2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe – Road Test Review

Honda’s all-new CTX1300 Deluxe
Framed by a Pacific sunset, Honda’s all-new CTX1300 Deluxe cuts a unique profile, long and low with more curves than sharp edges. With a low seat and midmount controls, you sit down in the bike like a cruiser. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Honda, like all motorcycle manufacturers, classifies its models into various categories such as touring, adventure, cruiser and sport. With the 2009 introduction of the DN-01, which had the twist-and-go transmission of a scooter, the seating position of a cruiser and futuristic styling, Honda created a new category it called “crossover.” Overpriced and underwhelming, the DN-01 didn’t last, but Honda stuck with the crossover concept, rolling out new models like the Crossrunner and Crosstourer in Europe and the NC700X here.

Last year Honda introduced the CTX700/N (Rider, September 2013 and online), combining the modestly powered, fuel-efficient 670cc parallel-twin from the NC700X with a feet-forward cruiser riding position and sporty styling. Naked and faired versions were the first models in the new CTX family, united under the banner of “Comfort, Technology and the riding eXperience.” For many riders, comfort is first and foremost about seat height—if they can’t easily put both feet on the ground at a stop, their confidence and “mental” comfort suffer. The CTX700’s seat is just 28.3 inches above the asphalt. Factor in the sub-500-pound weight, low price and optional DCT automatic transmission, and you’ve got a motorcycle that is accessible for a broad swath of riders.

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe
The 4-into-2-into-2 exhaust uses unequal pipe lengths to add some rumble during startup and idle, but the CTX is very quiet and smooth at speed.

New to the lineup this year is the CTX1300, which offers more power and performance than its middleweight sibling, yet still offers the low seat (28.9 inches) and riding position of a cruiser along with the modern styling of a sport tourer. Two versions are available, the base CTX1300 ($15,999), with LED lighting and 35-liter saddlebags, and the CTX1300 Deluxe ($17,499), which adds ABS, traction control, a Bluetooth audio system, self-cancelling turn signals and black rather than silver paint on the wheels and frame. The CTX700 is available without a fairing, but the 1300 comes plastic-wrapped only, with a broad, bulbous fairing that shares styling elements with the 700 and, if you squint a little, ’90s-era VFRs. Cylinder heads protruding from beneath the “tank” (fuel is carried under the seat) with sculpted chrome pipes on both sides add a hot-rod look, and unequal-length exhausts give it a resonant rumble.

Honda CTX1300 Brakes
Triple disc brakes with 3-piston calipers linked rear-to-front are strong and have good feel. Deluxe model adds ABS and traction control.

Honda hopes to capitalize on the bagger craze with the CTX1300, but, to further buck the trend, rather than using yet another V-twin it adapted the engine, 5-speed transmission and shaft final drive from its recently departed ST1300 sport tourer. Basic architecture of the liquid-cooled, longitudinally mounted, 90-degree V-4 is the same, with a bore and stroke of 78.0 x 66.0mm, 1,261cc of displacement, DOHC with four shim-under-bucket valves per cylinder and dual counterbalancers. For less sport and more cruise, Honda lowered redline from 9,000 to 7,500 rpm, reduced the compression ratio from 10.8 to 10.0:1 (allowing it to run on regular gas) and fitted smaller 34mm throttle bodies (down from 36mm). The engine has new pistons, camshafts, valves, cam timing and ECU settings, as well as a milder state of tune. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the CTX1300 spun the drum up to 75.6 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 76.3 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, with more than 65 lb-ft of torque available from 2,900-6,000 rpm. Respectable figures among 1,300cc cruisers but well below peak figures for the ST1300 (111 horsepower, 86 lb-ft of torque).

Unlike today’s velvet-hammer sport tourers, whose performance has the uncanny ability to turn epic scenery into a forgettable blur, the CTX1300 encourages a more leisurely pace, one that emphasizes smoothness, fuel efficiency and smelling the proverbial roses. You can do the ton on the CTX, but that misses the point. It has a relaxed, all-day riding position and barely a tingle of engine vibration reaches the rider. Those long of leg may occasionally bump their shins into the cylinder heads, and anyone who rides with the balls of their feet on the pegs will find their left heel intruded upon by the sidestand tang. A stubby windscreen and up-in-the-air handlebar result in significant windblast on the hands and from mid-torso on up, but the airflow is smooth. Still, all that wind rushing around my helmet necessitated earplugs. An accessory windscreen ($125.95), which is about 18 inches taller than stock and reduces windblast and noise significantly, is a must-have item.

