All Duels – CB1100 Vs XJR1300: the classic is fantastic! – Oh, grandpa day!

CB1100 Vs XJR1300: the classic is fantastic !

All Duels - CB1100 Vs XJR1300: the classic is fantastic! - Oh, grandpa day!

One is a modern motorcycle designed ‘old-fashioned’, the other a roadster with fine remains that has become a classic. The Honda CB1100 and the Yamaha XJR1300 nevertheless pursue the same objective: to charm motorcyclists nostalgic for the sensations of yesteryear.. Duel.

Oh, grandpa day !

Artificially aged clothing, cars inspired by past successes (Fiat 500, Volkswagen Beetle, etc.), "old school" interior decorations … Whatever the field, making new by imitating the old has become trendy. Motorcycle production is no exception to this phenomenon, especially as it echoes the increase in the average age of the biker: even if some young people today find "vintage" what was qualified as "outdated" yesterday, a neo-retro like the .

It is indeed impossible not to go back 45 years by detailing its flat saddle, its elongated tank, its double cradle frame, its shock absorbers, its narrow tires, its round headlight and especially its four cylinders in line cooled by air-oil: the CB1100 vibrates the cord of nostalgia by openly drawing inspiration from the CB750 Four !

Discovered as a concept in Tokyo in 2007 and marketed three years later only in Japan and Australia, this "old fake" has a crazy allure. His secret? A technical and aesthetic simplicity that refers to the essentials of the motorcycle: a handlebars, two wheels, a (big) engine, and basta! Too bad that an escapement with quadruple exits was not chosen to accentuate the parallel with the cult "4-pots". Visually, its stripped back part would also have gained in balance..

The presence of rims with sticks will also upset those who "know a thing or two about it", just like the plastic keys scattered here and there (turn signal cabochons, counters and rear headlight support, in particular). Apart from these details, the bike is a pure stylistic success, coupled with a brilliant demonstration of Honda’s "savoir-faire": the look comes and goes with delight between the high new engine surrounded by thin 2 mm fins – the part bass, it comes from the CB1300 – and beautiful parts like the hollow footrests.

The assembly does not suffer from any defect, the surface treatments are neat (particularly the chrome of the mudguards) and the integration of the electrical network shines by its discretion. Even the installation of the small 335mm oil cooler in front of the cylinder heads received enough attention not to disturb the line..

In short, Honda has taken care of the packaging to maintain the illusion: despite its status as a 2013 novelty, the CB1100 gives off real flavors of the past. Only its C-ABS braking (combined from rear to front), its coded key, its catalyzed exhaust, its PGM-FI injection and the digital screen (with clock, fuel gauge and trips) placed between its readable needle counter and tachometer betray its modern design.

Authentically ancient…

In front of it, the XJR1300 rolls mechanics (read in particular our). And not only because its 98 hp and 108.4 Nm give it the mechanical advantage (87.9 hp and 93 Nm for the Honda)! The Yamaha has above all something that the artifices of its rival only suggest: a status of authentic old. A distinction that is not trivial for some fans of the genre…

The design of its engine, for example, dates back to the initiator of the saga: the XJR1200 from 1995. Until the arrival of the CB1100, this large block was also the last representative of the Japanese "4-legs" air-cooled on the market! In the meantime, this propellant has naturally evolved: it notably went from 1188 cc to 1251 cc in 1999, abandoned an exhaust outlet in 2002 and followed the evolution of standards by adopting a catalyst in 2004, then the injection three years later.

This conservatism is also observed at the level of its chassis: the double steel cradle frame has certainly been reinforced over the years and the suspensions have gained both in rigor and in adjustment possibilities, but the front brake callipers still come from the R1 from 1998 !

Aesthetically, same fight: "the designers didn’t want to change the image of this time-insensitive machine and I bet the vast majority of bikers won’t see the difference without a thorough examination", even joked Yutaka Kubo, project manager of the XJR1300, when the 2002 vintage was released (the first to receive the Ohlins shocks so far reserved for the SP version as standard).

The most important stylistic change would come five years later, when round LED lights made their appearance in the nicely raised rear shell. Since 2007, the XJR1300 has not undergone any changes: the following vintages were satisfied with new colors and a few graphic modifications (fork and swingarm dyed black in 2011, for example).

And so much the better would one be tempted to write, as his lines have lost none of their charm! More sporty – but also more massive – than that of the CB1100, its style evokes the very first "Superbikes" with which American riders struggled in the 70s / 80s. Its polished fins, its Ohlins shock absorbers and its aluminum swingarm pad reinforce this "old-fashioned" side, while contributing to the excellent perceived quality released by the bike..

As on the Honda, the finish is excellent and the quality of the materials inspires seriousness. The only downside comes from the alternator which shamelessly exposes its copper coils to the eye … The instrumentation is also a little austere: a chrome ring around the meters would not displease us.

Since 2004, the XJR1300 has had a coded key, while its instrumentation also accommodates a small digital window between its two counters. If this digital keypad exposes the same information as on the Honda (trips, time, fuel level), the smallness of its characters makes it less readable while driving.

Thanks to MNC, you are now ready to hold the spittoon for hours at the bar or during a gathering of oldies! But now that the presentations are made, if we went to the handlebars of the CB1100 and the XJR1300 to see what they have in the stomach ?

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