Now These Honda CB1300s Are Truly The Highnesses

There are SP versions of the bikes too that get Ohlins suspension and Brembo monoblocs

  • The CB1300s hark back to the early days of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle format.
  • Its 1,284cc inline four heart puts out an honest 110PS and 118Nm.
  • These bikes are likely to stay Japan-only models.

Honda is keeping the Universal Japanese Motorcycle format alive with the 2021 CB1300 Super Four and CB1300 Super Bol D’or. These bikes, as well as their SP versions, are currently going to be sold only in Japan -- no arrival in sight for Europe or America, let alone India. These are the last bastions of the popular format that Honda sort of kickstarted with the 1969 CB750.

The UJM template of an inline-four engine and a low-cost easy-to-manufacture tubular chassis was adopted heavily by Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. And in a whirl, the motorcycle scene was revolutionised with these Japanese bikes ruling for the entirety of the 70s and 80s. Motorcycles then started getting more focused in the 90s and the popularity of the UJM weaned off.

The design of the bikes is unmistakably 1980s. As much as this writer enjoys hyper-futuristic neo retro bikes, he feels this is the perfect retro classic motorcycle look: simple, uber cool and not too outlandish. There is nothing in your face here, everything neatly flows from the front of the motorcycle to the rear.

One might call the standard models ostentatious with their red frame and golden rims. But as a whole, the bikes look supreme, especially the Bol D’or with its half fairing, robocop-ish headlamp and tinted windshield. It does remind you of the original Hero Honda Karizma to a certain extent. The name Bol d’or (meaning Gold Cup) pays tribute to the legendary 24 hour endurance race that Honda has triumphed on a number of occasions.

Powering the cool bikes is a 1,284cc inline-four, liquid-cooled, 4-valve per head, DOHC motor. It is not a fast revving motor, the relatively relaxed 9.6:1 compression ratio assures the rider of a timeless easy riding experience. Hence, the 110PS and 118Nm engine output is honest and more than enough to haul the near-275kg heft of the bikes. A six-speed gearbox and slip-and-assist clutch are to be found on the engine.

On the regular models, suspension duties are handled by simple telescopic fork and twin shocks. Even the braking hardware are not-so-fancy Nissin twin-piston floating calipers. The SP models kick things up a couple of notches. While there is no change in suspension type, the units are sourced from Ohlins and have a lot more adjustability. Even the braking hardware are Brembo monobloc calipers, likely to be M50s or M4.32s, not Stylemas.

Honda will be making an official price announcement for the bikes on December 21 for its domestic market. While it is farfetched to think that these bikes will ever come down to India, we would love it if Honda India made a CB350 Bol D’or. Now wouldn’t that be something special?

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