That period from the late 1960s through the ’70s was the golden age of motorcycling in America, an era characterized by simpler bikes and a market far less fragmented and specialized. Modern motorcycles are categorized into so many different niches—and have become so tailored to a singular purpose—that it makes you wonder what happened to the good ol’ Universal Japanese Motorcycle, like Honda’s CB550-1100s of yesteryear.
Well, Honda’s CB1100 might just be that nostalgic new bike that we need. True to the original, this retro CB was first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007 as a concept, and then displayed in production form at the same show two years later. A perfectly neutral and upright seating position places hands on the bars right where they naturally want to fall, and the footpegs keep knees (for my 5-foot-11 frame) at a relaxed yet not-too-lazy bend. The comfortable seat isn’t too high (or too low) for my 30-inch inseam, allowing my boots to be firmly planted at stops. The mirrors offer an excellent rear view, while the simple dash provides just the pertinent information via a pair of analog gauges and a small LCD display.
It sports an air-cooled, 1140cc engine. The 16-valve dohc inline-Four is extremely smooth yet tractable, with usable low-end grunt from as low as 2000 rpm—even in a tall gear at slower speeds. Power builds in a progressive, step-free manner all the way up to the 8500-rpm redline, which gives the engine great flexibility for any type of riding. Modern touches include the excellent PGM-FI injection system. When all you want to do is go on a ride, what better bike than a fully modern but totally authentic blast from the past? Honda has delivered. The classic Honda is back!!!
Brenny's Motorcycle Clinic
4426 State Street Bettendorf, IA 52722 United States