Honda makes another bold move with this new interpretation of the modern cruiser. Hot on the heels of the Gold Wing F6B
, the CTX1300T
reinvents the bagger genre with a unique combination of cruiser styling and touring versatility. It will appeal to hip young enthusiasts who are tired of this retro BS, but still care about comfort.
You either love the extraterrestrial looks of the Honda CTX1300T or you don't -- there's no middle ground. Its low-slung body, massive fairing a la F6B, and splendid longitudinal V4 obviously have a lot to do with it.
Once the initial shock and awe dissipate, you can take a closer look and marvel at the flawless fit and finish, as well as the commendable array of features and amenities.
A familiar engine
The 1,261cc, 90-degree V4 engine comes from the ST1300, and its two-valves-per-cylinder layout makes power more accessible at low and medium revs. Honda engineers modified valve timing as well as the intake and exhaust systems to improve mid-range response. Power delivery is now more linear, a bit less punchy at higher revs for sure, but just as easy to exploit. While retaining the ST's shaft final drive, the 5-speed transmission uses longer gear ratios.
Traction control, which keeps spreading across the Honda lineup, acts as a torque limiter: Whenever the rear tire starts to slip, the system cuts fuel delivery to restore grip. The CTX1300T also features Honda's famous Combined Braking System with ABS (C-ABS), which provides the operating ease of linked front and rear brakes. It all works through dual 310mm discs up front and a single 316mm disc in the rear.
Unorthodox riding position
|The 1,261cc, 90-degree V4 engine comes from the ST1300, and its two-valves-per-cylinder layout makes power more accessible at low and medium revs. (Photo: Olivier Delorme)
With the 2014 Honda CTX1300T, you get that weird feeling of sitting too far back on the motorcycle, and away from the instrument panel. On the plus side, the handlebars are wide and conveniently located, the oversized seat is just 726 mm off the ground, and the footrests are mounted a bit closer to the front.
Moreover, this new CTX offers heated grips, a large passenger seat, two grab handles, and two 35-litre hard saddlebags. Unfortunately, you'll have to use tools to remove these cases, which are bolted to the body and lower bracket.
The analogue speedometer and tachometer provide vital information at a glance, while the central LCD digital display includes an odometer and trip meter, fuel consumption, engine temperature, and clock. There's a glove box within the fake tank (the real one is located under the seat), along with various controls for the 50W sound system and Bluetooth connection. Too bad you must take your eyes off the road to manipulate them.
More cruiser than sport tourer?
|The analogue speedometer and tachometer provide vital information at a glance, while the central LCD digital display includes an odometer and trip meter, fuel consumption, engine temperature, and clock. (Photo: Olivier Delorme)
On the road, the 2014 Honda CTX1300T benefits from a low centre of gravity, although balance is somewhat compromised by its hefty weight (332kg) and long wheelbase, making it less agile than a genuine sport tourer. Ground clearance is about average for the segment, and the 200mm rear tire doesn't make low-speed manoeuvres too difficult.
The cruiser DNA is also evident in the minimal wind protection and laid-back riding position that proves ideal for chilling out on winding country roads. The smartly sculpted seat with lumbar support keeps your back upright so nothing can unsettle you. Around town, however, the CTX1300T must be handled with care due to its width (be mindful of the fairing-integrated mirrors, which by the way provide limited visibility since your arms get in the way).
Smooth and steady
|The cruiser DNA is also evident in the minimal wind protection and laid-back riding position that proves ideal for chilling out on winding country roads. (Photo: Olivier Delorme)
The 2014 Honda CTX1300T prefers wide-open spaces where it can stretch its legs and play it cool. Comfort and refinement abound thanks in no small part to the creamy V4. There's no undesirable vibration or annoying clatter, which is all the more reason to stay on the road longer. Riding dynamics are extremely sound and neutral, weight distribution is nearly perfect, and the suspension has been nicely calibrated at the factory. This bike is all about flow and proves amazingly friendly for its size.
In the end, a polarizing design and premium pricing (not enough value) will hurt the 2014 Honda CTX1300T, but its superb build quality and road manners will be enough to convince new buyers.
|This bike is all about flow and proves amazingly friendly for its size. (Photo: Olivier Delorme)
- Superb riding dynamics
- Great fit and finish
- Buttery smooth engine
- Rider-friendly bike
- Another bold move by Honda
- High price
- Polarizing design