Honda X-Eleven review

Honda X-Eleven review

The Big One

It was clear that one would come at some point. But with what power no one could imagine. After years of reluctance, Honda is once again presenting a naked big bike.

No, it wasn’t an accident. «Honda press spokesman Klaus Wilkniss asserts that the design of the X-Eleven did not happen somehow, but was chosen deliberately.

Consciously different. Consciously unpleasant. The world shouldn’t just be able to look past the 1100s. It should get stuck. And it does. Irritated, aghast, shocked. “However, that goes away quickly,” explain those responsible. You have to experience this motorcycle, deal with it. Drive, drive, drive, then everything opens up. The mighty tank, the monstrous radiator cover, the trumpet of frames – understanding grows with every kilometer. One can be curious about that.
The conditions are favorable. We are located in Poitiers, western France. 120 kilometers from the Atlantic coast. Honda chose this location for the presentation of the X-Eleven. But contrary to the usual procedure – arrival, press conference, “ohhh, aaah”, do a few laps, departure – the machines can be taken home. It’s 2 p.m. In exactly 19 hours, Markus Jahn will be waiting for me, with the camera at the ready, on the Swabian Alb, 1,100 kilometers away. Photo opportunity: X 11 from right, left, front and back, standing, driving, in detail. So let’s go. Tours, Orléans, Sens, Troyes, Bar-le-Duc, Metz, Landau, Stuttgart.
The first kilometers are all about the engine taken over from the CBR 1100 XX. Consistently trimmed for pulling power, the modified injector has mountains of torque ready from idle. Almost digitally, it converts movements on the throttle into propulsion and effortlessly catapults the 257 kilogram Honda into highly illegal spheres. Here in France, where the legislature is no longer joking at speeds of 130 km / h, the potential of this engine can only be guessed at. Later, however, the Tellert measuring device will confirm that the X-Eleven achieves recordbreaking performance. For example, it sprints from 60 to 180 km / h in a sensational 11.7 seconds. In the last corridor, mind you. A double X takes just under five seconds more.
By the way, last gear is called fifth. Compared to the CBR 1100 XX, one translation was saved. Shifting less increases the driving pleasure on such an undisguised machine, says Honda. It is not wrong. Especially if the transmission is of the noisier type, as in this case. In fact, the footwork on the X-Eleven can almost be put down. If necessary, it also takes off in fifth gear. However, the overall gear ratio got so short that you are always looking for a higher gear.
Orléans: The bum sounds the alarm. Way too early. The seat is definitely too hard. The digital trip meter has just switched to 191. That can be cheerful. 24 kilometers further: first refueling stop. Better safe than sorry. The black monster stashes a total of 22 liters between the saddle and handlebars, but you never know how much such a pull-through miracle will end up in itself. There is no reserve tap either, just a small warning light that struggles for attention in vain in direct sunlight.
13.26 liters – that’s it. Quite well-kept drinking habits, especially since this section of the motorway would not have been consistently favored by the gendarmerie. Another small coffee machine until the tickling subsides in your hands and feet. Wasn’t a good idea from Honda to do without the second balance shaft on the XX engine. It is true that the response behavior of the four-cylinder engine is more spontaneous, its whole kind more explosive; The fact that “such a power feeling”, as the press text puts it, “includes a certain amount of vibrations” can be seen as a white lie. Nobody needs that. Especially not when the little nerve killers appear in this nasty, fine way.
Next stage destination: Troyes. A bit of the motorway, then 175 kilometers of country road. Mostly straight as a bolt. Only now and then a couple of wide curved radii in which the X-Eleven is at its best. Stability, accuracy, feedback, freedom from banking – everything is there: curves, come! The suspension setup of the 11 series is on the tight side. And that’s good. In terms of power and weight, she can’t do anything else. The hardness with which the directly hinged strut reacts to patched tar sections borders on a denial of comfort. Responsible is the relatively high damping in the so-called low-speed range, which, however, ensures that the load remains on the right track even under the worst conditions.
