All Comparisons – Neo-retro comparison: R nineT Vs CB1100 EX Vs Bonneville T100 – Classics appeased against neo-retro unleashed!

Neo-retro comparison: R nineT Vs CB1100 EX Vs Bonneville T100

All Comparisons - Neo-retro comparison: R nineT Vs CB1100 EX Vs Bonneville T100 - Classics appeased against neo-retro unleashed!

With the new R nineT, BMW throws a carefully calibrated pavement into the pond of classic motorcycles. The tasty Honda CB1100 EX and Triumph Bonneville T100, subtly retouched in 2014, will they be able to avoid splashing ? Retro comparative test.

Classics soothed against unleashed neo-retro !

Void, the flat twin of the R NineT is certainly not: the block from the R1200R – with a reworked injection and exhaust as well as a shorter final transmission – blows with conviction in its superb "Akra" exhausts , to the point of completely covering the timid vocalizations of the Honda and the Triumph.

Its sound with rough accents is furthermore punctuated by backfiring when the gas is cut off which is added to the engine’s overturning torque and its vibrations – really present between 6000 and 9000 rpm – to give it a very marked character. If the "Great Dane" bites as hard as it barks, its victims will taste…

And this is precisely the case since whatever the gear or rpm, the R nineT makes short work of the Honda CB1100 EX and the Triumph Bonneville T100. We suspected that with 110 hp and 119 Nm in the housings, the BMW block would dictate its law … but not at this point: even with a report more than the Japanese and the English, the German leaves them in place !

The explanation for such a performance gap is mainly due to its more modern and advanced mechanics, in particular its distribution by pawls. But its lower weight also plays a significant role, especially compared to the heavy Honda: announced at 222 kg with 90% full, the BMW is almost 40 kg lighter than the CB1100 EX (260 kg all full) !

With the Triumph, the difference is around 10 kg (230 kg all full), a low value in absolute detail, as the Englishwoman has – like the CB1100 – a final transmission by chain while the ‘German transmits her ardor via a cardan shaft.

That says a lot about the efforts and the quality of the materials used by engineers from across the Rhine to contain the weight. On the R nineT, the 18-liter aluminum fuel tank – hand-brushed on its sides – isn’t just for looks: this expensive material is also lighter than the steel used on the Triumph and Honda.

Classic ascending sporty !

Dynamically, the behavior of the BMW is in the image of this strong mechanical temperament. Moreover, its driving position immediately announces the color: its footrests are the highest and most remote, its thin saddle quickly becomes uncomfortable while its wide handlebars are not as raised. In comparison, the Bonneville T100 would almost pass for a custom with its handlebars generously raised. !

Low (775 mm saddle height against 785 for the BMW and 795 for the Honda) and extremely thin at the crotch, the Triumph is the most accessible of the three. Well installed on its soft seat – but not very suitable for long journeys because it is too narrow to fit the entire surface of a posterior in size 38! -, we quickly become one with the motorcycle. Some of its peculiarities, however, need to be integrated…

You must already find the switch installed on the left of the steering column (the Neiman being on the right), then deal with the additional inertia induced by its 19-inch front wheel. The beautiful Englishwoman loses in agility what she gains in look. In addition, its injection is not perfectly calibrated, its selection is slow – but precise – and its final transmission generates slight jolts when the gas stream picks up..

Finally, its braking system is "old-fashioned", which means that the convincing rear brake is frequently called upon to assist its perfectible front counterpart. The right lever indeed offers a fairly spongy touch and the power delivered by the single two-piston caliper is far from intimidating. The advantage is that the absence of ABS – standard on its two rivals – is less worrying !

On the Honda, no instructions for use or acclimatization period are required as it is confusing in its naturalness and neutrality. Its considerable mass is forgotten from the first turn of the wheel (yes, the first!) Thanks to a balance close to perfection and to controls as smooth as they are precise..

Healthy and intuitive, the CB1100 EX plunges smoothly into curves, even when gently manhandled by relying on a dosable and efficient braking device. Only the abandonment of the practical rear-front coupling system lends itself to criticism to our liking….

