Honda CB1300S (2005 - present) review

It may not be a latter-day CB1100R, and it may be a bit soft around the edges, but the retro CB1300S is still a capable, competent machine
Added screen increases practicality.
Still a big and heavy bike.

Don't be fooled by the faux-retro looks of Honda's CB1300S. While it may have echoes and lines of the mythic CB1100R series of production racers hoofed around with great success by the likes of Ron Haslam back in the early 80s, it is in effect a thoroughly 21st Century take on another distant memory - for anybody over 35 - of motorcycling: the UJM.

Back then the Universal Japanese Motorcycle was just this: an across the frame inline four, of any capacity, that went, stopped, steered and did everything pretty much just as well as any other. Not brilliantly, just well. True sportsbikes - like the CB1100R - were rare, expensive and unavailable to the regular Joe. Sportsbikes today bear no comparison to those of yesterday, this I think we can all admit. Fewer of us will admit that we can do much with 'em, especially on the road, and whatever your view of the CB1300S's supposed homage to a past legend at least this much is genuine about this bike: it's a good, honest straightforward tool.

This modern-day UJM's engine is big - a honking 1284cc of water-cooled fuel-injected 16 valve DOHC inline four muscle. There's nothing ear-pinning about the engine's performance but that's really not the point. It's strong and smooth where you need it most on the road, off the bottom and through the middle. The real punch happens after 5000rpm - and a tall top gear means you occasionally have to stir the five-speed gearbox for a swift overtaking lunge. The first time you ride the CB1300S you bask in its smooth and easygoing power delivery, but that impression of civility never really inspires either and it's almost easy to get bored by the CB1300S's engine. The chassis, like the engine, delivers a competent and capable performance. And, like the engine, initially it all works well enough but push that little bit harder, and the limits are obvious. With a bike that weighs in at 236kg dry, that's also capable of generating a reasonable turn of speed thanks to the 113bhp and 86lb.ft on tap, the tyres and suspension are going to get a good working over at some point.

Which is exactly what they get. Both just about cope, but all that weight does catch up at certain times - during fast changes of direction, for instance, when the CB bounces around on its springs, or when trying to feel for that last bit of traction from either tyre whether hard on the brakes on the way into a corner, or hard on the gas on the way out. The CB1300 is much more enjoyable when ridden in a lazily fast way, or just plain lazily. Roll a precise line through the corners and let the big red and white Honda do all the work. Why not? The CB1300S does it so well and wants to make your life easy. It comes with a slick, deft ABS system that's subtle and unobtrusive. In the wet or marginal conditions, it's a real help. Does this detract from the riding experience? Nah. This bike's a UJM for now. It should make it easy. The fairing's efficient enough to let an average height body sit well out of the wind at 90mph, the seat's comfy, pillions are well catered for too while the riding position is a relaxed perch. It's all very civilised. Which is where I personally part company with the CB1300S. Somewhere, deep down in this highly polished gentle giant is a proper motorcycle, just like the ones that used to adorn my bedroom wall 25 years ago. It's got wide 'superbike' handlebars, it's set down on its front wheel and jacked up over the rear. Maybe there's an oil cooler where that headlight is, but there's most definitely rear set pegs and a matt black 4-1 Kerker megaphone exhaust. It's got disc brakes the size of dinner plates, sticky tyres and sorted suspension.

All of which is a long way from where the CB1300S is right now. But maybe that's the relevance today of this new-school UJM and others of its ilk - it can be anything you want it to be, from simple plodder to rip-snorting beast. It's not perfect, but then neither should it be. Too many bikes these days are.

VERDICT

Don't be put off by the retro looks. The CB1300 is a decent, honest bike that can fulfil your everyday riding needs.

Read more: http://www.visordown.com/road-tests/kings-of-the-stone-age---yamaha-xjr1300-v-honda-cb1300/10505.html#ixzz0xcfJsCVH

Don't be fooled by the faux-retro looks of Honda's CB1300S. While it may have echoes and lines of the mythic CB1100R series of production racers hoofed around with great success by the likes of Ron Haslam back in the early 80s, it is in effect a thoroughly 21st Century take on another distant memory - for anybody over 35 - of motorcycling: the UJM.

Back then the Universal Japanese Motorcycle was just this: an across the frame inline four, of any capacity, that went, stopped, steered and did everything pretty much just as well as any other. Not brilliantly, just well. True sportsbikes - like the CB1100R - were rare, expensive and unavailable to the regular Joe. Sportsbikes today bear no comparison to those of yesterday, this I think we can all admit. Fewer of us will admit that we can do much with 'em, especially on the road, and whatever your view of the CB1300S's supposed homage to a past legend at least this much is genuine about this bike: it's a good, honest straightforward tool.

This modern-day UJM's engine is big - a honking 1284cc of water-cooled fuel-injected 16 valve DOHC inline four muscle. There's nothing ear-pinning about the engine's performance but that's really not the point. It's strong and smooth where you need it most on the road, off the bottom and through the middle. The real punch happens after 5000rpm - and a tall top gear means you occasionally have to stir the five-speed gearbox for a swift overtaking lunge. The first time you ride the CB1300S you bask in its smooth and easygoing power delivery, but that impression of civility never really inspires either and it's almost easy to get bored by the CB1300S's engine. The chassis, like the engine, delivers a competent and capable performance. And, like the engine, initially it all works well enough but push that little bit harder, and the limits are obvious. With a bike that weighs in at 236kg dry, that's also capable of generating a reasonable turn of speed thanks to the 113bhp and 86lb.ft on tap, the tyres and suspension are going to get a good working over at some point.

