Return of the Cafe Racer by Honda – 2010 Honda CB1100

8 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Return of the Cafe Racer by Honda – 2010 Honda CB1100
Honda CB 1100 Customize Concept

Return of the Cafe Racer by Honda – 2010 Honda CB1100

The 2010 Honda CB1100 you see here goes on sale in Japan next week. It’ll be available in red, black and white; with or without ABS and with a choice high or low handlebars. Prices start at ¥950,000, which equates to about $1,600 cheaper than the Japanese price of a CBR600RR.

We still don’t know if the CB1100 will make it to American shores, but that price comparison does indicate that if it does, a $10-11,000 starting price would be a reasonable guess. The production bike’s styling is almost 100 percent faithful to the CB1100F concept that was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007. That’s a good thing, the CB1100 is gorgeous.

Looking at the complete specs indicates that the riding experience is going to be as retro as the looks; 87bhp and 535lbs (wet) do not a performance bike make.

That’s no bad thing, the CB1100 is about fundamental two-wheeled experience over on-paper performance. Its 87bhp and 68lb/ft will likely be spread across a broad swath of the 8,500rpm rev range. Fuel-injection helps achieve a 63.5mpg (US) fuel economy figure while cruising at 37mph (the VFR1200 achieves 48mpg in the same test), while a small oil-cooler, combined with 2mm engine cooling fins, will help avoid over heating.

A 9.5:1 compression ratio indicates that the 1,140cc engine is anything but stressed.

Describing what they hoped to achieve with the CB1100, Honda’s engineers say things like, “sublime 5th gear cruising,” “refined character over refined performance,” “impressive looks,” and “a feeling no figures can express.”

Perhaps the most revealing of those sentiments is the “impressive looks.” Honda is, to a certain degree, bowing to market forces by fitting the CB with such a large capacity engine. While a 750 would have been more in keeping with the brand’s history, the Boomers that the company is currently chasing – remember, development of this model likely began 5+ years ago, long before that generation’s unprecedented purchasing power was wiped out for good – do prefer bikes over a liter in capacity. Middle aged men’s need for capacity-based compensation aside, the large, clean monolith of an engine lends the CB1100 a purposeful, forward-biased stance, something the designers have perfectly accentuated with the crisp, striking lines of the 4.2-gallon fuel tank.

Other neat styling details abound. Particularly nice are the clean, simple wheels that benefit from a nice integration of the front brake disc carriers, the analog clocks with the large digital readout in the middle, the aircraft-style fuel filler cap, the minimalist seat and the cloisonne Honda badges. More subtly, check out the way the shocks run parallel with the frame tubes, visually increasing the emphasis of the forward stance.

Visually, the CB1100 is near perfect in stock form, but it’s also ripe for customization. Remove the chrome rear fender, fit rearsets and clip-ons and you’d have a seriously nice cafe racer, as suggested by this Honda CB1100 Customize Concept, which does neither but still looks fast.

Wonder why we’re so excited about the CB1100? It’s the prospect of near universal function – commuting, touring, just riding around, scratching – combined with air-cooled character, Honda reliability, easy performance (unlike smaller capacity competitors like the Bonneville, high-speed highway work shouldn’t prove challenging) and yes, the styling. We sincerely hope American Honda decides to import the CB1100.


Length: 86.8″

Width: 32.9″

Height: 44.5″

Wheelbase: 58.7″

Ground Clearance: 4.9″

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