2013 Honda CB1100 | First Ride
2013 Honda CB 1100 Motorcycle Review
It’s easy to label the new 2013 Honda CB1100 motorcycle as “retro,” but to younger riders, which also can mean “for old guys,” that must be a bit off-putting. So let’s put that image aside for now and look at the CB1100 for what it actually is: a great street bike in its own right that doesn’t need to lean on past glories to be appealing.
Physically, the 2013 Honda CB1100 is quite a large motorcycle, so it looks and feels substantial to sit on – like you’ve got some real value for money. The bars are a little high rise for my taste, so I’d put slightly flatter (read: sportier) bars on. Otherwise, the rubber covered footpegs are nicely positioned and the overall riding position is upright, but slightly leaned forward – just right in other words. The clocks are large and easy to read, and everything works as every Honda always does.
The CB1100 is noticeably unencumbered by acres of plastic wrapped around it, so the powerful-looking 1140cc air- and oil-cooled DOHC motor is fully on display. The engine itself also looks substantial, and as the centerpiece it gives the bike a very appealing, muscular look. Feel is as beautifully smooth as you would expect from a Honda inline four, and although it don’t put out superbike numbers on the dyno, the 2013 CB1100 feels sporty and with a strong mid-range – exactly what’s needed on the street.
The motor pulls well from low-down, and it never feels buzzy. If you thrash it to the redline, then it produces very acceptable thrust; it feels like it is punching way above its weight limit. When an insider hinted to me that the CB1100’s horsepower is in the 80s, I was very surprised, as the feel of the bike isn’t lacking at all. The 5-speed gearbox is smooth and seamless; the lever throw isn’t particularly short, but clutchless upshifts are an easy no-brainer.
Suspension for the Honda CB1100 is handled by standard forks at the front and twin shocks at the rear, with spring preload being the only available adjustment. The ride is supple and quite sporting, but the suspension is also very compliant and handles the real-world surface with aplomb. Handling is well balanced, neutral on turn-in, and stable; even fast sweepers couldn’t upset the chassis, it felt that planted.
Brakes are twin discs up front and, although they’re not the latest radial set-up, they handle stopping adequately. As an owner of a 2013 Honda CB1100, I’d probably experiment with different pad grades to get a little more bite for fast riding.
I’ve refrained from using the word “nice” in this brief ride review, but I can hold off no longer. The CB1100 is a very nice bike; it does everything it should and looks great while doing it. Younger guys looking to trade up to a big, muscular bike, and who don’t want an uncompromising supersport machine, should look hard at the CB1100.
The $9999 price tag is very appealing, and passengers will dig the accommodations – for the rider, this bike will do it all and in style. Yes, it’s retro and hearkens back to the old days when one bike did everything – and that’s no bad thing – but I’m excited to see Honda bring a good-looking, strong performer, at a reasonable price to the US. The 2013 Honda CB1100 is a great alternative to the racetrack refugee machines that don’t fit a lot of people’s needs and new owners will not be disappointed.
2013 Honda CB1100 Specs:
- Model: CB1100
- Engine Type: 1140cc air- and oil-cooled inline four-cylinder
- Bore and Stroke: 73.5mm x 67.2mm
- Compression ratio: 9.5:1
- Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
- Induction: PGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, 32mm throttle bodies
- Ignition: Digital transistorized with electronic advance
- Transmission: Five-speed
- Final Drive: #530 O-ring-sealed chain
- Suspension Front: 41mm fork with spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
- Suspension Rear: Dual shocks with spring preload adjustability; 3.5 inches travel
- Brakes Front: Dual four-piston calipers with full-floating 296mm discs
- Brakes Rear: Single-caliper 256mm disc
- Brakes: Optional Honda ABS
- Tire Front: 110/80-18
- Tire Rear: 140/70-18
- Wheelbase: 58.7 inches
- Rake (Caster angle): 27.0°
- Trail: 114mm (4.5 inches)
- Seat Height: 31.3 inches
- Fuel Capacity: 3.9 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve
- Estimated Fuel Economy**: TBD
- Color: Candy Red
- Curb Weight*: 540 pounds
*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.
**Miles per gallon values are calculated estimates of fuel consumed during laboratory exhaust emissions tests specified by the EPA, not during on-road riding. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you ride and maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, cargo and accessories, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.
Meets current EPA standards.
Photography by Don Williams