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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. Scott says:

    I purchased this bike 3 months ago and it is a great bike. It is fast enough and handles well with the power it does
    produce. This retro bike is a great cruiser. I ride with a group that
    displays a variety of bikes and everywhere we stop people ask about the Honda.
    Some people actually take pictures. The attention to detail is unbelievable. It is definitely a lot of bike for the money!

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  2. Rob says:

    Unlike a lot of Folks in America, as an Aussie we have had this CB1100 for a few years.
    It never really caught on with sales. Last week, I saw new one in a dealer’s window marked down by a third off retail price, drive away.
    My test ride was in the open road and canyon style. The bike was gutless and the front suspension fell away dangerously in corners as the spring is marshmallow soft.
    The CB1100 is a remake of a “dream” – “if only we could have a new 1967 CB750″.
    The CB1100 is a physical recreation of that dream bike, seen through rose coloured glasses of 40 years.
    I am 60 y.o.and it shattered the dream for me, same as the CB1300 similar bike did too.
    The Honda CB1000R is the bike for today, the CB1100 is a Ghost of the past.
    If your happy to wear a Cardigan and think small cruiser – it’s all good.

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    • 70's Kid says:

      Well, a more though out response could be made that the CB1000R is the bike for you. A great bike no doubt, but it’s just not to the taste of many, which is where the CB1100 comes in. While the suspension on the CB1100 is obviously not the greatest by today’s standards, marshmallow soft is only going to come about for someone who is seriously overweight.

      Applying the logic of your final comment, I have to ask how do those skinny jeans look with your beer gut, wrinkled skin and thinning gray hair (assuming you still have any left)?

  3. Triplesguy says:

    I like the look. But although it’s not necessary that this retro 1147cc bike make Hayabusa-level horsepower, it would be nice if it had somewhat more than the 83 Suzuki GS1100 I am happy to say has graced my garage for over 26 years. On 70cc’s less, that Suzy boasted 20 more horsepower and was a half-second quicker in the quarter. Torque? The same as this Honda, and the Suzy pulls from idle; I call it my Harley. (My Ninja is quicker, but won’t pull like that from idle.)

    Maybe today’s young riders hankering for retro won’t care that the 30-year old original will best this new “copy” – but I’m betting they will. Just as I think most oldsters like me will. No, I won’t go to the track. But 0-80 on some empty road? You bet. My 30-year old Suzy will do that more quickly. The writers above who pined for 100 or so horsepower are, IMHO, quite correct. Doesn’t need 150 hp, and doesn’t need to have engine power compared to current twins that have 50-70 less pounds and 200 fewer cc’s. I just think an 80′s retro built in 2013 should be able to best the original in terms of MOTOR(cycle). AND give us all the other reasons to buy a new bike, which this new Honda appears to do.

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  4. Mars Sentinel says:

    This bike is _not_ good news for the industry and for those of us who love bikes.

    I say that because al lthe “retro” stuff is the manufacturers chasing an aging demographic.

    What happens when we, that demo, age out of riding?

    I mean, _we_ won’t care, but following along behind us are a lot of non-riders.

    Ah well, thw World Turns.

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  5. Trouble says:

    Had myself a baby 350 four back in the 70′s and still salivate when I see one on display at the odd show. Have moved on up to an R1200RT and thought this would be my last bike but seeing the CB1100….

  6. 70's Kid says:

    For the numbers freaks here, here are a few of the results from the first full road test, including performance figures, that I’ve seen on the CB1100. The test appears in the July, 2013 edition of Cycle World:

    1/4 mile: 11.79 sec. @ 110.87 mph
    0-60 MPH: 3.3 sec.
    0-100 MPH: 8.6 sec.

    I don’t ride my bikes to their fullest performance, nor do I time any acceleration tests with them, so those numbers don’t mean all that much to me. Average mileage was also shown at 41 mpg which seems far lower than what I have actually measured, so you can of course take all of these figures with a grain of salt. But, at least there are some additional reference points out now. Personally, I think Dirck’s review does a better job of painting a realistic picture of the CB1100 than any of the numbers do.

