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Hello, I just joined this forum group and need opinions. 12R or the new (for U.S.) Honda CB1100 that will be arriving this spring? I've posted this request on other forums also.

I'm thinking of getting a new bike and wonder what your thoughts are regarding these 2 bikes. I know it's difficult to ignore your loyalty and allegiance to the 12R but I would like your unbiased opinions. Will mostly use bike for pleasure riding but may later do some touring. The MSRP of the Honda with ABS would be ~ $10,500 while the base R package includes ABS for ~ $15,500. I'd like you to consider the difference in cost of these bikes and their relative maintenance expenses, ease of doing your own wrenching, life expectancy, etc. This may not be a fair question for none of you have ridden the new Honda but the reviews have been good. Maybe I should wait till after some of you have had a chance to ride it.


All thoughts and opinions appreciated.
 

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You're right, loyalty to R1200R is hard to ignore. :) You won't be sorry if you go with it. ...But that new honda is pretty sharp!

As far as maintenance, two words: "shaft drive" on the R1200R vs the chain drive on the honda. I know a lot of people don't mind chains, but few can deny the maintenance, convenience, comfort and reliability benefits of the shaft drive.

Yes, higher price, but I'm not one to argue with the BMW. Also the reliability of the BMW R1200 series is legendary. And BMW's are notoriously respectably gentle on maintenance requirements. I'm not sure about the Honda.

But, I'm bias. That said: my father always rode Honda's though and my mother still owns a 1984 CB125S, so I do have a soft spot for the manufacturer. Good luck and let us know what you discover and ultimately choose!
 

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I was looking at the Honda the other day at the Toronto bike show; quite nice. No reason to think it wouldn't be as reliable as an anvil, like any air-cooled Honda. Probably won't be much stuff available for it for a while (you said you're thinking of touring), although there may be in Europe where it's been available for a few years now.

Kind of reminds me of my Bandit 1200, which I've had for 10 years without a single problem. As for maintenance, as was pointed out, shaft beats chain all to ****, other than that I doubt you'll find much real difference other than three oil changes instead of one on the BMW. Comes down to whatever turns your crank and whichever you find most comfortable. I'm betting my R is more comfortable than the Bandit or the Honda, but time will tell, I guess.
 

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That bike has been out here in Japan a while now. It's an excellent standard naked bike. I like it a lot!!! For solo commutes and pleasure riding, the Honda is a great bike for the money. Change the engine oil on schedule, keep the chain lubed, and keep her gassed up. Nothing much for you do wrench on until the tires or brake pads wear down. Get one, and enjoy the worry-free miles. Biggest complaint Japanese riders have is that it's so smooth and worry free, it lacks unique character and is boring.
Now, for two-up riding and especially for touring, the BMW will do more, better, longer than the Honda. Parts and dealer service will cost more. Haynes manual and service DVD are available. The DOHC engine is about as sorted as BMWs come. It's more of a Jack-of-all-trades machine and has a System of Touring options. A heavier duty platform for serious loaded-down miles. The Honda can be asked to imitate, but can't duplicate what the Beemer can perform. BMW is expensive, some vibration, and has character. My two cents. Your money, your choice.
 

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I didn't know the bike, but googled it. People like riding it and it gets good reviews. That being said, it doesn't really strike me as having much visual character; kind of generic looking. Not bad, and maybe it looks better in person, but kind of forgettable in pictures.
 

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You're right that views on this forum may be bias, but I'll try!!!

It depends if you're on a budget or have enough cash. The Honda definitely wins on price. Honda has a good reputation for building good bikes so quality and reliability should be equal to BMW. The BMW has been about for a while so can buy just about any accessory going for the BMW and comes with excellent options like luggage and extra lights so it must win on adaptability. I couldn't find the fuel figures for the Honda but I doubt it'll beat the BMW on economy and tank range.

Bias - yes, but the BMW wins, unless you only have $10500!!!
 

