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​                                2004 Honda ST 1300 ABS
 
Background-  I have always had a Honda bias, whenever I shopped for a new motorcycle I started with Honda.  Back in the fall of 2003 I was content with my ST 1100 with 95,000 miles.  The bike was running perfectly, and I was going to wait a couple more years before moving to the 1300, but a strange thing happened.  

That year in the Blue Ridge, Gene Fabzinger asked if I wanted to ride his 1300.  Of course I said, "YES," and went out for a 25 mile ride through the hills and valleys.  That was all it took, I had to have one of these fine machines.  I came home and promptly called Lakehill Honda, in Corinth, Mississippi for a price. I put a deposit down on a 04 and waited for a spring delivery date. 

And as they say, "the rest is history."

I love the Honda ST 1300, it does so many things well.  Not the fastest, not the most comfortable, not the best handling, sport tourer, but close to the top in each. 
 
Based on what I know, and from my experience with my STs, and those of my friends, many with 10 year old bikes and 100k miles, the Honda ST is one of the most reliable bikes ever made.  I can't name a single ST, in the circles I run with (which are many) that has ever suffered a catastrophic motor, transmission, or final drive failure.  You can't wear the bike out.  I'm approaching 200k on Honda STs and never had one run anything but perfectly.

If you are here from the 1100 side, wanting to upgrade, I can say my 1300 does everything better then my 1100.  It is faster, handles better, improved luggage, FI, trip computers, and vastly improved wing management, which is the Achilles heel of the 11.  I only thought I knew wind protection on the 1100 till I rode the 1300.

The 1100 will soon be out of production 7 years, but for some, it is still the bike for them.  The bike fits them better, or they just like the subtle nuances of the 1100 more.  Not going to get an argument from me, you like what you like.
I'm often asked if I could only have one bike, which would it be?  I'd have to say the Honda.  The powerful and smooth motor, low maintenance, and ultra reliability, the deciding factors.

Riding the Honda across America at 100 mph effortlessly and smoothly, is like flying on the ground.  Not many places I can do that, but it is why I enjoy riding it to California in lieu of the RT.  On those wide open runs across the desert, I don't think any bike can do it better.  For sure, a number of bikes have the speed and power, but they lack the comfort while doing it.

I hope the following answers any questions you might have about the bike.  If not shoot me a email.

The Bike- Like I mentioned on the 1100 page, my bikes have to be fast, comfortable, and sporty.  I ask them to transport me across the country with minimum fuss.  My tours involve wide open run outs across the Southwest Deserts, and Great Plains.  A day later will find me in the mountains leaning and carving my way up steep hills, or slicing up a coastal highway.  

I don't have time for 3-4 gallon gas tanks, or bikes that require a lot maintenance.  Out west I will be on lonely deserted roads, with no gas or towns for 70-100 miles.  My travels take me to every corner of America and Canada, it is important for me to know I have dealer access no matter where I find myself, and you can find a Honda shop in some of the most remote places.  I loved the pearl blue of the 04 model, and I'd be lying if I said the color didn't matter.

The Motor-  The motor is smooth, strong and powerful.  It pulls very well from any rpm in any gear.  The feel of the motor is more seamless than the 1100.  The fuel injection is a marked improvement over the carbs.  The FI has been perfect, no surge, and very responsive to the twist grip, plus it never needs adjusting.  It does take getting use, much of the jerkiness comes from the shaft, and I find the 1300 to have more shaft drive lash than the 1100.  The price of more hp and fuel injection. The V4 is one of the best power plants you can put in a shaft drive touring bike.  You have to ride the bike to really appreciate how smooth it is.  If you are currently riding a V twin or boxer, it will feel very odd at first.  On the occasions where I have taken a twin for a ride, the fist thing that I have to adjust to is the noise and vibration, I don't have either with my Hondas.

Some think the sheer smoothness of the 1300 isolates the rider from the feeling of being on a motorcycle, so they choose to ride twins.  Nothing wrong with that, and you won't see me trying to convince them a V4 is better. 
The motor has a snarling high tech growl when you fire it up.  It sounds very much like a Indy car.  I love the way it sounds, and how it turns heads when I punch the starter.
​The fastest I've had the 13 has been 143, it was still climbing when I backed off because I was running out of road.  It is my guess it will top out in the 150 mph range.

 Handling- The 1300 handles well for a touring bike.  It stays on line, and feels steady heeled over.  The quick adjust suspension knob is easy and convenient.  The anti dive is nice, but I can't say it makes that big a difference for a conservative rider such as myself.  For a old guy like me, the bike gives me all the fun I need.  I'm not good enough to lean the bike to its limits, on a consistent basis.  I run out of nerve before I go out of lean.

 The Brakes-  The 1300 is configured with the latest braking technology.  The ABS linked brakes are powerful, smooth, and quick.  The lever is linked to the rear brake, but the rear is indenpent.  The front is home to the newest anti dive braking system, and it works very well.  In the twisties I don't ride aggressively enough to notice it, but I have tried it out a few times.  It is a great feeling under heavy braking not to have the front end collapse.  Honda solved the dive problem without going to expensive paralever  suspension.  It works very well.
​​

Comfort- One of the best features of the 1300 is its all day comfort.  Not Gold Wing standards, but pretty darn good for a sport touring bike.  One of the reasons I picked it over the competition, was that it was slanted to the touring end.  The 1300 has most of the nice touches that make a good touring bike. 
 
The seat is wide and comfortable, I like it better than the 1100s I put almost 100k on.  I love the fact it is adjustable, and with the seat in the lowest position I can almost stand flat footed from the saddle.  I can't even come close to doing that on the 1100.  I still think a lot of guys will go the custom saddle way.


