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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Honda CB1100 Emerges From The Shadows

At the risk of sending members of our Baby Boomer audience into some sort of retro-induced seizure, we present a link to a video prepared by Honda in Japan regarding the new CB1100 (designed just for you, Mr. Baby Boomer). Don’t tell anyone if we crash Honda’s Server. Here is the link, and don’t ask, because we have no idea if this bike will ever show up here in the United States. We hope so.

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MD Readers Respond:

  • You know being 45 I guess that this bike was made for me. I will say I do like the look of it & it dose make me look back to bikes I loved in my youth. The thing that I see that honda got wrong in there thought of what I want from a motorcycle is a bit off. I want that style, but not the cut rate, low end motorcycle that they have made. Why can’t it have top notch shock, & forks. If this was the platform (like it was then) for there race bikes it sure would have better. When did they decide I need to stroll in the park, I have an 03 Z1000 , I don’t stroll. When all said & done the new Z1000 is closer, but the styling is too far out there. Now if we could blend them together. I they Yamaha FZ-1 had a bit better low end.  Todd
  • Wow…The Honda video has to be one of the best promotions ever for a motorcycle. It was so refreshing to see the emphasis placed on the simple joy of riding. Not one word about specs or performance, just a constant reference to the pleasant riding experience. Heck, they even touted the “slight throttle lag instead of instant response.” They’re taking a risk with the younger, go fast crowd making statements like that. In my mind, it’s proof that they really are targeting my demographic. I don’t know if the rest of the world is heavily populated with 40-60 year old guys who grew up on bikes like that, but I know a bunch of them live here. I’m sure Honda knows, too. I can’t imagine them not bringing the CB1100 to the US. But I guess until then, I’ll just rewind my old “The Came Bronson” collector’s series and hope they do.  Dave
  • Wow, I’m in my 50’s and was considering picking up a 09 leftover cruiser, but now I think I’ll wait. It’s not only naked, but sweet looking as well.  Herb
  • This is an excellent design that would appeal to the same group Triumph has reached with their parallel twins. Can’t wait to see one in a US dealership!  Pete
  • Its back to the perfect time in the world of motorcycles. I may send a deposit check to Mr Honda just in case it does come to America. (However the Yamaha Tenerie is also on my wish list)  Tom
  • It brings tears of joy to see this bike reincarnated. Hope it comes to America.   Tom
  • This is America damn**. Why can’t we have this bike in our garage  Tom
  • After looking at the CB1100 video and reading the comments I come to one conclusion:

    The CB is designed to appease us old farts who want to ride a large displacement mediocre bike. While the bike is indeed beautiful it would appear that the riding experience will be akin to sitting on the sofa with a fan blowing in your face.  John

  • As one who benefited from owning the ultimate UJM, a 1982 CB900F, I really miss them. You could configure them any way you wanted: touring, sport, whatever. Today’s naked bikes are essentially sport bikes without the extra plastic, and continue to have limited versatility. The CB1100 is exactly what I want. I hope it comes here, without any bikini fairing, or anything else that would inhibit personalization.   Enest
  • Love the bike. Love the movie. Honda has finally discovered it’s heritage. The CB1100 is exactly that. Evolved from the bike that changed everything, Honda’s movie makes it clear why this bike was designed. You don’t need to be 60 years old to understand. The beauty of the machine speaks for itself. Harley-Davidson has been successfully marketing this idea since they began their business. Heritage, history, blood-line, corporate pride. However you describe it, it’s all the same. This bike is an American success story waiting to happen.

