1983 Honda CB 1100 F
A current customer project
When Honda launched the CB750 in 1969 it created a new era of motorcycling. The single-cam 750 was produced for nearly 10 years however, during this time many advances were taking place in motorcycle development. One major advance, was the introduction of the twin-cam Kawasaki Z900. The race for motorcycle sales was on in earnest and a key driver at the top end of the market, was horse-power. In 1979 Honda introduced the CB750F, a twin cam machine that addressed the short comings of the single cam and also offered an increase in power from around 56 hp for the single cam, to 77hp for the twin cam.
Soon after the 750 appeared, the CB900F was introduced with a view to offer even more power (95hp) and then along came the CBX1000 with its 6 cylinders. The 900F was more successful in the sales department compared to the CBX. This was possibly because the CBX carried a fair amount of extra weight (about 270Kg wet) compared to the 900F. The CBX had the muscle (103hp) but it was a large motorcycle and handling was not its greatest attribute. Honda needed a bike with even more grunt coupled with reasonable weight in order to compete with the offerings from Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki who were by then, producing bikes with good handling. The result was the introduction of the CB1100F Super Bol D'or, named after the the French 24-hour motorcycle endurance race. Here was a bike with 108hp that would propel it over the quarter mile in a little over 11 seconds. It came with more power and less weight (243Kgs) than the CBX 1000, had triple discs, adjustable damping, anti - dive forks and slightly rear-set footpegs commensurate with its sporting and handling capabilities.
'The CB1100F was only made for one year'.
Rapid change was afoot in the motorcycle market after 1980 with new models constantly in the pipeline. Whilst the 1100F was the culmination of 4 years of development of the CB twin-cam series, Honda had other plans for all-new model releases and decided to discontinue the 1100F after only one year in production.
Many of the super bikes and large capacity bikes that were to follow the 1100F, saw the introduction of water cooling. From a restorers point of view, water cooling adds another potential source of problems. Inadequate maintenance and potentially outright neglect can see extensive damage through corrosion to not only the castings but also the engine components due to rust and oxidization. Water cooling has benefits in the short term, however the restorer needs to proceed with caution, when looking at bikes over 30 years of age that have not been well maintained. Air cooled models obviously do not suffer from coolant related issues.
The CB1100 F Super Bol D'or is deemed to be the most collectible of the air cooled twin-cam 'CB' series from the late seventies and early eighties. One of the key pedigree's of any collectible, is scarcity. This is where the 1100F outshines the other CB's of the time. The Australian and European 'sports' model had Red and Pearl-white paint and the Honda bird-wing decal on the tank and the striking 'gold' Comstar 'Boomerang' wheels. The Comstar wheels are the most desirable of this model. The US model is identified by its plain Honda text on the tank, plain 'Star' mag wheels and small fairing. They also have block instrument panel and forward mounted foot-pegs. (The 'sports' model styling was offered as an option/upgrade in the US)
The twin-cam series bikes were typically used for day to day transport in Australia and weren't always well looked after. Finding examples in Australia let alone good examples is difficult which makes them even rarer. Those that do come on the market are usually snapped up in quick time. Expect to see prices continue to climb.