Race to Rebuild: Honda CB1100F

The Motorcycle Classics/Dairyland Cycle Race to Rebuild 1983 Honda CB1100F resto-mod begins with help from the guys at Dime City Cycles.

| September/October 2013

Our project bikes have all required some degree of “customization.” Most of it’s been fairly basic, ranging from installing an aftermarket exhaust on a Honda CB500 Four to fabricating mounts for a replica Ducati fairing on a BMW. This time, it’s different.

The Triumph TR6 we tackled way back when wasn’t a build as much as an exercise in a low-budget rehab, highlighting the fun of putting a tired old Brit bike back on the road after years of neglect — with a few minor modifications thrown in to keep things interesting. The Honda CB500 café that followed was more involved, but we still kept major customization to a low level. A lot of spit shine and expertly applied paint go a long way toward making a bike look special.

And while our 2010 Triumph Bonneville Bobber looked massively different than how it left the factory, it was mostly an exercise in bolt-on building. Hinckley Bonnevilles have inspired a major cottage industry, making it pretty easy to “build” your own Bonneville from readily available parts, as we highlighted.

None of these builds have been restorations, and that’s on purpose. A comprehensive restoration requires marque-specific skills to properly execute. But specials and custom cafés are another game, as the final results are a matter of taste and interpretation. A botched Honda CB750 restoration is a truly ugly thing, but a café’d CB750, even if it’s not done the way you’d do it, if it’s done well it should be worthy of at least some level of respect. All of this is kind of a setup for the discussion of our 1983 Honda CB1100F resto-mod.

Getting into it

Although somewhat rare in our little corner of the universe, resto-mods are common in the classic car world. Go to any major hot rod or vintage car event and chances are good you’ll see somebody cruising the area in what looks like a bone-stock 1957 Chevy Bel Air, but powered by a late model, fuel-injected Corvette engine backed up by an overdrive automatic trans, with disc brakes hiding behind custom rims.

That’s sort of the essence of resto-mod, and that’s the spirit Herm Narciso and Jason Paul Michaels, the moving forces behind café and custom parts specialists Dime City Cycles in Largo, Fla., are challenged with channeling into our Honda CB1100F.

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