Honda ST1300 'Pan Europeans' (Updated 201118)

So, to recap: I bought an '03 ST13 in December 2006. I was knocked off it whilst stationary in early 2010 and replaced it with a '54-plate in May that year. After six trouble-free years I slid this one off the road into a crash barrier in Luxembourg in mid-2016, the repair bill running to nearly £800 involving new stanchions, replacement front wheel and auxiliary master cylinder and - says he, touching wood - at time of writing the bike is still going strong. As it should be; with just over 56000 miles covered it's been averaging around 4000 miles per year from new (and to be fair this is common with ST1300s, you can still find early examples for sale with ridiculously low mileages). Currently it has HID headlamps and the switchgear from a Super Blackbird that means I can turn the headlamps off (though not the sidelights). It also has electronic cruise control (from Motorcyclecruise.com), Bike-Quip bar raisers (I decided to leave them on!), TomTom Rider 400 mounted on a flexi arm from the nose panel, Datatool alarm system (which, contrary to a lot of peoples' experiences, works flawlessly even if the auto-arming shock sensor does annoy the crap out of your mates). There's the obligatory 12V charge socket in the right-hand glovebox, the lid of which has just been replaced with a new old-stock item to replace the one I'd modified with a membrane keypad for the old Zen MP3 player. Tunes are now taken care of with an Ipod; it and the TomTom link to my helmet via Sena SMH-10U Bluetooth. The rider's seat has a neoprene Airhawk inset into its original firm foam padding. A Bagster tank cover is fitted. Hyperpro springs are fitted at both ends. Tyres are Michelin Pilot Road 3s (probably for the last time as they're getting scarce in these sizes). Roxster heated grips are controlled by the inset Honda controller. I've noticed recently that the rubber is wearing away on the grips.

Update March 2018

Well that's another winter not-quite out of the way so as I sit and watch the snow whirling around outside I thought a quick website refesher might be in order! 2017 came and went with aother Euro-jaunt and a couple of trips up to Scotland (the border's only about 80 miles from here although the really interesting roads are a good way further up ;o). The ST13 came away from the 2016 bump rather well, I thought... and now it's confession time! Once I'd replaced the front wheel, both stanchions, the auxiliary master cylinder and the world's most expensive brake line, my piggy-bank was looking a bit threadbare so rather than buy a new front tyre only to find that the chassis was as bent as a politician I opted to refit the one that was on the bike when I slid it into a steel post. Yes, I know, safety, safety, baaaa..... baaaa... did I ever mention that I work in non-destructive testing? No? Well, I work in non-destructive testing. I couldn't find any sign AT ALL of splitting, abrasion, deformity of the sidewall or damage to the carcass. So I put it back on the bike, with the intention of only keeping it long enough to prove the bike was handling OK, and then I'd change it before the next big trip. So I rode the bike 'around the block', as it were, gradually picking up speed and taking both hands off to see if it steered me into a tree. It didn't, which was a good sign, so I went faster still and tried jumping on the brakes. Well, it just bloody stopped, didn't it. A couple of hours and some naughty speeds later I'd failed to detect anything untoward at all. Anyway, a few weeks later some of the chaps and I headed up to bonny Scotland for a long weekend. It dawned on me that I hadn't changed the front tyre but I thought OK, I'll just take it easy and then change it when we get back. Ahem. Take it easy? With two Multistradas and an MT-10 trying to get there before the bar closes? Four days later I was still alive... Well then work got in the way and before I knew it, the day had dawned when we had to sprint for a ferry to Stalag Europe. Much riding around the Dolomites later I'd completely forgotten I was supposed to be taking it easy (or maybe I was, who knows?) and the bike and I came back in one piece (well, two pieces really). By this time the front tyre was starting to look its mileage... but there was just enough tread left for one more weekend of silliness, up around the Borders, down through the Lakes and home. And THEN I replaced the front tyre :D So that, I think, proves just what modern tyres can cope with and although I wouldn't recommend anyone to be as foolish as I am, you can at least be secure in the knowledge that if tyres seem expensive, you're definitely getting what you pay for.

