At the very first glance, the CB1100 parked outside the Rider office had me by the eyeballs. Appraising its Candy Red paint and clean, classic lines, I knew I had to ride it. EIC Tuttle finally handed me the key a couple of months later, with the bike now sporting Cortech Super 2.0 luggage and a National Cycle Street Shield EX windshield (both excellent, functional additions). So ride it I did—to work and back, over the mountains for lunch, up the coast—wherever the road led me from my Southern California digs. When I returned it the odometer had turned over nearly 2,000 miles.
Our long-term Deluxe model differs from the original 2013 test bike (Rider, July 2013) and 2014 standard model in both looks and amenities. An extra 0.7 gallon of fuel capacity, for 4.6 total, takes you farther between fill-ups, while a new 6-speed transmission in both 2014 CB1100s, standard and Deluxe, lets the motor relax on the open road. Honda’s Combined ABS comes on the Deluxe, and is unobtrusive in normal braking situations. And its 4-into-2 exhaust features a gleaming chromed muffler on each side, lending a balanced look to the bike. Fully gassed it weighs 557 pounds, 15 more than our 2013 5-speed, but underway, even at the slowest pace the CB is an agile partner. And the 31.2-inch seat keeps your feet flat on the tarmac when stopped.
As reported in 2013, this bike is easy to ride, and easy to like. The torque curve is as flat as Kansas—from 3,500 to 7,000 rpm the 1,140cc air-cooled mill generates close to its maximum torque output of 67.4 lb-ft. The power isn’t so enormous as it is inexorable, climbing to its 88.3 horsepower peak (3.4 more than the standard model with 4-into-1 exhaust) at 7,400 rpm as recorded on the Jett Tuning dyno, driving the CB forward with purpose if not fireworks. The Deluxe is so easy to live with and so fun to ride it’s hard to find fault. But here’s one: tingle-butt in the 4,000-5,000 rpm range, though it’s easily avoided by deft use the six-cog tranny. Fuel range is reasonable for a bike you might (should!) tour on; our fuel economy averaged 43.6 mpg, netting 200.7 miles per tank. The Deluxe retails for $11,899; the still-available 2013 standard model is just $9,999 or $10,999 with C-ABS, and a 2014 standard with 6-speed is $10,399.
With current offerings going high-tech from head to tail, Honda has built an honest motorcycle on the premise that some new technology melded with a proven design can deliver a heck of a good ride. I’m going to miss this ruby-red beauty when it’s gone. The CB1100 DLX isn’t the lightest, fastest or most technically advanced of the 21st century two-wheelers, but it begs to be ridden and provides an experience worthy of its heritage. Simple, comfortable and fun, the CB1100 Deluxe could be a long-term bike for a lot of riders.