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    • 70's Kid says:

      By the way, the CB also was measured at 82.5 hp @ 7200 RPM, and 64.7 ft-lb. @ 5000 RPM.

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    • Randy says:

      1/4 mile under 12 seconds, not shabby at all. Suspension is easily “fixed” with a call to Racetech.

      I sat on one and it felt small and light (good things). I don’t like the huge handlebars and the styling isn’t exactly my favorite. But I might own one of these in the future.

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  7. mickey says:

    Hey VLJ..just read that in the fall, BMW is bringing out their own retro, based on the oilhead R1200. The artists rendering I saw wasn’t very retro, like I would think based on the R75 or R 90/100 s or the R90 S even, which would have been cool, but more a streetfighter looking thing. At any rate, retro is in, and we are bound to see new models coming this fall, not only from BMW but from others as well. This is good.

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  8. Jeremy in TX says:

    Personally, I am let down by the mellow engine tuning because I think the CB1100 could be more than just another retro; I think it could have been a great contender in the overall standard/naked bike market. It definitely pays homage to its ancestors design-wise, but it also has a refreshing, modern look to it – modern in a timeless way rather than a trendy, flavor-of-the-month kind of way. I think Honda missed an opportunity to effectively compete in two different market segments with one bike.

    I mean really – would those of you who love the bike the way it is be put off if the engine put down more power and torque to the rear wheel? Would you say, “Darn it! I wanted this bike so bad! If only it had 20 fewer horsepower or a little less torque, I’d cut a check right now!”

    I think more power would make the CB1100 viable to more riders as an option. It definitely would to me. Maybe Honda has an “R” model in the works – with 25% more power, some clubman bars, spoke wheels and a spiffy fly screen? Ahhh, a guy can dream…

    • mickey says:

      Lol everybody complaining about the power cept the guys that own em.

      Look, this bike is made for a certain consumer. Guys that miss the UJMs. Making it have 50 more horsepower is not going to make it appeal to any other group of consumers…and the guys that bought them are not lamenting about the power they have. On the contrary they are, to a man, praising these bikes as is. They ARE modifying them to suit them, lower bars, bar risers, fly screens, different rear shocks, touring windshields, luggage racks, hard luggage, soft luggage, louder exhausts, exactly like the original UJM s were modified by their owners.

      Want more power? Plenty of bikes on the market will provide it. Buy one of them. Find a used Bandit or a BMW R1200R if you want 100 horsepower, or a Ducati Monster, or a Speed Triple a MV Brutale, or an Aprilia RSV or something You certainly don’t have to buy one of these..

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      • Jeremy in TX says:

        “Making it have 50 more horsepower is not going to make it appeal to any other group of consumers…”

        I think you are just plain wrong here. It would certainly appeal to me, and I am not yearning for the glory days of the UJM. I like naked, liter-class machines, and I currently own one of the alternatives that you tell me to go out and buy and am a previous owner of two of your other suggestions. What I am saying is that I would like to buy a 100hp CB1100, and I am willing to bet there are others who feel the same way whether or not they are old enough to remember what UJM stands for. Current owners are not complaining about the power, true, but I am sure they wouldn’t complain about having more of it either.

        I vote it could use more juice. You vote leave it the way it is. Nothing wrong with either opinion.

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        • mickey says:

          Maybe Suzuki will bring out a naked GS retro using the Bandit 1250 motor and the horsepower wars of the 80s will fire up again. It was an exciting time.

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        • Doc says:

          Would I complain about more power? No. Still love mine though because it reminds me of my favorite all time bike, 1981 CB900F. I’ve had faster machines(CB1000F Hurricane, RC51 to name a couple) but none more enjoyable. And that’s what it’s all about. Spec sheets tell part of the story. But until you’ve actually ridden it, don’t knock it.

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          • Starmag says:

            +1 Doc, I have a minty ’82 CB900F that I think I like better than my 2004 ZRX1200R. The CB feels racier because it makes it’s power a little higher and because it’s slower I can whip on it more without losing my D.L. Plus it’s smoother all he way to redline and while riding it I can look down and see the engine hanging out because the tank is slim. I just wish it had modern brakes and tires though. Although the new bike is pretty,( sort of a modern CB400F)I still wish Honda had gone the Whitehouse of Japan CB750K0 route styling wise though.I posted a link to it in a previous comment. Maybe they will in the years to come.

