April 26, 2003

Bank Holiday Weekend

Well wasn't last weekend glorious, I don't know about you but I made the most it, Now after my last posting you'd be forgiven for thinking I regretted buying the Pan but
no that was just a cautionary tale!! Anyway Friday I went down to Hastings in Sussex purely because the A21 is such a good road (And the sun was out) great ride and the
new tyres and brakes where great, Sat. & Sunday bit of maintenance and quick trip to High Beech in Epping, That just left Monday, The day of the Ace Cafe Southend
Shakedown run, Weren't sure what to expect but I wasn't disappointed!! At 10.30 Monday morning approx. 1000 to 2000 bikes left the Ace Cafe in north London to
ride down to Southend in Essex (In the biggest run I've ever been on) On arriving at Southend I was amazed to find even more bikes parked up everywhere and I do mean
everywhere (police estimated 15000) As the day went on meet up with some old friends and possibly made some new one's. All in all a brilliant day out and exactly
why I bought the bike!

Safe Biking Everyone

April 15, 2003

Just a few reasons why I love this bike so much...

The recipe: A long weekend camping at Le Mans with your non-Pan riding mates, a 300+ mile 3 day round trip. My ingredients: One Pan European, one rider, one pillion, a pannier each for our luggage, tank bag with 4 litres of water, kettle, burner, coffee and tea making equipment, milk and biscuits (well, you've got to have some home comforts), u-lock and heavy duty cable, other bits and pieces stuffed in the fairing pockets. I could go on... two tubes of pringles, bottle of vodka, camera, sleeping bag....but you get the picture.

However, you have to stop three times while the other non-Pan's fuel up, and the pillion is another riders girlfriend. When we arrive, the Pan becomes the designated shopping vehicle cos it can carry the shopping back and had the most fuel left when we got there. Still I suppose I was lucky that I didnt have to take the two tents as well like last year...

Dont get me wrong, I'm not complaining at all. It just goes to show how good the Pan is, doing whats it is meant to do. Not a bungy net or tie down strap in sight, and all in such comfort that my pillion fell asleep on the way back at 85 mph. The backrest it seems, was a good investment.

I dont want to gloat, but I think that the others were just a little jealous. That'll teach them to buy sportsbikes...

April 13, 2003

Riding with the law

Well today was interesting I went on an observed ride with the City Of London Police, Who run an event called Bike Safe which on this occasion was run out of North
Weald Airfield near Epping in ESSEX, Basically you ride around a predetermined route with a CoL Police rider following you then when you get back to the airfield he
tells you what he feels you did wrong ( If anything!! ) He only had one complaint about my riding and that was I don�t always set myself correctly for corners! of course
I was on my best behaviour as well !!!! Other wise he might not have been so impressed, Still there you go .

On other matters, Nigel if you still can�t get an airline on your rear tyre go to your local bicycle shop and they should sell Right Angle valve Adapters thats how I got
round the prob. on my CX custom which had a 15in. back wheel.

Happy Biking All

April 09, 2003

How do you get air in your tyres?

This isn't a Pan-unique problem as it seems to affect all bikes with alloy wheels.

I was always taught to check tyre pressures at least once a week, but there's little point if I can't put more air in if I need to.

I can check my tyre pressures but I have yet to find a forecourt airline that I can get onto the valves should I need to add air. This problem is definitely more pronounced with the rear wheel of the Pan. With my Bandit I could get the air line connected if I had the wheel in just the right place, even with the panniers off I can't get it on the valve.

Have I missed something?

Service day blues.

12000 miles came and went so it's time to surrender the bike up to Honda.

As ever, those nice people at Chambers have provided a loan bike and (Hallelujah!) it's not a Deauville. No, it's a five year old CB500 and, actually, it's quite fun.

Which is just as well 'cos they called this afternoon to let me know it wasn't finished today so I can't pick the Pan up till tomorrow.

Sounds like an expensive outing, too. Tyres and pads in addition to the service.

I wonder what other surprises lie in store...

April 08, 2003

Buying On Impulse

I've had my Pan for 6 weeks now and have to admit I wasn't though enough when I went to look at it the first time(understatement) The three main things are; Front Callipers sticking on, Thus causing Fractured R/H Front Disk (Was it like it when I picked the bike up? Can't say for sure.)anyway Two new aftermarket disks, new pads and both callipers completely striped that was all sorted, Then there was the twitchy handling on having a closer look at the tyres and checking the pressures I noticed that although they both had plenty of tread left they where worn into a bad profile (The front looked like ^ shape!! ) So a bit of research online I found out lots of people didn�t like the Bridgestone BT020 that were fitted either, They had to go, So I checked with my local tyre centre and they had a pair of the OE fitment ( Bridgestone G547 Front/ G548 Rear ) in stock so on they went straight away, And what a difference She still shakes her head a little under braking but the weave going round corners is gone and no more white lining either. Other than that she�s great!
Went to my brothers in Bicester fortnight ago it�s 100 miles each way, All I need is a taller screen and it will be What 100miles!! I arrived still feeling fresh and alert (Remember be alert your country needs lerts ) So thats all for now more as it happens

Maybe the upgrade will wait....but I wasn't disappointed

Went for the test ride on Saturday - we've all read the reviews but theres nothing like trying one for yourself. I dont want to bore you all with the same stuff but heres my first impressions after just 3 hours on a rainy Saturday morning

The most noticeable thing for me was the size just melts away when you sit on it, maybe its those bare handlebars or the having the screen set on low but it just feels kinda smaller, which is very welcome. Whilst we're on the subject that electric screen is just fantastic. Enough said. On the cosmetic side, Mr Honda has moved the pass-light button, well that confused me for a few seconds there ! Ooh, and he's fitted hazard lights too, well done. Comfort wise, the adjustable saddle/seat (I never know what the proper terminology is?) is again a great improvement.

