Welcome to the second installment of Honda's Comfort Technology eXperience series (CTX), the CTX1300 and CTX1300 Deluxe. It's safe to say nobody really saw this one coming (until the spy shots we ran last week of the bike on a commercial shoot in LA), but it actually makes a lot of sense. The ST1300 is no longer fashionable, but its V-4 powerplant is still a jewel—and that longitudinally mounted 1261cc engine is what the CTX gets, displayed to really nice effect with its four chrome exhaust headers giving the bike a look like a cross between a Honda Guzzi and a T-bucket roadster. Okay, maybe not. Slight tuning changes, including lower compression and taller gearing compared to the ST, are meant to give the CTX better around-town rideability and fuel economy: its tachometer numbers turn red at 7000.
What it doesn’t get is a Dual Clutch Transmission. Honda says it didn’t want to bump the price up any higher than the $17K ballpark it’s already in with the ST’s manual five-speed gearbox, and the company also surmises this is a bike for more experienced riders anyway.
2014 Honda CTX1300 and CTX1300 Deluxe at EICMA 2013
The CTX series, Honda says, is all about combining higher levels of comfort and technology to create a unique ride, this time with distinctive V-4 engine pulse and exhaust note; the dual exhausts actually sounded pretty burly in the American Honda compound during our walk-around preview of the bike. And the low, 29.1-inch seat and cruiser ergos make it accessible to a wide variety of North American body styles and riding tastes. Passenger accommodations seem really good, too. The detachable hard bags protrude almost exactly as far as the not-too-wide mirrors, which should make this one a superb commuter. It's your basic Honda bagger, quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Gold Wing F6B.
For a few dollars more, the Deluxe model adds an audio package with Bluetooth connectivity (it’ll play songs off your phone cordlessly, which you can charge up with the USB outlet in the right cubbyhole), self-cancelling turn signals, ABS and Traction Control—plus blacked-out styling elements.