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Dare we say Honda’s been bingeing on Street Glide-style models? Some may consider it blasphemous to include the CTX in the same sentence with Street Glide, but when it comes to motorcycles sporting fairings with low-cut windscreens and hard luggage, Honda boasts five new ones: CTX1300/Deluxe, CTX700 and Gold Wing F6B/Deluxe.

On second thought, it’s actually unfair to the CTX and F6B to rank them among less-performing models such as Street Glides. In commendable fashion, Honda has taken a risk and created a niche market unto itself, the Sport-Touring-Bagger, comprised of the five models listed above.


We’ve ridden and reviewed the Gold Wing F6B and CTX700, but Honda’s press launch for the CTX1300 outside San Diego was the first opportunity to sample the second, and more substantial, model of the CTX family. You can read about the technical information in our 2014 Honda CTX1300 preview story. For this article, we’re sticking with riding impressions, which we’ll begin by saying that the CTX is as unique in its performance as it is with its styling.

The reengineered 1261cc V-4 motor differs from the ST1300 by way of camshafts, valves, throttle bodies and compression ratio to deliver more low- and mid-range power than its ST counterpart. Like the CTX700, the 1300 has a low, 7,000 rpm redline, which for traditional motorcyclists is a rev ceiling that takes some getting used to. Once familiar with the short-shifting nature of the V-4, keeping the engine in its powerband and riding its flat and seemingly endless torque curve becomes second nature.

Engine performance is accompanied by a pleasingly throaty V-4 exhaust note that’s loud enough to make its presence known when cruising around town but quiet enough to not become bothersome at speed over long distances. We did notice a very unHondalike trait in some harsh off-to-on throttle response, resulting in tedious driveline lash that’s more of a nuisance than a deal breaker. Otherwise, the engine, five-speed transmission and shaft final drive performed dutifully throughout our day trip.

On hand at the intro were both the standard CTX ($15,999) and the Deluxe ($17,499). What you get for the $1,500 increase is ABS, TC (switchable), self-canceling turn signals, an audio package with Bluetooth connectivity, and a blacked-out styling treatment.

Probably a first of its kind, the CTX’s self-cancelling turn signals function via the bike’s TC system. By using the same wheel sensors measuring speed, distance and time parameters, the ECU determines the completion of a turn and terminates the turn signal’s flashing. The system also accounts for changes in tire air pressure and wear-related changes in tire diameter. How’s that for high-tech blinkers? When signaling lane changes above 31 mph, the turn signal flashes for seven seconds regardless of distance traveled, and when below 31 mph, the signal ceases flashing after having traveled 131 yards.


Audio controls and instrument cluster adjustments are all located atop the faux fuel tank. Handlebar controls for volume or music track selection would be nice but probably not cost effective. The two storage compartments hold small items but are difficult to access with gloved hands.


Honda outfitted a couple CTXs with the optional tall windscreen which creates a protective bubble without bothersome rear-helmet buffeting. Other accessories include a passenger backrest, rear trunk and heated grips.

The audio package on the Deluxe plays music via Bluetooth or USB connection. There is no AM/FM radio. The 20-watt per channel external speakers are powerful enough to be heard at lower speeds but are drowned out by wind noise at higher speeds. Sound quality is better behind the accessory tall windscreen. This is meaningless, however, if you have a Bluetooth-enabled helmet communication system directly linked to your Bluetooth music device – the best option for good sound quality.

When listening to the external speakers, the audio system features a three-level Speed-sensitive Volume Compensation (SVC) that adjusts music volume according to the speed you’re traveling. There’s also an auto mute function that mutes music when speeds dip below seven mph, and will return to the original setting at nine mph.

With a curb weight of 732 pounds (739 for Deluxe) the CTX1300 weighs only 36 pounds less than BMW’s six-cylinder K1600GTL. Thankfully the CTX’s low center of gravity masks its weight problem, but like the Gold Wing and ST1300, Honda needs to find a way to reduce the weight penalty of these machines to comparatively similar models from competing OEMs.