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  9. dave says:

    i’ve had mine for a cpl years … i love it … put a nice yoshi titanium system on it …
    superbike bars

    i’m old and i don’t get passed much by anything..

    “it aint what you ride it’s how u ride it” …

    btw Gronde its happy to peel & mono whenever u may decide to …”WFO”

    cheers
    d

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  10. 70's Kid says:

    Over 200 comments generated thus far. Honda is definitely on to something with this bike!

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  11. VLJ says:

    The more I stare at and sit on the CB1100, the closer I come to knowing what would make it perfect to me. It’s just a few things, and we would be talking perfection. That’s a tough one to reach, and this bike is almost there.

    Give it the same silver wheels it has in other markets. I think it just looks classier that way, especially with the chrome fenders.

    It could really use a 5.5 gallon seamless tank.

    As the bike is currently constituted, that would be it. Just those two things. To me, that is truly remarkable. I can usually find a bazillion little things I’d change on practically any bike. Not with this one, though. Honda fairly well nailed it.

    Let me design the same basic bike from scratch and I would probably give it a sixth gear and a Bandit 1200-level of power, and again that would be it. No other changes. I would be tempted to give it shaft-drive, but because it’s a CB I suppose I would go ahead and leave it as God and Soichiro intended.

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  12. Gronde says:

    People aren’t buying this bike because of the horsepower, that’s for sure. Everybody seems to want retro with 1960′s performance and that’s exactly what this bike offers. Most folks don’t whack the throttle WFO because it scares them, so this tamed HONDA is the bike they’re looking for. Don’t like Harleys? Scared of 100+ horsepower? Stuck in a 1960′s mindset? Well, this bike is exactly what you need to cut down on unnecessary excitement in your life.

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    • MGNorge says:

      It’s obviously not your bike the way you’ve painted it but I think you’re selling it short also. Interestingly, I have a riding buddy who’s son sold his Kawasaki 900 for a CB1100. He’s 29 years old and seems to enjoy his bike just fine. I briefly was on a short ride where he joined us and he had no issue staying with the pack at all but then we weren’t pushing things to the edge of comfort either, we had our wives along after all. I may have to ask for a short ride so I can speak first hand but I think I’d be glad to have one in the stable.

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    • Another Mike says:

      There are other reasons riders don’t whack the throttle wide open than “it scares them…” Silly boy.

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      • Gronde says:

        My guess is that not many riders can whack the throttle wide open on a Hayabusa or ZX-14 because that is too much bike for 90% of the riders out there. It’s an image that most riders are trying to portray. I’ll have to say that the CB1100 riders aren’t trying to prove anything by buying this bike and will probably be quite happy with this bike…..until they release the CB1200.

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  13. VLJ says:

    Competitive (not sportbike competitive) horsepower and usable torque are not mutually exclusive on an 1100cc inline-four standard, yet so many people here keep attempting to make the argument that simply wringing a proper 100 rwhp out of this mill would rob it of its torque, as if it’s an either/or proposition. Well, first of all, this bike doesn’t even make all that much torque. Countless reviews have described it as being sufficiently torquey down low, sure, but they’ve also noted their surprise that it wasn’t nearly as punchy as they were expecting. Considering its tuned-for-torque design, its real-world 65-ish lbs of torque at the rear wheel isn’t very much.

    Again, an air-cooled opposed twin (not a full four-banger) that’s only 30cc’s larger makes an easy 30% more hp AND quite a bit more torque while also boasting similar fuel mileage, and no one has ever complained that the extra hp robs the bike of any riding pleasure or low-down grunt. Quite the opposite, in fact. The extra power is considered to be nothing but good, as it enhances the bike’s overall performance envelope. See, the throttle turns in both directions. If a person has no need for the extra power on top, no problem, just don’t twist the loud handle too far. The torque is always there, regardless, and in greater abundance than the Honda offers.