Last but not least, the precise driving behavior is also due to the standard-mounted Michelin Macadam 90 X, special specification G and M. The French tires support the talents of the X-Eleven across the board, do not show themselves through any arbitrariness, and even refrain from setting up Braking almost completely in an inclined position.
Troyes: a desolate sight in the middle of a godforsaken area. Refuel and continue as soon as possible. Via St. Dizier towards Verdun. Finally a real landscape that demands exciting lines from the streets. All kinds of curves, tight, wide, beautiful, bad. The Honda also seems to be reviving. Throws himself eagerly into the Winkelwerk, trumps with an undreamt-of lust for movement. It is amazing how elegantly it circles through the narrow course. You sit behind this castle of Tank in this deep hollow and direct the Trumm with two fingers, so to speak. Feels very confident? as long as hectic actions on the throttle are avoided. Yes, it has load change reactions, the X-Eleven: easy play in the drive train combined with tough performance. This can lead to irritation when finding the line.
Shortly before Metz: neck in the bucket. Not because of the wind pressure, the scoops over the instruments help. The aerodynamicists have achieved a true masterpiece. So puny, these parts, and yet so effective. In the ergonomics department, however, it seems to have slept a little. The distance to the handlebars is too big for little people, the tank cutouts are too small for big people, the footrests are too high for everyone and actually a bit too far back.
In the meantime it has become dead night. The dance of death is already popular on the autobahn. Almost nothing going on anymore. At midnight, the border crossing at Saarbrücken comes into view. Really great, the high beam. All the more frightening, however, is the poor yield of the fade-out cone, which is by no means one of the worst. At least illuminates the right side of the road. “Welcome to the Federal Republic of Germany” is written there. Well then: full of material. In no time at all, the speedometer needle climbs to 180 km / h, and just at that moment the engine burns off a new firework of power to propel the X-Eleven over the 200 mark with unbridled power. The last few kilometers to Stuttgart fly by. As flat as a postage stamp I fall into a coma. In seven hours, Markus will be waiting for me on the Swabian Alb with the camera at the ready.
When I arrive with the X-Eleven, his slightly smug grin falls from his face: »My God, what happened there? Was that an accident? «I can’t think of anything about the design of the 11 series. It’s actually quite okay. Has something genuine. Markus overcomes himself, begins to take photos. First the whole alphabet salad: PGM-FI ?? stands for a map-controlled injection system that keeps the Honda’s fuel consumption within extremely low limits. HECS3 describes an exhaust gas cleaning system that is made up of a secondary air system plus two regulated three-way catalytic converters and even falls below the strict Euro 1 emissions standard. H.I.S.S. is the immobilizer. Dual-CBS is the name of the integral brake system that activates both brakes at the same time when the foot or hand brake lever is operated. Some like it, some don’t. The fact is that this system takes getting used to. At the beginning the braking effect increases enormously, but towards the end the bite is a little missing.
M.arkus shoots itself in: main stand, stainless steel exhaust system, aluminum swing arm, usable rear seat, handle ?? everything on this bike. “You mean you can get used to the design?” He asks. “Also of that monster-like radiator cover?” You can. Especially when you know what it’s good for. The Honda ladies and gentlemen have come up with something clever. The part also acts as a front spoiler. That means: The angle of incidence of the louvers was chosen so that the incoming wind exerts constant pressure on the X-Eleven’s front wheel. In this way, the fat person remains calm in person even at top speed. And that’s exactly what you need with a real 133 hp.

Conclusion Honda X-Eleven –

In the beginning there was shock. Then came the motor and with it sympathy. Finally, towards the end, I liked the X-Eleven. With all their quirks. Because she dispenses with any blinds and lives on her own. From the power of their four-cylinder, the talents of the chassis and the monstrous presence of their design. It is not really beautiful. That’s true. But expensive: 18,260 marks. However, the X 11 leaves nothing out. From the regulated three-way catalytic converter to the integral brake system, everything is there.

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