I forgot to mention, so this seems as good a place as any to slip it in, that shortly after I'd rebuilt the front end (isn't it always the way!) I found a pair of Hyperpro front springs, brand new in the box, still with the bottle of fork oil they came with, for sale on Ebay. As I already have the Hyperpro rear fitted I thought it was worth a try, even if only so I could come on here and moan about them being a waste of money ;o) A sensible sum changed hands (to me, a bargain is only a bargain if it's less than half the price of a new one!), the springs were duly fitted and... the bike seemed to gain an inch of ground clearance! Of course it may well be that fitting a new pair of standard Honda springs might have had the same result so let's not get too enthusiastic; the originals were after all a dozen years and 50,000 miles old by then. I should say here that I only swapped the springs and rechecked the fork oil level; of course the forks had new oil added when I rebuilt them. However it was 5 viscosity points thicker than the oil supplied by Hyperpro so it could be that things might be even better with the lighter oil. All I can say is, well, I think there's an improvement. Therefore, you might say, in Emperor's new clothes fashion, if I think it, it must be true. I don't know. I'm just a middle-aged bloke who rides the bike that best suits me and if it has deficiencies I'm probably not good enough to identify them. I couldn't say that I've gone down a road I know X% faster because of the new springs. I couldn't say that my pillion has fallen asleep due to the cushiness of the ride. I certainly couldn't say it enhances my lifestyle, my wealth or my bedroom prospects just because I fitted some bloody aftermarket springs. So I'm not recommending you try them, but don't let that stop you ;O)

Now, being a tight northern skinflint (it's my Scots ancestry, d'ye ken) I'm sure you can imagine the sharp intake of breath whenever I see the price of motorcycle tyres. Having replaced the front I then took a close look at the rear and decided I may as well renew that as well. Over my years of Pan Euro ownership I've stuck with Michelin Pilot Road tyres which at present are up to their 5th incarnation (and no longer called 'Pilot'). Now the PR4 has been around long enough for people to start commenting that, grippy as it is, it's not massively better than the PR3 it replaced although it is rather more expensive. If I did a lot of high-speed wet weather riding (and somehow the two feel they should be mutually-exclusive) then there might be times when I could say "Phew, I'm glad I wasn't still on those crappy PR3s" - but the reality is that I don't, so to return to my theme of short arms, deep pockets, I opted to revisit the PR3s and save a few shekels. There are a few online tyre sellers now, my preference has generally been for Oponeo. Of course if you turn up at a tyre place with a tyre you've bought elsewhere, they come over all busy and want £15-20 to swap it! I don't know about you but I've never seen anyone with a University degree fitting tyres, so I thought it was time to have a crack myself :D Now this is where owners of shiny new bikes start cringing and sucking in breath, thinking of all those chips in the wheelrims (and, no doubt, scrapes to the silly rim tape that say "Yamondukisakumph RSGX-ZZ-R-RR" in dayglo text). Well that's fine, you big softies can look away now. There are three parts of the job to swap a tyre: first, get the old tyre off; second, put the new tyre on; third, balance the wheel and tyre. Most bikes use tubeless tyres (even some of those with spoked wheels!). In order that the air stays generally inside the tyre, said tyre has to have a good seal around the rim. To this end the 'bead' (inner edge) of the tyre has a reinforcing band around it which makes it grip the rim tightly. Getting the tyre off (once you've let the air out) means 'breaking' the bead, which is basically pushing the edge of the tyre inwards until the bead slips off the seat and moves into the 'well' in the middle of the rim. Once both beads are fully unseated, the tyre will flop around on the rim and it's then just a matter of prising both beads over one side of the wheel. Tyre fitters usually use a hydraulic 'bead breaker' to pop the tyre off its seats but you can do the same thing with a large bench vice, just be careful you don't scratch the rim (or the tape, see above :D). You can prise the tyre most of the way off with your bare hands - unless you're a big soft southern shandy-drinker in which case you'd better get your houseboy, batman, valet or similar minion to do it. If you need to use a lever, find a few inches of old hose pipe, slit it lengthways with a sharp knife and slip it over the edge of the wheelrim and prise with your lever at that point. The new tyre is fitted 'in reverse order', as Haynes manuals always say, but make sure you get the rotation arrow on the tyre sidewall pointing in the right direction (even tyre fitters have been known to get that bit wrong!). You'll need your bit of hosepipe for the last bit of levering. Tyre fitters usually glop a greasy lubricant around the tyre beads to help them slip over the edge of the rim. I use silicone grease as it's inert and won't attack either the tyre or the rim. I've heard of people using liquid soap or washing-up liquid but the latter is probably not a good idea as the salts in it can cause corrosion of the alloy wheel. Incidentally, when wrestling with the wheel and tyre, have a sheet of plywood or carpet or similar to lay the wheel on: your concrete driveway is likely to make a mess of your brake discs and conversely, the brake discs are likely to ruin the genuine hardwood veneered kitchen floor you just fitted to appease the wife...! Right, so you've got your tyre back on the rim, now you need the beads back on their seats. I've found that the 'spring' of the sidewalls tends to push the beads against the edge of the rim seats so applying the airline to the valve soon springs them into place (with that characteristic loud bang!) and then it's just a matter of setting the pressure. Next, of course, you need to balance the wheel and tyre assembly and this, you might think, is where it gets technical. Oh no it doesn't. Most tyre fitters do this part exactly the same way you would, i.e. without any special equipment. Although in theory you could use a dynamic balancer (as they do for car tyres) it would need special adapters to fit the bike wheel to the machine. Instead what they use is a simple stand with a length of rod. The rod passes through the wheel where the spindle would go and rests on a set of rollers atop each upright leg of the stand. You can buy these stands for very little from an assortment of places. Or you could make your own, as I did :D