    Would anyone really complain if the Honda offered similar power? I just can’t imagine such a thing. Rather, the same owners who are rightfully raving about it now would rave about it even more, and for those curmudgeonly types who qualify their praise due to the CB’s relatively meager power/torque output for such a large Japanese Four there would be precious few nits left to pick.

    They would be relegated to whinging about overly large tank flanges and the missing extra gallon or so of fuel capacity, and that’d be about it.

    Folks, this isn’t rocket science. The bike could easily make twenty-five more usable hp and ten more lbs of torque at zero cost to the riding experience. We’re only talking 100 rwhp and 75 lbs of real-world torque here, not ZX-14 stratospheric power numbers; in other words, an engineering walk in the park for a modern 1100cc Japanese I-4. Does it specifically need the extra power and torque? No. Would it clearly benefit from those things, and with no real downside?

    Absolutely.

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    • Another Mike says:

      Have you even ridden it yet? Or are you an armchair quarterback?

      Report this comment

    • mickey says:

      I dont know why you are hung up on that number…why 100? Why not 110, or 115, or 125? Why 100?

      The Yamaha FZ-1 I sold to buy this bike had 125 rwhp and it was not as pleasurable to ride as this bike.

      I am not picking on your Beemer. I think it’s a fine motorcycle. When I went to Europe for a 5 country tour 3 years ago, that’s the motorcycle I chose to rent ( R1200R) and came away very impressed with the bike and even considered buying one when I got home. I am retired, don’t owe a penny to anyone, and have the disposable income to buy whatever motorcycle I want ( including Harley and Beemers and a wife who says ” if you want it, buy it ” ).. And this is the bike I chose to buy and I am tickled pink with it. I guarantee you a few horsepower more would not make me any happier. I had more horsepower and obviously I wasn’t completely happy with it. I’m happier now.

      I’d rather have the 5 gallon tank and hydraulic valves than I would more horsepower.

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      • VLJ says:

        Good point. Any of those hp numbers would work.

        As to why I chose 100? Simple. It’s the rwhp output of the old air-cooled Bandit 1200 (which ran on regular 87-grade fuel, not Premium) and the current air-cooled, opposed twin R1200R. They prove how easy it would be for Honda to do the same.

        And the FZ-1 was/is a liquid-cooled bike that does in fact trade quite a bit of low-down grunt for those extra 50 hp on top. That’s another reason why I targeted 100 rwhp/75 lbs of torque instead of 125 rwhp. Those numbers already exist in bikes that are wonderfully torquey, with similar powerbands to the CB1100.

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    • 70's Kid says:

      It’s apparent that the CB1100 has gotten under your skin. Wonder why.

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      • VLJ says:

        Not in the least. Just pointing out the obvious.

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        • Provologna says:

          For what it’s worth, I agree with you 100%. Honda cheaped out on the power/tq specs for no good reason. You and me and others stating our opinion on this is just as valid as other person’s glorious praise of the OEM specs. The CB1100 power and weight about equal my stock 79 Suzuki GS1000 (spoke alloy rims).

          I sat on the CB1100 on the showroom floor. The more I look at the images, the better I think looked the original 69 through early 70s Honda CB750K models (fuel tank side/center horizontal area painted gloss black, four-pipe). I’d prefer silver spokes, side covers color matched to fuel tank, fuel tank graphics more like the original, and silver cylinder fins.

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      • Gronde says:

        This bike has the power-to-weight ratio of a 1978 CX500. If you’re happy with that bike, then you’ll be totally happy with this “new” CB1100. Excess power really only matters when you’re 2 up, going uphill, want to pass a line of cars, get out of a dangerous situation etc… not really that important now, is it?

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        • 70's Kid says:

          Go ahead and keep trying Gronde, but it’s not working. You’re coming across as a bit desperate to tell you the truth.

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        • joe b says:

          what bike do you ride, Gronde?

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        • GuyLR says:

          Your math is wrong. The CX500 made 50hp at the crank and weighed around 460 pounds wet. It would have had to make around 74hp to match the power to weight ratio of the CB1100.

