HONDA’S CB1100 GETS SERIOUS
Insiders say this café racer concept is production ready
‘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.