If you like your bikes big then the Honda CB1300 could be right up your street. Arriving it 2005 it carried on where the Honda CB1000 ( Project Big One) had left off towards the end of the 90s. Its looks echoed the CB1100R from the 1980s, although the CB1300 was bang up to date with fuel injection, optional ABS and a funky clock set.
The engine is a reworked CBR1000F unit that’s had its capacity taken out to 1284cc. The CB1300S isn’t a full on retro. It’s got a water cooled motor and is kitted out with sports bike sized wheels and brakes. Still, it weighs in at 236kg, meaning that any sporty aspirations are only skin deep.
It’s a very capable bike that is super comfy and more than happy to munch miles, it also offers decent pillion comfort, just one more thing that does its wide spread appeal no harm.
Two versions were available, the naked CB1300 and the half-faired CB1300S, which tipped its hat in the direction of the aforementioned CB1100R.
The model ran from 2005 until 2013 without much in the way of updates, meaning that there are quite a few around on the second hand market.
What’s it like to ride?
The first thing you notice is the weight, those 236 kilos have nowhere to hide. For some owners this is exactly why they buy a CB1300 – it’s a big bike, make no mistake. On the move, the standard bars feel wide, a bit like they would’ve been on an old air cooled CB900F or CBX1000. The heavy metal feeling is matched by its dimensions, the tank is wide, and the engine feels even wider. The motor pushes out a healthy 113bhp and there’s plenty of useable grunt throughout the entire rev range, with delicious midrange torque. The fuel injection is spot on, and there are no nasty glitches in power delivery. The five speed gearbox feels like it could use another gear, especially with top gear feeling more like an overdrive, so you will have to stir the box to get the best from the engine’s true potential. If you do you’ll soon realise it’s all in vain, the steel tube chassis and large piggy back shocks can only cope with a certain amount of abuse. The 310mm front brake discs keep everything in check with a pair of four pot Nissin calipers biting down on them.
What to look for when buying one?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, Sales Manager at Wheels Motorcycles, an official Honda franchise in Cambridgeshire. He said: “The half faired S version is by far the more popular of the two, yet many owners say they prefer the looks of the unfaired model. Honda offered ABS as an extra on the earlier models and it’s worthwhile finding a CB1300 with this fitted. It doesn’t really affect the price you’ll pay, it just makes sense to have and makes these bikes better value.
“The original twin shocks are prone to leaking, a combination of poor washing and the weight of the bike are the main reasons. Bikes fitted with luggage often have upgraded shocks fitted, so check behind the panniers to make sure the units aren’t leaking. The red and white bikes are the most common and are still the most desirable.”
What goes wrong with them?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson at Grumpy 1260, they service and repair bikes at their workshop in Downham Market. He added: “There’s nothing too much to mention beyond the obvious of basic servicing. The engine is a proven power plant, the only things that concern people is they can be a bit noisy, especially for a water cooled motor. It’s just how they are, especially on tick over, because the clutch basket emits a chatter. Cam chain tensioners get a bad name and, if it’s something that bothers you, there’s always the option to fit a manual cam chain adjuster. Owners who’ve come from other big Honda models like the CBR1100XX Super Blackbird are often keen to do this simple mod.
“The original exhaust system is stainless steel and lasts pretty well but, being a heavy bike can can be hard on tyres, chains and sprockets, as well as chassis bearings. Keeping on top of these jobs will make the bike much nicer to ride.”