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          • 70's Kid says:

            Even if the CB1100 were rated at 70hp (or any random figure for that matter), as long as it performs the way it does currently, I really wouldn’t care. I love riding the bike just the way it came from the factory and that’s what really matters to me as an actual owner, not whatever numbers are associated with it. Except for maybe insurance rates and gas mileage (which has been far better than I expected from initial reviews).

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    • MGNorge says:

      Obviously some feel the rated horsepower as being just fine and others not enough. I suppose the only true way to answer that is to go ride one and see for yourself. Rather than sticking a label on it, not enough horsepower, and deeming it unacceptable it might be better to go get first hand experience? We all find things we like/dislike about various bikes and they’re not all going to be everyone’s cup of tea. This bike is obviously built toward the nostalgia of the original CB750′s and Honda has kept the price down. I suspect those two attributes will draw people in and that’s what any manufacturer wants and needs right now.

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      • 70's Kid says:

        Sure enough.

        Regardless of the rated horsepower, it has more than enough get up and go for me. Regardless of the torque rating, it launches so easily and pulls so strongly anywhere in the rev range that I don’t worry about the numbers assigned to that facet of the bikes performance. Regardless of the rated weight, when I’m on the bike it feels far lighter than I would have thought and is almost effortless to maneuver. Regardless of the tank size, the engine has been working efficiently enough that I’m ready to stop for gas well before the engine demands it.

        And when I’m done riding the bike and it is time to put it away, there is nothing else currently for sale on the new bike market that I would rather look at sitting in my garage at the end of the day. And I’m just as excited to see the bike sitting there waiting to go the next time I step out to the garage to take it for another spin.

        Others surely do, and will feel differently, but I can’t get too worked up over their criticisms when I find the CB1100 to be so satisfying to own. The bottom line for me is this: I’m incredibly happy with this bike, and that feeling only grows stronger the more time I spend with it,

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Folks, this isn’t rocket science. The bike could easily make twenty-five more usable hp and ten more lbs of torque at zero cost to the riding experience.”

      the EPA begs to differ.

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      • VLJ says:

        It can beg all it wants. Plenty of other bikes have already managed such a feat. An engineering giant like Honda? They wouldn’t have the slightest problem producing an 1140cc I-4 that hits those numbers while also meeting any and all EPA requirements.

        Oh, and 70′s Kid’s post perfectly describes why I wanted a CB1100 so badly. I never thought it would compete with an R1200R, much less a Ninja 1000, and I didn’t care. I wanted something that would force to me slow down (at least a little) while still being an effortless joy to ride. I knew I would cherish the CB for its simple, timeless beauty.

        I wanted THAT bike. More power and a larger tank would make the CB even more appealing to me, but those things were never going to stop me from owning one.

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  14. joe b says:

    Couple of below comments don’t seem to make any sense. “the front half doesn’t match the back half”. say what? “some bikes were meant to compete with another”, huh?
    Why is it that some want to beat a square peg into a round hole, it looks like Honda did a lot to make this bike look and perform to meet some expectation of a time past.
    I had a ’07 Bandit, and it had more torq. My ’08 VFR800 had lots of intricate things to look at and excite you, but lacked both Hp and torq.
    I too wanted a bike, similar to the “old CB750″, with upright riding position, but with new engine, wheels, forks, shocks, brakes, and decided the CB1000R was what I was looking for, and now with 5k miles, its close to what I wanted, but many of the posts in forums and tests, everybody wants to do to it, what is posted here, beat a square peg into a round hole.
    I just don’t understand why some comment about things, especially since few of them have looked at the bike in the flesh, or even rode one. (some background of what they now ride, and how long they have been on bikes would help, but that’s asking too much).
    I would like to ride one of these, probably a nice bike.

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    • Doc says:

      joe b, it is a nice bike. I love mine. Any one that knocks it before riding it, is missing out. Especially if you like UJMs of the past.