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I think the bottom line is how you fit on the bikes and your test rides. You'll do fine with both bikes. But I bought a used 2011 R12R with less than 1000 mi for $12500 on Ebay and I definitely prefer it to the Honda at that price. At $15000, I'm not so sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys for all the replies. I'll cut and paste my reply to some of the points brought up from another forum:


I should also mention that I'm 5'6" and 165 lbs. I've sat on the 12R low seat and am tippy toe on it. But I'm tippy toe on my BMW 650 dual sport now so I'm fairly comfortable with that issue. However, if the situation requires a quick exit, the 12R seat may be a problem.


Both seem equal in the reliability dept. I would expect one might get more miles out of the R. Comfort- I would need bar backs on the R. (Can you stack 2 risers together?) The CB would probably be ok as far as riding position. Power- both are adequate for my riding style. Looks- both look cool, the CB is retro cool. Resale value- I'm the type who will keep a bike a long time so this won't factor into my decision much.


These are the only bikes I'm considering and I'm leaning toward the R. However, the $5,000 difference is substantial and cannot be overlooked. I see the Honda dealers are advertising the CB with ABS for as low as ~$9919. They are expected at the dealers by March or April. I'll have to delay purchase till I try one on.


If this Honda was available as an option when you guys purchased your R, might any of you have bought the CB? Be honest.
 

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If this Honda was available as an option when you guys purchased your R, might any of you have bought the CB? Be honest.

Nope. My R1200R stole my heart :001_tt1:

The biggest, practical, factors for me were a) the drive shaft and b) the local Honda dealer is really REALLY rude whereas the local BMW dealer is really REALLY nice (perhaps petty to some, but there's a reason the Honda dealer isn't in business anymore and the BMW has been here for over 40 years...but I digress). Also the local Honda had a horrible reputation of very high prices for parts and servicing their bikes. I was concerned with ensuring that I could have ready access to a place to service my bike. Both factors would still influence me had the CB1100 been available when I was buying. I also considered that the BMW is a great mix between sport bike and touring bike, great for carving through curvy roads but very comfortable for long rides. To me the CB is a great representative of the old classics, whereas the BMW is almost a mash between older, classic styles updated for the newer tastes. But that's me and just my thoughts. Sorry to be long winded with the story telling, but to give you some perspective. I hope it helps.
 

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But, I'm bias. That said: my father always rode Honda's though and my mother still owns a 1984 CB125S, so I do have a soft spot for the manufacturer. Good luck and let us know what you discover and ultimately choose!
I share identical sentiments with Ninja Dave. My father has a Goldwing, GL650, CX500, and a CB125S ('76 that my mother rode during college). I guess my main gripe about the cb1100 is it's bland. Looks old, if you want to tug the strings on cb750, make a modern 750. I know they made other sizes, the iconic one was the 750 though. It's cool it has fuel injection, less cool it's air cooled (i4s don't share the longevity of boxers), ABS is an option (standard on the bimmer), brakes themselves don't look too impressive (calipers are small), and the versatility of the bike just doesn't compare. The forks on the Honda also look pretty narrow, this usually translates to less performance. For my 10k, I would look into finding a solid cb750, spend the remainder making the bike exactly what you want. Heck you can add fuel injection to the older bike, gsxr 750 front forks, and whatever other doo dads you may require to have a bike that will turn a lot more heads than a cookie cutter bike that look similar to every Japanese manufacturer made in the late 70s to 80s. If you want reasons to justify the r12r, there are plenty of threads already stating why the bike is so good at what it does. If you want a nostalgic look check into Moto Guzzi or a Triumph.:2cents:

As far as would I have bought the CB1100, NO. If it HAD to be a Honda CB1000R or VFR1200F
 

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One other thing to keep in mind is resale value will be higher for the BMW as a percentage of MSRP in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
pshimm, looks like you got a real good deal on your ebay find. I'd probably jump on a deal like that if it presented itself. Especially if it had risers, bags, cylinder guards.