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe
2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe

Long and wide with a stretched-out cockpit, the CTX1300 is a big motorcycle. With its 5.1-gallon tank full, it tipped our scales at 734 pounds—about 100 pounds lighter than the Gold Wing F6B we tested last month, but heavier than most sport tourers. You feel the weight lifting the bike off the sidestand, but with fuel carried under the seat the CTX’s center of gravity is low and it handles as if it were much lighter. A long wheelbase and relaxed steering geometry provide stability in corners and a decent amount of clearance is available before the pegs begin to scrape. A steel double-cradle frame and cast aluminum swingarm do a fine job of supporting the CTX’s weight, but the same cannot be said for the suspension. The 45mm non-adjustable male-slider fork and twin preload-adjustable rear shocks, with 4.1 and 4.3 inches of travel respectively, are on the firm side and perform adequately by cruiser standards, but they react harshly to large bumps. Adjusting rear preload is a challenge because you must first unbolt and remove the saddlebags and then use a pin spanner to turn the shocks, but the tools required are not included in the meager toolkit.

ctx1300 Analog gauges
Analog gauges flank an info-rich LCD display. Deluxe model includes a Bluetooth audio system. Fairing pockets are small (right one is deeper and has a USB port) and the lids don’t open far due to the handlebar above them.

With the saddlebags removed, unbolting their carriers leaves a clean look that accentuates the chrome pipes. As for the saddlebags themselves, they work well but are on the small side; smaller helmets will fit but I couldn’t get my medium full-face lid in either side.

One of the areas where the CTX1300 really shines is in the braking department, with triple discs squeezed by 3-piston Nissin calipers that are linked rear-to-front. They offer power and feel more on par with sport tourers than most cruisers. The Deluxe model increases the margin of safety with ABS and traction control, and the latter can be turned off by pushing a button on the dash. The CTX rolls on cast aluminum wheels, 18-inch front and 17-inch rear, shod with Bridgestone Exedra radials that have a well-rounded profile and good grip. The 200mm-wide rear adds cruiser cred but increases steering effort. Fortunately, the wide, tiller-style handlebar provides plenty of leverage.

CTX1300 Seat
Seating accommodations are generous for the rider and passenger.

The CTX1300 Deluxe is the first Honda motorcycle to offer a Bluetooth audio system, which can be paired with a Bluetooth device (such as a smartphone or MP3 player) and a Bluetooth helmet communicator. A USB port in the right dash compartment can be used to connect to a flash drive, smartphone or MP3 player, allowing devices to play music as well as recharge while on the go.

Music can be played through the system’s external speakers or a paired headset, and mode, track and volume buttons are on the dash. The system has speed-sensitive volume control and an auto mute function that turns the sound off when speed drops below 7 mph. Sound from the speakers is decent up to about 50 mph but gets drowned out by wind noise at higher speeds. If you opt for the base model, you’ll be constantly reminded of your frugal ways by the non-functional speaker grills and inoperable buttons. The audio system is available as an accessory for the base model, as well as a long list of other items, including a taller windscreen, heated grips, centerstand, 45-liter trunk, 12V socket and more.

When I evaluate a motorcycle, I’m always more interested in how well it works than what it is. Honda’s CTX1300 is a fresh take on the touring cruiser, with an innovative look that won’t please everyone, a comfortable seating position for rider and passenger alike, a smooth, fuel-efficient drivetrain adapted from an established platform, and modern features such as LED lighting and, on the Deluxe model, ABS, traction control and Bluetooth audio. None of its shortcomings are deal breakers, and as unconventional as it may be, the CTX1300 is a cohesive package that’s a genuine pleasure to ride.

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe
2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe

Base Price: $17,499
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: powersports.honda.com

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe
Fat 200mm rear tire and dual chrome exhaust add to the cruiser look.

Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-4
Displacement: 1,261cc
Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 66.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 16,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI w/ 34mm throttle bodies x 4
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 5-qt. cap.
Transmission: 5-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Shaft

Electrical
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital w/ 3D mapping & electronic advance
Charging Output: 742 watts max.
Battery: 12V 11.2AH

Chassis
Frame: Steel double-cradle w/ cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 64.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 28.5 degrees/4.6 in.
Seat Height: 28.9 in.

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe on the Dyno
2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe on the Dyno

Suspension, Front: 45mm male-slider, no adj., 4.1-in. travel
Rear: Dual shocks, adj. for spring preload, 4.3-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 310mm discs w/ 3-piston calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 315mm disc w/ CBS 3-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 18 in.
Rear: Cast, 6.25 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 130/70R-18
Rear: 200/50R-17
Wet Weight: 734 lbs.
Load Capacity: 412 lbs.
GVWR: 1,146 lbs.