First, chop up an old steel bench frame...

Find some odd bits of stainless steel lying around and use them to make a shaft and centring cones:

Glue the frame bits together with a MIG welder (this was my Romarc 200 getting some exercise):

A couple of offcuts of aluminium angle...

were used to make mounting brackets for some old bearings...

on which the shaft can turn (reducing friction which should make it more sensitive, oo-er missus):

Simply remove one of the centring cones, slip the shaft through the wheel, refit the cone and secure with its grub screws. Then rest the spindle on the bearings and give the wheel a gentle spin (having removed any old wheel weights first). A properly-balanced wheel will stop at a different point every time. If it stops in the same place then the lowest point is obviously the heaviest and self-adhesive weights can be stuck to the rim at a point diametrically opposite the heavy spot. Repeat until the wheel stops randomly and that's it balanced:

It turns out that the centring cones are not actually required; the wheel will rotate just as happily with the shaft finding its own position. The balancing weights can be had very cheaply; so cheaply in fact that mine were free - from the place that fits tyres to our numerous company vehicles!

In other news, now that I've finished fannying about trying to integrate old MP3 players to the bike (got an iPod Touch, remember?) I've just fitted a new right-hand glovebox lid, replacing the one I doctored to accept the membrane keypad. I also acquired a new TomTom Rider 400 satnav and then the company issued me an iPhone 5S! The Apple products and the TomTom can all communicate with each other, all I needed was a way to allow them to communicate with me. By the time I slid off the bike in 2016, my AGV helmet was already ten years old and although I'm a bit cynical over the whole 'replace it after 5 years' nonsense, even I could agree that it was time to call it a day. It had done well; I think it only fell off the bike seat once in all that time, resulting in a slight paint chip, and even bouncing my head off the road twice in the Luxembourg 'incident' only put minor scrapes on that didn't even take the paint down to primer. For a while I'd been fancying a flip-front helmet but all those I'd ever tried seemed a bit creaky and plasticky. So off I went to J&S at Leeds to see what could be had. It transpired that they'd opted not to exhibit at the NEC bike show and instead had launched a "20% off everything" sale for the show's duration. So I found myself trying on helmets that were rather pricier than I'd intended... and wound up buying a Shoei Neotec flip-front in matt black (as was my AGV S4). Very nice it is too, although I couldn't honestly say it's massively quieter than the AGV, but since I tend to wear earplugs anyway it's a moot point. Suitably 'lidded-up', then, I went in search of some more technology, in the shape of a Bluetooth headset. Now you can buy a BT headset for under twenty quid, and if it works then it's a bargain :D. I, on the other hand, talked myself into buying the Sena SMH-10U, which is the integrated version of their SMH-10, cunningly remodelled to fit inside the helmet, leaving no big lumps hanging off the side. It's an expensive unit (not much change out of £200!) and only available to suit a handful of helmets at present but I guess unless we support manufacturers they will have less incentive to make application-specific products and instead stick with generic models that will always be unsatisfactory to some buyers. Reports from buyers of the SMH-10U with its early firmware were generally disparaging, however the current firmware seems to have resolved most of the grumbles - certainly mine has worked from the outset. In practice this means that I can have the TomTom, Iphone and Ipod all synched to the Sena. The Ipod plays music, the TomTom chips in with directions (if