Exactly what we'd want lurking among the 'Shadows'
Exactly what we'd want lurking among the 'Shadows' Honda

Is Honda planning a Rebel 1100?

Some more leaked patent images suggest Honda may be mulling putting the engine from the Africa Twin 1100 into a cruiser chassis

Recently there were leaked patent images of a potentially supercharged Honda Africa Twin. And now some more similar images have surfaced – again with an Africa Twin 1100 link – but this time around the actual focus is on another model entirely. Or if rumours are to be believed, the Honda Africa Twin’s engine might just be the basis of a whole range of future Honda bikes.

What do we see?

How do you know it’s the Africa Twin’s engine, you ask? Well, from the side profile, the patent drawings showcase an engine head with an unmistakable similarity with the Africa Twin’s Unicam cylinder head design. But that’s not all, not by a long shot.

You see, the USP of the new Rebel 1100 (or whatever Honda calls the production bike) is that it packs another Africa-specific detail: the DCT gearbox. Yes, we’re not pulling your leg. When viewed from the front, the patent design shows a conspicuous lack of both a clutch lever and gear shift pedal. And who wouldn’t want a DCT cruiser?

What else is worth knowing?

Like most ADVs, the Africa Twin’s engine was designed for a greater pull from the low revs. This engine behaviour is a straight fit for most cruisers that focus more on low-down torque that high-end power. And with 105Nm from that DCT engine, we already know the upcoming Rebel won’t be a slouch.

Next, while most hardcore ADVs sport two side-mounted radiators (to protect them from debris and rocks as well as allow for the front suspension to compress fully), the Rebel has a single conventionally placed cooler. Next, the exhaust headers are pulled to the right-hand side, with short pipes running into a catalytic converter mounted just ahead of the engine, so there’s no impact on cornering clearance. So that takes care of yet another grouse most seen with cruisers.

Cat-con mounted ahead of the engine means easier cold starts and better lean-ability
Cat-con mounted ahead of the engine means easier cold starts and better lean-abilityHonda

So when do we finally see it?

We hate to sound clichéd, but your guess is as good as ours. And we’re not saying so because we think there’s a lot of work remaining to make the big Rebel a production reality (as can be seen with the detailed blueprints). However, there is a small matter of Honda’s aforementioned supercharged leanings on the selfsame engine (and body type) which we’d expect the methodical Japanese manufacturer to tend to first. Hence, the earliest we would expect this retro-modern cruiser to make an appearance (and hopefully replace the long-in-the-tooth Shadow) would be sometime in 2023 or ’23.

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