Return Of The Mack, Non-Return Of The Mack, And The DuKawi

2017 Honda CBR1100 EX

I’ve long since come to terms with the idea that my participation in, or excitement about, something is basically the opposite of celebrity endorsement. BMX was doing great until I got my Beginner license. The same is true for my NASA region, which saw entries in the PTE class go from 15-20 to 4-6 after I started. To be fair, the 2008 market collapse might have been peripherally involved. But anyway. After a picture of me wearing my horsehide Captain America jacket went viral everywhere from Reddit’s Feminism channel to the Daily Mail, Hillside put the ready-to-wear version of said jacket on clearance.

Which is why I am just a little bit excited to announce that I have saved a motorcycle from extinction. When I bought my discontinued 2014 Honda CB1100 Standard, and two of my readers followed suit, I had no idea that the three of us would triple-handedly convince Honda to bring the motorcycle back to the United States. But as you’ll see, they’re still keeping the good stuff at home. Meanwhile, Team Green has decided to make a very strong argument for me to sell the CB…


The revamped 2017 CB1100EX, complete with late-Eighties-style tank, LED headlight, wire wheels, slipper clutch, a two-tone engine treatment, and minor performance updates, will come to the United States late this spring. I’m not totally convinced. I like the all-black, all-business look of my Comstar-wheel Standard quite a bit more than this spruced-up EX. But what is this?

The CB1100RS has improved suspension, different geometry, wheels that are both smaller and lighter, and a general sporty-ish visual update. It looks just about perfect to me. Unfortunately for me, it’s not coming to the United States. We’re just getting the wire-wheel bike.

Now let me show you something that we are getting. The 2017 Kawasaki Z900. Look at the trellis-esque frame, in the proper shade of green to boot. Wouldn’t this look brilliant next to my ZX-14R in the garage? But in reality I’d be stupid to swap my eminently reliable and fully paid-for Honda CB out just to get something that isn’t as fast as the ZX-14R and isn’t as simple as the CB. But I do think that you should look at it, because it is AWESOME.

I suspect the only problem would be when you line up next to somebody on a $1,800 Craigslist special FZ-1 and he blows you into the weeds. “Wait,” you’ll say, “look at my green frame!”

26 Replies to “Return Of The Mack, Non-Return Of The Mack, And The DuKawi”

  1. Economist

    Negative, Ghostrider. The tumor where the headlight should be on the Kawasaki is hideous. A round headlight would look so much better.

    Reply
  2. Yamahog

    Oh man you gotta check out the retro version of the Z900. I tell myself I’d buy the bike but I’ll wait and see, a high redline could persuade me but I’d go sign the dotted line if there were a supercharger (maybe some day)

    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/new-bikes/2016/september/kawasaki-z900rs-retro-imminent/

    Thanks for bringing back the CB1100 though! It’s romantic to think about riding it for the next 30 years and the bike is charming but when everyone is paying by the mile/minute to drive in a tesla / uber (tuber?) I’m not sure a CB1100 would be something that gets people to dream of the good old days – at least it won’t be the same as a 600 supersport rowing through the gears at redline.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Ideally I’d have the modern one AND the retro, the same way I’d like to have an XSR900 and an FZ-09. Betcha the real thing doesn’t look as good as that computer rendering when it comes out.

      Reply
      • Yamahog

        You’re incorrigible and half the reason I read your stuff is to remind myself that getting a ZX-14 doesn’t actually solve every problem there ever was and ever will be and I got mad respect and mad thankfulness for your Christlike assumption of the burden of owning a ZX-14.

        Reply
  3. Apuleius

    Honda are a shower of bastards; they seem to expend more effort teasing amazing things we can’t have than building desirable machines. Have you seen the CB1100TR concept? I’d rob an orphanage to pay for this:

    http://www.sportrider.com/retro-honda-cb1100-tr-concept-superbike-flattracker#page-6

    The Z900 is confusing because the ZX1000 still exists. I’d get a clean 2005ish Aprilia Tuono Factory instead of either, and have money left over for a few track days.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Z800 and Z1000 both disappear next year. Like the FZ-08 gave way to the FZ-07 and FZ-09, only in reverse.

      That CB1100TR is a TAKE MY MONEY thing for sure.

      Reply
      • Apuleius

        Question: have Kawasaki discovered something they didn’t know about trellis frames during development of the H2 or did Corporate just basically decide that Kawi should become generally known as a maker of trellis-framed bikes?

        “There’s a great future in trellis. Think about it. Will you think about it?”

        I mean, it looks like a success when you see the huge weight loss of the new Z650 over the previous 650, but one wonders how much of it is a styling decision.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          100% of it. I think somebody figured out that trellis frame are (IRONICALLY) seen as an upscale feature.

          All because Ducati couldn’t build a beam frame accurately to save their lives.

          Reply
    • Economist

      If Honda put out a CB1000 in RWB, (I don’t even need all the racebike stiff) I might just risk my marriage and buy one.

      Reply
    • mopar4wd

      Love Nortons as a kid I loved Commandos, after I read a few articles about guy who rode cross country several times on one. Norton made rotary bikes later. If you look at the UK ebay site you see them from time to time. last I looked a few years ago they did not command super high prices.

      Reply
  4. don curton

    I’m so happy to have helped bring back the CB1100, but I have to say my 2014 standard in all black still looks better than the “European model shown.”

    But if we’re making a wish list, Honda also made a CB1300, faired and naked, that they oughta bring over also. But nooooooo. The cruiser crowd probably accounts for 75% of the market and the rest of us never get any cool bikes. Dang it.

    Reply
  5. Joe

    Very nice looking bike, minus the gold accents, very good looking standard! On my wish list would be a retro cb900 along the lines of early eighties with the wierd transmission.

    Reply

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