Oh, this is cool. To be sold alongside the standard Honda CB1100 in Europe, the new CB1100 RS is:

“Stripped back and lean, the CB1100 RS has the look of a 1970s race bike, with more than a hint of café racer. The curvaceous fuel tank – made without seam-welded lips – evokes hand-made craftsmanship, while the single round headlight and twin instrument dials outline a timeless silhouette. Adding crisp-edged modernity, all lighting is LED.

“Backing up the sportier styling, the CB1100 RS’s chassis uses sharper geometry than the EX, with firmer Showa suspension, front radial-mount four-piston brakes, cast aluminium 17-inch wheels and sportbike-spec tire sizes. A lower, more compact riding position moves the rider’s weight forward, complementing the chassis changes.

“The air-cooled four-cylinder engine breathes more easily thanks to a revised inlet tract and smaller, lighter 4-2-2 exhaust system while an assist slipper clutch makes for easier lever engagement and rear wheel stability on downshifts.”

Black or red? Now we get modern sport tires on either end instead of vintage 18s, also shorter mufflers said to help boost midrange.

Black or red? Now we get modern sport tires on either end instead of vintage 18s, also shorter mufflers said to help boost midrange.

More specifically, rake is steepened a smidge, trail is cut from 114mm to 99 and wheelbase is shortened 5mm to 1485, to bring you a sharper-handling modern vintage bike. A 43mm Showa “Dual Bending Valve” front fork carries the front wheel, while the rear spins in a new swingarm suspended by a pair of remote-res Showa shocks.

Instead of the weird 18-inch wheels on the standard CB, this bike gets 17s in normal sizes, 120/70 ZR17 and 180/55 ZR17, which will aid performance in all kinds of ways including a 3% increase in acceleration due to the gearing change of the smaller rolling diameter of the rear.

The coolest bit is that 4.4-gallon fuel tank that does away with the seam-welded lips along the bottom edges. New brushed alloy sidepanels, a slimmer seat and a bunch of other subtle styling cues make this one for the CB connoisseur.

That air-cooled 1140cc inline Four remains unchanged, but the four PGM-FI 32mm throttle bodies are fed through a shortened air inlet tract and new air cleaner, and work with a pair of shorter chrome-plated mufflers to boost low and mid-rpm engine response.

Finally, the RS gets a slipper clutch with a die-cast aluminum cam and slipper cam that saves weight, reduces lever effort by 16% and minimizes rear wheel ‘hop’ on crazy downshifts.

CB1100 EX

Yours in yellow or white.

Yours in yellow or white.

Meanwhile, the CB1100 EX gets all the same upgrades as the RS, but continues on with redesigned 18-inch spoke wheels wearing 110/80 R18 and 140/70 R18 tires. Smaller aluminum hubs lace the wheel rim with 40 longer stainless steel (rather than 48 before) zinc-plated spokes. Twin 296mm floating discs up front are mated to four-piston Nissin calipers, with a 256mm disc and single-piston caliper at the rear. ABS is standard.

Follow the rest of our 2016 Intermot Show coverage for more information on new motorcycle announcements.

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  • DickRuble

    The RS for me please.. in yellow..

  • Old MOron

    Oh, wow! I’m really looking forward to MO’s assessment of the RS.
    And depending on price, may we please have a shootout with the R9T (Pure?), and the Bonnie (standard Thrux?), please?

  • JMDonald

    I had a CB750 back in the late 70’s. I made the jump from a CB350. This is the bike I would have rather had back then. I love these things.

    • Jeremiah Mckenna

      Honda actually did have this (CB1100F) bike in 1983, and only a few things have changed from that bike.

      Actually the 1982 was said to produce 108 bhp, but the 2017 only produces 89, which is on par with the 1979 CB750’s 72 bhp, or the ’79 CB900F’s 95bhp.

      In 1988, my cousin gave me his beat up ’79 CB750, and it could keep up with my buddies ’83 CB1100 without trying.

