Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

Our Product-Dev guy, Erik “Westy” Westergaard is probably the fastest guy at Biltwell, so when it came time to test Honda’s 2018 CB1100EX it just made sense to have this one-man wrecking crew spend some quality time with this impressive machine…

Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

Honda has always been a go-to brand for me whether it be racing, riding for pleasure or work. They produce some of the most dependable equipment you can buy and the function of a Honda-branded-anything is something I will always trust.

Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

Even at first glance, it’s immediately obvious that the overall styling is a well thought out homage to a time long-passed where less is more, and the beauty lies in its simplicity. When throwing a leg over it, you really grasp its width. The familiarity of the cockpit to a CB750 of my past was undeniable, and If you are used to a narrower single-cylinder motorcycle, you will instantly notice that the engine is as wide as your feet when on the pegs. The modern sportbike-style shape of the tank is well done and does not take away from the bike’s classic appeal. The display is straight-forward, giving the rider everything required and nothing that isn’t, in an elegant and simple layout. The cockpit is comfortable and the giant bread-loaf seat seemed as though it would be a little too bulky, but ended up being just about perfect.

Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

All-day motorcycle riding can take a toll on your body, especially in the sun. Fighting the wind, terrain and the mental drain from watching out for competing traffic can easily make you want to stay in bed a few more hours the next morning. I found myself looking forward to getting back on it for each morning commute, and there was never a moment where I didn’t want to ride it. Touch the button and the bike purred to life without a single worry every time. Urban riding all day long on the CB1100EX and for days on end with some freeway stints to let me stretch its legs was comfortable and easy. Predictable handling during some fast canyon-running was confidence inspiring and the stop-and-go of downtown riding was a non-issue with the easy clutch and smooth transmission that is very typical of Honda machines. The brakes were plenty powerful and while I try not to put myself into panic situations on purpose, out of curiosity I did attempt some hard stops to try and lock up both front and rear and the ABS worked quite well. It goes as well as it stops! The Honda has plenty of grunt under hard acceleration to pull the front wheel off the ground, and this is no lightweight machine. We weren’t supposed to wheelie it, but if you accidentally get it up on the rear wheel, it’s very well balanced and easy to keep it there. Allegedly.

Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

When shopping for motorcycles, people like the “wow” factor, whether it be styling, performance or maybe a little braggadocio. From the simple and classic styling, the moderate but completely adequate power and at a price point that won’t break the bank, The Honda CB1100EX doesn’t really fit any of those but this is the only bike most of us really need, even if we don’t realize it.

– Westy

Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

Real World Road Test: Honda CB1100EX

CB1100 EX


Engine Type 1140cc air-cooled inline four-cylinder
Bore And Stroke 73.5mm x 67.2mm
Induction PGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, 32mm throttle bodies
Ignition Full transistorized
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Valve Train DOHC; four valves per cylinder

Transmission Six-speed
Final Drive #530 O-ring-sealed chain

Front Suspension 41mm fork with spring preload adjustability; 4.21 inches travel
Rear Suspension Twin shocks with spring preload adjustability; 4.49 inches travel
Front Brake Dual four-piston calipers with full-floating 296mm discs with ABS
Rear Brakes Single-caliper 256mm disc with ABS
Front Tire 110/80R-18
Rear Tire 140/70R-18

Rake 27.0 degrees (Caster Angle)
Trail 114mm (4.4 inches)
Wheelbase 58.7 inches
Seat Height 31.2 inches
Fuel Capacity 4.4 gallons
Curb Weight 540 pounds. Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.

Model ID CB1100CAH
Emissions Meets current EPA standards. California version meets current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.
Available Colors Candy Red

One Year Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.

Read more here.

  • Ottoknut

    I will readily admit that I absolutely love the styling of the CB1100EX. Honda has almost perfectly captured the essence of a ’70s superbike and bottled it in a modern motorcycle. However, in a price vs performance comparison, the big CB fails quite miserably. In my hometown, Honda’s own thoroughly modern CB1000R with ABS retails for only an extra $1400. And, the CBR600 is currently on sale for a mere 400 bucks more than the CB1100. Both these more modern bikes could eat the CB1100 for lunch and picks their teeth with its bones. Kawasaki’s own homage to its superbike roots, the Z900RS, comes in at $700 less than its Honda competitor. The Kawi offers a more potent liquid-cooled engine and a lower weight. And, for another $300, a lovely half fairing can be had with the Z900RS Cafe. I have only seen a CB1100EX on a sales floor, and I suspect its price tag is the reason for this. Honda would have to offer some pretty deep discounts before I considered buying one.

    • Drew


    • Norm McCabe

      The CB1100 isn’t about speed/$. The CB1100 is an authentic air-cooled tribute to an era. Not a retro headlight and tank bolted on to a transformer bike. I’ve ridden plenty of bikes that can outrun the CB for less money, but I wouldn’t trade the CB straight up for any of them.

      • Biltwell

        Well said, Norm.

  • Obliviontoad

    I totally agree that in a head to head total performance the bikes you mention will give serious concern for the most part. But that misses the point of the CB1100. Superbike? Hardly. Well built? Better than the Kawasaki. Air cooled and still manages to have enough grunt to move its beefy 550 lb ass well.
    Price is always a stickler. Only fools pay retail. Go pick up an older CB1100 from a previous year. New. For under 8K. Ride it, and get back to me about price vs performance. It’s about how well it rides, which doesn’t translate to a bunch of numbers on a website. Put your leg over one. They are just excellent riding machines that don’t compromise.