Clem, in post #4 you stated that Honda could never duplicate what BMW has done. Are you saying that Honda parts are inferior, or the engineering and design? I really need to know more about bikes!!
 

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The Honda CB1100 is a fine bike, but it's a retro design for baby-boomer customers. It is not meant to perform like a high speed sports bike, doesn't have an adequate suspension to handle passenger and heavy touring gear as well as the BMW R1200R, and lacks a factory designed system of touring accessories. Honda engineering and quality are world class. IMO
This is not a broad statement of whether Honda is better than BMW as a maker. It is strictly comparing these 2 particular bikes.
 

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I love the looks of the UJM

But this is also sweet


Now if money it's not a factor, suspension, brakes, shaft drive and QUALITY. Beemer wins hands down.
 

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I love the looks of the UJM
Man, if it had shaft drive (or maybe a belt) it would be in my garage. It meets most of the criteria of what I want in a motorcycle. Just add a windscreen and some panniers and I would be in hog heaven. Paint the tins a dark forest green and I would be on my '70's Honda 750.

Oh, and I would not look so weird in the leathers that I bought in the 70's and had dyed to match the bike.
 

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Quality is tough to define

There are many tough decisions while passing through life. In a distant past life, most of my thoughts and dreams revolved about motorcycles. It was not until a recent trip to southern Germany and Austria that all those two wheeled thoughts were rekindled. Upon my USA return, I met a man who had two truly unique bikes. One is based upon a ’74 900 Kawasaki, the other a ’75 CR750 Honda....he was the original owner…and both were for sale. Neither had ever had fuel in them - balanced, blueprinted, living room showroom stuff, professionally moth-balled, with 0.0 miles on the odometers...just sitting there in their original Rickman glory. I had owned a 1969 Kawasaki H1-R (third one in the US), and kinda had a soft spot for Japanese stuff...but then again, at that time, my best ride was a ’71 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport...semi cafe'd out. But I digress.

Upon return to the US, my two wheeled love fully rekindled, I sought all alternatives. I was truly sold on either buying a fully updated R90S (ala MotoGrotto) or one (or both) of the Rickmans. The Rickmans could have been purchased for about $9K each – asking price was WAAAYYY more, but the owner was more in search of a good Rickman home than monetary gain.

I discussed my purchase dilemma with many folk, some of whom are high end, practicing motorheads. Almost universally, my friends dissuaded me from the older stuff, and further encouraged me to seek modern alternatives. But, as you fellow R12R friends realize, its difficult to shake the aura of some bikes, regardless of age. Finally, after reading and talking and I finally swung my leg over an R12R….wowser! While it didn’t have the “kick in the arse” acceleration of some Japanese bikes, it had a demeanor which is difficult to verbally express. Smooth, tracked like a rail, braking abilities beyond my imagination. It has something very few of my past rides offered…this thing not only promoted confidence, it exuded it!

Yep, I’m still very pleased with my ’11 R12R. I’m confident the CB1100 is a fine bike and will make many folks retro happy. But, like you fellow R12R peers have stated or alluded, putting your finger on the R12R’s aura, defining its quality is a personal thing, and a tough one to quantify or qualify. I think that Quality thing was one of Pirsig’s primary missions in composing “Zen and the Art…”

Below are two pics of the bikes that almost ended up home. I do wish I would have purchased them, but then again I’m glad I didn’t as I get tired of maintaining an army of mechanical stuff. Bottom line: There’s myriad excellent bikes out there, new or otherwise, and buying one (or a few) is a personal decision. Geez, I can almost empathize with folks who buy Harleys and wear salad bowl helmets …just kidding…I’ll never get those guys!
 

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:001_tt1::001_tt1::001_tt1::001_tt1::001_tt1::001_tt1::drool::drool::drool::drool::drool::drool::drool:

Well said Birkenfelder

And once again, if I only had a garage.....:(
 
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