Performance
Fuel Capacity: 5.1 gals., warning light on last 1.0 gal.
MPG: 86 PON min. (low/avg/high) 33.2/40.2/46.3
Estimated Range: 205 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,250

(This article New Wave Cruiser was published in the June 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe
Decent cornering clearance and a low center of gravity help the CTX hustle through curves like a sport tourer.

2014 Honda CTX1300 Deluxe
The CTX’s relaxed riding position encourages long hours in the saddle. With a mild throttle hand, the bike is good for 200-plus miles between fill-ups.

CTX1300 saddlebags
Locking hard saddlebags hold 35 liters total and can be removed using an Allen wrench (not included).

Honda CTX1300 Engine
Powered by a counterbalanced, shaft-driven V-4 with 5-speed transmission adapted from the ST1300 sport tourer, the CTX serves up smooth power with an emphasis on low-end torque.

32 COMMENTS

  1. This looks like it would be a good bike for me. The foot position is close enough that I should not worry about my hip going numb and cramping, which is a KILLER on any extended ride. It should have all the power needed, and it looks like all you need is a trunk mounted, and this should be right up there (for me) with the Goldwing.

    I am curious as to how much clearance I would have to play with as far as aftermarket bars go. I prefer a forward lean with a decent stretch, and it looks like there might be some room there for what I would need for better fitting (for me) bars.

    Not certain if I care for the weight of this bike. significantly heavier than the Shadow I had before, and my current V-Max. Still, I have seen much heavier bikes.

  2. Another two wheeler for the non-rider, the poser riding to the popular biking hang out not more then an hour away. Just another passenger who happens to be hanging onto the bars in feet forward fashion popular today. Not a real rider participating in and influencing the the operation of their motorcycle.

    • Enjoy your narrow minded life. Get back on your BMW or Ducati and act a fool if you want. Me, I’m for anything that brings people into the sport to enjoy the pleasure of two wheels. Everyone ride safe!

    • Oh look! Another kid who wants to tell me how to ride my motorcycle. I have a CTX1300, ride it daily, and don’t care what some sawed-off squid thinks of my choice in bikes. This motorcycle is just about perfect for putting miles under the wheels.

    • I wouldn’t call this a motorcycle for poseurs . Especially since I’m buying one .. It’s a bike you can simple throw miles on and not worry . Poseurs normally don’t ride long distances . This bike is designed for it . It’s smack dab in the middle of the ctx700 and the FB6 . Honda properly planned it . Lighter than a Goldwing yet can hack the miles of one . I for one never thought I would ever look at a bike like this . It’s until it’s in front of you and you see how impressive it is . It’s another wolf in sheep’s clothing . A modern bagger that can handle like a sportbike if you want to push it .

    • How can you say that’s a bike for a poseur( if you’re gonna say POSEUR spell it correctly)? That bike is actually a rider’s bike . It’s doing its own thing and is made to have miles thrown at it . This is a perfect cross country bike. And I’m a sportbike guy. In fact I just bought on. Just bought it as a third bike . Something different that not many people have to go cross country on.. Doesn’t sound like a ” Poseur” bike to me …

  3. how tall is the rider pictured? the foot position is an issue for me. wonder how difficult removing the fairing would be. weight is good for highway stability, but….this scoot is heavy. can we get a test ride?

  4. I’ve had this motorcycle for 8 months, and it really is a great machine. My longest day was 16 hours in the saddle; exactly the opposite of “poser riding.” The above article is mostly spot-on, but I do have a couple of clarifications. First, the rear preload can be adjusted without taking the saddlebags off. That said, the bags are very easy to remove with two easily-accessible Allen bolts. Also, the taller windshield can be installed in a couple of minutes, making it possible to switch according to the season. This motorcycle is a fantastic choice for someone who is looking to spend a lot of time riding but isn’t quite ready for the juggernaut Gold Wing crowd.

  5. Umm, it looks like my ST with the windscreen and side fairings missing. And 33% less horsepower but just as heavy. What am I missing?

    • Your not missing a thing my man…but of course it’s not all about the horses is it? It’s about the experience. This bike does make a lot of compromises…but then many people say that about me. I would call this bike an effort at balance, and am considering trading into it. Apparently many people think this a successful effort.

  6. Absurdly short range for a bike that’s marketed as a “tourer.” Perhaps a good choice for people with bladder control issues, but a true long distance touring bike has to be able to do over 300 miles on a tank, at the very least. It detracts considerably from the touring experience to have to plan your next fuel stop as you top up the tank.

    It strikes me as the answer to a question no one has asked.

