My Velocity Squared

August 30, 2010

Review: Honda 2005 ST1300 Initial Impressions after 1,500 miles.

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 3:12 am

The “Goldwing” light. 1.3liters, V4 twin balance shaft powerplant. It whirs like something out of a science fiction movie at light throttle. Roars like a civilized lion when you twist just a little further.

Suspension:

Perfect mix between sport and touring suspension. A little soft for a pure sport application, but perfect for pouring on the miles with the occasionally spirited cornering session. Most of this could be fixed by adjust the rear preload in my opinion. A large knob is provided for this reason on the left hand side. Also, keep the weight off the rear obviously if you are going out for a cornering session… no top box, and loose the panniers. At $400 a pop, they are expensive to replace.

Wind Protection:

Pros: Can keep every last breeze off of you.

Cons: Will keep every last breeze off of you.Lower body wind protection is perfect, but invariable. You will roast on hot days. But this is biking 101. Deal.

Upper body is nice… I am 5’10” and with the electric windscreen lowered, I can have a nice breeze over my upper body, with no buffeting. Raised all of the way, I can ride in moderate rain and barely get wet. Thoughtfully, when fully raised, their are chines that let air flow up your arms, and a laminar flow underneath the windshield. This stops buffeting, and provides a slight flow of air to keep things from going completely stagnant. This is something Yamaha should be taking notes on. I’m looking at you, FJR. In fact… don’t take any notes. Simply copy of the ST1300. The FJR is rubbish.

Lighting:

Low beams could be brighter. But I think all low beams could be brighter. I replace them as a matter of reflex with squirrel roasting HID lamps. Generally this blinds other drivers. Given that most drivers cannot drive even if they can see, this is a net gain for me. At least if they can’t see, they stay on the same trajectory. They are however nicely adjustable via electric knob. A adjustment for angle between high and low would be cool, even if manual.

Speaking of, DOT… what is with the specs on motorcycle low beam inclinations? None of them illuminate well enough to drive over 40mph. And to compensate, the high beams are aimed at the level of a Hummer drivers retinas. All this makes people do is either drive around with high beams on, or retrofit HID. And people wonder why most touring motorcycles have aftermarket light kits that look like Betelgeuse just gone super nova…

THIS IS WHY. It is not the 1970’s. Stop this crap now. The only production motorcycle to come with adequate lighting is Goldwing 1800, and that is with the aux lighting option.

Engine:

Perfect. V4, balance shafts, monocoque w/frame. Perfect. No vibration, no vibration fatigue.

Engine Management:

Where to start? As perfect as possible, almost.

1. EPA 2500 RPM Fuel cut. Whoever is preserving this rule on motorcycles, your days are numbered. As in, when this stupid mindless feature kills one of my friends, I will hunt you down, and murder you. It is abrupt, it is dangerous, and it does not save fuel on motorcycles. It’s only purpose is to unbalance bikes, especially at low speeds. Die in a fire, you incompetent git. I cannot fault Honda for abiding by regulations, but they should really make this simple to deactivate. Like a big jumper under the seat that says…. “For track use only, wink, wink,nudge, nudge…” that turns this off.

2. Fuel rail pressure. Should be 60Psi. Better fuel atomization, better fuel economy, and less little hiccups. Basically, 50Psi, crank the throttle, and the pressure drops just a little too low.. and it… hiccups for a fraction of a second. This is Honda’s fault. I believe after 2007 this is fixed. I have ordered the fix, and it will be installed shortly.

3. Emissions 1000rpm to 4500rpm lean out. This is to pass emissions… wait for it… in Europe. Unless I missed a few millions years of continental drift overnight, this is not Europe.

The problem is there is a rather nice pop from 4500-5500 RPM. More than I would expect from tuned intake runners. This is because the engine is running lean in lower RPM’s to pass emissions (In Europe….). Every FI bike does this, and it is total crap. This is a bike. It gets 40MPG. It burns incredibly clean without a catalytic converter. No state, except Cali, tests bikes for emissions. And the emissions tests Cali runs basically makes sure that the bike isn’t actually pissing gasoline out the tailpipe. Unnecessary tripe that gets in the way of the riding experience. Tripe that makes little frayed edges around an otherwise masterful execution.

Note to bike makers… when in the US, tune for the US. When in Europe, tune for Europe. Please stop shipping us these European ECU maps out with every touring bike that comes down the pipe. And don’t get any ideas… I get a CBR type all or nothing suicidal insanity throttle response from a Japanese ECU map, my next of kin will be very surly.

Luggage space:

Enormous. The Goldwing has more. This has slightly less. The optional trunk fits two full size helmets. Or a cooler, and a weeks worth of clothes and toiletries + widgets. The saddle bags fit an extra set of riding clothes, and my tech bag. The fairing boxes fit 4 red bulls, and riding gloves. I might fit a tailbag for some extra riding clothes during electric season, but… might is the operative word. I am on the fence about this. Filling all of this however will kill the performance. 4.8 seconds something instead of 4 flat. The bike is weight sensitive. It also effects the handling. However, if you are piling all of this stuff on the bike, you probably aren’t out emasculating Porsche Cayenne* owners.

Overall:

The perfect bike for what I use it for, minus the engine management quibbles. A Goldwing on a diet. Great fuel economy, great handling. Honda reliability.

* If you own a Porsche Cayenne, you are a cock. You are still my friend, but you are a cock. Every single person that has owned a Porsche Cayenne I have ever met is a cock. It is the official SUV of the cock, as the Audi is the official car of the cock, Jabra is the official bluetooth earpiece of the cock, and Oakley is the official sunglasses of the cock. I don’t think cocks have an official motorcycle. Maybe Aprilia.

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