I set it to) and if the phone rings it takes precedent over the others. The Sena helmet installation includes a 2-button keypad for volume up/down but it also turns power on/off and accesses a host of other options depending on which button you press, for how long and in what order! As if that wasn't enough, the headset incorporates an FM radio AND there's a handlebar-mounted remote control that fits around the left handlebar grip. This has two more buttons and a 4-way joystick and if it sounds like it's getting complicated, that's because it is! A full implementation of this system not only has the Satnav and phone/ Ipod, it can also let you talk to you passenger if they have a BT headset. It can even have their phone connected as well as yours (though in that case if you want music, one of the phones has to act as an MP3 player as well). You can even link by BT to other riders if they're close enough - and by 'close', Sena means within a mile! You can create rider groups so you can talk to different groups independently of each other, talk to each rider separately or yell at them all to stop if you see a naked Rachel Riley sunbathing by a stream, just as an example of why that function might be useful, even though I've told Rach time and again to at least keep her socks on when she's walking around outside. Ankle socks of course, not those knee-length... hang on, I'll be back in a minute.

Right, where was I? Oh yes, Sena... the SMH-10U's battery pack fits more or less unobtrusively around the lower back edge of the helmet:

Unfortunately it doesn't last all that long; yes, you can get a full day's riding out of it with music but it really needs a full charge every night if you're away touring. Sena have opted, like TomTom and Garmin, to use piddling little mini/micro-USB connectors as charge sockets which strikes me as one of the most likely factors to cause the premature death of these units. I don't believe these connectors are robust enough to be used in this fashion. Even Apple saw sense in designing their 'Lightning' power connector; though it too is a bit weedy at least it has multiple contacts to handle the load in the event that one breaks. My Garmin refuses to talk to my PC now since one of the contacts in the satnav socket snapped and despite my best efforts I've been unable to effect a repair even if it involved having a flying lead hanging out the back of the thing. As it hasn't been updated for more than two years I know Garmin will have also pulled the plug on my lifetime map updates, so essentially it's relegated to the company van. On the whole, though, I'm pleased with the whole Sena/TomTom/Ipod/Iphone thing; just jump on the bike, switch on, everything connects, off we go. Once installed in the helmet the earphones and long-range intercom antenna are invisible and you just have this:

...and a closer view (the +/- buttons act as power, volume, answer call etc. depending on which one you press and when!):

With the front flipped-up (the microphone angle is fixed so you can't alter it, but the foam cover is optional and removing it leaves a slimmer boom in front of your mouth):

This funny claw-looking widget is the handlebar-mounted remote control; it's spring-loaded so it grips the left-hand bar rubber. Position is important so it doesn't foul the clutch lever but once set it stays in place well enough. Unlike the main unit it will go for months on a charge - but not if you keep forgetting to turn it off! I've added labels in case you're interested enough to wonder but not interested enough to go and buy one :D

Status LED flashes blue (for Bluetooth connection!) or red depending on what it's trying to tell you; buttons answer/end/reject calls and so on, joystick is 4-way plus press and gives you (for example) MP3 track selection, radio tuning, volume, select intercom partner/group etc.:

...and they even give you a couple of self-adhesive logos.

