1969. A seminal year for motorcycling as the inline four-cylinder Honda CB750 took centre stage, wowing the world and laying down a superbike blueprint that still stands today. Click forward five decades and Honda maintains the legacy and spirit of that original CB with two air-cooled four-cylinder machines - the CB1100 EX and CB1100 RS. Manufacture of both takes place in the Kumamoto factory, with a production process that integrates technology and expert skill in order to create motorcycles rich in craftsmanship and attention to detail.
2019. To celebrate 50 years of the CB750 Honda UK – with a huge nod of respect to such long and storied history – has partnered with 5Four Motorcycles and commissioned a limited run of unique custom motorcycles, using the CB1100 RS as a base.
Which is a great place to start. Stripped back and lean the CB1100 RS already has the look of a golden-era race tool, with more than a hint of café racer. Sporty steering geometry is matched to high-quality Showa suspension, front radial-mount four-piston brakes, cast aluminium 17-inch wheels and sports bike-spec tyre sizes.
But for Guy Willison, the creative force behind 5Four Motorcycles–a professional bike builder who has found two-wheeled TV fame on The Motorbike Show but who has also been a despatch rider, mechanic and tuner in his time–the CB1100 RS holds the capacity to become something truly special, as he explains:
We have just selfishly designed and built It and it stirs us when we walk up to it and we don’t want to leave it at the end of a day’s riding.” And why 5Four? Simple: “That was my despatch call number…”
Willison’s long perspective on motorcycling (and the details that elevate his work) are obvious on his exquisite creation. Every component on the CB1100 RS 5Fourcould be a work of art in its own right, easily displayed in a spot-lit cabinet. And each detail has been chosen to enhance each sensory contact the owner has with their machine whether it be visual, auditory or actual physical contact.
The CB1100 RS 5Four’s riding position has been tailored using Renthal Ultra Low handlebars, Tomaselli racing grips, short racing brake levers and beautiful billet mirrors, all finished in black. The single seat is handstitched Alcantara and leather in a diamond stitch pattern. The footrest hangers are mirror-polished aluminium.
There’s no plastic to be seen either; the wind-cheating handlebar fairing and single seat tail unit are both handcrafted from aluminium. A pair of titanium Urban Growler end-cans from Racefit – the quintessentially British exhaust manufacturer – are beautifully welded and engineered to look stunning and provide a deeply distinctive, spine tingling sound.