Today, I present to you a new test drive of the Honda Rebel 1100. This time, not only do I have the opportunity to do more mileage than last season, I also have the opportunity to test the DCT transmission.
In 2022, the Rebel 1100 keeps the same minimalist look to everyone’s delight. LED headlight, short indicators and a small instrumentation provide a nice finish. The tested model is completely blacked out and gives a look, as its name suggests, rather Rebel.
The Rebel’s 1100 engine is a modified version of the Africa Twin’s. It’s an engine that packs a punch and has already proven itself. From low to high rpm, the power and torque band are well spread out for great acceleration and performance.
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
This Honda Rebel will give you access to driving modes, torque control system and wheelie control. Which, along with the DCT, will allow you full customization of your experience with it. You will also get, as standard, a cruise control, easy to use and very popular for the open road.
With this second test, I can reconfirm how much I enjoyed riding the Rebel. It is different from other cruisers, it has a unique look and not a mere imitation. That I like. All these ingredients together make it a cruiser to consider within a reasonable price range.

DCT

To begin, DCT is an abbreviation for Dual Clutch Transmission. An automatic transmission system available from Honda for a few years already on models like the Gold Wing and the Africa Twin.
If, like me, shifting gears are an integral part of the driving experience and automatic transmissions are usually not so popular… Know that these offer considerable advantages over manual transmissions in terms of performance, fluidity & consumption among others.
This will therefore be the very first time that I have tried an automatic motorcycle and I am rather curious and enthusiastic about the experience to come!
Who says automatic transmission on a motorcycle, also says handbrake! Yes, you will find on the left of the handlebars, a handbrake lever to secure the motorcycle. Failing to be able to leave your motorcycle in first gear as needed, the handbrake was undoubtedly the most viable option.
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
Interestingly, the handbrake operates a caliper located on the rear disc brake. Note that this is a calliper independent of that of the normal brakes (hydraulic). If I had to guess why, I would probably opt for better durability as well as a reduced chance of these sticking when in use.
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022

Let’s Ride!

First try, no time to lose, we put everything in fully automatic. It’s very strange to set off without a clutch the first few times. When accelerating, it’s not too bad, but when you want to slow down and stop, the left hand looks for a non-existent lever and the left foot also tries to be active… With a few exceptions, you get used to it quickly.
Moreover, if you are one of those who, at red lights, like to share the sound of your engine with a flick of the wrist, you will have to think twice rather than once! If you fail to put yourself in neutral, by the action of a button, several possibilities will be available to you, including some disaster scenarios…
In automatic mode, the DCT’s gear changes, both when accelerating and when slowing down, may be a little different than you are used to. Be aware that the DCT system is also influenced by the driving mode chosen, which will require some experimentation to find an ideal combo according to your preferences.
The very sensitive electronic throttle, combined with the DCT and the lack of a Clutch/Neutral control at very low speeds, requires an adjustment of our driving in heavy traffic in fully automatic mode and will also be part of its taming.
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
Many will appreciate that it is also possible to drive the Rebel 1100 in “manual” mode with finger-operated paddle shifters. Note that if you do not downshift, the DCT will do it for you, depending on your speed.
In “manual” mode, I have the leeway to make the engine sing and use engine compression as I please and have an even more personal feeling of driving control. It’s not bad at all! Even that the accelerations are dangerously fun and precise…
On the open road, everything is fine regardless of the driving mode chosen. The Rebel is stable, the engine versatile and the suspension works very well on our Quebec roads known to be textured! Fuel consumption will fluctuate depending on your driving, of course. It will be around 4L/100 on the highway and 5.5L/100 in the city, which is quite reasonable with a 13.6-litre tank.
I’m glad I was able to ride the Rebel 1100 without the DCT as well. It allows me to compare and appreciate the two versions offered. I will also have the opportunity to test the Africa Twin in a few days, also equipped with a DCT. I look forward to comparing the 2 experiences and sharing them with you very soon.
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
Fun fact, during one of my outings, I met an experienced motorcyclist, owner of a Rebel 1100 DCT. For him, the DCT was the best invention in the world and would never go back! It’s good to say that sometimes you have to try it to adopt it!

Final thoughts

The Rebel will have charmed me once again. I would like to mention that the Rebel 1100 is originally a solo motorcycle and that the passenger seat offered in Canada will probably have to be changed if you plan to go on a long outing two up. Even if the DCT option will cost you almost $1000 extra on your purchase, it will bring you smooth, precise, and quick gear changes as well as less hand fatigue.

Honda will also offer, from 2023, a Touring version including suitcase, fairing and windshield to offer you increased comfort on the road and long outings.

In closing, I would like to thank Honda Motorcycles Canada for its cooperation in the context of this test drive.

If you have any questions or comments about your experience with the Rebel or DCTs, feel free! I leave you here, the link for our first test and impression of the Rebel 1100. Good reading!

Jean-Sebastien Mackay

Jean-Sebastien Mackay

Riding motorcycles since the 90's - Husband - Father - Army Veteran - Founder of KNUCKLE

Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
Honda Rebel CMX 1100 2022
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