The men behind the Honda CB1100

5 minutes with the team behind Honda's new retro bike

I caught up with In-Line 4 series Large Project Leader Hirofumi Fukanaga and Testing Project Leader Shunji Yokokawa at the CB1100 launch in Valencia today. Honda Europe PR Manager Paul Nowers was on hand to translate…

Why did Europe have to wait 3 years for the CB1100 to come to Europe?

Fukanaga: Japan and Australia were the first countries it went on sale in and now it's going to be Europe and the USA.

This bike was of a level of importance that we thought for Europe… It was almost like there was a queuing system and there were other bikes that we thought were of higher importance to get out on sale in Europe before this one.

In terms of specification from the start the development process it was always intended for it to be available in Europe so in terms of the spec it was ready to go.

Nowers: So for us it was kind of a commercial decision for us not to take it to a few years ago… But with continuing demand from dealers, customers and popularity in the press we reviewed it and now's the time it's come out, not just in Europe but America at the same time as well.

Why 1100 specifically and not a revamped 750?

Fukanaga: We had a 750 on sale until about 2008. So we could have continued with something which had been around until fairly recently. The new capacity gets out the aesthetics and the beauty of an air-cooled engine. The 1100 capacity has a presence, which we thought would be accepted by more people. That is the strategy. A revamped 750 is not something we have on the drawing board.

If you could personally create another modern retro bike from Honda's line up what would you choose?

Fukanaga: My first Honda bike was the 5 Fifty 4. A lot of the advertising around that bike had some really fun themes and so personally I'd like to come up with something similar. 

Yokokawa: My first Honda bike was a CB900. The reason I had the 900 when I was 18-19 was after seeing Freddie Spencer wheeling his way down the corkscrew and Laguna. So if it were up to me I would want to recreate the Cb900 

Honda's President Mr Ito uses a CB1100 to commute. What about yourselves?

Fukanaga: I don't own one but I do sometimes borrow one from the company

Yokokawa: The Honda factory where I am is down in the South by the mountains and at the moment it's too cold to ride as the roads are frozen. So Spring. When spring comes I may get to get back on the CB1100.

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