Rebel with a new cause: Honda Rebel 1100 project takes aim at H-D and Indian

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Honda are working on a larger capacity version of the Rebel – and it will be based on the Africa Twin. The Rebel has been popular across the globe for people who want something a little different from your average cruiser.

Until now though there’s only been a 500cc model available – small fry next to Harley-Davidson and Indian machines. But now Honda are working on a larger capacity model to boost the appeal.

The new bike will be called the Rebel 1100 and will be powered by the 1082cc parallel twin from the Africa Twin. If it stays in a similar state of tune, then we can expect a boost from the current bike’s 45bhp to 100bhp – however it’s more likely that Honda will retune the motor.

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With a bit of a fiddle the twin could get more torque and a fatter midrange, which would knock peak power down to under 94bhp – helpful if they want to offer an A2 compliant version. Using the Africa Twin motor also gives Honda the option of selling a DCT version.

Bringing over the motor from the CRF1100L twin also opens the door for the addition of electronic rider aids. The current CMX only has basic ABS but if the 1100 model was to pick up the IMU from the CRF, then it could get cornering ABS and lean sensitive traction control as well as Honda’s ‘comfort’ electronics for a bit of touring.

To go with the new motor, Honda will also develop a new chassis. Patents that emerged last week suggest the chassis could have some big changes, towards a more upright stance. However, the style of the current CMX 500, and cruisers in general, is quite rigid and Honda will want to ride the wave of popularity.

Going upmarket

Honda won’t just put a big engine in – expect posh suspension and nicer components to match the increased power. The standard Africa Twin has 78ftlb of torque but a retune could see this in the mid-80s – more than enough to get you cruising.

Honda do an S-model of their existing Rebel, which comes with a few tasty extras, and we’d imagine they will pull the same trick again here. New electronics could include: ride by wire, self-cancelling indicators, keyless ignition, traction and cruise control.

Given the competition, we’d expect an 1100 Rebel to hover around the £10,000 mark – depending on finish and to be unveiled at Eicma, Milan in November.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.