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    • Louis says:

      So you don’t understand why some comment about things? Well, because this is an open forum and short of using offensive language we can comment on whatever we want. Sorry to offend your good sense of taste in stating an opinion on the CB1100. I have seen the bike several times in person, even rode with a guy who has one. (for a day-long ride) I stand by my opinion, I think the front of the bike is not in synch with the back. Just an opinion. I still like the bike, a lot. As for what bikes I have had and how long I’ve ridden; 29 years and 18 motorcycles, including two Nighthawk ‘S’ models and an early 90′s 750 Nighthawk. I hope you enjoy your new Honda, I may get one next model year.

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  15. mickey says:

    Here’s a quote posted up today on the cb1100forum.com This is a typical report from new owners. Ain’t nobody unhappy about not having 100 horses over there:

    Today brought beautiful weather and clean roads up the nearest canyon so I had to take a ride on my, less than 1 week old, CB1100.

    I had to report how surprised I was/am at the nimble, lithe handling of the little red CB.
    The road I was on is rather tight with lots of sharp turns but aside from one corner they are just short of switchbacks.
    It opens up in a few spots enough to get some speed just to slow you back down into the tight twisties again.
    I just watched a Japanese Gymkhana video so that was playing out in my head as I dipped hard into each corner and twisted the right grip to fire out of the exits.
    I managed to completely erase any sign of a chicken strip on the new tires.

    I didn’t realize how much fun I was having and just how good the bike felt until I exited the canyon and slowed down – once I relaxed I just kept repeating “WOW” inside my helmet.

    The bike is light, quick, fun, and surprisingly nimble with excellent feel under hard cornering (not track speed but street speed)

    I’m very impressed and very happy with my new bike. It’s so much better than I thought It would be.
    What a kick.

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  16. Richard says:

    Whats better about this than the air-cooled Suzuki Bandit 1200 of the early 2000s. Except the Bandit had 100hp. Did Suzuki sell a boatload of those? Maybe times have changed and folks will actually buy these.

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    • mickey says:

      Suzuki Bandit was not a naked retro, it had a quarter fairing and was designed to compete with the Kaw 1000 and the Yamaha FZ-1. True it had 100 hp but it was 25 hp down on its competition wheras the CB 1100 is a naked retro designed to compete with the Triumph Bonneville, the Moto Guzzi V7 and the Kawasaki 800 that has 25 hp or more up on its competition.

      Suzuki might very well use the Bandit 1250 mill in a GS 1250 retro and sell more bikes than they did Bandits. The Bandit 1200/1250 was a perfectly fine motorcycle that was never appreciated imo.

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    • slipjoint says:

      The Bandit was a clapped together parts bin bike that was a great utility performer but with a heavy dose of ugly. Bandit power numbers and the eye appeal of this Honda would be a better seller than either.

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  17. Jeremy in TX says:

    Man that thing would look tight with a cleaned up tail and some clipons. Dirt tracker treatment would also look great on it.

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  18. slipjoint says:

    Vey nice I may be interested in a couple of years on the used market. But if Honda comes out with a modern suspension and brake ‘CBX’ with no downtubess, still air cooled, and a bundle of snakes exhaust I will camp out overnight with a wheelbarrow full of cash at the dealer’s door happy to pay whatever their full asking price is.

  19. SmokinRZ says:

    Torque feels so much better than horsepower on the street. Typical of Honda to give you what you need and not what you think you want. I just wish the cases were silver like the old days.

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  20. peugeotiste says:

    Kawasaki,

    PLEASE,
    PLEASE,
    PLEASE,
    bring your Japanese-market retro Z400
    to Europe & US.

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  21. mickey says:

    You guys cant seem to understand that Honda built this bike to an experience, and not to a HP goal. They could have easily given it 100 HP, they CHOSE not to

    Lets compare this bike to its competiton

    2013 Triumph Bonneville T100 67 HP 50 lbs trq 495 lbs wet single disc front 5 speed 4.2 gal gas no centerstand no abs option $ 9099

    2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic 50 HP 43 lbs trq 436 lb wet single disc front 5 speed 5.8 gal gas no centerstand no abs option. $ 8990

    2013 Kawasaki W 800 47 HP 44 lbs trq 478 lb wet single disc front 6 speed 3.7 gal gas has centerstand no abs option (not available in US ) $ 9014 (€ 6999)

    2013 Honda CB 1100 86 HP 68# trq 547 wet weight dual disc front 3,9 gal gas has a centerstand has an abs option $ 9999

    Comparitively speaking this bike is a rocket ship and a torque monster and a hard braking machine. It comes with a centerstand. You can get abs. It has a superb fit and finish, and is backed up by a larger dealer network than any of its rivals…all for just over $ 1000 more than it’s cheapest rival.

