Friday, January 25, 2008

Can Honda work the CB1100R magic once more?


On the left is the original 1980s CB1100R, and on the right is the AWESOME CB1100R concept, which we hope Honda will build next year. Come on Honda, do it!

Yes, we like the RC30, and we absolutely adore the RC45, which we think is the most desirable Honda ever made. But going back in time a bit further – the early-1980s – there’s another Honda that’s pretty special. Yes, we are talking about the CB1100R, which was first seen in various bike shows at the end of 1980. Honda sold this machine only so they could homologate it for racing, and between 1981 and 1983, only 4,050 units of this bike were produced.

The CB1100R was an evolution of the CB900F Bol d’Or, but the 1100R was fitted with a 1062cc inline-four, which made 115bhp at 9000rpm – not bad at all, eh? Outright performance is said to have been quite impressive, despite the 1100R weighing all of 253 kilos...


The homologation-special CB1100R was a bit special, and that's the way it remains even today...
Pics: PB mag forum

In keeping with the CB1100R’s racing pedigree, Honda fitted the bike with high-spec parts – upgraded suspension (front forks were air-assisted, though without the anti-dive plumbing that was in vogue in those days…), more powerful brakes (this was the first Honda with twin-piston calipers at the front), a 26-litre aluminium fuel tank, and handmade bodywork!

Compared with the 900F, the CB1100R engine used hotter cams and forged pistons, the bike was fitted with an upgraded close-ratio gearbox, and higher quality steel was used for fabricating the tubular chassis. On the flip side, this was still the early-1980s, and the 1100R had to make do with a box-section swingarm made of steel, and dual shock setup at the rear.


If Honda could do this CB1100R more than 25 years ago, why can't the CB1100R concept become production reality today? Because it uses parts that are too expensive, some say. Yeah, right!

Honda made two versions of the CB1100R – one with a full fairing and the other with only the top half. Most bikes were fitted with single seats, though a few also came with dual seats. With its gold-painted Comstar magnesium alloy wheels and distinctive red, blue and white paintjob, the CB1100R remains instantly recognizable even today. In fact, when Honda unveiled the CB1100R concept – which takes all its styling cues from the 1980s 1100R – last year, we thought it was one of the most stylish, best-looking, most lust-worthy concept bikes to ever come out of Japan.

Will Honda make the CB1100R again? Will the concept bike shown last year, translate into reality? We don’t know. There have been some reports saying that the new CB1100R will be too expensive for Honda to produce, that there won’t be enough takers, and it won’t make financial sense for Honda to build the bike. Well, how we hope all those reports are wrong! Come on Honda, you know you can work the CB1100R magic again. Just build it…

Blasts from the past:
Back to the '80s: The GSX-R saga begins...
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide!
Six Fix: The amazing Honda CBX1000...
Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo: Blow Hard!
Memorable: The Norton F1 rotary-engined superbike...
Your game's oval: The amazing Honda NR750!
Memorable: The Suzuki Katana...
Three decades of Suzuki MotoGP bikes...
The story of the mighty Honda NSR500...
Memorable: The Yamaha YZR500!
Britten V1000: The GREATEST motorcycle ever made...
Performance Bikes: The BEST two-stroke sportsbikes ever made!

External links:
More on the 1980s Honda CB1100R...
Faster and Faster, on Flickr!

5 comments:

Phil H said...

"CB1100R will be too expensive for Honda to produce, that there won’t be enough takers, and it won’t make financial sense...etc."

It's those darn beancounters talking again!

1. I can't see why the CBR will be expensive to build - there's no ground breaking technology that they need to develop. It's a beautifully simple and straight forward design with parts that can easily and readily be sourced from the exisiting Honda parts bin.

2. There IS a huge market - just read all the responses on different forums and blogs. People LOVE this bike! And I'm one of them!

3. Financial sense? Can you say "NR750"? Racing doesn't make "financial sense" either, but we still do it!

I say build it as a Limited Edition commemorative model, complete with a numbered plaque and other goodies (certificate, watch, key chain...etc.) and it will INSTANTLY become a collectible!!

And if in the end no one really buys them, I'll take a couple of them for cheap! ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd buy one immediately, as long as the price is below $20,000. No other big air-cooled four cylinder bikes on the market, and probably not much demand for one, so the production run will be small which usually means a high price.
My FJ1200 has over 200,000 miles on it and new parts (except engine and other shared parts) are no longer available so I'm a serious buyer.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting tired of waiting for this bike to become a reality.
Why Honda teased us with a beautiful retro modern classic, I'll never know.

Anonymous said...

Looking like this bike will be here in 2013 albeit not as we were teased with originally. After all this time i hope the "production" version is worth the wait.
MCN will have 'spy' shots soon i'm sure ;-)

Anonymous said...

Reports saying this bike will be here in 2014....... Fact or fiction? If the Honda guys at Londons bike show in February 2013 are to be believed - FACT!

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