white, and blue with the cone fairing at the bottom of the engine – that’s a bike Captain America would be proud to ride around on. Modernization of both bikes would be awesome.

      I also grudgingly have to agree. For some reason, for a retro bike, this Honda is kinda of on the ugly side.

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I also grudgingly have to agree. For some reason, for a retro bike, this Honda is kinda of on the ugly side.”

        yikes…!!! text me your full name. i’ll call over to barber and have a ticket left for you at will-call. fifteen bucks, schmifteen bucks. my treat.

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      • Provologna says:

        Yeah, I thought Kawi’s ZZR series 550 and 1100 looked much better.

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    • 70's Kid says:

      I’ve been following the CB1100 for years. I put my deposit down the day that Honda announced they were bringing it here to the States. By the time mine finally arrived at the dealer, the excitement was completely overwhelming. For as long as I’ve dreamed of an updated version of the Hawk GT, I don’t know that I would survive such an event anytime soon following the release of the CB1100.

      The Hawk GT was truly ahead of it’s time — Honda simply released it about 10 years too soon. I don’t think they’ll ever recast that idea again. It’s actually somewhat entertaining: most people not big into bikes assume that my CB1100 is an amazingly restored vintage machine and that my 25 year old Hawk GT is a current release. I consider that a great testament to the styling success of each model.

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  43. ducatidon says:

    Very nice photos of a very classy bike.

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  44. Michael_H says:

    O!M!G! A tank flange! Let the gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth begin.

    That is one seriously beautiful motorcycle. I saw on in person – the fit and finish and every little detail were just perfect. Nothing about it sans “cheap” or “second rate”. Honda will sell a lot of these.

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  45. bikerrandy says:

    Get a brand new UJM. Never wanted an inline 4, but if you do want a new standard UJM, this is your chance. It has a centerstand, which is a bonus, IMHO, compared to most other new MCs.

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  46. LDC says:

    Honda promised this bike for way too long. If it had been in the US before 2009 (wasn’t there talk about production and US marketing in 2007?), I wouldn’t have bought my BMW R1200R. Frankly, I’m glad they didn’t bring it till now. Having owned a CB750, and lusted for the CB1300, I have to say I’m glad I got fed up with Honda and bought the Beemer. IMHO, the R is a much better bike in every respect. I should add, that sitting on the CB1100, the influence of Cruiser ergonomics is pretty obvious. This seems to me to be a departure from the tradition of Standard (or Roadster for that matter) ergonomics, and a mistake.

    Last and definitely least, it looks much better in black.

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    • Dirck Edge says:

      Cruiser ergonomics? Didn’t feel like it to me. Look at how rearward the footpeg placement sits.

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    • LDC says:

      Derick Edge

      I think you’re right about the location of the pegs. They are, for me, located spot on for a Standard. The “Cruiser ergonomics” feeling came from the the openness of the cockpit, I think. Maybe “Cruiser ergonomics” is the wrong term. Bottom line, it didn’t feel like a CB to me or I might have put one in the stable. My good fortune is that I’m not limited to one bike either by my means or my wife’s opinion. It makes her happy to see the smile on my face every time I finish riding.

      70′s Kid

      There’s no way for me to prove I’m not experiencing cognitive dissonance, and there’s no way to prove you aren’t projecting your feelings onto me. We’re both human and prone to such things. I can, however point out that I went to the BMW dealer for a test ride just to knock the R1200R off my short list. Life is short, and I generally put something new in the stable every couple of years. After a 4+ hour, 150+ mile test ride on everything from superslab to farm road I returned the bike and put down a down payment on a new one, in the color and seat height I chose. It’s four years now and I still don’t feel any need for a new bike. On the R12 forums I’m one of the many “Test Ride Victims.”

      Just for fun let’s look at some numbers:

      CB1100 (2013) R1200R (2009)
      ~$10K / $11K w/ABS ~$13K with ABS and traction control
      1140 cc Air/Oil 1170cc Air/Oil
      87 hp 109 hp
      68 fps 84 fps
      525 lbs (wet) 495 lbs (wet)
      296mm front brakes 320mm front brakes
      256mm rear brake 265mm rear brake
      3.9 gallon tank 4.6 gallon tank
      5 gears 6 gears
      Dual shocks Telelever (No nose dive) / Single sided swing arm
      Chain Shaft
      31.3″ seat height 31.5″ seat height standard (3 heights available)
      42.8 m/USg (claimed) 42 m/USg (measured on my R)

      The CB1300 specs are a closer match to the R1200R. If they had brought in the CB1300, I might have two Standards in to ride. I have loved the CB’s for forty years. On the other hand, the R’s ride is so satisfying that my next car is likely to be a 328xi.

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      • 70's Kid says:

        I was only having a bit of fun. I must say though that the more you type, the more I think I was actually spot on. I can tell you with full conviction that if you are as happy with the R1200R as I am with the CB1100, then none of this matters.

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  47. Dave says:

    Billy I agree; Mike apparently you’re not from our era but it was from a bike like this that all modern day motorcycle were spawned.

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  48. p alvarez says:

    CB500 please.

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  49. billy says:

    Beautiful! Why can’t this be brought here in a multitude of colors?

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  50. mike says:

    Wow that’s an ugly bike.

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