1983 Honda CB1100F

One-year superstar

| March/April 2011

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    The 1983 Honda CB1100F
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
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    Often referred to as the CB900F’s big brother — which of course it was — the one-year-only CB1100F was only a little bit heavier but a whole lot faster than its little brother, to the tune of a full second in the quarter mile.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
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    Photo by Doug Mitchel
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    Photo by Doug Mitchel
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    The 1,062cc four-cylinder engine used proven technology to give reliable performance.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
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    The CB1100F’s gauges were unique.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel
  • honda cb1100f 8
    Fork-mounted bikini fairing was also unique.
    Photo by Doug Mitchel

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1983 Honda CB1100F
Claimed power:
108hp @ 8,500rpm
Top speed: 144mph (period test)
Engine type: 1,062cc DOHC 16-valve air-cooled transversely-mounted inline four
Weight (wet): 583.5lb
Price then / now: $3,698 / $2,000-$4,000
MPG: 35-45mpg

Between 1969 and 1982, Honda rolled out an amazing selection of four-cylinder bikes. The legendary Honda CB750 got the wheels rolling, inspiring everything from the little CB350 Four to the middleweight CB500/550. Yet as great as it was, by 1978 the CB750 was looking a little long in the tooth, a reality that eventually led to the development of the 1983 Honda CB1100F.

Rivals Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki were all producing more technically exciting machines, and Honda needed to catch up. To regain the market’s attention, Honda gave its legendary CB750 a comprehensive overhaul, equipping the 1979 CB750 with an up-to-date dual overhead cam engine with four valves per cylinder that improved the breed markedly.

Taking off

Sales of the new DOHC models, available both in Super Sport and K variations, surged as buyers also appreciated the added power and smoothness of the new engine. The Super Sport was listed as the “F” model while the dressier version wore the “K” badge. Ergonomics on both flavors were improved over the previous iterations, and the new bikes came complete with a host of mechanical and cosmetic enhancements.



Yet the horsepower wars were in full fight, and the buying public, being what it is, soon viewed even the twin cam 750 as needing more power. New models from Suzuki and Kawasaki in particular, boasting more powerful engines and better quarter-mile times, also helped move Honda’s progress along. 1980 saw the introduction of Honda’s CB900C, a cruiser-style four that featured a five-speed, dual-range gearbox with a low range for boulevard cruising and a high range for stretching out, well, on the highway. Although using the engine developed from the then Euro-only Honda CB900F, which was itself a further development of the twin cam CB750, the “C” models were pitched to the Custom Crowd, offering a more comfortable perch and less sporty demeanor.

A harbinger of things to come appeared when Honda finally added the CB900F to the U.S. lineup for 1981. The enlarged Super Sport boasted more power than the CB750F and delivered an even sportier feel. The CB900F (as well as the 900C) returned for 1982 with few changes to the previous year’s model.

Jeff Courtney
3/11/2011 2:46:48 PM

I currently have two CB1100F's one blue and one red. I purchased the red one new in 1983 and the blue last summer in need of serious repair which is now in progress. I also built a drag version using an 1100F engine bored to 1123cc on a 900f frame and with little trouble and some other mods ( slick, wheelie bars, web cams, lockup clutch, under cut trans and Dyna two step delay ) ran consistant low 10 seconda at well over 130 mph at my local dragstrip. As far as I'm concerned the 1100f is the best sport bike of it's time and it will still hold it's own even with some of todays crotch rockets. It is the most comfortable sport bike I have ever ridden and still turns heads every where it goes like a bullet when you twist the throttle. This bike still brings a smile toi my face every time I look at it even after 25 plus years of owner ship. Thanx Jeff C P-Town




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