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RE: Honda CTX1300: PH2 Review

RE: Honda CTX1300: PH2 Review

Monday 4th August 2014

Honda CTX1300: PH2 Review

Listen hard and you may hear a recurring reason PH2's not entirely smitten with the new CTX



When Honda unveiled the CTX1300 at the Milan show last year I was left more than a little unimpressed. This weirdly styled cruiser rode on stage with what can only be described as a whisper of an exhaust note. In fact, so quiet was it I assumed the bike was a far smaller capacity. As it transpired, and the clue is in the name, the CTX is actually powered by a 1,261cc V4 taken from the Pan European. Now a few months later in the south of France and with keys in hand it somehow looks considerably better than before. Unfortunately it still sounds the same...

Bike dials or car dashboard?
Bike dials or car dashboard?
Boulevard cruising
Although the CTX is aimed predominantly at the American market, the cruiser movement is gathering momentum in Europe and Honda is confident it will provide a stepping stone between smaller capacity bikes and the mighty Gold Wing cruisers such as the F6C and F6B. Powered by a tweaked Pan European V4 engine with less power and taller gear ratios, on paper the CTX impresses. Honda has given it a unique steel chassis with the emphasis on handling, traction control and combined ABS as standard before a stereo with Bluetooth ability and panniers complete the package. Unfortunately sound still isn't included. Despite the Honda people claiming that CTX's exhaust note was designed by a special sound department for maximum aural pleasure, it is still far too quiet and has more of a high pitched whine than a lovely V4 burble. Will the riding experience be any better?

Great roads and handling ruined by ground clearance
Great roads and handling ruined by ground clearance
Angle grinder
Honda have given the CTX a fairly sporty (for a cruiser) attitude with a 48:52 weight bias, something that shows up on the road. At slow speed the CTX's low weight distribution makes it easily manoeuvrable and the 735mm seat height is ideal for shorter riders or those nervous of controlling a 338kg bike at low speed. In traffic the V4 motor's initial grunt and light clutch are perfect for pulling away and the riding position is comfortable and relaxed. The exhaust note still fails to turn heads, but you can always crank up the stereo if you want to create a scene. I'm fairly certain the posh clientele of the sea front cafe appreciated Sir Mixalot's finest as I cruised past...

But get outside of town and the stereo is quickly drowned out by the sound of scraping metal. I know cruisers aren't meant to be hurled through corners, but for a sporty one the CTX is seriously lacking in ground clearance. I'm not talking decking the pegs for fun here, more the unnerving sound of a peg touching when you are doing 60mph and you hit a bump in the road while leant over. For me the constant scraping very quickly became an irritation as I wanted to enjoy the CTX's handling, but it was impossible as every time I lent it over the foot pegs started to drag. Honda says its CTX1300 is so named as it provides a Comfortable Touring eXperience, so I guess the reality is that this is more of a machine for gentle riding than any speed. But why give it good handling and then limit its potential through minimal ground clearance? Adding to the negatives are mirrors that show far too much elbow and annoyingly small tank storage compartments.

Hard to recommend, even over other Hondas
Hard to recommend, even over other Hondas
One for fans of the quirky only
Having ridden quite a distance on the CTX I have to say that while I warmed to it, it is hard to recommend anyone spending £15,000 on one. There is little to fault when it comes to riding position and handling as long as you don't lean it over too far, but my issue is more down to the overall feel. In my opinion the V4 engine lacks any of the soul that a cruiser needs as it is too refined and smooth. It certainly ticks the functionality boxes but cruisers aren't all about function - emotion also plays a big part. A cruiser needs to look, feel and, above all, sound right. And I don't think the CTX does. This Honda is an oddity I think will struggle to find fans and if I was looking for a Japanese cruiser with which to tour or just impress people on, I'd go for the awesome F6C or F6B instead. They are proper cruisers with huge flat-six engines and real street presence.


2014 HONDA CTX1300
Engine:
1,261cc V4
Power (hp): 85@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 78@4,500rpm
Top speed: 155mph (est)
Weight: 338kg (wet
MPG: 41 (claimed)
Price: £14,999





   

 

 

Author
Discussion

nightflight

Original Poster:

781 posts

142 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
I'd be upset if I found one of these.

