Wednesday, 4 April 2007

First Post

The purpose of this blog is to keep track of my experiences as an owner of a Honda ST1300Pan European. I'm planning on listing all the ups and downs, good routes followed and cafes frequented, and maintenance undertaken on the bike. For the first time in around 8 years, there isn't a bike in the driveway, as the last Pan (an 1100) was sold on Friday.

So a bit about me and the bikes that have been under me. I wasn't brought up around bikes, however in 1998 I changed jobs and realised that it was cheaper buying, taxing, insuring, maintaining and fuelling a motorbike than to pay for a rail pass to get to Edinburgh every day. And at least you could be guaranteed a seat on a motorbike. So the end of January 1999 saw me do my direct access before going out and buying a used Kawasaki KDX125. Ok I know I could have bought a bigger machine having just done direct access, but I wanted to find my feet (or wheels) first. That ran OK for about three months then it coughed up one of the exhaust valves on the way to work one morning. One complete engine strip later and it coughed up a piston ring. I decided to cut my losses at this point.

May 1999 saw me purchase a new Honda CB500s. I had learned on the CB500, but I thought that the extra bit of fairing on the S model finished the bike off nicely. Also it kept the wind down a bit as well. I had a set of hard luggage fitted as well which was great for touring, and Oxford heated grips which made cold winter commuting all the more pleasant. As well as the daily commute, this bike was my transport to Ireland, and all over Scotland and the north of England. I would recommend this bike to anyone, and can see why a lot of driving schools use them for direct access.

After adding nearly 40,000 miles to the CB500, I traded it for a 600cc Suzuki Bandit. Again a great bike, although some aspects of the build quality could have been better, and having to check valve clearances every 4000 miles was a pain. This bike survived the daily commute until I got a...


Now she is not the sort of person that would say it's either her or the bike, quite the opposite, and she was very keen to go for a spin on the Bandit. (she must be an understanding soul- one of our early conversations was a brief talk on my favourite jet engine... ) However the pillion on a Bandit can be a pain in the proverbials, so we decided that we should look for a Pan European, for our mutual comfort. Besides, I'm more of a cruising, touring sort of person - one trip on an R6 was enough to scare me witless - and I've always liked the look of the ST1100.

So we found an L registration used Pan which we knew was a bit tired, but the engine was sound. We didn't really get the time to use it that much in the year that we owned it, as holidays in New Zealand and a charity trip round Europe in an old banger got in the way of summer motoring. We had a few good runs, but the knowledge that the 1100 needed a good tidy up set our minds that we really wanted a newer reliable bike. So with this in mind we have recently been Pan shopping.

Tomorrow we pick up a Honda ST1300. Used, but in very good condition. So from now on I'm planning on logging details of my thoughts on the machine, whatever maintenance I'm doing, favourite routes, and awards to cafes that are bike friendly and that serve fairly traded tea. Oh, and buns. Must have buns. Consider me as being a leather clad Cookie Monster. Now there's an image...

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