  • mackja

    If I ever go back to an I4 engine, this bike would be the one, I think Honda did a jam up job on this one. Nice!

  • Dootin

    RS looks great!

  • Starmag

    “To be sold alongside the standard Honda CB1100 in Europe”. Are you inferring that this isn’t coming the states? I couldn’t find anything confirming either way on the interwebs.

    • denchung

      Typically, US availability isn’t announced until after the fall European shows. We’ll have to wait for official confirmation from American Honda before we can say for certain.

      • DickRuble

        That may be because there hasn’t been any meaningful change to the bike since 2014 (or before). I think they will bring at least one of the new models, probably the regular.

        • Jeremiah Mckenna

          The only one they are selling on their web site is the EX, which is the upgraded trim from the 2014 YM. We can only hope that they bring the RS Stateside. I believe that is the only one that will sell in the volume they need to continue the line. The reason it stopped after 2014 is because it was a dismal selling piece.

          • drunkbobby

            I was looking for a new bike when the CB1100 first came out, but wound up buying a T100 instead. If they had offered the RS or something styled more like the café racer example in the comment above, I’d be on a Honda. To me it looks like Honda still doesn’t understand the US heritage market, they came so close with the CB1100, but they just couldn’t finish.

          • Jeremiah Mckenna

            There was a trim level that had a cowl and I believe different bars and rear fender. It looked a lot better than the standard model. It was released near the end of the first run in the States.

          • drunkbobby

            Euro marks tend to lead with their best and then come in with the value options, I wonder why Honda and the big four never adopted that.

          • Jeremiah Mckenna

            Japanese train of thought and tradition. Honda on the other hand likes to play everything safe and rarely takes chances.

          • drunkbobby

            Well, since the old man died anyway, Soichiro was all about going all in and betting the farm. 🙂 Good times.

          • Jeremiah Mckenna

            Soichiro was one of the most staunch traditionalists around, and those that followed him were so afraid of being called out as disrespectful, that they respected him and followed his actions to the T. Believe me, I have worked for Honda, and I know how hard it is for them to make even a small change in aesthetics. Honda plays it safe until they are forced to change their looks or style.

  • Jason M.

    Those gold suspension bits look odd on anything other than a Thruxton. The EX looks nice, but the RS looks gaudy.

  • SRMark

    I’ll take either one.

  • kenneth_moore

    It’s great that Honda continues to develop the CB platform. 17″ wheels and losing the nasty seam along the tank bottom are very cool updates.

    • Born to Ride

      Very cool updates indeed. However, the bike was 12 grand in 2014 without any of these very nice upgrades to the componentry, and it sold terribly. I can’t help but think that the RS is gonna crack the 14k mark to try and compete for the same customer as the Thruxton R and R Nine T. I don’t think that will be a very favorable matchup for Honda as journalists tend to crown the more “visceral” and “Soul Stirring” bikes the winners of shootouts than the silky smooth competence that is a detuned Honda I4 motor and “balanced” chassis.

      • Old MOron

        It won’t be easy for the CB. Our own MOrons really liked the R9T and the Thruxton R. But I have faith they will perform a fair and balanced shootout.

        • Born to Ride

          I don’t doubt it, but the MO crew doesn’t have the best track record either when it comes to the CB1100. When they compared it to the Guzzi and BMW, it lost out on being boring, despite having the best suspension, handling, and brakes.

          • Old MOron

            Hmm, apparently you weren’t born to read carefully. 🙂
            The CB had neither the best suspension nor the best handling.
            Check the score sheet: http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs/retro-roadster-shootout

          • Born to Ride

            Evidently I wasn’t born to have 2 year long reading comprehension. I just tried to recall the result of that exact test. I seemed to remember that the Honda lost out solely on “Engine”, “Grin Factor” and “Cool Factor”. Clearly I should have gone back and read the actual review before spouting nonsense. Thanks for the fact check.

