New CB1100RS tends to the sportier edge of Honda retro roadsters
Headlines from Honda's Intermot presentation reasonably centered on the new Fireblade, leaving little publicity for two updates on the classic CB1100 model family. A new sporty version called RS broke cover with fancy new running gear, escorted by a set of minor advances for the existing EX.
Honda has some very important new models debuting this year, one of which we've already seen; the brand new Fireblade SP and SP2. In a new webpage dedicated to its 2017 novelties, Honda schedules the official unveiling of another important new model, the X-Adv scooter, for November 7. That's just one day before EICMA opens its gates for the international Press.
There we will hopefully find out exactly what's new with the Africa Twin, which is also previewed as a new 2017 True Adventure model, albeit without any specific date or information tied to it. Finally, Honda holds another surprise behind a currently inactive link that reads "Express Yourself" and will be revealed on November 18, after the 2016 EICMA will have resumed.
Meantime, Honda revealed in Cologne, Germany, some interesting news concerning the CB1100 roadsters. Their air-cooled four-cylinder 1,140 cc engine had to be retuned in accordance with updated European emissions legislation, which entailed small revisions in the inlet and exhaust systems. The announced performance figures show no actual change in power output, with 89 hp (66 kW) at 7,500 rpm, and a minor difference in torque, which appears marginally reduced at 91 Nm (67 lb-ft) and peaking 500 rpm higher, at 5,500 rpm.
Around this revised motor Honda introduced one new variant, the RS, and the updated EX. Unlike the standard CB1100 model, these get a new pair of Showa Dual Bending Valve forks, adjustable for spring preload. Also, they're both fitted with front and rear LED lights, and a slipper clutch as standard.
The CB1100RS rolls on sportier 17-inch cast aluminium wheels, resulting in slightly faster frame geometry, as expressed by one less degree of caster angle (26 for the RS, 27 for the other CB1100s), and shorter trail, measuring 99 mm against 114 for the 18-inch wheeled models.
The RS' front Showa sports thicker fork legs with golden finish and incorporates supports for radial brake calipers. Specially for the RS, Honda opted for Tokico radial four-piston calipers biting on bigger 310 mm disks. There's also a new set of yellow Showa piggyback shocks with preload adjustability specifically for this sportier CB1100 variant.
The EX is a pre-existing member of the family, offering a more classical alternative to the standard CB1100 thanks to the addition of spoke wheels and chromed bits. Along with all the updates it shares with the RS, the CB1100EX introduces the yellow-colored fuel tank that was last year shown at the Tokyo Motor Show as part of Concept CB.
Which gets us wondering about the Express Yourself model to be unveiled on November 18; could it by any chance be something based on the other Tokyo concept model, the CB1100 Custom? That was a black CB1100 fitted with several after-market goodies – Moriwaki exhausts, Nitron shocks, special decals, single seat – in the making of a very attractive café racer. With modern retro motorcycles fueling fashion trends, taking Honda's innuendo on self-expression for a literal reference to customizing doesn't really require much imagination.
We probably have more Honda sport classics coming our way soon; perhaps a café racer, a scrambler, or even maybe interchangeable kits to transform the CB1100 at will – Triumph Bonneville-style.