Honda hints at CB1100 update

‘Concept CB’ to reappear at Tokyo Auto Salon

HONDA has revealed the line-up of vehicles it will show at January’s Tokyo Auto Salon and while the firm’s stand will understandably be dominated by cars there will be a handful of motorcycles on display.

Some are predictable. There will be an Africa Twin, for instance, and an RC213V-S as well as a Fireblade SP and a VFR800X. But the Concept CB that was first seen at the Tokyo Motor Show in October will also be making an appearance. It will be the only one of Honda’s Tokyo Motor Show concepts at the event, and that seems to add fuel to rumours that this is effectively the next-generation CB1100, destined to take the retro-bike fight to machines like Triumph’s new Bonneville in the future.

If you can’t immediately spot the differences between the Concept CB and the current CB1100 EX, don’t worry; as usual with retro machines harking back to previous models, it’s hard to make significant visual changes without losing the whole traditional vibe. But the changes are there, and include a more heavily sculpted fuel tank, new aluminium-effect side panels, new air-box covers with chrome flashes, a new seat and different castings for the foot-peg hangers. There’s more chrome on the instruments and headlight, and the rails under the pillion seat are changed from aluminium castings to chrome tubes, too. 

Under all that, the frame and engine are unchanged; the CB1100 motor is already Euro4-compliant, despite all other air-cooled four-cylinder engines having long since been abandoned by their makers thanks to difficulties meeting emissions rules.

Honda’s official line on the Concept CB is that it’s a ‘customised concept model’ intended to show what could be achieved by modifying an existing bike, but the components used look much more like production parts than anything a customiser would be likely to opt for.

Japanese rumours since before October’s show suggested this would be a future production model, and the fact it’s getting a second airing while other concepts aren’t makes that idea a bit more persuasive.

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