All Duels – CB1100 Vs XJR1300: the classic is fantastic! – Back to the past…

CB1100 Vs XJR1300: the classic is fantastic !

All Duels - CB1100 Vs XJR1300: the classic is fantastic! - Back to the past...

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.

Back to the past…

Relatively thin at the crotch thanks to the elongated shape and the small capacity of its tank (14.6 liters), the CB1100 is easily mounted. The handlebar branches raised towards the bust, the low-placed toe clips and the sensitive depression of the suspensions under the weight of the pilot immediately announce the color: the program will promote relaxation in the arsenal. !

Several questionable design details – quite rare at Honda – however tarnish the picture … The saddle is first of all frankly uncomfortable: a few tens of kilometers are enough to highlight the firmness of its padding and the inadequacy of its support . The long stages will necessarily be punctuated by "buttocks breaks" !

On the other hand, the front brake spacing adjustment is inaccessible – because it is placed under the cables of the accelerator -, while the deployment of the side stand suffers from a poor positioning of the lug: too high, that – here does not offer enough leverage. As for the power plant installed as standard, that of our test model sometimes required a little help to fold up completely in its housing….

Finally, if the passenger handles in the form of notches under the saddle take care of the aesthetics, this is not without consequences on comfort and practicality: hollowed out in the covering, they quickly become unfriendly to the fingertips. , while their small size makes them difficult to grasp with large gloves.

On the XJR1300, the passenger has a large and accessible handle placed in his back and above all an incomparably softer seat. It is a real two-seater sofa that the Yamaha offers to the pilot and his guest! As the Ohlins combinations are calibrated more flexible, the comfort perceived when stationary is extended in dynamics: the irregularities of the asphalt are hardly felt, as on a good road bike..

On the other hand, despite an identical saddle height (765 mm), the Yam ‘does not offer the same accessibility as the Honda: the legs are more apart due to the engine and especially the larger tank (21 liters). The stance is also a sportier hint, as the footrests are set further back and the – narrower – handlebars are slightly less raised..

Like the CB1100, the XJR1300 has a standard center stand, which requires significantly more effort to deploy. The Yamaha may weigh less than the Honda (245 kg all full facts announced against 248), its overweight is more noticeable during manipulations at a standstill and wandering at low speed.

Taking advantage of the narrowness of its pneumatic mounting (110 mm at the front and 140 at the rear against 120 and 180 mm on the Yam ‘), a better distribution of masses and a lower center of gravity high, the CB1100 seems to weigh 50 kg less than its rival at very low speed. Like a pretty woman, the curves of the Honda do not serve her because they are well placed !

In the retro … of the Yamaha !

Then comes the time to take a closer look at the engines. Because a retro roadster is indeed a face, but it is also (above all?) A mill! Here, the search for maximum performance is not an end in itself: sensations take precedence over performance, "trunk" is more important than pure power and character takes precedence over top speed..

Viewed through this mechanical prism, the CB1100’s charming company is unfortunately experiencing a setback … First disappointment: the soundtrack is not up to the plastic of the bike. As often with the first manufacturer, the silencer is aptly named as the sound is discreet, almost muffled. But the most frustrating aspect comes from the melody itself: the engine "sounds" like a modern 4-cylinder, its growl more like the CBF1000F than the CB900 Bol d’Or..

If it shines by its availability (start again in fifth at less than 1000 rpm is a formality) and its consistent raises, the Honda unit appears generally too civilized. The emotion is not there, the fault of the revving without panache, because too linear…

Lovers of "wadding" more than "watts", the CB1100 will satisfy you: the injection is perfectly calibrated, the selection is precise, while the incredible mechanical elasticity allows driving on the torque very pleasant. The only fine lines disturbing this ocean of softness are the tingling felt between the thighs when accelerating and the – very – slight jerks of transmission perceptible when the gas stream starts again..

From the start, the Yamaha’s four-cylinder eclipses its rival: the XJR1300 snorts in a deliciously hoarse tone, slightly irregular when cold, before purring powerfully. At idle, the counters and mirrors of the mirrors (less efficient than those of the Honda) vibrate happily to the rhythm of the engine pulses. This tingling extends to the handles and then tickles the feet noticeably at around 4000 rpm.

Despite its more square ribs (79 x 63.8 mm against 73.5 x 67.2 mm for the CB1100), the Yamaha block takes its turns with more inertia and offers – logically – more engine brake downshifting . Barely less flexible than its rival, the XJR1300 resumes idling at less than 20 km / h in fifth gear and turns overall at the same speeds: at 110 km / h on the last report for example, the Honda tachometer indicates 3750 rpm, that of the Yamaha 4000 rpm.

Hyper torquey, its engine pushes especially much stronger and with more ardor: one would swear that a significant displacement gap separates the two motorcycles, while the Yamaha benefits "only" from an advantage of 81 cc (technical sheets in last page) !

Whatever the speed or the gear engaged (via a noisier gearbox and a firmer clutch than on the Honda), the XJR1300 dislocates its rival by making its superior torque and extension speak. While that of the CB1100 seems to stagnate in the assault of the high-revs, the acceleration of the Yamaha is indeed reinforced almost until its rupture located at 10,000 rpm (9,000 on the Honda).

So much so that the chassis does not always cash all this enthusiasm: in good "oldies", the Yamaha does not like to be heckled and quickly reveals its limits in intensive driving. Nothing to complain about in terms of braking and stability: despite a relative lack of consistency in the grip of the right lever, the four-piston calipers provide very convincing decelerations, while the 1500 mm of wheelbase (10 mm more than on the Honda) give it good steering.

On the other hand, the mass transfers are less well absorbed than on the Honda, failing the cohesion of the damping. Rear shock absorbers insufficiently retained in hydraulics are largely at the origin of this phenomenon, which ends up causing waddles when wringing the right handle when exiting curves. At the same time, given the health of the moulbif, the rear axle is really put to use in these conditions !

On the CB1100, the lighter steering and more successful balance allow more precise entry into corners and effortless angle changes. While the Yamaha tends to engage at low and medium speed, the Honda is perfectly neutral on the angle and its front axle returns more information..

Comfortable, the Honda has not forgotten to be rigorous: its excellent assisted and coupled braking is more easily dosed and its suspensions work together from the beginning to the end of a turn. What a pity that a ground clearance worthy of a chopper does not put a "mechanical brake" on this excellent potential….

Verdict: CB1100 victory, XJR1300 crush !

Under its – beautiful – old airs, the CB1100 hides "modern" equipment (C-ABS, ultramodern injection, coded key, etc.) and dynamic behavior. The result is particularly convincing, even exciting: not only because the bike is as beautiful to look at as it is pleasant to ride, but also because the approach has something refreshing….

No, Honda doesn’t just make pragmatic two-wheelers: the CB1100 is proof of that, which was designed solely for the pleasure of the senses! Its only real flaws are to be found in its (in) saddle comfort and its not expressive enough engine. Its price also seems too high (€ 10,990) in view of its technological simplicity: nostalgia is expensive at the winged coat of arms….

Less expensive (€ 9,499, excluding promotions on previous vintages) and otherwise more sensational mechanically speaking, the Yamaha XJR1300 is however inclined to face the homogeneity of its rival. Its more clumsy and less rigorous dynamic behavior, as well as the absence of ABS betray its dated design.

Remains a fantastic engine and a line that ages well: if the retro trend is confirmed, Yamaha could even make Suzuki and Kawasaki regret having stopped the production of the late GSX 1400 and ZRX 1200 !

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