UPDATE 100718

It would be nice, once in a while, if this bloody technology just worked the way it was supposed (and claimed) to, for a realistic lifespan. Yet again some expensive kit has gone udders-skyward, in the form of this Sena headset. This year's Euro-jaunt has just been completed (only one mistake this year and not mine, thankfully: one of the guys forgot which side of the road he was supposed to be riding on and had a 60mph head-on with a Renault down in the Vosges. All parties OK but you'd struggle to identify the bike from what's left. Anyway, I'm digressing...) and on the 2nd day I found that the Sena wasn't charging. The cable and charger were OK which left the headset itself. Unable to do much about it I waited till I got home and was about to fling it back at the supplier when I realised the warranty had expired. Of course it had. So with little to lose I prised open the battery compartment to expose the charging PCB. Now I expected to find a broken solder joint to the micro-USB socket but with a magnifier more powerful than the Hubble telescope I couldn't see anything wrong with it. Careful wiggling and poking suggested 'something' was lose but with all the bits held at a certain angle the charge LED lit and eventually the battery did charge. I found that a wire had been crushed when the unit was originally assembled but that seems to be electrically sound so I reassembled the unit (taped the case back together for now in case it has to come apart again) and for the moment it seems OK. As a final insult from the trip, the left-hand fork oil seal has started leaking. If you cast your mind back to 2016 and my slight 'off' in Luxembourg, when I rebuilt the fork legs I opted to reuse the oil seals to save money, just in case there was something major wrong with the bike's handling. On that basis I guess I can't complain that the seals have lasted 56000 miles and about 14 years since the bike was built. I found a full set of seals and dust covers as new old stock, £48 for a few bits of rubber... \8O

The TomTom Rider 400 comes with a bike-oriented mounting/power bracket and includes a basic RAM mount. Most of the satnav installs I've seen on ST1300's have the nav mounted off the top yoke, between the handlebars. Bike-Quip's handlebar riser includes mounting threads for just this purpose but I prefer the satnav to be higher up, closer to my line of sight. Further up the page is a photo of the mounting I devised for my first Garmin (a 255) which I then altered to suit the later Garmin 2548 (or whatever it is). When I got the TomTom I made up an adapter plate that let me fit the TT's mount to it and although the whole thing is heavier than either of the Garmins it keeps the Rider 400 just above the edge of the instrument housing and allows the screen full movement. A bit like this...

Flexible neck screwed through the nose cowling thingy (seen through the screen hence the haze)...

 

Madness. Sheer bloody madness! That's probably a fair appraisal of my latest ST13-related scheme. Y'see, I quite fancy a new bike. Well don't we all, from time to time. However, my mate Rob reckons I'm a 'Pan man' through and through. Don't get me wrong, I ride other bikes. Rob's, mostly... and I often get off them laughing like a drain. Especially the Aprilia RSV, on that road in Scotland, and that other road in Austria. But then again, seeing the world streaking by, Star Trek-like, from the Kawasaki ZZR1400 on a German Autobahn... just... Jesus. Even if I could never get it to go round corners. And the unbridled lunacy that is the Ducati Multistrada 1200. I can't ride one the way the other guys do... and maybe that's the point. Some bikes just suit your riding style better than others. For me, thrashing the nuts off a small engine just gribbles my mechanical sympathy gland, even if the motor can take it. No, I'm more into low-down grunt, torque curves flatter than Norfolk - hence, I guess, the TVR V8... and the Honda V4, which is half a V8 anyway! So I was disappointed with my early experiences of big V-twins (the Tuono and the old air-cooled 1100 Multistrada) because I expected big dollops of torque from tickover. What I got was a load of bogging, followed by 3000 revs-worth of christmyarmsarecomingoff followed by headbutting the clocks as the power fell off. The 1200 Multi sorted that out, but 15 grand is more than I want - no, more than I HAVE - to spend on a bike. Maybe when they're down in bargain-basement territory I'll buy one, but for the present the next-best thing I've found is, wait for it, the Aprilia Futura. It has the torque-spread and response I guess I was expecting - the RSV 1000 has it as well, but at my time of life it's a bit too head-down, arse-up to spend any length of time on. Another mate has a Futura and it has the sort of looks that would go well with the TVR, all pointy and angular, which is ironic given that the TVR wedges missed their styling era as well. The 'Fut' is also as equally ancient as the Pan European, both of them launching around the same time in the early days of the millenium. However the Futura never sold well and even if you can find a good one, it's still an almost 20-year-old bike. By now you're wondering what any of this has to do with madness (not Madness, the popular music beat combo from the 1980s) and Pan Europeans. Well, the 'Pan' has apparently not been built since 2011 and even though you can still buy a new one, it'll have been sat around a dealer's showroom gathering dust for a while. And, unbelievably, dealers still want £15,000 for them! On the basis that I could just buy a more recent ST13 than the one I have, I'd still be looking at £5-6000 for an 8-year-old machine. That looks like a big hole in my retirement kitty. But I looked around anyway, and I've decided I really like the look of the black ones :D So then I thought, well why not just respray my existing bike...? Then one thing led to another and before I knew it, I'd accidentally bought this lot:

