The Honda CB1100RC (1982), a Real Race Replica

Honda CB1100RC
The CB1100RB that Mike Buttinger still found crated

The law of the inhibiting lead

Honda changed motorcycling in 1969 with the introduction of the first - 'superbike', the Honda CB750. But soon the effect of 'the inhibiting lead' occurred. From the mid-1970s, four-cylinder in-line engines had double overhead camshafts. Point. The Kawasaki Z1000, the Suzuki GS1000, the Yamaha XS1100 already had the brand with the wing in its logo, yes, there it comes: outdated technically, in sales and now also on the circuits.

And because 'loss of face' in Japan is much more than 'a thingy', Honda could not let that happen. The Honda competition department therefore made plans to search for space in the border area of ​​the possibilities of the homologation legislation. And to build a real racing engine. An engine that could also hit the road as an excuse for a winner on the circuits. Smart right?

Honda RSC was smart

If it is not written in black and white that it is not allowed, then it is allowed. Within that framework it became possible to make the CB1100R. A minimal production for homologation was required. Then why would you make much more of it? The result of that smart line-reading was the CB1100R, which was in fact a CB900F with an unlimited budget, with a cockpit. All components were painfully carefully viewed and assembled with the utmost care.

The bicycle part, suspension, brakes; everything was of absolute top quality. In the three years that the 1100R was built, developments continued as usual. The first series CB1100RB ('81) had a half fairing, was red and white colored, had magnesium block covers, Comstar wheels with 'back to back' mounted spokes and a solo seat. And recently, CMSNL owner Mike Buttinger, arguably the world's largest online parts dealer for classic Japanese motorcycles, found another example fresh in the crate. Then came the Honda CB1100RC in 1982. That Honda CB1100RC was quite updated with a full fairing, red, white, blue colors, gold anodized 'boomerang' wheels and satin black exhausts. The Honda CB1100RB and Honda CB1100RC were used enthusiastically and with great success in racing. And quite a few died. That makes them extra scarce now. Because with production numbers of about 1500 copies per series, the crashes are very bad.

Relatively many survivors

The third, and last, model was the Honda CB1100RD. Of these, just like the Honda CB1100RC 1500, copies were produced, but because the RD was not really actively raced, this is now the least rare model. There are simply more survivors. The RD got metallic colors, and a rectangular swingarm, black chrome exhausts and some minor adjustments to the bodywork

The basis of generations of sporty types

The Honda CB1100R has laid a foundation for Honda and HRC, which until now has produced racers based on production engines. The VF1000R, for example, was also a fierce thing but, despite being the first V4 with gear-driven camshafts for public roads, it would never get the success that the CB1100R deserved. That 'thick' VF-R was too heavy and therefore the circuit work was often opted for the lighter, but almost as fast VF750.

Those disappointing successes of the heirs only underlined the tough boy image of The Original, Honda's latest production racer larger than 750cc until the arrival of the CBR1000RR in 2005.

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