Since 1959, when they first adorned the twin-cylinder CB92 Benly, the two letters CB have always meant a great deal to Honda, and Honda owners. And they came to mean even more in 1969; the four-cylinder CB750 was a seminal moment for motorcycling as the world’s first production superbike took centre stage, laying down a blueprint that still stands today
In the present day, old school has become very much new school and in 2013 Honda brought the CB1100 - already a best seller in the Japanese market - to Europe, satisfying pent-up demand from an army of riders for whom a traditionally styled air-cooled four-cylinder CB was a must-have piece of engineering craftsmanship.
For 2017, two versions of the CB1100 will be available. The CB1100 RS* offers a new kind of more sporting appeal, while the CB1100 EX has been imbued with extra layers of retro style and several performance upgrades.
Manufacture takes place in Honda’s Kumamoto factory, with a production process that’s been fundamentally revised to integrate technology and expert skill in order to create motorcycles rich in craftsmanship and attention to detail, plus a place in history that only comes with the passage of many decades.
The CB1100 EX outlines the proportion and silhouette of a true 1970s superbike. Its curvaceous fuel tank – made without seam-welded lips – evokes hand-made craftsmanship, while the single round headlight and twin instrument dials denote Hondas from a bygone age.
Adding crisp-edged modernity, the front and rear lights are now LED and new 18-inch wheels run stainless steel spokes. Offering improved suspension compliance, the 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve front fork is matched to Showa rear shocks.
The engine breathes more easily thanks to revised inlets and smaller, lighter dual mufflers. An assist slipper clutch makes for easier lever engagement and rear wheel stability on downshifts.
With its classic lines the CB1100 EX conjures memories, mixing the engine’s addictive performance and soulful sound with evocative appeal. It’s also a machine to savour and contemplate and everywhere you look; every angle and part is satisfyingly perfect.