    This bike is a freakin bargain!

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    • GuyLR says:

      Exactly right. This bike is not meant to be a performance king. It’s supposed to be a good ride at a fair price and I think from the test impressions that it hit the mark.

      BTW, on the W800 I think the horsepower spec on it is 60 not 47. That could be the W650 spec.

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    • Gary says:

      I’m pretty sure the CB runs on regular gas. An air-cooled four-cylinder that pumps out 100 bhp would probably require premium … and would have a tougher time meeting emission regs.

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      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Indeed. The BMW, Ducati, and defunct Buell and Suzuki Bandit 1000 engines are all 100+ crank HP air-cooled mills and all require premium fuel. Personally, I’d be happy to pump premium into the CB’s tank if that meant the engine could have been designed a little spicier.

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        • Dave says:

          “a healthy 68 foot pounds of torque delivered at 5,000 rpm.”

          Id bet that the majority of customers buying this bike would rather keep the above characteristic (and fuel mileage this delivers) than have the engine produce 100hp somewhere in the rev range that they will likely never ride. Redline on this appears to be 9k/rpm.

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    • Yoyodyne says:

      Bingo, you are exactly right on all counts!

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    • Starmag says:

      Speaking of the Bonneville, a direct copy of their old bikes dosen’t seem to have hurt Triumph. I wish Honda had gotten a little closer to the cb750k0. Check out whitehouse’s products in Japan. sweet.

      http://www.cb750cafe.jp/images/k10/k10_00.jpg

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    • Artem says:

      I saw W800 at the streets in Russia couple of times and CB1100 zero times. VFR1200 is rather popular – a lot of.
      And according to our domestic pricelist w800 is about 3000$ less.

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    • Joe Sixpack says:

      at 550 lbs. it sure won’t handle like a Bonnie or a MG. Plus, you ain’t paying list for those two. The Honda, probably will. So for $2000+ more you get more power and ABS. Why not just by a gently used Speed Triple?

      Report this comment

      • mickey says:

        You’d be surprised how well this bike handles.

        I paid well below list for mine and no additional charges besides tax. I had to pay retail when I bought my Bonnie though, oncluding $ 450 frt and $250 set up…. dealer wouldn’t discount a penny.(Don’t know about Guzzi dealers, never bought one) So about the same price, I got 2 more cylinders, 30 more horsepower, an additional disc front brake, a larger dealer network, and a better finished bike when going from the Bonnie to the CB1100. A bargain in my eyes.

        Would not even consider a “gently used Speed Triple” over this bike. You don’t understand the genre at all, do you?

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  22. 70's Kid says:

    I think one of the best indicators that Honda has created something special with the CB1100 is the amount of public response it generates — quite a bit more than most other bikes these days. It’s pretty obvious that the people who own them are thrilled with the bike regardless of the specs and such that some will point out as negatives. But the fact that so many other people feel strongly enough about the bike, one way or the other, to take the time to comment is even more telling in my opinion.

    I know that I don’t spend my time focusing on bikes I’m not interested in. I’m too busy reading up on the bikes that bring me enjoyment, or at least interest me, to read reviews of bikes that don’t (let alone taking the time to comment on them). That so many people will take the time to share comments, even negative comments, is telling because that typically doesn’t happen with bikes they aren’t interested in.

    It’s pretty obvious that the CB1100 generates a lot of passion and a lot of interest. Nicely done Honda.

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  23. Louis says:

    It’s probably just me, but does anyone notice that the front of this bike, forward of the seat, looks like one type of motorcycle, and the back half, behind the gas tank, looks like it belongs on a different bike? It just doesn’t look right somehow. However, if I were in the market for a bike, this one would be in my top three to consider.

