Honda introduced the ST1100 to the European market one year before making it into the US. The motorcycle was set to fill the gap between the Gold Wing and the Honda VFR750F, which is a sports tourer. It was well received in both continents with a reasonable sell rate on both sides of the Atlantic.
The story of the Honda ST1300 Pan European goes back for almost thirty years. The year of its first introduction was 1990 and was due to the enormous success the Golden Wing had. The first incarnation of the Honda ST1300 was the ST1100. The motorcycle intended to be a more manoeuvrable, sports-like version of the Golden Wing. However, Honda´s idea was that the riders could enjoy all the excellent touring characteristics of bigger bikes in a smaller package.
A significant difference was the bike´s engines. While the Golden Wing was a flat-four, the Honda ST1300 got a V-four. Also, the weight in each was drastically different to make the ST1100 a sportier, lighter bike. Other than that, the ST model got most of the Gold Wing specs like the shaft drive, integral panniers, and full fairing.
In 2002 Honda released the successor with a slightly bigger engine under the name of Honda ST1300. The name it got in Europe, where they released it first, was the Pan-European. By 2003, the model arrived in the US, and it was very successful. Production under that name and specs continued until 2012. However, the company decided to use the Honda ST1300 engine to power the new CTX1300 and remove the ST1300 from the catalogue. The CRX had better fuel economy and also more torque at lower RPMs.
This is the name that the Honda ST1300 received in the European market. The motorcycle got its name because it is very capable of crossing the entire continent. It is a very powerful tourer that can be considered a sports tourer because of power. Honda managed to lower the gravity centre of the bike by putting the engine lower in the light-weight aluminium frame.
The Honda ST1300 Pan European allows for riders to have a standard riding posture, making it suitable for longer trips. Also, the fuel tank is 7.7 gallons (29 litres) is excellent for having long-distance autonomy. According to the company, the Honda ST1300 Pan European is capable of making 480 km without a fuel refill.
In the brakes and suspension departments, the Honda ST1300 Pan European shined through beyond all competition. The front suspension was achieved with a cartridge fork of 45mm, and the rear suspension was very smooth with a gas-charged mono shock that had a preload adjustment featuring five positions. By the year 2004, the standard Honda ST1300 featured standard ABS and Honda´s linked brake package. Also in that year, the adjustable electric windscreen and traction control became standard for all production models.
The Honda ST1300 Pan European is a big bike. It is supposed to be a sports tourer, but it can be thought of as a full-fled touring bike. When you see it parked and approach it to ride it, it looks like a substantial unmanageable thing. It is only the first impression since it has features that make it an excellent bike for comfortable long-distance rides. My test model came in a beautiful dark blue that looked handsome and metalised.
Putting your leg over the seat and getting into riding position is quite an experience. You have the front panel and, although you are on a big bike, it is lower than you would expect. I started it and could feel just how silent it is. You barely notice that it is on because it also vibrates very little. Moreover, the seat barely moves when you sit on it. The V-4 engine does not roar but has plenty of torque to get you on your way quickly.
I rolled it slowly into the pavement and joined the traffic of the city right at dusk. The orange light of the ending day was the perfect scenery to steer this big bike through traffic. It moves around as if it was a much smaller bike, and the fact that it is not tall at all gives it a lot more of manoeuvrability to move around. And not only the manoeuvrability, but Honda´s ABS and linked brakes systems also are great additions, and traffic lights were not at all a problem. The Honda ST1300 works as if it was a smaller bike with all the power of a big one.
I pushed it a little here and there and found that smooth response of the V-4 and the gearbox a delight. I didn´t struggle to get past most cars, and other riders and every turn of the wrist was a great experience. Low-RPM torque is also fitting. I pulled away from traffic lights effortlessly every time.
The real fun came when I finally hit the open road. The Honda ST1300 is an open-road kind of bike. Keeping it in between cars is like taking a lion to a zoo and putting it behind bars. I ignited the turning light and took the first exit to the freeway. That moment I discovered my bike had a couple of neat accessories installed.