    Here’s a link to another Honda movie on the same subject:  Frank

  • Thanks for posting the link to the CB1100 movie. It was like a trip down memory lane. I wish there were more non-hyper bikes like this. I don’t ned to go 180 MPH when commuting to work.  Bruce
  • I sure hope Honda does not bring this bike to America because if they do I will have to buy one.  Richard
  • I LOVE this bike. I hope it doesnt come here for a few years because when it does I HAVE to buy one. Maybe I should start saving now. This bike does retro better than Guzzi, Ducati & Triumph.  Mark
  • Where do I send the check? I’d buy this right now. Really! No shuck and jive, man.  John
  • This is the bike I have been waiting for! I turned 10 years old and got my first bike in 1970, I looked at every bike made and wanted a cb 750 so bad! This is the perfect bike for my every day ride. Please bring it to the USA!!!!!  Jana
  • The fact that the new cb 1100 video is sub-titled in English must mean that Honda is too some extent looking at the N. American market with this bike now. Also, at the very end of the video it states in so many words “please contact your dealer for more information.”

    If they bring the CB1100 over I will be buying one. Finally, a beautiful standard motorcycle. Far too few of these being offered at present. I think this is beginning to change!

    Thanks Dirk.  Ted

  • I have often looked upon the “naked” motorcycles produced by Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki with curiosity (and not much else). The modern bikes seem to lack a simplicity and focus that I instead have in my 2006 Ducati S2R1000; however, in watching the attached video and listening to the engineers speak of making the CB1100 enjoyable to ride (and simply look at) instead of working to wring the most power and the best handling out of the technology available, they have sincerely caught my attention. For the first time in many years I find myself sincerely wanting this motorcycle to be everything that they intend it to be, to include it being available for purchase in America, where kindred spirits scan the horizon for a motorcycle that will move them both physically and emotionally to their destination.  Ken
  • I work at a small independent shop in Madison, WI and I get to rid all kinds of bikes. What I think is missing from motorcycles in America are just plain “motorcycles” I find myself enjoying rides on Kawasaki Z1s, KZ1000 and 1100s, DOHC Honda 750s and 900s more than any other type of bike. Any of these bikes in good mechanical condition are a absolute pleasure to ride. The new CB1100 looks like it has all the qualitys of the bikes I listed, plus fuel injection which would take one of the pain out of owning one of the carbureted air cooled bikes listed, what with fuel quality today. If you think this bike should have more performance or better components, take it to your local speed shop and see what can be done (just like in the old days), modifying ones bike also has many rewards.
    Honda please bring this bike to the United States of America.  Fred

  • How ’bout that! Honda is building the UJM again.  Steve
  • Mornin’,

    The CB1100 only reminds me of the other UJMs we are not permitted to buy in the U.S.

    Do these bikes not meet our EPA requirements? Is there some exorbitant cost involved in bringing these bikes to America?

    Is there some good reason the manufacturers couldn’t offer the bikes on an order basis? Maybe a heartfelt please, or maybe a few “all hail hondas” .

    Perhaps our EPA standards are unreasonable.

    Whatever the reason somebody needs to come up with a solution so we, the motorcycle buying citizens of North America. don’t have to continue to endure being ignored.

    Forgive the bitterness, but I and others are older now and can’t or don’t want to fold ourselves up to ride the modern hot rods, and cruisers just don’t cut it.



  • A nice looking bike, but I think a lot of you are being swayed by a pretty face. If you relly read what the developers of the bike were saying you heard:

    There is bad throttle response

    The engine is not smooth

    The bike wasn’t built to go fast

    The bike is for people who don’t ride a lot and spend a lot of time just looking at it or polishing it.

    I understand the retro thing, and the whole “ride just to enjoy riding” thing. I’m not a sport bike rider either and prefer nakeds, but this bike is set up like a tall cruiser, and will probably handle like one (i.e. badly). Every once in a while we all like a spirited ride and I doubt this bike will deliver in that respect.

    At 1100cc this bike will not not be cheap, and you’ll be paying a premium for an incredibly mediocre ride no matter how nice you think it looks or how far it brings you back into your younger years.

