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Honda CTX: Innovative, Futuristic Touring Cruiser

By Arv Voss, July 25th, 2015

The Honda CTX 1300 represents the evolution of the CTX family, joining the CTX 700 and CTX 700N as part of the CTX lineup. It is the second entry for Honda's Comfort Technology eXperience (hence CTX). Another related Honda Cruiser is the Gold Wing F6B, but it's bigger and heavier, and is powered by a six-cylinder motor.

Essentially, the Honda CTX 1300 Deluxe is a non-traditional "Bagger," and is capable of doing duty as a bagger, a commute bike, a weekend cruiser, or even a sport tourer of sorts. The CTX is not small, tipping the scale at 731 pounds ready to ride with all fluids.

The new Honda CTX 1300 Deluxe marches to a different drummer, establishing new ground rules for non-traditional bagger types. The styling is sleek and somewhat futuristic, but most of all, extremely appealing.

Both the base and Deluxe versions of the CTX 1300 also come with integrated removable saddlebags, adjustable suspension, a comfortable one-piece seat for rider and passenger (the passenger portion of the seat provides a strap handle), and LED headlights.

The Honda CTX 1300 and CTX 1300 Deluxe are powered by a 1261cc, 16-valve, liquid-cooled longitudinally mounted 90-degree V-4 motor with PGM-fuel injection with electronic idle air control valve and four 36mm throttle bodies with eight holes per injector. The motor is mated to a five-speed sequential manual transmission (sorry, no dual-clutch gearbox, which would have bumped the sticker up considerably) that gears energy to the rear wheel via a shaft drive.

The V-4 motor is mounted longitudinally and its four chromed exhaust headers (two per side) make for an appealing and impressive display. Slight tuning changes include a lower compression and taller gearing than found on the ST, and are intended to provide the CTX with better around-town rideability and fuel economy, with redline coming at 7,000 rpm.

My test Honda CTX 1300 Deluxe model was finished in Gray Blue metallic. The base price was set at $17,499. At first glance it may be a little intimidating, but once off the side stand, it is extremely well balanced at both lower and higher speeds. Rider ergonomics are ideal with knees bent at roughly 90 degrees, and bars that are readily accessible with a comfortable arm extension and hands naturally angled.

The seat is a low 29.1 inches, which will accommodate a wide range of rider physiques and enables flat-footed support when stopped. The balance factor is attributable not only to the low seat height, but also to the placement of the majority of the 5.1-gallon gas tank's volume under that seat, as well as to the fore/aft crankshaft orientation of the V-4 that offers a narrow crankcase that enables the heavy engine to sit low enough to net a low center of gravity.

Despite its long wheelbase and heavy mass, along with the not-so-aggressive geometry (4.6 inches of trail, 28.1 degree rake), the CTX turns in nicely. The handlebars are swept back and wide, providing easy leverage for the big bike. Steering response and maneuverability are spot on, making for ease of directional stability.

The V-4 motor is exceptionally smooth, with a very broad torque range, and the five-speed gearbox shifts seamlessly. At lower revs, the shaft drive delivers a jacking effect, but keeping up the revs eliminates the issue. Torque delivery is strong and steady from as low as 1,800 rpm past the 6,900 rpm redline before coming close to the 8,000 rpm rev limiter. At times, shifting gears seems almost unnecessary, thanks to such a broad range and tall gears.

An adjustable windscreen would serve as an improvement for taller riders, but the short existing screen is acceptable, with minimal buffeting. Another feature that would be appreciated would be a gear indicator for forgetful riders. Due to gear the shift and rear brake pedal placement, traditional bagger riders will likely long for boards rather than the pegs provided.

The deep-dish seat is quite comfortable, though perhaps a tad short for longer-legged riders. Passengers are provided with foot pegs, a seat strap handle, as well as grips molded into the body work. Bags lock with the same key as the ignition, which also operates the fork lock, seat release, and fuel filler door for convenience.

The Honda CTX 1300 Deluxe is a totally enjoyable multi-functional bike to ride, providing a feeling nearly bordering on invincibility.

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Unquestionably, the majority of testosterone-loaded male riders shudder at the prospect of being seen aboard a scooter of any size, shape, or form, but trust me, there's nothing wimpy, or to be ashamed of, about riding the BMW C evolution scoot.

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