    • With mine with premium fuel I can range about 200 miles to a tank averaging an indicated 42.8mpg (mostly highway with a tall wind screen. With regular 87 it drops to about 180miles and 38mpg) . Not too shabby for a 750lbs bagger . And I’m a little heavy on the throttle, mind you.. That kind of fuel range is in Gold Wing territory. The ST obviously is a bit farther…

  7. I love the styling and look of this bike. I have test ridden it several times & just came to the conclusion it is just not for a taller rider. I am 6’3″ & the problem I have with this bike is, the bars come back to far, my knees are hitting the engine head, the foot peg position is not good. The ergo for this bike is for a 5’5″ rider at best, and last of all, it had very lack luster power for a 1300cc V-Four. I was already to trade in my Suzuki 2001 Bandit 1200S for one, but thank God for the test ride, I gladly am still ridding my Suzuki 2001 Bandit 1200S.

  8. Nice bike! Just let the so called “Bikers” or Harley riders hate all they want. Calling us non-riders, I’m sorry but if you throw a leg over and take off – doesn’t that make you a motorcyclist or rider now??? I say it does! It’s time for big changes in motorcycles. I don’t have a standard cruiser because I think they are obnoxiously loud, too heavy and vibrate your brain loose oh and real ugly.. Motorcycles don’t have to look like a classic cruiser, they just don’t.

  9. oh my god
    you’re all like a bunch of little children
    what is with this poser name calling, and lack of power and range
    the ctx, not only looks awesome, and is a head turner, in addition to a show stopper
    and that is by all walks of life
    as mentioned above, it is a wolf in sheeps clothing
    she goes, and she goes hard, i was very wary over all the claims of 80 hp on such a large engine, but rest assured, there is no lack of power whatsoever
    handles beautifully, no way you can tell how heavy it is
    and for the sport bikes, will leave them in the dust, unless they are an actual knowledgeable rider, but for the ones that arent (and most arent), they will be doing a double take wondering where you went
    and how you got so far ahead before they could even get off stand still
    i would like to know what the actual performance standards are, but it seems to me
    0-60 in 4 seconds, ive definitely had quicker (magnas for sure) but my ctx feels like it has more power off the line, and without a doubt passing than my magna had
    add on that it is 200 pounds heavier and 15 horses shy, i can not believe it
    what else you wish to know, i get 200 km on a tank before the warning comes out, and an additional 45 before i need to refuel
    thats at hardcore bagging runs
    when cruising on the highway, its a little higher, and yes, i do stop every couple of hours for a break
    comfort, absolutely
    technology, its so nice, you dont even notice it
    xperience, a dam good one

  10. Looking for a comfortable tourer after riding a BMW F800ST for 7 years. I want less vibration and less wind buffeting. I would add a top case to this bike and the taller windshield. I need to be able to ride more than 1 hour without taking a break.

  11. I traded in a 2007 Yamaha FZ1 for a 2014 CTX1300 (standard). While I definitely miss the power and nimble handling of the FZ1 I can say with all confidence that the CTX1300 is much more comfortable on long rides. It is no where near as fast, but is much more enjoyable for going long hours in the saddle.

  12. I now am the proud owner of a Candy Red Deluxe with heated grips, centerstand, rear trunk and rack installed along with road pegs and saddlebag guards and Cee Bailey tall windshield. I have owned many Hondas over the years and still own my 1994 Magna with 51,000+ miles on it. Barely broken in. The CTX1300 weighs about as much as my 78 Goldwing I had years ago and the ride and handling is much better( of course I expected that) and it handles almost as well as my Magna. The reason I bought it was for my wife and I to take trips two up. The low end grunt of the 1261cc V4 is awesome for this. The roll on power at highway speeds is suprisng. I can stay in the saddle for long periods of time without sore spots with the stock seat. How many of you can say they about any other stock seat? I had to install a Mustang seat on the Magna and it still isn’t as comfortable as the CTX. The brakes are really fantastic. I like the fact I can do most of my around town stopping with the rear brake and when I really want to slow down the front brakes really haul you down! I really wanted the added safety of the TC and ABS as I grow older. The self canceling turn signals and Bluetooth are just icing on the cake. The forward set foot pegs are similar to my Magna and help during long runs. I no longer can stand sport set foot pegs for long periods of time. The slow speed handling is excellent. As you might sumize, I highly recommend this motorcycle for someone who is looking for a two up crusier that can take you safely to your destination in style and comfort and perform commuting as well.