Oh yeah, and my shins don't catch the bottom of the fairing like they do on the 1100.

I know this isnt new, but as a first time experience with DCBS (which I had heard you either love or hate) the system certainly didnt bother me - the brakes stop this bike very nicely thank you.

Now I'm used to the 1100, it has its own sound, the 1300 motor sounds different, in a kind of VFR way. I would get used to it though...Does it go better than the 11? Sure, its got a newer, bigger, slicker engine, what did you expect ! But thats not what the Pan is all about to me.

Do I like it? You bet I do. The STX1300 is a brilliant update by Honda. Will I buy one? One day, yes, without a doubt I will have one, but you see, my Pan is primarily a workhorse. She lives outside, commutes through town traffic 260 days a year, and gets serviced almost as often as it gets washed...(ok it gets serviced by the book but you get the picture...)....

The 1100 may not be the showroom queen anymore, but she still feels smooth,reliable, and most importantly she can still cut the mustard where it counts...Anyway, new bikes are destined to live in garages for their first few years and be polished a lot anyway ...... arent they...?

April 07, 2003

Mirror, Mirror, on the floor...

I was driving back from the airport the other day, doing about 45, maybe 50, on the perimeter road. When, suddenly, the left side mirror cowling leans out slightly and then spangs off down the road.

I went back and picked it up, thinking "isn't it held on by something?"

Oh, yeah... There's a tether and the indicator wiring. Only, the tether has sheared and the wiring has stripped out of the back of the connector. The cowling is scuffed and scratched every which way you can imagine. :-(

I'm taking the bike for a service this week so I'll see if this is covered by the warranty. Well, I can ask...

April 06, 2003


I've changed jobs and now travel 20 miles to work instead of 2.5. An increase of 800%

My journey consists of all the types of road. A bit of motorway, Dual carriageway, A Roads, B Roads and congested towns roads.
After a fortnight of this new 'commuting' I think it's time to comment on how my ST1300 (and me) copes with the journey.

My previous journey took longer by bike than car because of the time it takes to get 'togged up'. My new journey is quicker by bike including getting changed because though the Pan is wide I can still get through the traffic quicker than in my car. In the morning as I'm quite early there's little traffic until the final two miles. I travel home between four and half-past, just before the rush hour starts properly and the journey takes the same time both ways, though there's much more traffic on the way home.

I was late leaving one evening and in the height of the rush hour I took less time getting home? I think it was because the rush our drivers allowed room for bikes where the pre-rush drivers didn't.

There's been a couple of hairy moments. A bus driver decided that bikes can move sideways when stationary, so he tried to come down the nearside to get to his bus stop two seconds earlier. It's a good job the paint on the panniers isn't any thicker! He stopped before he reached the mirrors, when I waved. He might have stopped sooner if I'd banged on his window, but I couldn't quite reach that high.
The most serious was Mr On-The-Phone. Loads of traffic, wandering about phone in one hand, scratching his head with the other. When I tried to wake him up with a 'beep' on the horn he promptly slammed his brakes on! He'd no idea what was going on around him. There should definitely be a stiffer penalty for driving whilst on the phone. It should be classed as driving without due care and attention at minimum.
There's also been the normal drivers not seeing an enormous silver bike with it's lights on in a queue of traffic situation. Fortunately in the really congested bit I'm never going more than 20 so I'm able to stop ok. I'm going to get a day-glow yellow waistcoat. It's the only way, dress like a police man. Then they may notice.

I was concerned on my first journey that the Pan may be too wide to give me any benefit in the heavier traffic. I was wrong, as my experience of the roads improves I'm finding more than enough space to filter through. Only on a couple of occasions has the width been a problem then, I just let a narrower bike go through, the gap generally widens as the cars pull in a bit. Some car drivers can be very considerate, which has surprised me as no one seems to give an inch to other cars.

On the whole travelling to and from work on the Pan is a pleasure. I always arrive at my destination less wound up (even allowing for hairy moments) because I feel I'm always making progress.

May be more people should travel to work on a bike, not just to reduce congestion, but also to reduce stress!

April 04, 2003

Time for an upgrade?

Well, went back to the dealer to settle up for the new tyres and battery, lo and behold a (nearly) new silver STX1300, ABS/DCBS model.

"Have you got a STX1300 demo bike? I ask.."yeah, its that pile of bits in the corner, it's written off, but we have just taken this silver one as a trade in, wanna take it out for the weekend?"....long pause.....glance at the price tag.....even longer pause...the sense of deja-vous is overwelming....

"err, yeah, thanks, I will"

I'll let you know what happens....

April 03, 2003

You never realise how things degrade without you noticing....

The new BT020 tyres fitted this week have brought the Pan back to life. After 14 months and around 8000 miles the old ones had done pretty well. As usual, the front had gone completely, due to the stop/start and heavy braking riding round this little rock called Home.The only slighty squared rear had a puncture plugged a few months back so it went the same way as the battery, which at nearly 7 years old was still going strong, but surely couldnt have gone on much longer...

The Pan certainly handles again, feels so much sharper, and is much easier to control at traffic filtering speeds. And I'm sure the starter motor has just that little bit more eagerness than before...but maybe thats just me.

April 01, 2003

Another milestone...

Passed 12000 miles today (service next week, ulp!). And, no, I haven't forgotten I said I'd put together some running costs...