That's a Ford Connect-full of plastic, though the eagle-eyed will spot that the pannier lids aren't shown! I got the panels from Force Motorcycles down in Derbyshire. The white ones are the giveaway; they all came from ex-Police machines, decommissioned on the recommendations of ACPO after a couple of officer fatalities in the early service of the ST1300. Some bikes were used for surveillance and left in factory paint but of course the patrol bikes (not that you see much 'patrolling' done by the Police these days) were white with fetching Dayglo accessories (removed with a heat gun). There are a couple of minor cracks, one in the right-hand main fairing and one in the headlamp fairing. We also struggled to find a serviceable pair of mirror pods and I ended up with a left and two right-hand ones; one has a crack and the other is missing one of the mounting pillars for the indicator unit. They all had blue strobe lamps fitted at some point although one has had the holes filled and repainted. There's only one pannier lid - a new old-stock item in white - so Ebay will be watched like a hawk for a left-hand one! You see plenty of right-hand ones for sale so maybe most of the lefts are trashed in side-stand incidents...! (EDIT Jun18 - I found a left-hand pannier lid in good condition eventually... on Ebay in Belgium! Had to grit my teeth a bit over the price; about a fifth of what all the other panels cost in total. The only bit I'm still lacking is the little inspection panel that covers the coolant header tank in the left-hand fairing. I could buy a new one... but forty-five quid!? If anyone has one (with all the lugs intact etc.) and will accept sensible money then let me know - colour obviously not important). I suppose for completeness I ought to buy a spare topbox lid to paint as well... hey ho, it's only money :D )

Alas I missed this thumbprint-sized dent in the petrol tank:

...but a little work (through the filler neck) with a bent length of 10mm steel rod saw the worst of it pushed out, a skim of filler should take care of the remaining wrinkles:

Interestingly, although all the other white panels appear to have been white from new, the tank is actually candy red under the white! Whoever painted it left the tank decals on so they can be seen through the paint; they were then used as a guide for the new decals post-paint. I'll probably do the same thing. I'm currently engaged in a search for the best means of repair for the two cracks I've found: all of the panels are ABS apart from the main side fairings which are a PA6-PPE-GF10 mix (apparently a common blend used by Honda) which might take some experimenting to get the best 'filler rod' material. I have a Bosch hot air gun which would accept their plastic-welding attachments but as it has limited temperature control it might not be the best option. I recall once having a Suzuki Katana nose fairing repaired by a local plastics fabricator but like so much engineering around these parts, they've gone. That Kat fairing was bought unseen from a breaker who advertised in the bike press (I'm talking pre-internet early 1990s here); their description over the 'phone was "It has a little crack". When it arrived there was about 10% of it missing altogether and what remained was flapping in the breeze from all the other damage! Lying b4$+4rd$. Luckily the plastic welding guy was a biker and he let-in a repair patch and welded all the cracks, and by the time another mate had finished with the paint and filler you couldn't tell it had ever been broken. This time, it's down to me :^o

UPDATE 110718

Thanks to work I managed to fail miserably to have the spare panels resprayed in time for this year's Euro-thrash (see further up page). It transpired that my son-in-law (he of 3D printers and other manly gadgets) owns one of those 3D 'pens' with which you can freehand extrude constructions in PLA or ABS. PLA is apparently some derivative of corn starch(?) whereas ABS is a 'proper' plastic and is, of course, what most of the ST13's panels are made from. So this 3D pen proved to be the ideal tool with which to repair the small cracks and fill the holes in my spare panel set: open the cracks out with a carbide bit, taper the drilled hole edges from both sides and then press the go button on the 3D pen. It takes in a reel of ABS filament and extrudes it through a heated tip; with judicious application of said heated tip to the 'parent' material the extruded filament melts nicely into the part. Build up slightly higher than the surrounding, let it cool and dress it back and it makes for a very neat repair. I was so impressed I even dug out some previous repairs (that looked as though they'd been done with a soldering iron tip) and redid those as well!

