It looks like the Universal Japanese Motorcycle is coming to an end, again. Honda’s running adverts for the “Final Edition” of its CB1100 series in the European market, meaning the great four-cylinder retro is unlikely to re-appear.
The CB1100 came to the global market in 2010 as an homage to the four-cylinder UJMs that put the Japanese OEMs to the forefront of the motorcycle world in the 1970s and 1980s (North American customers got the bike in 2013). It’s a mix of old and new technology. There’s an electronic fuel injection system, instead of a bank of finicky carburetors. Later versions of the bike were upgraded to have antilock brakes and a six-speed gearbox with slipper clutch on some models.
However, all versions of the machine came with dual analogue gauges, an air-cooled four-cylinder engine, dual rear shocks and a standard front end with telescopic forks. Some versions came with retro-styled cast wheels, and others came with spoked wheels. The CB1100 very much looked the part of a vintage Big Four offering, even if the EFI meant it was smoother-running.
With its old-school looks, you’d think the CB1100 would have been popular with vintage-loving customers. For some reason the CB1100 never seemed to gain much goodwill with the beards-and-flannel-and-skinny-jeans set, possibly because the bikes were heavy and underpowered when compared to the originals, and also kinda pricey.
The more discerning customers of Europe and the UK seemed to have more appreciation for the CB1100, and it’s still sold in Great Britain and some EU countries. It looks like the party is finally over, though, as a Japanese-language Honda Twitter account is telling us the CB1100 is now available as a “Final Edition” machine. Specifically, it says the CB1100 EX Final Edition and CB1100 RS Final Edition are coming soon.
Of course, the move is due to emissions standards. The world’s biggest moto markets are all cracking down on tailpipe emissions, and Honda must reckon it’s not cost-effective to keep the big CB in production. Instead, Honda will likely move towards more neo-retro models, like this limited-edition CB1000 5Four. It allows the company to take advantage of parts bin engineering, and keep costs low.