Much more comfortable than in 2013 thanks to its better padded saddle, the CB1100 EX smooths out all the roughness of the road gently. Its suspensions benefit from an excellent compromise between dynamism and comfort. Too bad a really low ground clearance – the worst of the three, by far! – strain its capacities as much. Some customs are better off in this area !

On the Triumph, the fork collapses too quickly under braking while its rear combinations lack progressiveness on big shocks and responsiveness on successions of irregularities. Pushed to its limits – which it is not really designed for – the Bonnie becomes restless, the rigidity of its cradle frame being able to be undermined under very strong constraints..

In contrast, the rigor of the nineT seems never to be faulted. Handy at low speed thanks to the lever arm generated by its wide handlebars and its engine architecture conducive to lowering the center of gravity, the BMW is precise to place. Its very rigid chassis, drier suspensions and extremely biting front braking make it more demanding than the Honda and the Triumph..

Despite the precision of its accelerator and the approval of its acatene transmission, the R nineT thus requires more attention to the go-around. In the event of overly optimistic re-acceleration or tension on the handlebars, it is even possible to reach the limits of your traction or to use your steering damper..

We must see the defect of one of its qualities, a filling and a mechanical performance much higher than its rivals. Biker looking for a classic to redeem a more peaceful ride, go your way: the retro BMW brakes like a sporty roadster and barely holds the floor! It is up to its owner to bear the consequences, including comfort in the background, both in the saddle and in cushioning …

Verdict: Honda and Triumph concrete, BMW detonates !

It is not easy to objectively separate these three motorcycles since it is their charms, their character and the procession of emotions caused by these characteristics that distinguish them … However, these are eminently subjective notions that vary according to requirements and preferences. of each … and which are therefore impossible to quantify !

Even some of their faults contribute to making them endearing, such as the sometimes chaotic slow motion of the Bonneville T100 when cold, the "XXS" ground clearance of the CB1100 EX which forces you to round off its trajectories, or the braking as biting as a pit bull. of the R nineT at the front (at the rear, the delicate dosage easily leads to interventions of the ABS).

Nevertheless, if we draw up a complete assessment of the qualities and defects of each of these three mirrors, the CB1100 EX wins this special classic motorcycle comparison. Its consistency and balance hit the mark, just like its flawless finish and the efforts made by Honda to make it as desirable to look at as it is pleasant to drive, including on a daily basis..

The Japanese is indeed the best off in terms of practical aspects: its instrumentation is the most complete (but not the most readable, in terms of the information in its digital window in particular) and its central stand as standard (optional on the Triumph, not available on the BMW) facilitates certain parking and maintenance operations. And its trunk is the only one that can carry an anti-theft device (specific U). On such an attractive and expensive motorcycle (€ 12,599), it is not luxury !

On the "Bonnie" as on the R nineT, the saddle has no storage space and can be dismantled with a tool. The German takes the advantage over the English woman thanks to its more extensive console, its hinged and lockable fuel cap (same as on CB1100) and its 12 V socket above its left cylinder. The Bonneville T100 opposes it a practical grab handle (absent on the R nineT and uncomfortable on the Honda because it takes the form of too low hollowed notches) and a better turning radius (MNC measurements in our technical sheet).

In terms of build quality and finish, the BMW and the Triumph set the bar very high, like the Honda. However, a few small details bother the R nineT like its austere presentation plastic instrumentation, its exhaust valve as unobtrusive and eye-catching as a cold sore, or its somewhat messy intake directly exposed to view – no matter what. side – because of the engine architecture.

Admittedly, its aluminum tank, its Superbike front end, its brushed mufflers or the shot-peened treatment of many of its parts (fork base, in particular) produce a "beef" effect. But given its elitist price (€ 15,000, or 1,800 euros more than the one from which it takes over the engine and chassis and 2,050 euros more than the all-new), the requirements against it are necessarily higher. !

For its part, the Bonneville T100 pulls itself out of a careful visual examination without batting an eye, with the exception of the voltage regulator placed between its triple trees. Its paint and surface treatments are as qualitative and resistant as those of the Honda and its assembly does not suffer from any neglect. At € 9,940, the icon of the vintage segment is also the cheapest in this comparison, which is no small argument even for this type of "passion" motorcycle..

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