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  24. davidex400 says:

    the bikes been out a little while now hasent it? i saw one a couple weeks ago at a gas station, nice bike!

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  25. Fangit says:

    Even though it’s a retro, you would assume this bike would have better (certainly not less)technology than the original. With 50% more displacement than the original 750 it ought to make at least 50% more power (102 hp). 86 crank hp??? How embarrassing! I’m all for retro bikes and I know there will be some significant compromise in performance compared to modern equivalents, but please Honda don’t insult us with such pathetic performance. Moto Guzzis V7 retro is the same. I guess these bikes will sell on looks alone but would do so much better is they performed reasonably well. An example of a retro done properly IMO is the Ducati sport classic.

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    • todder says:

      I too wish they would bring back that Ducati GT with a Metal GasTank…that’s the only change I’d ask for.

      Report this comment

    • MGNorge says:

      “How embarrassing”? To whom? The rider? Onlookers? Won’t hold up under cross-exam from the buds at the tav? Then this bike, and other less powerful bikes aren’t for you. Spec sheets and power graphs are great for bench racing but are far from telling the whole story. If you hadn’t noticed, the world has been in a slump for the past 5 years. The motorcycle industry took a very hard hit, sales were way down and dealers closed. The recent signs of rebirth have come from the newer small displacement entries into the market. We won’t speak of Harley here, they have their own eco system.
      The bike this harkens back to was the Honda CB750 of 1969 and later. It was rated all of 67 or 68 horsepower and at the time was one of the most powerful bikes made. Utterly popular, they hold a spot in the hearts of many even today. The CB1100 here represents the same sort of bike as the original but brought up to date in a number of areas. Its greater torque and power are a plus but never meant to be over the top. Notice the price of this bike? Add too many farkles or up power by too much and suddenly that bike will either weigh more or cost more. At the moment, keeping costs in check is breathing new life into motorcycling. I may never buy a CB1100 but I like what it and others like it are doing for motorcycling.

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  26. gltbiter says:

    86 HP??? why? could have been at least 100 just as easily.

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    • peugeotiste says:

      because more is not always better.

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      • Bud says:

        In a 540 lb motorcycle, 100 hp is better than 86 IMO

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        • Dave says:

          While it’s hard to imagine that 100hp could be hard to achieve with an engine of this displacement, peak hp is not very important in a street bike. It’d be a worthy trade for good low to mid torque and better efficiency on a bike like this (which apparently it has).

          The new 500 has a low peak hp figure but it’s largely because of it’s 8,500rpm red line. Reports are saying that it is very good to ride at real street speeds and can get as much as 70mpg (!).

          Hopefully consumers can get past placing so much importance on the hp figure, be honest with themselves about how they really ride and reward Honda for building very good real world bikes for us again.

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    • Neil says:

      Because the CBR’s have plenty of horsepower already if that’s that you want. They made it pull from 2000 rpm which comes at a cost of HP. I was on my 06 919 the other day and it too pulls from 2000 rpm. Half the throttle, 5000 rpm, (of the 100HP 919) is enough for street riding. It’s about the ride itself. If we want HP we can just buy the Tuono VFour. That’s not the point. I rode an 05 CBR1K. There’s your HP and the chassis to match it!

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  27. Kirk says:

    It looks like a hoot to play with. I have been riding for over 30yrs and went through a long streak of wanting fast bikes. About 2 1/2 yrs ago I sold a ZRX because it handled well enough to carry middle 60′s speeds on 35 mph curves. It hit me that I was missing the ride while I was concentrating on the corners. Sold it and bought a KLR to realign my riding style. This CB looks like a reason to enjoy air-cooled bikes again. I am looking forward to the first used ones hitting the market in 2014.

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  28. Gary says:

    I went to a local dealer yesterday and had a close look. The fit and finish are superb … much better than in the old days. Beautiful bike.

  29. PN says:

    Nice bike, and good for Honda. It’s not that beautiful to me, but so what? Plenty of people will enjoy riding the heck out of it.

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