2014 Honda CB1100 Review
Now with a six-speed gearbox, Honda’s retro-CB is new (though it’s hard to tell) and improved again.
Honda’s homage to itself was a big hit for 2013 with all those fans who still can’t get enough of the original earth-shattering 1969 CB750, even though the bike picked up design influences from a few more CBs as it rolled along Memory Lane: 1100F-ish fuel tank shape, 400F-like right-side four-into-one pipe … In any case, its style definitely pushed a lot of the right buttons for vintage Honda enthusiasts.
For 2014, Honda offers two versions of the bike, a standard and a Deluxe. Both get a new six-speed gearbox instead of last year’s five-speed, and a new LCD instrument display with a clock, gear-position indicator and an updated trip computer.
The new Deluxe version comes with a four-into-two exhaust with double-wall chrome headers, combined ABS brakes and an extra half-gallon of fuel capacity – also candy red paint instead of basic black. Check that Deluxe box, and you’ll be looking at a price tag of $11,899. (That’s $139 more than the way-modern CB1000R, a great bike CB1100 lovers love to hate whenever we dare to compare the two. Seems to be a definite generation gap here.)
If it’s the CB1100 you’re attracted to, we would in no way try to dissuade you. The CB takes all the things that made Honda Honda, and rolls it into a cohesive whole that seems to be more than the sum of its really basic parts: 83 horsepower is no longer earth-shattering, but the CB delivers its fuel-injected power so seamlessly and linearly, it feels like there’s always plenty – and the new six-speed box gets it to the drive chain more positively and precisely than the five-speed did. Honda did see fit to add one tooth to the rear sprocket (now a 40). Combined with the new gearbox’s slightly overdriven 0.964 top-gear ratio instead of last year’s 1.111 top ratio, rpm at cruise have gone down a bit, but our bike still has a little buzziness in its rubber-mounted handlebar that begins around 75 mph.
There’s nothing revolutionary about the CB’s 41mm fork tubes or its preload-adjustable rear shocks, but together with its thick seat and near-perfect ergonomics, the CB serves up a great ride when you’re just tooling around, along with good sporting performance when you need it – and we’re in no way implying that original CB lovers are getting up there when we say the CB’s as easy to pilot as a Hoveround scooter (though you probably can’t get your doctor to prescribe you a CB1100 and have Medicaid pick up the tab). Clutch pull is light and progressive, triple disc brakes have excellent feel and modulation along with serious power when you need it!
For getting your full daily dose of nostalgia with zero of the problems that come with owning an actual 40-year-old motorcycle, the CB1100 will prove very tough to beat. Some are faster, some are tricker, many are more exotic – but the CB is one-hundred percent true to its roots: presumably bulletproof and turn-key ready to go anywhere whenever you are, just like you were in 1969. Now with the priceless upgrade of 46 years of experience.
|2014 Honda CB1100 Specs|
|MSRP||$10,399/ 11,899 (Deluxe)|
|Engine Type||Air- and oil-cooled inline four-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||73.5 x 67.2 mm|
|Fuel System||PGM-FI; four 32mm throttle bodies|
|Ignition||Digital transistorized with electronic advance|
|Valve Train||DOHC; four valves / cylinder|
|Final Drive||#530 O-ring-sealed chain|
|Front Suspension||41mm fork with spring preload adjustability; 4.2 inches travel|
|Rear Suspension||Dual shocks with spring preload adjustability; 4.5 inches travel|
|Front Brakes||Dual 296mm discs; four-piston calipers|
|Rear Brakes||256mm disc; single-piston caliper|
|Seat Height||31.2 inches|
|MO measured wet weight||556 pounds|
|Fuel Capacity||3.9 gallons/ 4.4 gal. (Deluxe)|
|Colors||Black/ (Candy Red for Deluxe)|
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