RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
Our Honda CMX 1100 DCT review.. Of all reviews we’ve done at REDRIDINGBOOTS, this one has a special place in our hearts. The Rebel 1100 DCT is not just any motorbike. We’ll explain to you why it’s so special to us. But first; our review about the Honda CMX 1100 DCT.
So, I rented this bike for a day. That is how I got to ride it. I’m not some kind of fancy person, famous ‘influencer’ of some sort, that got invited to ride it or anything. I am more like the girl next door. Just a regular person. But with a huge fascination for riding motorcycles. And motorbikes in general.
Let’s be upfront about it. The Honda Rebel allows for some easy riding. Especially with the DCT system and its twin engine. Not just because you don’t have to shift gears yourself. But it also handles just very easy and smoothly. Let’s talk about that DCT system first.
DCT is short for Dual Clutch Transmission. It is a system where clutch engagement is controlled by electronics. It is basically a fully automatic transmission, with two clutches. The second clutch allows the next gear to already be spinning at the correct revs before it’s engaged. Which is why a DCT engine shifts gears effortlessly.
So you don’t have a clutch lever at the handlebar, nor at the left footpeg. The motorbike shifts gears for you when you put it in Drive-mode. Does that mean you can’t decide when and where to up- or downshift yourself at all? No. Put it in manual mode and you can shift gears yourself.
How? By using the buttons on the left side of the steering bar. Similar to sport bikes with traction control buttons on the left clip on, you can manage upshifts by pushing the + button with your thumb and downshifts by pushing the – button with your index finger.
Engine: 1.084 cc four stroke parallel twin
Power: 85.8 bhp @ 7.000 rpm, 98 Nm @ 4.750 rpm
Seat height: 700 mm / 27.5 inches
Fuel tank: 13.6 litres
Wet weight: 233 kg / 513 lbs
Top speed: approx. 105 mph / 170 kph
At first, when I picked up the bike at MotoPort Wormerveer and rode off, it felt a bit strange.
On forehand, I thought I would reach for the clutch lever with my hand all the time. But I didn’t. Apparently, my head was able to tell my left hand and foot I didn’t need to use them. But something did feel weird.
Every time I got to a traffic light, I wanted to do something. I didn’t, because I didn’t have to. But something in me wanted to do something. It took some kilometres and traffic lights to settle that feeling.
Who knew a lightweight and small cruiser could actually be a thing?! Well, the Rebel 1100 is actually that.
When one thinks of a ‘cruiser’, names like Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle quickly pop up. Maybe even BMW. But Honda did a lovely job with the Rebel.
Honda is known to be a ‘smart brand’, always looking for niches to fill. So they cleverly shunned away from the big cruiser segment, and made a small one. At least, that is how the Honda CMX 1100 feels.
Don’t be fooled, it is still a 1000cc bike. 1,084 cc, to be exact. But it does not feel like one, somehow. It feels small and nimble. Which is a great thing if you are a vertically challenged rider. Short arms and legs? No problem riding this bike!
The design of the Rebel is some sort of hommage to the Bobbers. Personally, I think there’s a bit of a strange ‘line’ in the design. But that will be a matter of preference in looks. It could have been a bit smoother. For example; the design of the bike could have been a bit less ‘high’ at the front or less low at the back. You get what I mean? No worries if you don’t. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just a matter of taste.
The Honda CMX 1100 is not a big bike. It is tiny. Especially for an almost 1100 cc motorcycle. If you are a tall or big rider, it might feel like a midget bike.
But if you are petite or just a regular sized biker – it that a thing? Being ‘regular sized’? – then this bike is perfect.
No reaching for handlebars, no cramped lower back or overstretched shoulders and arms. And no reaching for the rear brake. Everything is within reach on the Honda Rebel 1100.
The frame, the geometry, the buttons. It all feels ‘well put together’. It handles like a naked bike, but with less ground clearance. Be mindful if you are a sporty rider. You will scrape footpegs everywhere.
There is little I would change about the Honda CMX 1100 as it is. The only thing I found a bit weird, is the placement of the button for the blinkers.
Maybe it is something I am just no used to. But I feel like that button is placed a bit low on the handlebar. The button for the horn is located just above it. That is exactly where my blinker button is located on my own Aprilia. So instead of pushing the button for the blinkers, I honked the horn a few times. Sorry, people.. didn’t mean to.
Same thing goes for the button for the cruise control on the right side of the handlebar. I have some sort of weird aversion for cruise control, so I never use it. But for the sake of it, I did try to use it on the Rebel 1100 for a minute. But it was a bit hard to reach the button with my small hands.
After getting used to the DCT system handling-wise, it took a moment to get used to the feeling of the DCT engine.
It shifts gears effortlessly, but you do feel a bit of a clunky tremble in the bike, every time it does an up- or downshift.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved that feeling. Maybe some would want it to be a bit less clunky. Personally, I love it when I can actually feel what an engine does. And when it shifts gears, even when it does so on its own.
It felt like the Honda CMX 1100 DCT wants to go to 6th gea as fast as possible. Especially when you put it in Standard mode. It gets better when you put it in Sport mode. The gears get a little bit longer, which felt more natural to me. Furthermore, I have to admit.. it just feels very relaxed.
I promised you in the introduction that I would tell you why the Honda Rebel DCT is so special to us. Or to me, rather. This is, because this bike in particular is the bike that allows one of my very best friends to ride again.
Due to its Dual Clutch Transmission, you don’t need to shift gears. And because of that, you don’t need to operate a shift lever. And this in particular, is what makes this bike special.
Because that special friend of mine, who I hold very dear, can hardly use his feet anymore. He has had a very, very severe motorcycle accident. And faced death a few times, not just on that moment but also in the process that followed. We are extremely blessed that he’s just such a stubborn, hard-headed looney. And so he survived an accident most wouldn’t have.
But riding a motorcycle again is no easy thing for him. The Honda Rebel has to be modified with for example front controls, for him to be able to ride it properly. But the lack of an actual clutch and shift lever is the beautiful thing about this bike.
Since he has limited range of motion in his legs and feet, this bike is easy for him to get on. And to hold upright. Because it is so low. His upper body is fine, so he could shift gears himself, using the buttons on the handlebar.
We used to ride together, almost every day. I often miss those rides. He’s ridden this bike twice now. True ‘watery eyes’ moments. So that’s what makes this bike special to me. It’s not ‘just’ a good cruiser. It is a cruiser that allows people with slight (of big) disabilities to ride. And it does so, beautifully. And it should be hugely appreciated for it, in my opinion.
That’s our Honda CMX 1100 DCT review.. I know it is not very long. Didn’t want to bore you with all sorts of technical specifications. There are plenty of other websites that will give you that information.
I mainly want to let you know how it feels. Or at least, how I experienced the Rebel 1100 while riding it.
It is a great little cruiser. It feels nimble, everything is within reach and it feels solid. Basically.. one could say it is a typical ‘Honda’. Nothing out of the ordinary, not really surprising and pretty predictable. One may miss some character. But for most, it will be exactly what you expect it to be. Which is not a bad thing, actually.
One thing that does deserves to be mentioned, is that the Rebel 1100 has a fun amount of torque. You might not expect it immediately. Especially since it feels so small and nimble. But it pulls away fairly quick. You might surprise the big cruiser boys and babes with that. So go ahead, and go racing at traffic lights. It’s a really fun thing to do on the Honda CMX 1100.