In­sid­ers say this café racer con­cept is pro­duc­tion ready

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Andy Downes

‘It may not be for im­me­di­ate pro­duc­tion but it’s not that far away’

Are Honda fi­nally about to get se­ri­ous with the CB1100 retro roadster? If two con­cept bikes shown at last week­end’s Osaka mo­tor­cy­cle show are any­thing to go by then it looks like that could be the case.

The Osaka show isn’t a huge af­fair, but Honda went all-out, with a wide range of con­cept and pro­duc­tion bikes, in­clud­ing two CB1100 con­cepts that could sig­nal a re­vised split range to sat­isfy both the in­creas­ing de­mand for her­itage and mod­ern retro mod­els.

The CB Con­cept was shown at the Tokyo mo­tor­cy­cle show last year but this lat­est con­cept ver­sion boasts fur­ther re­vi­sions that hint at it be­ing a se­ri­ous pro­duc­tion bike. The other ver­sion, dubbed CB Con­cept Type II, made its world de­but ap­pear­ance at Osaka – and is sim­ply stun­ning in terms of styling and spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

Honda CB Con­cept Type II

The mod­ern clas­sic mar­ket is buoy­ant right now with bikes like the BMW R ninet, BMW Scram­bler, all-new Tri­umph Bon­neville and Thrux­ton mod­els and Du­cati Scram­bler all sell­ing faster than man­u­fac­tur­ers can make them and this CB Con­cept Type II is clearly aimed at tak­ing on the likes of the R ninet Sport and Tri­umph’s all-new T120 Thrux­ton.

This bike shows how the rather bland cur­rent CB1100 can be made into a more ag­gres­sive propo­si­tion thanks to the fit­ment of per­for­mance and han­dling en­hanc­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing 17in cast al­loy wheels, a fuel tank lifted from the big­ger Honda CB1300, re­worked Showa fork, ra­dial mount Brembo brakes, Öh­lins twin shocks and retro Pirelli Phan­tom Sportscomp tyres.

Honda as­serted to MCN’S sources in Ja­pan that both bikes are of­fi­cially only be­ing pre­sented as con­cept bikes right now, but our source said: “They keep say­ing th­ese are con­cept bikes but I have been told th­ese two bikes pre­view the way Honda is think­ing of split­ting the CB1100 range across clas­sic and mod­ern per­for­mance. I know the CB Con­cept Type II has al­ready started test­ing at Honda test tracks. It may not be for im­me­di­ate pro­duc­tion but it’s not that far away.”

There are some lovely de­sign touches on the Type II that man­age to blend mod­ern per­for­mance parts with the retro styling of the CB1100’S finned and air-cooled mo­tor.

The Showa ad­justable fork is high- ly rem­i­nis­cent of the orig­i­nal 1992 Fire­blade’s, de­signed to look in­verted but ac­tu­ally still a con­ven­tional fork. The black Titanium Nitride coated fork stan­chions sit in gold fork bot­toms that boast ra­di­ally-mounted Brembo four-pot calipers, while the front rim is a 17in item (as is the rear), aimed squarely at be­ing more per­for­mance ori­en­tated than the stock bike’s 18in pair­ing.

The large di­am­e­ter four-into-two ex­haust has been made from titanium by Ja­panese tuners Over, and while this is un­likely to make it into pro­duc­tion it does re­veal the per­for­mance-ori­en­tated stance Honda are chas­ing. Other neat touches in­clude the LED front and rear lights, which house mod­ern light­ing per­for­mance within the tra­di­tional de­signs.

The head­lamp bowl is car­bon fi­bre, as are the front and rear mud­guards, while the rearsets and bar-end mir­rors are by Ri­zoma.

At the back, the twin Öh­lins shocks are fully ad­justable and, com­bined with the stubby tail unit, give a cut down café racer look that makes this the mean­est look­ing CB1100 ever vi­su­alised by Honda.

Honda have been baf­flingly slow to pick up on the way the mar­ket has changed and, de­spite go­ing to all of the time and ex­pense of de­sign­ing an all­new air-cooled in­line four cylin­der en­gine for the cur­rent CB1100 range, they have never re­ally cap­i­talised on the bike’s po­ten­tial.

The cur­rent bike was orig­i­nally launched in 2009, but was only made avail­able in a few mar­kets out­side of Ja­pan. It took an­other four years for Honda to make the de­ci­sion to sell it in the UK.

Honda Con­cept CB

While the Type II is all about chas­ing those who want a mod­ern clas­sic with per­for­mance and han­dling in mind, the Con­cept CB will be on hand for those want­ing a more tra­di­tional look.

This bike was first seen at the Tokyo show last year but it is now sport­ing a dif­fer­ent fuel tank shape, a re­vised seat, mod­i­fied si­lencer shape and a new LED head­light.

Honda say this bike is merely a con­cept but it only takes a swift look over the way it is fin­ished to see that it could make pro­duc­tion in the near fu­ture.

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