Fukunaga CB1100 Interview

Kevin Ash

Hirofumi Fukunaga is what Honda describes as the Large Project Leader for the CB1100 development, meaning he has full control and the final say on every aspect of the design. He talks about the development of the bike.

AoB: Your test riders are young and have no experience of these older Hondas, was that a problem?
HF: I took them to the Honda collection at our Motegi museum, and there I got them to ride a CB750, a CB400-4, a CB550 Four and a DOHC CB750, so they could appreciate what I was trying to do. It was good for him (he indicates chief tester Shunji Yokokawa, sitting in on the interview) to experience the different handling, especially as there is no one now in the company who was involved in developing those early models

Fukunaga and YokokawaFukunaga and YokokawaAoB: The CB1100 uses elements of several different older Hondas, did you consider creating a closer copy of one model in particular, such as the original CB750 from 1969?
HF: Definitely no! There are features from various bikes so the CB1100 so different ones come to mind when you look from different angles. We didn't go for a 750 because we had one to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CB750, and I wanted to make a bike that's not too close to any particular one from the past but to remind people of lots of different bikes, but in a modern way.

AoB: How difficult is it getting an air-cooled engine through modern emissions regulations?
HF: It's quite difficult, but the cold start requirement in the European regulations helps, as the air-cooled engine gets up to its working temperature more quickly than a liquid-cooled one. This gives it a head start, and if the emissions are a little worse after that point it balances out.

AoB: What about the handling, were there problems getting this how you wanted with 18 wheels and narrow tyres?
HF: This was a tough challenge. The single radius tyre profiles are partly responsible for the light handling feel, and we spent a lot of time carefully tuning the chassis to match the tyres. The head angle and trail were adjusted, but also the stiffness of the rear subframe was important, with the rider on board its stiffness is important for giving the right feel. It makes quite a big difference.

See the 2013 Honda CB1100 review here