Review: 2014 Honda CTX1300
Choosing a car at dealership. Thoughtful grey hair man in formalwear leaning at the car and looking away
2014 Honda CTX1300
ENGINE:?1,261cc, V4, longitudinally mounted, five speed
FUEL CONSUMPTION (regular):?5.2 ? 5.7L/100km
POWER:?85 horsepower, 78 lbs-ft torque
COMPETITION:?Kawasaki Vaquero, Harley Street Glide
WHAT?S BEST:?Smooth, handles well, good standard features
WHAT?S WORST:?Cramped riding position for six footers
Smooth: No vibration or tingling in hands, feet
Lucy, you got some ?splainin? to do.
Honda?s 2014 Honda?s CTX1300 has the low (725mm) seat, long wheelbase, 200mm wide rear tire and feet-forward(ish) riding position of a cruiser; the V4 motor and sport-oriented wheels and tires give it sport-touring cred, while the hard bags, wind protection and sound system indicate Gold Wing DNA.
So what is it?
All of the above.
Why pigeonhole motorcycles into one category? Can?t the circles overlap a bit?
Listing for $18,999, the CTX1300?s standard equipment includes a centerstand, five-position heated grips, sound system, linked ABS, hard bags, traction control, LED lighting and self canceling turn signals.
The CTX uses the same 1,261cc V4 as the ST1300, although with 85 horsepower and 78 lbs-ft of torque, it?s significantly down from the ST?s 120 and 92, respectively. Peak power now kicks in 2,000 rpm lower than the ST and redline is a car-like 6,800 rpm.
Over a couple of days, I put over 1,000 km on the CTX and came away with mixed feelings.
The wide, scalloped seat locks you in one position, which is unfortunate if you?re over six feet tall and the semi- feet-forward riding position still put a lot of weight on the ol? tailbone. After an hour or so in the saddle, I started squirming, as if on the witness stand.
Performance from the ?detuned? V-4 is quite good. I never wanted for more acceleration and the transmission shifts easily and crisply, although it?s only a five speed; same as the ST1300.
The suspension consists of non-adjustable 43mm forks up front and twin rear shocks that adjust for preload only, which is a chore with the bags in the way. It handled very well over smooth pavement but both ends seem to have too much compression damping as it chattered noticeably over bumps and patchy stuff, transmitting harsh jolts directly through the bars and seat.
Steering is fairly light and neutral, the wide bars giving lots of leverage at slow speeds, although the long, 1,640mm wheelbase and fat, 200mm rear tire won?t allow it to turn on the proverbial dime.
The CTX zips around corners with amazing ease and stability and it has more ground clearance than traditional cruisers ? a very brisk pace is required before hard parts start dragging.
The CTX?s fairing does a great job protecting the rider from the elements ? from the chest down anyway, the eyebrow screen doing little to deflect the airflow from the rider?s head. Honda has a taller screen available and anyone considering the CTX should make this mandatory. I rode from Calabogie to the GTA into a stiff headwind and got off the bike feeling like Muhammad Ali had been sitting backwards on the tank, headslapping me the entire way.
The good news? After four straight hours, no vibration or tingling was felt in hands or feet ? the V4 is very smooth.
Brakes are very good with dual 310mm units up front and a large 316mm single disc out back. Honda?s linked ABS system works well with decent feel and feedback when stopping the 338kg CTX.
The centerstand is a nice feature but redundant as the shaft drive eliminates the need for chain lubing and adjustment. It makes rear wheel removal easier but how many CTX owners will do their own tire changes?
The sound system is also an enigma. It?s compatible with Bluetooth, iPods and MP3s, and sound quality from the twin speakers is great ? in the driveway. Even around town, wind noise overpowers it and on the highway, it?s futile. Two small storage spaces live on top of the faux fuel tank although accessing them is like posting a letter as the lids don?t open very wide.
The hard bags are the ?clamshell? type, hinged at the bottom, waterproof, a decent size and open and close easily enough, but they?re bolted onto the bike. So, you have to pack your ?stuff? in bag liners, plastic baggies or schlep it in armloads each overnight stay. A 45L topbox is available as an option.
Instrumentation is complete with analog tach and speedo flanking an LCD display for fuel consumption, air temperature, clock, odometer and twin tripmeters as well as the track and artist of the music you can?t hear. Scrolling through the functions is via large, automotive style switches flanking the dash storage pockets, which requires one hand off the bars.
The four into two pipes have a nice sound ? a burbling at idle that morphs into a throaty growl as the throttle is opened. Fuel consumption averaged between 5.2 and 5.7L/100 km, so the 19.5 liter tank should yield a cruising range of 325 to 350 km.
The CTX doesn?t really fit into one category but successfully overlaps the areas Honda has targeted. One might call it a Sport-cruising-tourer.