January 18, 2003

The first 130 miles.

On the 4th of January 2003 I collected my Christmas present (apparently it's for the next ten Christmas's too). I was the proud owner of a brand new Silver ST1300. I got the standard one 'cos it's a bit cheaper. I didn't think I'd need ABS or a fancy electric screen. I'd just px'ed a 600 Bandit with just a little headlamp screen, a full fairing was going to be different enough.

I bought the Pan based on reviews in the motorcycling press. Mainly the one in Bike Magazine. I never had a test ride, just a sit-on in the shop. After realising just how heavy the Pan is I was a little concerned that I was going to struggle to get out of the workshop. It's a different kettle of fish when you're moving your own gleaming new bike! Fortunately Mike (at the Shrewsbury Honda Centre) aimed it for me, ready for take off.

Within 100 yards I was absolutely convinced I'd bought the best bike in the world!

It's not as difficult to push around as I'd thought. The weight is much lower than the Bandit which helps a lot. Now I've got used to reaching round the fairing it's quite easy to maneuver into it's parking space. Once on the move the weight disappears. Really it does. I'd read that phrase and thought 'yeah, right.', after all it was written by motorcycling journalists that 'play on bikes all the time'. It's true though.

I've got to behave now. Don't exceed 4000 rpm until it's had it's first service. I'm trying honest! 4000 rpm is eighty miles an hour in fifth. It's a challenge to hold the 'beast' back though, so obviously I occasionally go a 'bit' over when I'm accelerating or overtaking. I'm sure I was told 500 miles to the first service, maybe 101 miles will do?

Since the idea of this site is to pass on experiences and observations my first 'observation' was the indicator repeater on the dash. It's invisible! I'm not tall or short, about 5'10" and I've got the seat set at the lowest position and I have to duck to see the green lights flash. The fairing curves round over the top of them, not a good idea Mr Honda. I've managed to leave the indicators on a couple of times. Now I'm more aware, I regularly duck.

As I mentioned my Pan is a non-ABS version, as with both 'sorts' it has got linked brakes. As a 'Born again biker' I started riding on the road in 1979 when bikes were, well, bikes, but the brakes weren't as good as today's, so I use both brakes. I know loads of people who wouldn't notice if their back brake was removed as they never use it. I suppose that's why Honda decided to link the brakes together. Last Saturday I locked the back wheel, not in a dramatic-sideways-speedway kind of way, more of a skidding-noise, oh, that's me, sort of thing. In fact Katrine thought the noise was a nearby car. It didn't unsettle the Pan at all, but I've learned that the linked brakes do intrude - sometimes. Perhaps I should have had the ABS?

The road could have been icy I suppose, it was definitely damp, and the air temperature (as indicated by the multi-function display) was only 2 degrees c. I used to hate riding when it's that cold. If it hadn't been such a new and excellent bike we would have gone in the car.

I was a fair weather biker, now with the Pan it doesn't matter. Bring it on, Michael Fish, give it your worst!

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