The lockable, 35-liter saddlebags are nicely styled and easily accessible but not large enough to hold a full-face helmet (and there’s no helmet lock). While there’s no quick-release mechanism, the bags are removable via two internal bolts.

The CTX, with a non-adjustable fork and only preload-adjustable shock, maintained its composure when pushed hard in the canyons yet remained comfortably damped when traveling the freeway. The neutral riding position and friendly ergonomics also play a factor in promoting all-day comfort.

The CTX and CTX Deluxe fill a gap in both engine displacement and price in Honda’s lineup between the $7,799 CTX700 and $19,999 Gold Wing F6B. Since the CTX700’s introduction last year, Honda claims its sales have been relatively brisk. Honda is, of course, hoping for the same results for the 1300, but at double the MSRP of the smaller bike and targeted at experienced, traditional motorcyclists, it’ll be interesting to see how the bigger, more expensive CTX is accepted.

For the right person, though, we can attest to the CTX1300 being a solid motorcycle built to fill a niche we didn’t know existed until Honda created it.

2014 Honda CTX1300

+ Highs
Innovative design
Comfortable
Diverse application

- Sighs
Weight
Driveline lash
Saddlebag capacity

  • Editor Score: 80.5%
  • Engine 17.25/20
  • Suspension/Handling 12.75/15
  • Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
  • Brakes 9.25/10
  • Instruments/Controls 4/5
  • Ergonomics/Comfort 9/10
  • Appearance/Quality 9/10
  • Desirability 7.5/10
  • Value 7.5/10
  • Overall Score 84.75/100

Source: 2014 Honda CTX1300 Review – First Ride + Video
 

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Thanks for the repost - makes an easier read than their website. The text of the review is much better than the verbal/video. The video reviewer shows hints of bias to certain types of riders that don't fit the CTX. From his summary at the end-he couldn't find the words why one would want the 1300 vs the 700. "because you want to spend more money??" :confused: :eek:

Bravo Honda, hope to see (and hear!) many CTX1300s on the road. I've got my checkbook ready.....

....when I see a DCT version on the Honda website. ;)
 

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Have read multiple reviews saying the shorty screen gives pretty good protection. Betting that is correct as the fairing is so tall.

I think they did a good job with the taller screen. Seems to add a bit of comfort without taking away the overall look of the bike.
 

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Have read multiple reviews saying the shorty screen gives pretty good protection. Betting that is correct as the fairing is so tall.

I think they did a good job with the taller screen. Seems to add a bit of comfort without taking away the overall look of the bike.
Yep, all of that is what my debate is with myself.
I think I'd ride for a time stock before deciding.
 

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Funny thing is, I never liked the shorty look on the HD's. But the profile on the CTX1300 I find very appealing. It isn't something I would have intentionally ordered up myself, but I'm really liking it here.
 

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I also like the shorty shield, despite all of the negative comments from other boards. I think it looks good, and I like the openness. The top edge of my current windshield is right across the center of my vision, so I have to strain a little to look over it. I'll just have to see how it is once I'm on the highway. I had to put a windshield on the Shadow almost immediately because once I got above 55 the air pressure felt like I was being pulled off the bike. I'm curious to know how well the shorty shield will work to prevent that. I expect the fairing will block most of the wind and the shield will just direct the remaining air up and over me somewhat. I should know soon enough!
 

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I remember the same conversation when I was waiting to purchase my 2013 F6B. Based on the forum talk now I would guess that more than 95% of the owners have some sort of taller aftermarket screen. Several were angry that they had to change the look, but couldn't stand the wind blast or couldn't hear the radio or both. I don't think the fairing and shorty screen on the ctx is any more protective than the F6B. My 2 cents.
 

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From what I've read about the optional tall wind screen,it doesn't create a lot of buffeting.And the reason, the two elongated slots cut out of the lower part of it.Just another good idea that Honda,or who ever thought of it,had. Dave!!!
 
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