Would you like that super-sized? It looks like some-one put the Rebel 300 on a diet of protein, vitamins and growth hormones. Meet the 2021 Honda Rebel 1100.
Honda’s introduction of the 2021 Rebel 1100 came as a bit of a surprise. The Honda cruiser line-up, once oozing corpulence and variety, is a shell of its former glory and could use some reinvigoration to reclaim a little of the old excitement. Gone are the plentiful Shadows, the Fury, the Stateline, the Magna, the VTXs, the Valkyrie and the Rune (the especially cryptic symbol of long gone extravagances). All that remained were the two more recent additions, the Rebel 300 and 500. Which was fine if what you wanted was a small, relatively inexpensive cruiser for errands around town and the odd day runs into the hills. Power was adequate for the purpose if not breathtaking. Passenger accommodations were minimal – much like the styling. But the bike is inexpensive, its a Honda and it looks …. well, it looks distinct.
Some of that has changed. The price for the new Honda Rebel 1100 is $12,999 CDN or, if you are clutch-hand averse, $13,999 CDN for the DCT version. To their credit, Honda seemed to be trying to keep the costs reasonable. If you want to spend a lot of money on a cruiser, there are still numerous options elsewhere. Honda saved a few bucks on design by making it look just like the 300 and 500. If the styling is unusual at least we are use to it by now. Honda saved a few more dollars by grabbing the excellent engine from the Africa Twin (the new bigger one) and declared, wisely, that it had solved the lack of power conundrum. A few modifications to the 1084cc liquid-cooled parallel twin were incorporated to make the engine feel a little more cruiser-like.
Continuing to looking around the parts bin for ideas, Honda grabbed an existing suite of electronics that includes three riding modes. Interestingly, and perhaps a first for the cruiser segment, the Rebel 1100 has wheelie control. Sure, almost everything can be the expression of wheelie self-expression but the Honda Rebel 1100 doesn’t appear the obvious choice for the wheelie enthralled. However, the high clearances (for a cruiser), the mid-mounted footpegs and the 84 horsepower at hand indicate that the Rebel 1100 will fall on the sportier side of the cruiser spectrum.
So the Rebel 1100 continues the current Rebel family lines? Is that a good thing? In some regards it is the only thing. Honda no longer has any other cruiser families and the styling is, love it or hate it, distinctive.
The challenge might come from building the family from the bottom up. Does the Rebel 300 have the cachet to reverse sire a bike that is more than twice its price? Other Honda product lines like the CB1000R started high and worked their way lower down the spectrum to the likes of the CB300R and CB650R. It is hard to say if the reverse is going to work.
The reassuring aspect of the parts bin put together that represents much of the Rebel 1100 development is that the parts they gathered are excellent. The bike is light, powerful and a reasonably good deal. If you want to spend even more money on the Rebel 1100, Honda has come out with an extensive catalog of accessories to lighten the wallet.