I went looking for paint colour ideas. I fancied something reasonably loud and in your face and thought a 'flip-flop' or 'chameleon' finish might be fun, but everywhere I look I see chavved-up shopping cars with the same sort of colours and I went off the idea. Chrome is out; some comedian suggested Kawasaki green (on a Honda?!) and I'd more or less decided on a candy orange/rusty red sort of thing when I happened upon Stardust Colours' website and found... well, you'll have to wait and see. If it looks completely crap I won't even put any photos up :D At this rate the paint might be done by 2019... but don't hold your breath.

 

UPDATE 201118

OK, you can stop holding your breath now :D I finally found the missing piece of the jigsaw (the left-hand infill panel) and then got down to buying the materials. Stardust Colours had just the sort of thing I was after, Spraygun Supplies turned up filler, sanding pads, mixing stuff and measuring jugs. The filler (Evercoat PolyFlex) goes on beautfully and sands back to a fine finish without disintegrating on thin layers. So that was the tank dent and a couple of minor issues with the plastics fettled. Next I needed somewhere to work, and ideally an air-fed mask and filter unit. The latter first: although I could pick up a second-hand mask, a new filter unit would be £150, and that was some no-name Chinese thing. Do I value my lungs? Meanwhile I figured that a garden gazebo ought to give me enough space... but I didn't want to buy a cheap one and find it let overspray out and insects in, so I did some digging and found a company called Primrose who do a range of gazebos, the sides of which are attached around the edge of the roof canopy by continuous Velcro and have wide 'skirts' at the bottom (so you could weight them and stop draughts). Being a heavy-gauge fabric I figured that as long as I didn't coat the thing with paint it'd probably survive to do duty as a temporary cover for working on cars etc.. However it was just shy of £200... so I put the job on hold, thinking I could rack up some overtime to offset the layout. Then I had a few days' holiday, and a mate asked for a hand with the suspension on his Porsche 996. As part of his rebuild he got the calipers resprayed (red, of course). I decided to ask his paint guy for a quote to paint my bike panels, bearing in mind I'd already repaired and rubbed them all down by this time, and I was supplying the paint. The reply was sensible, certainly less expensive than buying a gazebo and a new mask so I weighed up the pros and cons and opted to have him do the job. He couldn't fit the panels in (not literally, I mean into his schedule!) for weeks, by which time the bike would be off the road for the winter. So now they're done, there's not much point in fitting them to the bike and have it stand idle for 6 months while I climb over and drop things on it, so the panels have been wrapped-up carefuly and stored in the loft. When I see them again, it'll be like christmas - in April :D Meanwhile, here's a teaser for you:

The decals, by the way, came from Online-Dekor.hu. Yes that's right, a Hungarian website! Have a look and you'll see why. Believe it or not, you can't actually buy the ST1300 logos from Honda within Europe because, of course, they insisted on calling it the Pan European over here. And if you could, they'd only be in the factory option colours of Grey, Bland and Tedious. I thought the logos needed to be as loud as the paintwork :D - so they're reflective. By pure chance the black in the '1300' and the tank 'Honda' wings is slightly metallic, so the overal effect is quite appealing (to my eyes at any rate). Next up, the bike needs a new screen, the exhausts polishing and, of course, the wheels will need some attention. While I'm at it, perhaps the footrest hangers will have to be refinished (they get scuffed by the rider's boots) - I'm not a massive fan of the usual stick-on 'protectors' that you see on STs. Maybe if it was protected from new, fine, but stuck on once the damage is done seems a bit half-arsed.

 

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