Review: 2014 Honda CB1100 vs. 1975 Honda CB550


This is something for which I’ve been asked a few times, both on this forum and elsewhere, but for a variety of reasons I’ve been too lazy to write it up. As some of you know, I bought a leftover 2014 Honda CB1100 Standard in July and have since put about 2,700 miles on it despite the various inconveniences of travel and tibia fractures.

The CB1100, like the Volkswagen Phaeton, was a home-market smash brought to the United States to the annoyance of a dealer body that didn’t want it and wasn’t sure how to sell it. It was sold here for two model years — 2013 and 2014 — and in two trim levels — Standard and Deluxe. The Standard was $10,399 and the Deluxe was $11,899. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, the chromed-out Deluxe sold pretty well but the all-black 2014 Standard was a tough sell. Which is how I picked mine up at a thirty-percent discount this year.

Long-time readers of my various websites and blogs may remember that I owned a cafe-racer-style ’75 CB550 for a while before the turn of the century and that I bought another ’75 CB550, this one almost entirely stock, in the spring of 2012. So how does this all-new Universal Japanese Motorcycle compare with one of the originals?

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Riders Ready


Twenty minutes into John’s first afternoon at the track, some local kid, shirtless and dirty, on a rusty bike that was two sizes too big, rode into the first turn the wrong way. Avoiding him, John swerved, fell off his DiamondBack, and slid down the asphalt on his hands. I could hear him crying from two hundred feet away.

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