Yesterday is back as the old school, air-cooled Honda CB1100 finally arrives on U.S. shores.
2013 Honda CB1100
Claimed power: 89hp @ 7,500rpm
Top speed: 125mph (est.)
Engine: 1,140cc air-cooled DOHC inline four, 73.5mm x 67.2mm bore and stroke, 9.5:1 compression ratio
Weight (wet): 545lb (248kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 3.9gal (14.7ltr)/40-45mpg (est.)
Price then/now: $9,999/$10,999 (ABS)
Done right, retro is more than just cool, it can also be very profitable, as today’s Triumph Bonneville amply demonstrates. But if you don’t score a bull’s-eye capturing the spirit of the past in a modern context, a trip down memory lane can also be a marketing dead end.
Although European manufacturers such as Ducati, Triumph and Moto Guzzi have seen success with retro themes, generally speaking, Japan’s Big Four don’t do much retro. Honda made retro waves with its Brit-inspired Honda GB500 in the late Eighties, but pulled that bike off the U.S. market after a short two-year run. Likewise, the Kawasaki W650 was made from 2000-2001 only, they also manufactured the much-loved Kawasaki ZRX1100 that debuted in 1999, a bike that paid homage to the early-Eighties Eddie Lawson Replica street Superbike. Suzuki joined the retro party with the TU250 in 2009, and now Honda has entered the retro game again, with global deliveries starting in March 2013 of the CB1100 that’s been on sale in Japan and Australia since 2010.
Actually, Honda’s been dipping a toe back in the retro waters ever since 1999, when it displayed the CB Four concept bike at the Tokyo Motor Show. Complete with an air-cooled engine, wire wheels and rubber fork gaiters, it was a clear homage to Honda’s single-cam CB750 inline four, the bike that changed motorcycling forever when it debuted in 1969. At the 2007 Tokyo show, Honda showed off the CB1100F concept bike, a more 1970s-style throwback with cast wheels and a more edgy fuel tank, though the engine was still an across-the-frame four with prominent 2mm-thick cooling fins.
Order the May/June 2013 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 2013 Honda CB1100. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.