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Honda is the world's largest manufacturer of motorcycles, a mantle it has held virtually unchallenged for four decades. The company's early products were small and extremely economical and reliable; they were unusual insofar as they were powered by four stoke engines at a time when almost every other manufacturer of small motorbikes was using two-strokes.
Gradually the range and size of bike on offer from Honda increased as it conquered markets world-wide. With respect to the European market, Honda had yet to crack the touring segment of the market. They did not have a bike that could cross continents at high speed with ease. The Germans, in effect BMW, had that market to themselves with their famous boxer twins that were renowned tourers capable of maintaining high average speeds for hours at a time.
In 1988 Honda decided to produce a Super Tourer. The general layout of the bike was similar to the CX Vee-twin except that it had four-cylinders and double overhead camshafts, in other words a quad-cam V4. The clutch was located on the left side, with the six-speed gearbox positioned separately under the engine with the drive shaft to the rear wheel on the right hand side. To compensate for the height of the engine the fuel tank was positioned under the rider's seat. These bikes, really the babies of the Honda UK manager Dave Hancock, were two years in the making.
As a Honda owner and enthusiast I organised to borrow two machines, a CBR1000 and ST1100 Pan European, from Honda UK for the National Power challenge, an event to raise money for a charity by visiting every manned power station in England, Scotland and Wales over one weekend. I rode the new Pan European.
Over the two days we covered over 1500 miles with the ST1100 doing over 300 miles per tank, averaging around 65 mpg. As a result of the experience with the borrowed ST1100 I bought one for myself and over the past 3 years have enjoyed some wonderful touring.
This portfolio of international articles, traces the progress of Honda's successful sport tourers the ST1100 & ST1300s between 1989 & 2002. Included are road & comparison tests, model intros, updates, riding impressions, touring reports, technical & performance data. Plus a detailed buyers guide advising on acquiring a good pre-owned ST1100. A total of 120 fully illustrated pages. SB.