Honda leads the rebellion, with the 2021 CMX1100

The Americans don’t own the copyright to laid back biking, the Japanese have been at it for years as well. They’re called Metric Cruisers, Honda has done them before and had mixed results. I’d give a kidney for ten minutes with a Rune, a great example of when a good idea gets executed to perfection, by an organisation that has the ability to do anything it desires.

There was also the DN-01.

For 2021 Honda has built what I think will be a brilliant second home for the Africa Twin powertrain. It’s called the CMX1100 Rebel. Big brother to the funky little 500 version and direct competitor to anything that involves riding with your arms out in front of you like a zombie.

This isn’t a long read, we’ll save that until we’ve had a ride on the bike. The specification looks good to us, though. It uses the 1084cc parallel twin that powers the current Africa Twin 1100, it also has the DCT (dual clutch transmission) as an option, which should make cruising as simple as possible. 

If you haven’t seen our review of the 2020 Honda Africa Twin, watch this and then carry on reading. It’ll help you understand why the powertrain is so good. Thanks.

So the chassis of the CMX is low, just 700mm from ass to grass. The seat height will appeal to those that identify as absolutely anything as long as it isn’t tall. There’s a tubular steel chassis and simple but (I expect) effective cartridge forks at the front, which are adjustable for preload. The forks are 43mm in diameter and hold an 18 inch wheel that carries a 130 section tyre. A four-piston radial mount caliper should have no problem dealing with the 221kg wet weight the CMX carries. Twin piggyback rear shocks are also adjustable for preload and flank a 16 inch wheel and 180 section tyre. 

Regardless of how the CMX1100 changes gear, it has multiple riding modes, traction and wheelie control and a user mode that allows you to tailor things exactly how you like them. If you opt for the DCT, the CMX1100 will change gear in a different way depending on which of the riding modes you’ve chosen. Clever, yet simple. 

Naturally there are stacks of accessories to choose from and no doubt some solid PCP offers on the way. In price terms, I think the CMX1100 represents a bit of a bargain. The standard manual version is just £8999 and the DCT model is £9899. 

I think this bike will be more fun that it looks. It’ll make approximately 85bhp and generate 98Nm of torque, through an easy to manage chassis. The DCT should be perfect for the kind of riding CMX1100 owners will be looking to do. It’s priced really well and should offer a genuine alternative to what’s currently available from Triumph, Harley and the others.

Check out I’m interested in funky Metric Cruisers and I don’t mind admitting it, for more details.

Words by John

Images: Honda UK