Honda brought back the CB name with the CB1100 in 2010 as the reincarnation of the incredibly popular 1970’s CB750. Despite getting an upgrade in 2014, which added a much needed sixth gear and new gauge cluster, Honda’s foray into the retro standard never really took off. According to some enthusiasts, there was nothing new. In other words, “Boring”.
As it is, Honda is shaking things up with the new 2017 Honda CB1100RS, which it added to the lineup alongside the base model CB1100EX, and it looks like they succeeded. Starting with the CB1100RS, it gets a new, curvier pressed aluminum tank with fancy paint. All of the lighting, including the signals, has been swapped out for LED units.
It’s also equipped with a 43 mm right side up Showa “dual bending valve two-piece fork” and remote reservoir shocks which connect to 17 inch cast aluminum wheels and dual radial Tokico calipers. The engine is also slightly revised, with a new inlet tract and smaller/lighter 4-2-2 exhaust system. It’s accompanied by a slipper clutch to lighten the clutch pull and limit back torque on aggressive downshifts.
The new suspension and smaller wheels give the RS a 5mm shorter wheelbase of 1,485mm and a rake/trail of 26º/99mm (compared to the 27º/114mm of the EX). Seat height comes in at 31.3 inches, while wet weight is still an astoundingly heavy 555 pounds.
The base model EX gets the same new tank, but ditches the fancy paint. It gets LED lights front and rear, but keeps the standard indicators, and still rolls on the previous model’s 18 inch wheels, suspension, and brakes. But it gets the slipper clutch and new exhaust.
We won’t know until we ride the bikes if the sportier RS has enough personality or performance to make it an interesting option in this class, but from here we can say Honda has definitely piqued our interest. What do you think?