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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had mention in a previous post that after some "slightly" more aggressive riding on some mountain roads, that I had found that counter-steering on the CTX1300 to somewhat "awkward" feeling. I just read in another post that Bob finds counter-steering to be easy with a light touch on the wide bars (I hope I am quoting you correctly, Bob). I am very interested in what others are experiencing, feeling, thinking, about this aspect of the bike. I hope to learn what I may be doing wrong...
 
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I haven't really gotten too overly aggressive yet, but what I have pushed so far doesn't seem different in any way from any other bike I've owned, other than it feeling more responsive than the other heavy cruisers.

The other bikes you have listed are significantly lighter than the CTX1300 -- I wonder if what you're sensing as 'awkward' is just pushing around the extra few hundred pounds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is for sure the heaviest bike that I have any real experience on, but I took that in hand pretty quickly. And up till my trip to the mountains, I had praised the handling of my new bike through the curves - saying something like "it handles like it is on rails around the curves" - and I don't really change that opinion, its just when I pushed a "little more" is when I got this strange feeling.
 

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I've gotten very aggressive with my CTX1300 in some serious twisties. It's not a sport bike. I won't be riding it that aggressively again.

The CTX1300 is not very nimble compared to my Trophy, ST1100s, or my Wee Strom. Even the CTX700 was quicker when flicking from one side to the other.

When I had my GL1800 I remember folks posting on the forums about how the Gold Wing got through the twisties like a sport bike. Even guys with car tires on the rear spouted this garbage. Anyone with any sense who has ever ridden a 600cc sport bike or a KTM Duke in serious twisties can attest to the huge performance gap.

The CTX1300 is long. It has a very fat rear tire. It carries the weight further back. All off these design points tend to make it more stable on the highway and less flickable in the twisties.

To get around the same corner at the same speed, I have to lean the CTX1300 much further than the Trophy. I have no chicken strip left on the rear of my CTX1300, yet I still have well over an inch on the front. A sport bike is designed to make maximum use of both tires.

The CTX is impressive. It gets around a lot better than any other big cruiser I've ever ridden. But it's not designed to be a sport bike. This is the best highway bike I've ever owned. It is great on country roads. And it's OK in the twisties. In a couple of years I may decide this is the best overall bike I've ever owned. But I'll never confuse it with a sport bike.
 
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Ken, you're right, this is absolutely not a sport bike, and really nothing other than a sport bike can compare to one, except maybe a sport tourer that leans more toward sport than tourer. I will say though that of all the heavy cruisers I've owned, from a Shadow 1100 to a VTX1300 to a VTX1800 to a Thunderbird 1600, the CTX is easily the best handling. I might even go as far as to say it's better than the 3rd Gen Magna 750, though I must admit I didn't own that one long enough to really thrash it properly to make a fair comparison.

Chris, I still think that it's the extra weight that you're sensing. It's simple physics -- the harder you push the bike around, the more that weight is going to reveal itself. It's why sport and racing bike manufacturers go through great pains to eliminate every unnecessary ounce of weight possible -- less weight equals less affect of inertia, which equals greater flickability. The CTX is a great handling bike for its size and weight, but there will inevitably come a point where two little contact patches will be overcome by around 900 lbs of bike and rider, and that point will be much sooner than with 700 lbs or less.
 

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When I had my GL1800 I remember folks posting on the forums about how the Gold Wing got through the twisties like a sport bike. Even guys with car tires on the rear spouted this garbage. Anyone with any sense who has ever ridden a 600cc sport bike or a KTM Duke in serious twisties can attest to the huge performance gap...
I've also heard that and totally agree. There are guys on the ST forum who have a GW with a car tire and claim no drop in performance and being almost equal of a stock ST. right!


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The CTX is impressive. It gets around a lot better than any other big cruiser I've ever ridden. But it's not designed to be a sport bike. This is the best highway bike I've ever owned. It is great on country roads. And it's OK in the twisties. In a couple of years I may decide this is the best overall bike I've ever owned. But I'll never confuse it with a sport bike.
And this is why I wanted to replace my ST, and why I've been looking for this bike since selling my GW. All the bikes between then and now were attempts to find something that had the great highway manners that both the GW and CTX1300 have and allowed for easier handling in tighter spaces than the GW does... like the CTX1300 does.

