2004 Honda ST1300
Note: I have since sold this beautiful bike. This was in no small part to having
not one, but two beautiful boys. I simply realized that with small children, it
would be at least a decade before Tara and I would be able to use her for what
she was built - to take multi-day long-distance trips. Never once did I regret
owning this wonderful machine. Don't worry though. I'm sure I'll have a ride
like this again someday. C'est la Vie!
This is the Honda ST1300. The first production of this bike was in the 2003
model year. Before that, for 11 years, it was known as the ST100 which was a
bike with very different styling. Honda only offers one color per year in the
ST models, with 2003 being metallic dark silver, 2004 pearl dark
blue and 2005 candy dark red. Apparently Honda only likes dark colors for
these bikes. Across the pond the ST1300 is called the Honda
Pan-European, which has had a different range of colors as well including aqua (dark) green.
Sport touring is a niche market of motorcycles which marries, as you
can expect, touring bikes (such as the Honda Gold Wing) and sport bikes or
crotch-rockets. The Honda ST leans more toward the touring end of the scale,
allowing you to take long, comfortable trips. This is what I was looking for,
but this five-speed cycle also possesses enough power to beat anything you
will encounter on the road short of a dedicated sport-rocket. This isn't
a guess or any kind of speculation. You meet at the line with another
vehicle and if you want to be in front of them, you will be.
Depending on the region you're in,
it's relatively hard to find ST bikes at shops, mostly because they are
gone as soon as they come in. Also, they don't make nearly as many ST
bikes as they do others. Honda's ST is most comparable with the Yamaha
FJR1300 and the BMW R1150RT. The Yamaha leans more toward the sporty side
of the equation, while the BMW tends to price itself out for what you get
for the money. Overall, most reviews tend to give the edge to Honda's ST,
and seeing as I like Honda's reliability and reputation, it was the logical
choice for me.
When it comes down to it, this 650lb 4-cylinder bike is raw power.
Yes it has comfortable
amenities such as luggage compartments and whatnot, but without
a doubt, this is pound-for-pound the most powerful machine I have ever
seen, much less owned. With a Honda-claimed 125 horsepower and 92 ft-lbs of
torque, this monster can reach 60mph
in under 3.5 seconds. Even while cruising along at 80mph, twisting the
throttle will still amazingly lurch you back in your seat.
Also, the power plant generates about 750 watts
of power to run a bike that only requires 250 or so. This leaves 500 watts,
which is more than enough room to play with for adding all sorts
The 2004 model is available with or
without ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), otherwise they are identical from
a feature and specification standpoint. My model is the non-ABS model. Why?
While ABS is a no-brainer in a car, on a motorcycle I feel it's a different
beast. When you're on two wheels, you have a much greater sense of how
your bike is reacting to the road with every bit you accelerate and brake.
With ABS, you would lose some of that feedback when the ABS kicks in. I will
admit that on a slick road, ABS is awesome, but regular brakes can handle
slick roads just fine if you know what you're doing. Other than that, ABS
won't help you in a wet curve, but it will help prevent a skid, so if you're
skidding your tires a lot, maybe ABS is for you.
In any event, it's
certainly up for debate, and you'll find plenty of people
that feel one or the other is better, so it all comes down to personal
preference, as well as cost (the ABS is significantly more $).
Am I happy with the purchase? Absolutely. She wasn't cheap, but with this
kind of bike, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, out of the box, she's
at about 75% what she could be in terms of features, utility and creature
comforts. It took
a fair number of farkles to bring her up to what I would consider full
potential, but that's ok, because this way she's customized precisely
to my liking.
Below are a few pics of her with most accessories installed, except the
first one. That's a picture from the day we picked her up at the shop.