First ride review: 2013 Honda CB1100

Retro ride channels the soul of its legendary ancestor

Posted: 18 January 2013
by Tom Higham

Stopping the CB1100 is a combined ABS system with a pair of 296mm discs up front. They certainly did a great job of slowing the bike during some twisty road riding. With the design and styling of the bike such an important factor, the design team created Honda's first floating hub-less brake. That shows the attention to detail given to this model, but more importantly helps show off those perfectly suited Comstar wheels.

Honda’s president Mr Ito obviously believes in the bike: he uses a CB1100 for his commute to work, although I wonder if he makes use of the D-lock space in the office car park. If the boss of the company thinks this bike’s good enough for him to use, then that can’t be a bad starting sign, can it? If Honda can get a slice of the 400,000 units that the CB750 sold during its life span I’m sure they’ll be happy with the results. 

The majority of owners will inevitably be older riders who can finally afford a bike that has attributes of the CB they lusted after in their youth or those wanted something in addition to their existing commuter. But there will certainly be some younger owners who appreciate the bike's classic aesthetics and I’d be interested to see if any CBs are quickly given clip-ons and the café racer treatment. 

Anything retro cannot be groundbreaking by definition. But owners of the CB1100 won’t care about that. Along with the heritage, they’ll purchase it for it’s styling, reliability, ease of living with and the simple ride it delivers. I’d just like to make a bit more noise doing it. 

In fact that's the only change I would make to the bike: to make it a bit louder. A 4-into-1 exhaust system looks nice enough but how much cooler and ‘retro’ would two separate pipes each side of the bike look and sound? They would surely make a more interesting official aftermarket part than the carbon fibre tank pad or coloured fork adjuster bolts and dash cover.

The 2013 Honda CB1100 is priced at £8,950, with fuel consumption claimed at 51.4mpg. It’s due in dealerships from late February to early March.

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Discuss this story

Yup, looks like a decent, unpretentious, basic, cheap... wait, it's £9,000?

I guess you have to pay a lot these days to give the impression that you didn't.

Posted: 21/01/2013 at 08:55

Zephyr 1100, GSX1400, XJR1300.
Honda are a bit late to the party with this one aren't they?

Posted: 22/01/2013 at 12:59

If this bike was brought in the early 90s it would have sealed the deal for Honda with instant sales, but as usual they were sleeping.
RipsawII you called it correctly on your choice of three bikes that simply walk all over this new CB.
Even a naked Mk1 Bandit 1200 makes this bike look overpriced and boring.

Posted: 22/01/2013 at 17:31

Rode one today in Thailand its is excellent in the flesh compact ,low c of g strong torque nicely finished in usual honda fashion paint is superb and pleasant to ride ,HANDLING IS FINE , ITS NOT A SPORTS BIKE BUT IT HAS A COMFY RIDE AND ACCURATE HANDLING AT SENSIBLE SPEEDS AROUND MY USUAL BACKROADS IT WAS HAPPY CRUISING AND BEND SWINGING ON SANDY ASHPHALT AT 60-70MPH. top speed was about 124mph but thats not what this bike is about its actually very nice I liked it a lot better than my old Cb500 or Norton Commando in 1974 my normal bike these days is an S4 monster , but the Cb1100 is a really decent modern retro bags more fun than a bonny 900 just needs a reverse cone mega to release a rorty sound , only problem in Thailand is the £16,000 price tag due to import duties

Posted: 23/01/2013 at 13:36

[quote]Even a naked Mk1 Bandit 1200 makes this bike look overpriced and boring.[/quote] - Suzsmokeyallan

Come on! the ol' bandit makes everything look overpriced and boring - well definitely overpriced - but it was never pretty like the other 'retros'.

Posted: 24/01/2013 at 16:37

Manufacturers normally produce retro bikes because of the style - this one is pretty bland, IMO.

Also, given how popular the cafe racer style has become recently, why are Triumph and Enfield the only manufacturers to make one of those?

Posted: 06/02/2013 at 13:39

The triumph bonneville looks like an old bonneville,the kawasaki w650 looks like an old kawasaki w650.the guzzi v7 looks like an old guzzi,Can anybody think of an old honda that looks like this ? i had a cb750k2 a cb750f1 and a cb900f,none of them looked remotely like this bike,looks ok but pointless especially at the price

Posted: 06/02/2013 at 16:22

Odd comments about the retro cb1100. I am almost 61. Have ridden bikes since 1970. I can't wait to bring this bike home. If you missed the cb750 of 1969, here you go. I don't care who rides what. Just live and let live, but this is the first bike in almost 20 years that is parting me from my money. Honda has a winner here. I may get two; I have 6 interested children and an embarrassingly young girlfriend, all excited by this bike. The price? Sorry you can't afford it. I couldn't either back then. In another 20 years, get your heart's desire. Just understand that all bikes are a joy. I just think this one is mine. Love to ride with anybody on any bike. Picking up my cb1100 this weekend. Let's ride when spring actually gets here.

Posted: 09/04/2013 at 21:09

I agree! I just got rid of my kawasaki 2010 Z1000 for this new 2013 CB1100. Brings back the early 70's when I started riding and couldn't afford the bigger bikes. This bike is beautiful and is a dream to drive! I got the red one

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 02:45

I picked up a red CB 1100 last week and was a little nervous after years of only occasional summer riding of a BMW R50. The Honda was easy to control, although overall weight balance higher up and the first foray out of Cheltenham in 'rush' hour, with half blind motorists, a little challenge. Once out of town and away the power delivery is gutsy but turbine smooth. Handling/tyres balance different due to riding position but not twitchy. Now, after a week the whole package works superbly. Great looks; technology to rely on and a lovely way to get back to a big bike and enjoy. I had my CB750 K2 new in 1974 and although my first 'superbike' i found it rather gutless and bland. This new Honda is a superb combo of old and new ... so, before commenting, get to know it better. Wearing the old nostalgia goggles i nearly bought a 1970 restored T120 Bonneville but just like in 1974 it was the bucks worth of build quality and finish that won. Can't wait for sun and fast sweeping bends to come ...

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 16:04

hi, we have a white cb1100 my wife calls it the magic carpet {she rides it too}we have had about 23 bikes and this one stands out as being one of the nicest to ride, it's not about ego's or power it's about the ride, it does what you want when you want, I think Honda was bang on with this one, if I had any criticism it would be that the tank could have been a little bit bigger, we have 4 into 4 pipes from pipe masters in Australia and lower bars the sound and the feel of the bike takes us back to times gone by, I'm sure in the future this bike will be a NEW classic

Posted: 22/05/2013 at 12:13

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