The Burgman was great in town, but not good enough on the highway (was good but not good enough). The ST was good on the highway and in town but demanded way more performance handling than I wanted to give all the time (also good but not good enough). The CTX1300 has so far exceeded what I've been wanting. In spite of it's length, the CTX is still a tad shorter than the GW resulting in better handling in tighter spaces IMO. Because of it's length, and weight, and fat rear tire, the CTX is amazing on the highway. I am always looking to verify that I am really going at least the speed limit since it rides so easy I don't think it's going that fast.

BTW- still working on keeping the rpm lower than I'm used to. The ST needed higher rpm to keep from lugging, the CTX doesn't. If I let the ST get down to below 2500 on any road it would be on the verge of lugging the engine except when starting in first gear. The CTX seems to thrive at that and even runs along without fanfare at 2000 rpm! My mpg gets better the more I hold down the rpm. I was finally getting used to running the ST at near 4000 rpm or higher as I speed up, shifting at near 4500 rpm for most gears. Now I have to get used to keeping the CTX at well below that. Even at 70 mph I'm still below 4000 rpm. So I really never need to see anything over that until I go faster. Yet another difference between the CTX and any s-t or sport bike.
 

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I had mention in a previous post that after some "slightly" more aggressive riding on some mountain roads, that I had found that counter-steering on the CTX1300 to somewhat "awkward" feeling.
My previous, and first, bike was a Triumph Tiger 800. With its lighter weight (nearly 300 lbs.) and higher COG, counter-steering was so easily initiated that I was not consciously aware I was doing it most of the time. My experience so far with the heavier, longer, lower CTX is that turns require much more pronounced counter-steering. I wouldn't call it awkward, but it's certainly different; however, I'll get used to it over time and cease to think about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all for the insights. As I have been thinking about this - and with you all's reminders that the CTX1300 is a heavy bike (it is so well behaved I sometimes forget) - I must say that my "feeling" about counter-steer came when riding with a passenger on board, saddle bags stuffed to near bursting, and a rear bag hanging off the back...

I have been trying to analyze what exactly was I feeling - and to put it as best I can, what it seemed like, was counter-steer just was not working - and this is a bit scary when you have already committed to a certain curve at a certain speed. I was putting the right moves on the bike, but got nothing back.

If I can ever get my wife to let me go solo, I will give it another try.

Also, part of this has to do with expectations. I once rented an ST1100 for a weekend and put several hundred miles on it - then dreamed about an ST1300 for several years (but never road one), and I guess that at some level I was expecting the CTX1300 to preform like an ST1300.

I am not saying that I am disappointed - not at all - I just need to embrace reality.
 

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Speaking of turns, I have noticed that the CTX seems to lean over MUCH further than my Shadow ever did, especially when making a left. It kind of freaked me out at first but now I have done it often enough that I know what to expect. I'm still having a hard time getting used to the feel of the bike in tighter turns. Last weekend we hit a section of twisties along the Illinois River near Starved Rock and I had to slow WAY down to handle them. Frankly I have not done curves like that since I had the Gold Wing, so it's going to take some time to get a feel for them. Now I'm even more glad I didn't go with a local group to ride the Dragon's Tail a couple of weeks ago--it would have been terrifying. Though I guess I would have gotten in all of the practice I need to get comfortable in curves! :D
 

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on the camping trip in a few weeks just stick with me. We won't do the rides with the larger group since they like to take lots of really curvy roads faster than I prefer. I've done that with then before and could do OK on my ST (which is sold now! :D ) but I've decided I much prefer a more sedated ride with sweepers rather than lots of hairpin turns. I'll still do a few of those though, but not the whole 3-4 hours of riding those. The guys on these rides do encourage riding your own way but there is still a bit of peer pressure to push it a little.
 
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