First Look: 2021 Honda CMX1100 Rebel
Middleweight cruiser that builds on the storied Africa Twin adventure bike
The 2021 Honda CMX1100 Rebel is a new middleweight cruiser that starts with a parallel-twin motor out of the storied Africa Twin adventure bike.
Yup, a new cruiser coming to a segment that’s supposedly on the ropes. American Honda is still hanging on to the Fury and a couple of Shadows; but Honda Canada has dropped everything in the cruiser category outside of smaller sibling Rebel 300 and Rebel 500 models.
The CRF1100L Africa Twin’s 1,084 cc parallel-twin-cylinder engine, with its 270 degree phased crankshaft and uneven firing interval, already mimics the V-Twin throb of a classic cruiser. The new Rebel is lighter and stronger than the 1,300 cc Honda middleweight cruisers of the past, with this modern motor making 87 hp and 72 lb-ft of torque for a best-in-class power to weight ratio. Honda’s engineers added flywheel mass and retuned the powertrain for more bottom oomph and mid-range punch, altering valve timing and lift for an even stronger “pulse” feel. And the evocative exhaust note has been tweaked to match.
Engine power is managed via Throttle By Wire (TBW), Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) and Wheelie Control. There are three pre-set modes selectable from the left-hand switchgear – Standard, Rain and Sport – along with a User mode that allows the rider to customize from those categories. Honda Canada is offering a six-speed manual transmission model and an automatic-shifting six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) version (the first DCT application in a cruiser).
The new CMX1100 Rebel blends bare-boned ‘bobber’ style with modern tech and styling, starting with a tubular steel frame serving as an exoskeleton for the blacked-out engine, exhaust and mechanicals. Seat height is 700 mm. That is about a half-foot lower than the Africa Twin’s perch. It’s also slightly higher than most Harley cruiser seat heights, but low enough for the classic cruiser feel of “sitting inside the bike”. And the bike architecture still allows for a 35-degree lean angle, adding a sport edge to the Rebel’s laid back leisure cruising character.
Cartridge-style front forks are mated to 43 mm stanchions and twin rear shocks feature a 12.5 mm rod and pressurized piggyback reservoir. Front and rear suspensions allow for spring preload adjustment. And the Rebel 1100 sits on fat tires with ABS braking comes courtesy of a mono-block four-piston caliper grabbing a 330 mm floating disc up front and a single piston caliper with 256 mm disc in the rear.
The rear seat pad can be easily removed to make a solo rider statement. And the ignition key, inserted cruiser-style into the left side of the frame also unlocks the rider’s seat to reveal a three litre storage compartment with USB-C charging port.
Starting with stripped-back minimalist style, the CMX1100 mixes traditional cruiser cues with modern techs and upgrades. It’s narrow-bodied with a scalloped, two-tone 13.6-litre flangeless fuel tank, steel fenders, standard cruise control, offset negative LCD instrument display and with four LED bulbs burning bright inside a traditionally round headlight housing.
The CMX1100 Rebel should hit the sweet spot with a Goldilocks-like just-rightness of style, sport and swagger and, with its blacked-out, blank canvas potential for personalization, riders will be able to enhance their style with accessories that include windshield and headlight cowl options, heated grips, tank pads, short front fender, wheel stripes, seat and passenger seat options as well as backrests, rear carriers, luggage racks and more.
The 2021 CMX1100 Rebel will arrive at Canadian dealers March 2021, available in Bordeaux Red Metallic (6MT only) and Gunmetal Black Metallic (6MT and DCT).
MSRPs are $12,999 (6MT) and $13,999 (DCT).