2014 Honda CB1100 Deluxe Review

There is something immensely satisfying about the 2014 Honda CB1100 Deluxe, from its retro styling, old-school bench seat, comfortable upright ergonomics, and classic good looks. Retaining the best elements of the 70s modern sport bike while including present day technology, gives riders that timeless motorcycle experience that transcends pure nostalgia.

Introduced in 2013, the standard CB1100 has a sixth gear for 2014 (only the Deluxe did in ’13), and the Deluxe edition (reviewed here) is equipped with twin exhausts, a vintage-look stitched seat, ABS, space for an extra half-gallon in the tank, and a few extra pounds.

It takes a bit more muscle than expected to get the 2014 Honda CB1100 DLX off the stubby kickstand, as the bike weighs a healthy 571 pounds ready to ride, but the bike’s dimensions make it an easily managed package. The handlebars are a comfortable reach from the 31.3-inch seat, and footpegs have a modestly rearward sporty position. The overall seating triangle allows stress-free maneuvering at slow speeds and stops.

The CB1100 moves off idle easily thanks to the smooth personality of the 1140cc inline-4 and purrs along amenably in whatever gear you choose. Even though it is air-cooled, there are no hiccups, hesitations or warm up necessary with the fuel-injected engine; just turn the key, click into gear and go.

With a healthy amount of torque across the rev range, tooling down the boulevard is an appealing pursuit, and seeing the reflection of the 1100 in the storefront windows as you motor by — the cooling fins, dual shocks, and throwback styling — will surely put a smile on your face. The six-speed transmission is flawless—no missed shifts, and finding neutral at a stop is a non-issue.

Moving through the suburban streets and valley backroads is a good test of the CB1100’s suspension. The preload-adjustable dual shocks may look dated, but they are well tuned, and the 41mm forks are stout enough to keep you from bouncing off the road, as they soak up most bumps and pavement transitions with authority. It is not quite cush, but the suspension is reassuringly secure and does not waver, and the bench seat feels like the perfect platform from which to experience the ride.

The triple disc brakes on the Honda CB1100 are perfectly dialed for the bike’s heft. The rear disc has an appropriate soft touch for slow speed modulation, and the twin rotors up front are powerful and progressive; the added benefit of ABS allows one to ride with more confidence in less than ideal situations. The mirrors are similarly spot on, sharp at all rpms.

You won’t find yourself routinely pushing the limits on the CB1100. I didn’t ride through the old school era, but I felt it seeping into me the longer I rode the bike. I was completely content to ride at an unhurried pace, which is not my usual M.O. I liked how its personality rubbed off on me and encouraged me to just chill — not in a cruiser kind of way — but in a 1970s slower-moving-world kind of way.

Of course, the CB1100 can absolutely hold its own when conditions, or mood, dictate an aggressive ride. A healthy hand on the throttle provides solid acceleration and a path-clearing momentum that has its own satisfaction. Though not a canyon-carver by nature, the CB1100 is still quite an enjoyable ride through moderately winding roads in good condition. I was surprised at just how agile the bike felt, and how nicely it handled through turns, despite its weight.

At full freeway speeds, you’ll need a robust grip on the handlebars as you take a face full of windblast without windshield or fairing. The elemental experience feels right for the throwback-styled bike, and the CB1100’s tank is perfectly designed for a comfortable knee-hugging grip. At the same time, the Bridgestone Battlax tires feel secure even on the rain-grooved pavement.

With plenty of engine braking available, you can ride into turns spiritedly and just roll a bit off the throttle, then give it a healthy twist on the way out, or use those nicely modulated front brakes when you’re feeling more aggressive. The CB1100 is completely willing to turn, holds its line solidly, and feels secure enough to lean over and scrape a peg, with all props to the Bridgestone Battlax sticky and predictable rubber. All that said, I was never unaware of how much weight I was piloting.

Usually I am not a fan of analog clocks, preferring the accurate information of digital displays. However, the clocks on the CB1100 are crisp and easy to read day or night, they look great, and are complemented by a small digital display between them with a welcome gear indicator, clock, trip meter, and fuel gauge. Simple and well done is always greatly appreciated.

Revisiting the hallowed styling of the 1969 CB750, with the 1981 CB900F motor dropped in, Honda has put together a very enjoyable and everyday friendly bike, capturing a personality that is understated and charismatic at the same time. There’s not one thing about the 2014 Honda CB1100 Deluxe that I don’t like. Now if they’d just double up the pipes, giving us a 4-into-4 instead of the 4-into-2, that would really be the the icing on the beaters.

Photography by Don Williams

Riding Style
Helmet: Arai Vector-2 Loop
Jacket, gloves, and pants: Alpinestars Stella Vika
Boots: Sidi Livia Rain

2014 Honda CB1100 Deluxe Specifications
Engine: 1140cc air- and oil-cooled inline four-cylinder
Bore x 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: Six-speed
Final Drive: #530 O-ring-sealed chain
Suspension
Front: 41mm fork with spring preload adjustability; 4.2 inches travel
Rear: Dual shocks with spring preload adjustability; 4.5 inches travel
Brakes
Front: Dual four-piston calipers with full-floating 296mm discs with ABS
Rear:
Single-caliper 256mm disc with ABS
Tires
Front: Bridgestone Battlax 110/80-18
Rear: Bridgestone Battlax 140/70-18
Wheelbase: 58.7 inches
Rake: 27.0°
Trail: 114mm
Seat height: 31.2 inches
Fuel capacity: 4.6 gallons
Curb Weight: 571 pounds
2015 Honda CB1100 Deluxe MSRP: $11,899