Hoping you don't mind a little feedback:
Barely have to think about counter-steering before the GS smoothly starts turning. By contrast, the CTX handlebar has to be pushed and held w/ firmness. It wants to go straight, but the GS wants to lean.
When I got my '01 ST1100 a year ago, I felt the same way, especially in comparison to my '96 Nighthawk 750. After a month of trying to get used to its resistance to steering effort, I raised the rear suspension about 1'2" at the shock; not sure how much that raised the ride height; maybe 3/4"? The improvement to steering input was immediate and profound. It now lays over and comes back up predictably and instinctively, and is a real pleasure to ride.
Raising the rear steepens the forks, which quickens the bike's response to steering input. Race bikes with quicker steering have more-upright forks, while cruisers with slower steering ride straight more easily. I discovered counter-steering after riding for around three years (been riding over 46 years now), and I steer strictly with it now.
GS has the shift assist, so you basically don't need the clutch at higher gears/RPMs, but the CTX's engine so smooth and refined.
I have no problem shifting the ST after second gear without the clutch. I usually don't downshift without it, but I do upshift without it routinely. Quick off the gas, shift firmly, back on the gas. The transmission shifts easily when not transferring power.