    • Can you tell me where you got your CTX1300 Deluxe saddlebag guards? I would really appreciate it (joec@uca.edu). I have a new CTX1300 Deluxe, and somehow I can’t get a site for those saddebag guards. The bike is great!! I had a VTX1800T1, so don’t anybody complain about the weight of the CTX1300. It is easy to handle and has plenty of power and torque. Not nearly the power and torque of the VTX, but still pretty good.

  13. Good luck on finding a lot of accessories for this bike, a local dealer where I live discounted the new 2014s he had recently, by 1/2 price to move them. The parts & accessory makers are not going to make many items for a bike like that. I still love the styling and look of the CTX1300, I think it is one of the best looking motorcycles Honda ever made. As I stated before, the ergonomics and power, was not adequate for me, being a 6’3″ larger more experienced rider. Eighty horsepower for a 1300cc V-Four won’t cut it for me.

    • The bike has loads of torque though. It is surprisingly nimble also. I find it very comfortable,but fun thru the twisties in sc. The only accessories i needed were a tall wind screen,and luggage rack. Oh, and the bike is not affected by buffetting. To each his own though…
      Like most honda’s,trouble free.

  14. I bought this bike a few weeks ago; my 7th Honda over a 30 year period. Never had any trouble with the previous 6, so I am sticking with Honda. This last weekend was my first extended ride on my CTX1300 Deluxe. I bought this new, even though it is 2017 and the bike is a 2014. It is a great bike; light and easy to handle, but holds the road well. Good turning ratio. The throttle is very sensitive, but I am learning to use it. Because Arkansas has so many biker roads, and my rides are typically 150-200 miles, I am going to look for a backrest and floorboards. The Honda dealership has already quoted me some reasonable prices for these accessories. I am still looking for the saddlebag guards I saw on YouTube, so let me know if anybody knows where to get them (joec@uca.edu). This is a great bike. Love the bluetooth, and the traction contro and ABS braking make this a very safe bike.

  15. I love it! Quick,nimble,and all day comfortable. I have the deluxe,and would bet the brakes on this bike are the best in the industry. 0-60 in 4 sec is very respectable for a 1300cc bagger. Myself and my passenger love the stock seat. It’s taken us from central fl to the smokey mountains comfortably. Then once there,put big smiles on oue faces scraping pegs thru those awsome mountain switchbacks! 25,000 miles in 22 months of trouble free fun riding. Just my 2 cents.

    • I have been riding a 94 third gen Magna for the last nine years and love the V4 engine and just this year purchased a CTX1300 deluxe to add to my V4.stable. I to am amazed at the comfort of the seat as well. My wife and I put around 1300 miles on it in tthree days riding from Ohio down to Deals Gap and the Smokey mountains. We hit both the tail of the Dragon and the Devil’s Triangle while there. A really great two up mount. Also it gives great gas milage to boot. Both the Magna and CTX are Red. I’m 68 years young and still do most of my maintenance on my machines.

  16. I am 60 next year and looking at changing my ZZR 1400 performance. As I get older I find ( with age) that my joints are not the best and so looking at the CTX as a replacement. At the end I think it’s more about comfort and looks for me. I love my ZZR but really like the looks of the CTX. I too was a bit worried about the lack in power but reading what some of you guys have put here it seems still a remarkable machine. I will be looking at maybe having a test ride on one in near future

  17. Not ready for the rolling couch yet, but, for $5300 I bought a cherry red ctx 1300 with only 15000 miles on it, in pristine condition. One Corbin heated seat, one set of heated hand grips, a taller wind shield, mini floor boards for the wife, a louder horn, Shad trunk, a slight adjustment for the hand grips with Rox swivel hand bar adjuster, and it’s a swell ride for jazz festivals, meteor shower camping trips, and a regular commuter. My left knee is happier with my feet about 7 inches farther forward than they were. As to the name calling, this is my 25th 2 wheel ride, don’t let your alligator mouth over load your hummingbird rear end sonny boy. I have averaged over 20,000 miles a year for 40 plus years. We can talk when you have some experience.

  18. I bought a ctx1300 last year from a 65 yr old guy who got it in the fall of 2017 new in crate. It had 2500 miles on it. He put tall windshield, backrest, crash bars, center stand, luggage rack with quick release trunk, bag liners and more on it. I payed less than 1/3 of new. I’m 62, been riding since 3rd grade. I’ve had so many bikes over the years including Kawi triples, connies, st1300, goldwings etc. I was looking for something like a goldwing but smaller and not much out there. Then I found this. I do my own maint and the st1300 and these are so nice. Try changing plugs on an inline four sport tourer in 10 mins. It may not have the hp of the st but it runs on regular and I ride nice and mostly windy 2 lanes and get 53mpg one up and 6′ and 235lbs. No bike does it all, but this is a keeper.

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