Wedg1e

26,736 posts

190 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
To be fair, it has taken Honda over a decade to find another use for the Pan Euro's engine; it's a bit limiting being such a big heavy motor and having shaft drive, it wouldn't be a good starting point for a sports bike (although more power for the Pan wouldn't go amiss if you're reading this, Honda wink).
With the VFR1200 they started again and created another V4 with perhaps more versatility, so unless they did a major redesign of the ST1300 then a fat cruiser is probably the only way they could have gone - even if they thought they could sell a V-Max style dragster or were to replace the ST13 completely, the VFR12's engine would probably be the one they'd use.

jamespink

1,029 posts

129 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
For goodness sake, who in their right mind would pay good money for this ridiculous lard arse bike? I just can not for the life of me see why any of these bloated bikes sell. Like its clever to ride a bike that weighs 2000Kg and scrapes everywhere....

pSynrg

238 posts

107 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
More like 400kgs...

But, possibly the same mentality that drive a 2,500kg "SUV" around heavily congested and polluted cities. When a compact, lightweight and practical super-mini will do it all better - apart from off-road...

DreadUK

206 posts

57 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
The UK's not the target market, the US is. If they sell some in Europe then it's probably a bonus. It's no doubt perfect for eating up 500 miles a day on US arrow straight roads not popping to the local roundabout meet for a knee down.
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Jimmm

2,274 posts

108 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
Do these style of bike not have screens any more? Surely at motorway cruise it gets a bit blowy or are the aerodynamics cleverer than they look?

SteveSteveson

3,209 posts

88 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
DreadUK said:
The UK's not the target market, the US is. If they sell some in Europe then it's probably a bonus. It's no doubt perfect for eating up 500 miles a day on US arrow straight roads not popping to the local roundabout meet for a knee down.
Surely the Pan will do a better job at that, for £500 less with less dynamic compromises.

DreadUK

206 posts

57 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
SteveSteveson said:
Surely the Pan will do a better job at that, for £500 less with less dynamic compromises.
Yea but we're practical Brits and the Pan handles, stops and goes too well for the yanks. A bit like their yearning for old style Cadillacs; form over function.

Hooli

32,278 posts

125 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
It's a Honda, it's dull - why the surprise?

Wedg1e

26,736 posts

190 months

Monday 4th August 2014
quotequote all
Hang on - ah say hang on a cotton pickin' minute thar boy... I just re-read the specs. They've detuned the Pan Euro's 115 BHP to 85, it still weighs about the same (actually an ST1300 is less than 338Kg) yet despite having all the apparent aerodynamic efficiency of a skydiving Brontosaurus, its top speed is estimated to be 10MPH MORE than a Pan Euro...??!!
Hot, and indeed, diggety.

mikeg15

206 posts

125 months

Tuesday 5th August 2014
quotequote all
I think that one of the weekly comics compared this to a HarleyD and preferred the Harley. If that is the case it must be truly dreadful !

LordFlathead

8,857 posts

183 months

Tuesday 5th August 2014
quotequote all
"Less power, steel chassis"

Going backwards fast at a dealership near you hehe

Why. Just why.

bass gt3

8,409 posts

158 months

Tuesday 5th August 2014
quotequote all
DreadUK said:
The UK's not the target market, the US is. If they sell some in Europe then it's probably a bonus. It's no doubt perfect for eating up 500 miles a day on US arrow straight roads not popping to the local roundabout meet for a knee down.
which begs the question why PH2 is on this seemingly endless 2 tonne bike review?
We've had Goldwings of every description, Cruisers, Shmoozerz, Baggers, Saggers and any number of Americana focused tat yet bugger all on normal, UK relevant machinery. Christ, they have a GSXR on loan that I swear has less column inches in PH2 than the bloody Ebola outbreak.

Get a grip PH2. How about if you're going to go on a launch junket it's for something slightly less turgid.

LordFlathead

8,857 posts

183 months

Tuesday 5th August 2014
quotequote all
Hear here thumbup

Not exactly soul inspiring is it?

flyingscot68

215 posts

64 months

Tuesday 5th August 2014
quotequote all
Hooli said:
It's a Honda, it's dull - why the surprise?
No surprise here, Honda are specialists when it comes to producing bland uninspiring bikes.

This isn't that bland though, mainly because it's too hideous to be bland.