  • If Honda brings this bike to the US. I will sell my Sportster and purchse the red one. It is exactly what I would like in a motorcycle: Simple,refined,cool.
  • Hi:

    I’m 46 and remember loving the old CBs when I was young.

    I think Honda did a nice job of bring back the nostalgia but I would not buy one if it came over here.

    I’ve been wanting a ‘retro’ look bike for a long time but I want something with more up-scaled components like better shocks, brakes etc. Look at what Norton is doing (yeah, I know, the Norton costs more). I still want some performance than a ‘cruiser’ type bike.

    I think Honda missed it here and a bit late in the game. Look at Triumph with the Bonnie, Truxton, Ducati with GT1000 and even the Kawasaki’s

    So, looking for a retro-style bike, I rather get the Triumph’s new Bonnie for looks, style, and the cool factor.  Phil

  • Nice looking for an old bike, not so much for a 2011.

    I would love a modern UJM built for older mature riders if it brings less weight, better brakes and a great seat.

    I would not buy a new $8,000 version when I can get a nice, old one for less than $1,000.  Allen

  • Being 49 years old, I really like the CB1100. I’ve had a cb650 a 700 and two 750’s and liked them all. I like what the video said about just relaxing and enjoying the road, the wind and the scenery. It is amazing the way you can just go out and thumb the starter on a CB and the bike just comes to life immediately. A couple of minutes later when the head is warm to the touch, you put it in gear and enjoy the ride. Unlike the 750, which was somewhat busy on the highway, the 1100 would purr right along and handle passing slower cars and jammed right lane traffic with east. I test rode one of the first Kawasaki Z1000’s and it felt nervous in many ways. The Honda engineers have designed such nervousness out of it. As Tady Okada says, you can just take your hands off the bars at the lights and enjoy the ride. I want one!  -Neil
  • Good find. Its sized for luxury western bike market. Send a 400 and I will nibble, wanting to actually be able to use the motors envelope. Better yet tell Yamaha to send SR400.
  • After watching two videos on this bike and listening to the philosophy behind its creation I just had to get on my bike and go for a ride! That done, I settled down to read some more about it and let it soak in. Honda does have a strong link to its very popular roots that huge numbers of riders remember. It’s very easy to get caught up in the never ending hyper bikes that push the performance envelope, and rider’s licenses, to the limit or the popular cruiser scene complete with appropriate garb. But most of the time it is just about the ride, a favorite road, a favorite destination along with your faithful steed. There’s little need for the most powerful or fastest bike or to act and dress like you’re in the pirate parade downtown. Just a normal Joe going for a refreshing ride that few other means of transportation can deliver, if any? I think Honda may be onto something with this if they can cultivate it? If it proves to be popular you can bet others will join in.  Rick
  • Like the look of the CB1100, but I would be even more interested in such a bike if it had a big parallel twin of about 1200cc and shaft drive like the Yamaha Tenere.  Harry
  • I am bowled over from watching Honda’s fine and tasteful video, to the point of tears almost forming. The video of the designers, seeing them talk about their creation, has transformed my opinions of Honda. Before I viewed Honda as an immense conglomerate of magician engineers overseen by detailed bean counting MBAs…no more! To see they have engineers with so much feeling for this sport is truly and incredibly heartwarming. They get it! They realize there are so many of us waiting and waiting for someone to make something we can truly enjoy, allowing us to relive the intense and overwhelming joy of our first ride. For me, as for possibly many readers, it was a moped or mini bike. But it does not matter. At the start, regardless whether it was a 2hp Tecumesh or a pedal-type mo-ped, that first joy is long lost. Honda gets that we can relive some of that joy, and this glorious CB1100 may just be the magic carpet ride to that reliving.

    The King is dead! Long live the King! I will certainly call my local Honda dealer ASAP and promise an immediate deposit if/when availability is announced. I wonder if the CB1100 could become one of the rare Hondas to appreciate in value after production ceases.

