The CB1100R was Honda’s first homologation special, an exotic, road-legal sportbike built from 1981-1983. Based off the CB900F, the single-seat CB1100R offered 115 horsepower and 72 lb-ft of torque, and was intended to homologate Honda’s big-bore, air-cooled inline fours for endurance racing. It was never available in North America, but the bike enjoyed great racing success in markets like New Zealand and Australia. The bike eventually led to the release of the mighty Honda CB1100F in 1983 — the base for this restomod build by dB Customs.
Restomods are one of our favorite genres of builds, blending retro styling with modern performance. Darren Begg of dB Customs has built one of the sexiest restomods we have ever seen, transforming a 1983 Honda CB1100F into a modernized CB1100RD. (The “RD” was the 1983 version of the “R,” with slightly different paint, forks, and swing-arm than earlier versions). While the paint scheme may look retro, the suspension geometry replicates that of a modern sportbike, and the wheels, brakes, suspension, and engine have all been upgraded in true restomod spirit.
Below, we interview Darren about the development of this mighty masterpiece.
Honda CB1100 Restomod: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
In 2015 I sold a custom 1983 Honda CB1100F restomod that I had built for myself. While it was being auctioned on eBay I received several inquiries asking who built the bike. After telling them that I had built it, I was asked if I was interested in building them one. After about the 8th inquiry I thought there might be a business in this. I had just finished building a 24′ x 30′ x 2 storey workshop, and within 2 months of making the decision, I had a business license as dB Customs, and dealer licensing with several big names (OHLINS, Brembo, OZ Racing Wheels, Spiegler, etc). My first contract was in hand within weeks and my first bike was delivered 6 months later.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
This bike started out as a 1983 Honda CB1100F, and was converted over to become a 1983 Honda CB1100RD, in a restomod style.
• Why was this bike built?
A customer of mine from New Zealand commissioned me to build this bike, and as well a 1983 Suzuki GS1100ES restomod, that is almost complete.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
My standard recipe of build is to keep the appearance of the paint work as close to factory (color and decal placement) but modify with modern lightweight wheels, performance suspension and brakes, with an increase in power, in the true restomod spirit. The customer wanted this build specifically to mimic as close as possible the restomod bikes that are currently being built out of Japan.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The paint work is custom with all painted decals by my painter Sketches Ink, from Ottawa, Canada. All the bodywork had to be custom mounted, including a custom bracket for the upper fairing. Custom triple clamps were used to adopt the 43mm OHLINS forks. The rear swingarm is from a GSXR600 with underbracing added and special tooling to fit into the CB1100F frame. The suspension geometry was set up such that with 12.5 swingarm droop, 40mm offset triple clamps, and 26.5 degree rake, provides 95mm of trail, which is close to a modern sportbike.
• Please include a list of the changes made/parts used.
Oz Racing Wheels, Brembo Brakes (including levers), Spiegler brake lines, Sculpture triple clamp, Nitro Racing rearsets, Driven clipons, Switch gear and throttle from a Honda RC51, KOSO gauge cluster, bike master signals, Dyna 2000 ignition with 2.2 ohm coils, CB1100F engine (1062cc) with degreed cams and valve train components from Vince and Hyde Racing, Keihin 39mm FCR flatslide carbs, and JayGUI Racing exhaust.
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The entire bike was built in under 6 months, part time, alongside the Suzuki GS1100ES. The ability to do this work part time and still have a life is an big achievement, considering I did everything (except the paint on the bodywork) myself.
Since building these bikes I now also have under contract two 1986 VFR750R superbike replicas to build with authentic rare HRC engines and components, a 1982 Honda CB750F superbike replica, and a 1982 Katana restomod with custom carbon fiber bodywork. I’m investing into my infrastructure with technologies such as vapour blasting to help with both efficiency and quality of the final product.
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