          • Old MOron

            No worries, Brudda. I had to look all this stuff up. You did well going from memory. You’re right that the CB lost big in the engine, grin factor and cool factor scores.

            But the RS will have a boosted low and mid-range engine response, better suspension, geometry and tires, slipper clutch. It should fare much better this time. I have a feeling the Thruxton R might be the ass kicker this year, though.

            C’mon MOrons, make with the shootout already.

          • Kevin Duke

            The RS will surely get a bigger cool-factor score, too, plus brakes, tires and suspension. As for the shootout, we’re still waiting to get a Thruxton never mind the RS!

          • Old MOron

            And now that I’ve looked up the reviews, the MOrons’ track record is actually pretty darned good. Just look at this consistency:

            When Brassbottom did his review of the 2014 CB1100, he scored it 77.75% overall. http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/honda/2014-honda-cb1100-review.html
            And when T-rod, JB and the Duke evaluated the CB in the shootout, they scored it 72.2% overall. http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs/retro-roadster-shootout Those scores are within 5.5% points. Not bad. But the consistency of key individual measures is really impressive.

            Brasswhistle said:
            engine: 65%
            suspension/handling: 80%
            transmission/clutch: 82.5%
            brakes: 82.5%

            Shootout crew said:
            engine: 65%
            suspension: 82.5%
            handling: 80.8%
            transmission/clutch: 84.2%
            brakes: 86.7%

          • Kevin Duke

            Thanks for the research, OM! The consistency in scoring is more remarkable if you realize we use a significantly different scorecard for single-bike reviews than the comprehensive one we use in shootouts. The single-bike card was created to meet the directive of simply adding up to 100 so it was easy to understand for readers and Google.

  • Ingolf Stern

    it would be fun as hell to have an updated version of the 1980 CB750F like Spencer rode. That was super cool. https://i.ytimg.com/vi/pdJjZaPXSK0/hqdefault.jpg

  • Robs

    This looks gorgeous! I know 85 ish HP might be enough for everyday use, but this thing needs to crack 100 at the very least. The R9T makes 110, the new Boneville/Thruxton models make just under 100.

    • GodWhomIsMike

      85hp might be enough? Try using 16.1 hp with 12.4 lb·ft of torque for your day to day motorcycle. I’ve done 115+ miles trips on 55 mph highways with that little Honda Rebel, and it was more than enough. I think with 5 more hp on it, I would be comfortable even taking it onto 65 mph highways with tractor trailers. I think it is do-able now, but at 65 mph, I am kinda close to maxed out on it. As for 85 hp barely being enough? Maybe for the track, but for everyday use, it should be far far more than enough, unless your bike is a 913 lb Goldwing.

  • ‘Mike Smith

    Can someone please explain why you’d choose spokes over cast wheels for the street? Is it just for looks? Seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

    • Kevin Duke

      Like high heels, people are willing to pay a price for style…

  • kk29

    I was all gaga about this bike in 2013 and even more so with the improved 2014 model with dual pipes. Alas it disappeared from local showrooms ( Seattle ) before I could even see one in person. I seriously wanted to upgrade from my Kawasaki W650; I missed that 4-cylinder sound I had had with my CB-500 and CB-550 from the 70s. But then Triumph came out this year with the totally revamped Bonnevilles and I traded in my W for a gorgeous “Cinder Red” T120 and I couldn’t be happier. So I guess I’m out of the running for this new Honda after all…

  • Ernie

    Thing is these are just plain nice bikes, not just nice retros.
    I’m with most of you, if the RS was coming to the US my Triumph T100 would be for sale already. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t bring it here but it was fairly predictable.
    It’s strange how few choices we have if we need good passenger accommodations.
    I’m not fixated on retros but they’re the best nakeds for carrying a passenger.

  • caffeineandpixels

    I’d do a little something to it, a bit like this, with clip-ons or Clubman bars, a cafe seat, rear-sets, etc….https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c93b07127c9a9ccd3311054ac2cae1f287e80f8a248056b3f8c2ecf84e511a0.jpg