While technology might be evolving at unbelievable speed, in terms of design and looks, old is still gold. Honda also believes in this ideology and has two motorcycles to win the hearts of enthusiasts, the CB1100 RS and CB1100 EX. Both motorcycles are built with modern technologies but designed like retro bikes.
The Honda CB1100 RS is meant to be sportier of the two and thus has a cafe-racer style design. While the CB1100 EX is supposed to resemble a retro superbike. The RS gets a round LED headlight, round mirrors and a classic LED tail-light. We particularly appreciate the attention to detail Honda has put in, such as the classic slim turn indicators and the gold touches.The pillion grab handle is just a strap, which isn’t very comfortable. The dual chrome exhaust pipes look neat and add to the retro vibe of the motorcycle. The black finishing on the engine offers a good contrast to the chrome highlights. Sadly, it doesn’t get a windscreen which does result in windblast when cruising.
The café racer style riding position has a bit of a lean in but is still comfortable for short durations. However, for long rides, it will take a toll on your body. The cluster is also old-school with twin round pods housing a speedometer and tachometer respectively. It also has a digital display in between the pods which displays a variety of information such as a clock and a gear position indicator. The quality of the switchgear and the buttons is fabulous.
The Honda CB1100 RS is powered by a 1140cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve engine producing 88 HP of power and 93.5 Nm of torque. The engine has a wonderful low-end punch and is also very refined. This motor is very smooth but heats up in traffic. The 6-speed transmission is smooth to shift and also has a slipper clutch on offer. Something great which Honda has been able to achieve is the retro exhaust note on this motorcycle. It is not only music to the ears but also misfires occasionally to complete the retro package of this astounding motorcycle.
The Honda CB1100 RS’ Showa sourced suspension is tuned to be on the stiffer side which offers excellent ride quality on good roads. On bad roads though, it does suffer. One can adjust the preload of both the front and rear suspension. Something which doesn’t suffer is the brakes which have great stopping power. The front gets dual discs while the rear gets a single disc. The flat handlebar along with the exceptional grip from the tyres offer superb handling. Honda has masked the weight of the motorcycle as one doesn’t feel the 252 kgs of heft around the corners.
Honda has done a great job of combining the dynamics of a modern superbike and looks of a retro cafe racer. The bike can cruise comfortably with the punchy engine and pleasing exhaust note. It also boasts of great ride and handling dynamics, should you encounter any long sweeping corners. The motorcycle does heat up in traffic and isn’t very comfortable for long rides due to the cafe racer style riding position and lack of a windscreen. However, if Honda decides the launch this retro beauty in India, it will surely win the hearts of both old and young enthusiasts who are looking to relive the good old days.