The adjustable windscreen is fantastic, and improves the ability to ride all day at hyper speeds.  I'll never own another bike without a electric screen.  Like most riders in the twisties, I like the screen down and out of the way, but I also like isolation on a cold day, or when I'm knocking down slab miles. The 1300 gives me all that.  It is the single greatest comfort factor on a bike in my opinion.
A bike can have a lot of great features but it has to feel good for the rider.  For most, if you are comfortable on the 1100, you will find the 1300 a good fit.
 
Mods added-  In the summer of 2005, I added the following mods.

PIAA 1100 driving light-  I love PIAA lights, and the 1100s are excellent and I highly recommend them.  They light up the road in the dark, and increase visibility in the day.  If I could only have one mod, this would be it.  Mine are mounted on the forks.
Heated grips- I was tired of cold hands and went the heated grip route.  They work very well, and I enjoy them.

12 volt plugs- My 1300 now has 2 plugs below the left panel, where you find the shock adjuster.  I needed a place to plug in my heated gear, and now I'm ready.

Relay box- All my accessories are wired to a relay box under the seat.  A nice clean install.  This gives me one place to come to for power.  It works really well, and keeps everything tidy.  Jerrol Olson carried out all my mods, and did a excellent job.

Little Things- This is where the 1300 really shines, except for a few items.

The 13 has good stock lighting, the lights are how a touring bike is suppose to be specked out.  They are bright and useful with electric adjustability to get it just right. 
  
Large 7.6 gallon tank, and decent mpg (low 40s) give the 1300 excellent range.  Crucial for any bike I ride.
The bike has 4 way flashers, but it lost the stand down light, call it a wash.

The rear shock is quickly adjusted by a knob on the riders left side.  No tools required and no panels to remove. 
 
Saddlebags are roomy, and the bike has a detailed and useful control panel displaying all pertinent information.

The appearance of the bike has drawn more compliments than any other category.  I received comments on the bike everywhere I go, especially from non riders.  I never get those when on the 1100.  I like the smoother lines of the 1100, but it has been my anecdotal experience those without connection to either bike, favor the 1300.  I think a lot of it has to do with the pearl blue color. 

The bike returns mpg in the low to mid 40s.  A few miles less than the 1100, but still excellent for a 1300cc bike.

Stuff I don't like-  The instrument display is a little hard to see with sunglasses on.  Not that you can't see it, because you can, just not as well as other bikes.  With my Oakleys off I can see it ok.  I don't like using the key on all the locks.  Not that it is hard to do, just annoying.

The 1300 is a warm bike on hot summer days.  I'd rate it about 10-15% more than the 1100.  I like it hot, so my tolerance is going to be greater than most, if you're heat sensitive, might be a problem.  But I'll say this, a multi cylinder, 1300 cc bike, is going to be hot on a 95 degree day.  Just the way it is.  You are on a motorcycle, in riding gear, on a hot day,  I don't know what else to say.  If that bothers you, probably need to take the car.  In 2005 I was stuck in a Phoenix traffic jam, on a 112 degree day, in full riding gear, and kept thinking about how good it felt as opposed to being in New York the previous October on a 39 degree day.  It was hot, and I could feel heat from the fan blowing, but I survived, with not all that much trouble.

I was really pissed to find they removed the bungee hooks from under the seat.  They were traded in for adjustability I presume.

Non canceling turn signals.  What is about motorcycles that makes that so hard to come by?

Prefer the locking faring pocket on the right side, like the 1100.

Conclusion- On the open highways of America it is hard to beat the Honda ST 1300.  Fast, smooth, and powerful, it does many things well.  The bike does not ask for much in way of maintenance.

The 1300 is definitely slanted to the touring end of sport touring.  It is on the heavy side, but loses much of that weight when you get above 5 mph.  I ride the 1300 across the continent with a air of confidence I don't get on any other brand.  It is so reliable, and the vast network of Honda dealers across the land, help is never far away.

It is well thought out, and refined.  No, its not perfect, I'd like to see the stuff I don't like fixed in the next upgrade, with the added options the RT possesses. 

For the money, the ST 1300 is one of the best deals in sport touring.  If you're the type of rider who rides cross country like some go to the corner store, the 1300 will serve you well.

13 years with the ST 1300

Thirteen years on the venerable Honda ST 1300.   Has it been that long?  That anniversary date passed last March.  I'm embarassed to say I only put about 2k miles on the Honda last year.  Most of the year the tires were bad, and I just didn't have enough time to love it more.  It has been many years since the Honda has been on a long tour.  I rode about 20k miles last year with the FJR getting most of those miles.  The FJR and RT have spoiled me to such things as cruise control, and ESA suspensions.


​I now have a FI light coming and going on the ST.  The bike runs fine so I don't know.  Not sure if something is going on, or just a bad sensor, so play the wait and see game.  Outside of that, the bike runs perfectly and everything works.  I use synthetic oil and change it once a year.  I hope to ride the bike more in 2017, and plan to take it on a Fall ride to the mountains just for old times sake.  With the new CB 1100 EX on the way the ST will have to slide over 1 in the garage.  I half thought about trading it on the CB but couldn't get enough for it to make it worthwhile, so I'll hang on to it a while longer.  That bike and I have a long history, many cross country rides and other shorter trips, it has earned his place in the garage.


As of April 24, 2017 the bike shows 106,438 miles.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




2004 Honda ST 1300 ABS​

 ​Aug. 2, 2014- The venerable ST 1300 turns over 100k miles on CR 57, near Verbena, Ala.  One of my favorite roads back to my teenage years.​