    As a postscript: I recently rode my friend’s Ducati Hypermotard S on California Highway 17 into Santa Cruz. It was a thrilling ride, certainly the most satisfying road bike I’ve sampled (I’m 55 and owned about 75 bikes). As sweet as it was, I feel quite certain I would find the CB1100 far more satisfying a ride overall, far more likely to be a keeper, embodying the spirit portrayed in the lovely and endearing video.

    Honda just jumped to the top of my list of favorite motorcycle makers. If they don’t bring the CB1100 to the USA, they may fall to the bottom of that same list.

    As a musician, loudspeaker designer, broker of some of the world’s finest custom guitars, and sound engineer: it was interesting that the music sound track may have actually included a real live acoustic percussion instruments rather than the usual synthesized trash to which most young people are accustomed. Kudos to Honda to carry the spirit of the CB1100 even into the music production of the video! Again, I can not overstate my respect and admiration for the engineers responsible for the CB1100. God speed, Honda!  James

  • As a 50-year-old long-time rider, the CB1100 really got my attention. Yes, I’d buy one. But your comment about bringing back something like the CBX really struck a chord. Price be damned, I’d own it. An emotional connection to a motorcycle may be the best selling strategy of all time.  -Steve
  • spindly forks, weak brakes, restrictive exhaust, dinky chrome fenders, goofy retro cast wheels, rear shocks that are probably squishy as [heck]…

    all these things can be replaced.

    the steel frame and the air-cooled, injected big four are the selling point, to me. for those of us with this fetish it would be nice to skip the whole motor rebuild, replace every bearing and electrical appliance, etc. A little support from Wiseco, K&N, Marchesini, Marzocchi, Progressive Suspension, Brembo et al. would go a long way.  Justin

  • I immediately mailed America Honda a hand written letter about the CB1100

    …times are tough but the video says it all and I told them that – at age 49, they took the words out of my mouth.  Neil

  • Ya know, this isn’t the first time that Honda (or even Suzuki and Kawasaki) has tried this. Honda had the CB1000 (water-cooled) here in the US around 92 or so, Kawasaki had the ZR1100 in the US in 93 (and many many other years known as the Zephyr outside the US), and Suzuki had the GSX1100G. Yeah, I know its not exactly the same… but I’m just saying. NONE of these bikes did well here, hence their very limited runs in the US (and perhaps continuing influence as to why we don’t get them). I hope it pans out differently for the CB1100, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I think it takes a ‘mature’ rider to truly appreciate one of these bikes, and while many of us know of those mature riders (or you are that mature rider), it’s a drop in the bucket percentage-wise compared to what most of those mature riders are looking at, which is a Harley. I think for the CB1100 to succeed here in the US, history would need to repeat itself from the 70’s (and not the early 90’s) whereas potential buyers saw them as an alternative and much more affordable option to a Harley. Of course Triumph has been tapped into this market for a while now with the Bonneville, and has been doing quite well. So it is possible. Lets just hope that the price tag Honda places on them, if they’re even brought to the US, is extremely appealing.  Tom
  • Frank’s contribution of the video link shows a short movie filmed in the South Island of New Zealand, featuring scenes in Queenstown, Wanaka, Dunedin and points in between. The comparison betwixt the CB1100 and a Tiger Moth is interesting, it demonstrates that we enjoy a certain level of performance and involvement, but in modern times things have been taken too far to actually take pleasure in.

    I see the CB1100 as having a heavier flywheel weight than usual these days, along with valve timing and injection settings that emphasize mid range power. This, along with air cooling, gives a better approximations of what riders from the 60’s and 70’s really want in a bike, not a stripped modern racer with its requirements for hair trigger reactions and nerve wracking high rev extreme power outputs.

    If we want a racer, we can buy one. If we want to relax and just enjoy the ride, we should be able to. Except that with most bikes today, this is impossible.

    I honestly enjoyed bikes better way back when. We need a choice other than just Harley.  Martin

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