Which is exactly what they get. Both just about cope, but all that weight does catch up at certain times - during fast changes of direction, for instance, when the CB bounces around on its springs, or when trying to feel for that last bit of traction from either tyre whether hard on the brakes on the way into a corner, or hard on the gas on the way out. The CB1300 is much more enjoyable when ridden in a lazily fast way, or just plain lazily. Roll a precise line through the corners and let the big red and white Honda do all the work. Why not? The CB1300S does it so well and wants to make your life easy. It comes with a slick, deft ABS system that's subtle and unobtrusive. In the wet or marginal conditions, it's a real help. Does this detract from the riding experience? Nah. This bike's a UJM for now. It should make it easy. The fairing's efficient enough to let an average height body sit well out of the wind at 90mph, the seat's comfy, pillions are well catered for too while the riding position is a relaxed perch. It's all very civilised. Which is where I personally part company with the CB1300S. Somewhere, deep down in this highly polished gentle giant is a proper motorcycle, just like the ones that used to adorn my bedroom wall 25 years ago. It's got wide 'superbike' handlebars, it's set down on its front wheel and jacked up over the rear. Maybe there's an oil cooler where that headlight is, but there's most definitely rear set pegs and a matt black 4-1 Kerker megaphone exhaust. It's got disc brakes the size of dinner plates, sticky tyres and sorted suspension.

All of which is a long way from where the CB1300S is right now. But maybe that's the relevance today of this new-school UJM and others of its ilk - it can be anything you want it to be, from simple plodder to rip-snorting beast. It's not perfect, but then neither should it be. Too many bikes these days are.

VERDICT

Don't be put off by the retro looks. The CB1300 is a decent, honest bike that can fulfil your everyday riding needs.

Read more: http://www.visordown.com/road-tests/kings-of-the-stone-age---yamaha-xjr1300-v-honda-cb1300/10505.html#ixzz0xcfJsCVH

Don't be fooled by the faux-retro looks of Honda's CB1300S. While it may have echoes and lines of the mythic CB1100R series of production racers hoofed around with great success by the likes of Ron Haslam back in the early 80s, it is in effect
a thoroughly 21st Century take on another distant memory - for anybody over 35 - of motorcycling: the UJM.

Back then the Universal Japanese Motorcycle was just this: an across the frame inline four, of any capacity, that went, stopped, steered and did everything pretty much just as well as any other. Not brilliantly, just well. True sportsbikes - like the CB1100R - were rare, expensive and unavailable to the regular Joe.
Sportsbikes today bear no comparison to those of yesterday, this I think we can all admit. Fewer of us will admit that we can do much with 'em, especially on the road, and whatever your view of the CB1300S's supposed homage to a past legend at least this much is genuine about this bike: it's a good, honest straightforward tool.

This modern-day UJM's engine is big - a honking 1284cc of water-cooled fuel-injected 16 valve DOHC inline four muscle. There's nothing ear-pinning about the engine's performance but that's really not the point. It's strong and smooth where you need it most on the road, off the bottom and through the middle. The real punch happens after 5000rpm - and a tall top gear means you occasionally have to stir the five-speed gearbox for a swift overtaking lunge. The first time you ride the CB1300S you bask in its smooth and easygoing power delivery, but that impression of civility never really inspires either and it's almost easy to get bored by the CB1300S's engine.
The chassis, like the engine, delivers a competent and capable performance. And, like the engine, initially it all works well enough but push that little bit harder, and the limits are obvious. With a bike that weighs in at 236kg dry, that's also capable of generating a reasonable turn of speed thanks to the 113bhp and 86lb.ft on tap, the tyres and suspension are going to get a good working over at some point.

Which is exactly what they get. Both just about cope, but all that weight does catch up at certain times - during fast changes of direction, for instance, when the CB bounces around on its springs, or when trying to feel for that last bit of traction
from either tyre whether hard on the brakes on the way into a corner, or hard on the gas on the way out. The CB1300 is much more enjoyable when ridden in a lazily fast way, or just plain lazily. Roll a precise line through the corners and let the big red and white Honda do all the work.
Why not? The CB1300S does it so well and wants to make your life easy. It comes with a slick, deft ABS system that's subtle and unobtrusive. In the wet or marginal conditions, it's a real help. Does this detract from the riding experience? Nah. This bike's a UJM for now. It should make it easy. The fairing's efficient enough to let an average height body sit well out of the wind at 90mph, the seat's comfy, pillions are well catered for too while the riding position is a relaxed perch. It's all very civilised.
Which is where I personally part company with the CB1300S. Somewhere, deep down in this highly polished gentle giant is a proper motorcycle, just like the ones that used to adorn my bedroom wall 25 years ago. It's got wide 'superbike' handlebars, it's set down on its front wheel and jacked up over the rear. Maybe there's an oil cooler where that headlight is, but there's most definitely rear set pegs and a matt black 4-1 Kerker megaphone exhaust. It's got disc brakes the size of dinner plates, sticky tyres and sorted suspension.

All of which is a long way from where the CB1300S is right now. But maybe that's the relevance today of this new-school UJM and others of its ilk - it can be anything you want it to be, from simple plodder to rip-snorting beast. It's not perfect, but then neither should it be. Too many bikes these days are.

VERDICT

Don't be put off by the retro looks. The CB1300 is a decent, honest bike that can fulfil your everyday riding needs

Added screen increases practicality.
Still a big and heavy bike.