The first one went under the name of STS and stands for Smart Turn System. It is a little gadget with a simple mission, which is to disengage the turning lights when you forget them. If you are a car driver as I am, you know that cars do that automatically after the turn. Well, because of that I tend to forget my turning lights on. I found it great that the moment I was on the highway the indicators were automatically off.
I took a more aggressive approach, and this is, perhaps, the only flaw I can find in this almost-perfect bike. It is not an exciting bike at all. The touring side of it completely blurs the sports part of the Honda ST1300. It is comfortable, easy to handle and very reliable, but doesn´t have that adrenaline factor most of us are after. So, turning my wrist and opening the throttle was not an amazing experience, but the bike responded. I was able to accelerate and leave cars behind easily.
Without a doubt, the Smart Turn System fits your Honda ST, but you can still submit your motorcycle detail in the form below, and the STS team will send you a special offer for your bike.
The brakes at high speed become smoother and more controllable, making the Honda ST1300 a delight to ride. Furthermore, they respond to sudden movements in the city, and on the highway, they respond to smooth transitions. The gearbox was very smooth too, and this was the moment that I noticed the second addition of the test bike. The accessory is called SBM and stands for Smart Break Module.
I, as many of us riders, use the gearbox and the throttle to lower or increasing speed, probably most of my time on the bike. The thing is that when you are decreasing your speed that way, your stoplight will not go on. It is dangerous not showing the rest of the vehicles on the highway that you are reducing your speed. This gadget will engage the stop light as soon as it detects that you are decelerating. I remember thinking that this little accessory can help to save many lives and that it is crazy; it is not a standard in every bike.
For the final part of my journey on the Honda ST1300, I went down from the highway and into the city again. The motorcycle adapted to both right away, and as soon as I got into the traffic lights, it felt like its natural habitat. To be completely honest, I missed the adrenaline and the spark of other sports bikes, but I was sad to give it back.
If you already own a sports bike or are looking for a great tourer, the Honda ST1300 Pan European is definitely for you.
The last incarnations of the Honda ST1300 show that it is looking better than ever. These are some of the most important specs:
The price of the Honda ST1300 Pan European price is considerably lower than the one of the Gold Wing. While the biggest bike of the pack goes for over $23,000, the price of the Honda ST1300 goes for less than 19,000. Many differences between them validate this distance in price.
The price difference with the only-sports bike from which the Honda ST1300 departed is also quite significant. The Honda VFR800F (the newest incarnation of the VFR750 from the nineties) is almost at the $15,000 mark. The difference between the motorcycles is also quite noticeable since the VRF model does not have the luxurious touring accessories that the Honda ST1300 features.
Honda keeps a very clean price range and the difference between models. They work hard at making it clear for the clients which bike is more expensive and for which reasons. However, in the touring category, there is nothing above the Gold Wing. It sports a massive engine and several accessories that would take its post to name.
On the other hand, the VFR800F is nothing short from a pureblood stallion. It is a sports bike that is a joy to drive if you love adrenaline and power. It is anywhere nearly as comfortable as the Honda ST1300.
The Honda ST1300 fits in the middle of the Gold Wing and VFR800F in terms of price, but also in terms of category. Furthermore, it is a tourer with enough power and lightweight to be a sports bike. It lacks the adrenaline but has the luxury.
Besides the accessories mentioned above, which are not made by the Honda Corporation, there are some cool official ones.
If you are like me, you probably hate the way that the gas tank fades its colour with use. Also, it may lose its beautiful paint due to scratches. Fortunately, this pad helps to protect it and give extra comfort for riders.
Saddlebag Liner Set
Not only are the saddlebags beautiful, but they are also ideal for those of us who ride the bike for multiple purposes. They are made of a solid fabric, and the great thing about them is that you can use them without the bike. They feature a front pocket and a shoulder strap, so whenever you park the bike, you can take them with you. How cool is that?
The Honda ST1300 is the best option for riders looking for a smaller edition of the Gold Wing. It is an easy-to-manoeuvre motorcycle that can reach a high speed and brings all the comfort of Honda´s top-end line. If your quest is for a bike that can take you for long miles on a Sunday and then to work on Monday; this might be it.
Have you already driven one of these bikes? Do you agree with our verdict? We would love to hear from you, please comment and share this post with other riders.