Looking back to the end of 2013, what thoughts were going through my mind to move me towards buying Honda's tourer of all tourers? I recall that at the time, I'd got a bunch of motorbikes, none of which quite 'cut the mustard'. Yes, they were all fun in their own way, but there was a creeping feeling in the back of my mind that I could swap them all for one bike, that did everything.
The other thing that had tipped the balance towards the ST1300 was an annual service on my SH300i - a very capable scooter I'd bought for city use and commuting. Thing is, the bike's parts (specifically the brakes) were munched by riding through winter, and the hefty annual service bill I received made me think - 'I could be running a proper motorbike for this money.'!
So I booked a test ride on two Pan Europeans. A first gen 2000 model, dark blue, kind of old looking, but handsome. I rode it. Words that came to mind were - solid, integrated, smooth, powerful, but no words like special or wow. Then I rode the 2005 second gen model. Woah-a! I was sold! The newer bikes fuel injection gave it a much snappier throttle response, and when I mused over it's other improvements - an aluminium swinging arm, sharper looks, greater road presence and an adjustable screen, the decision was easy.
One hefty bike
So to get this out of the way early on, I have to confess that the bike's weight got to me. Yes, owners will tell you that it sheds its weight once underway, and that you'll be glad of it when you don't even notice the pillion behind you. But, if you own a gravel drive, or your garage is on a slope, or if you ever have to reverse the bike, you'll soon be wishing you'd picked a lighter steed. Mine rolled onto the gravel with a crunch. I tried several times to pick her up. Finally, having looked around for a passer by, I tried one last ALMIGHTY lift, a back breaker of an effort, and I managed to right her.
By mid 2015, the itch had arrived again, making me a little complacent about the ST, and I started looking around at BMWs, poking around bike shops again, and looking at lighter twins and sportier fours. The main bug bear was that I'd not really enjoyed the longer journeys I undertaken on the ST, and those longer trips had been few and far between. Using a Pan as I did over that year and half and 5000 miles for popping into town along 30mph roads isn't where she excelled. So onto Ebay went my beloved but rather portly bike. And that was that.
Looking back, she was certainly one of my best bikes, a spectacularly large bike, a regal bike, for sitting upright, and pretending to be an outrider, or a policeman. And for carrying camera gear, she excelled. She wasn't easy to manage at standstill, she wasn't easy to work on with her acres of plastic, so I'll end on an old truism, when it comes to motorbikes it's always 'horses for courses'.