2014 Honda CB1100 Review

Our 2014 Honda CB1100 review finds this bike is a little bit newer, but still faithfully old

They say: A classic bike for a whole new generation of riders. We say: And a potent nostalgia pill for the oldsters.

Do you remember how the original [CB750][] felt? Perhaps you're of the age that you had experience with this world-beating Honda and understood the context—how the CB's silky smooth single-cam four was nothing like the raucous two-stroke Kawasaki triples or the shaky British twins. It was quick, modern, reliable, and surprisingly easy to ride. An important machine, sure, but more an example of stunning competence than adrenaline-pumping excitement.

Today, the talk surrounding our 2014 Honda CB1100 review is all about styling, how Honda worked overtime to go full retro with real steel fenders, just-so proportions, and the iconic CB-style tank shape. Big Red even made its first all-new air-cooled inline-four in decades. From most angles, the CB11 totally looks the part. It’s low, long, and appears strangely compact in today’s world of overgrown ADV bikes and big-boned nakeds. Cooling fins, tubular-steel frame members, round headlight, and an unadorned instrument cluster really pull the look together.

But what you can’t tell until you ride it is how soft and forgiving the CB1100 is. “I never thought I’d say an 1100 would make a great beginner bike, but the CB1100 really would,” Group Publisher Andy Leisner said after a day aboard the CB, noting its extremely soft initial throttle response, light (and progressive) clutch, low seat, and generally easygoing demeanor. Give credit to Honda for locking in a personality target and hitting it dead on: From the torquey (but not particularly lively) engine and soft (but well controlled) suspension to the linked, ABS-aided brakes and stable handling, the CB considers your question, exhales slowly, and says, “Take it easy, dude.”

No personality shifts in the year since it debuted, but the CB1100 has an extra gear for 2014, as well as a Deluxe version that includes linked ABS brakes, a two-muffler exhaust system, revised and color-matched side covers, and a 4.6-gallon tank, up from 3.9 gallons on last year’s model and this year’s base bike. Look out for a substantial price bump though; the base bike is up $400, now at $10,399, and the Deluxe runs $11,899.

Sixth gear makes the CB calmer on the highway, though, frankly, we’d prefer shorter overall gearing to make the 86-hp, 571-pound bike feel a little less soggy from 60 to 80 mph. Otherwise, performance is enjoyably brisk if not exactly competitive by modern literbike standards.

The CB’s dash combines classic green-faced analog gauges with modern amenities like a digital gear-position indicator and fuel gauge.

Performance is a nearly unimportant discussion, the sprig of parsley next to the juicy cheeseburger. Fact is, the CB1100 absolutely—without the slightest hesitation—looks right, feels right (for the period), and comports itself in exactly the right way. Like the original 750, this CB is not a performance ground-breaker, but it is very good.

tech SPEC

A sixth gear and larger gas tank make the CB1100 a more versatile retro ride.
BMW RnineT, Triumph Bonneville and Thruxton, Moto Guzzi Griso 8V SE
PRICE $11,899
ENGINE 1140cc, air-/oil-cooled inline-four
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 86.0 hp @ 7500 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 65.6 lb-ft @ 5700 rpm
FRAME Tubular-steel double-cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION Showa 41mm fork adjustable for spring preload; 4.2-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Showa shocks adjustable for spring preload; 4.5-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 296mm discs with ABS
REAR BRAKE Nissin one-piston caliper, 256mm disc with ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 27º/4.4 in.
WHEELBASE 58.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.2 in.
MEASURED WEIGHT 571/543 lb. tank full/empty
CONTACT [powersports.honda.com][]
Honda nailed the retro styling of the early CB-series bikes and gave the new 1100 manners to please old fellas and new riders alike. Starting to get pricey though.
2014 Honda CB1100 Review
The CB’s dash combines classic green-faced analog gauges with modern amenities like a digital gear-position indicator and fuel gauge.