Honda ST1300 'Pan Europeans' - the next chapter!

Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later... despite my best efforts to resist the temptation, I bought... another ST1300! :D

Spotted by a mate on a salvage auctioneer's Ebay site in February 2023, the new arrival is a 2014 bike in factory black with 24700 miles recorded and two previous owners. Once I'd paid for it I was informed of the registration number so was able to check its MOT history with the DVLA website. Its first MOT was in 2017 and it's passed every one first time, with only two advisories in different years - rear tyre wearing one year and front brake pads wearing another. Neither is exactly a surprise with these bikes. Until it arrives I can only speculate (and keep fingers crossed) as to the extent of the damage but as far as I can see it's confined to the front end. There's a topbox but no panniers which is a shame, but not insurmountable.

I can't tell if the forks are bent; if they are it doesn't look much (in my Luxembourg 'off' the stanchions were only 'slightly' bent but still unusable). Front wheel looks OK but it's in a floor clamp so can't see all of it. At least it's not stuffed like mine was. Checked with Brooks suspension and the stanchions have gone up from £112 a side in 2016 to £220 a side now! That'll be a big hole in the budget.

I'm hoping the radiator isn't damaged - they really are £££howmuch!?

Right-hand main fairing is missing its top corner but looks to be about the right shape elsewhere - and the fairing pocket lid is hanging off.

Headlamp fairing is mostly gone, headlamp is at a jaunty angle so may have sheared its mountings. Not that it matters much as there's other damage to it anyway - so that'll be £££ouch.

Screen motor looks like it might be twisted out of shape. That would be expensive, but luckily I have a spare!

Front mudguard smashed, there's nothing left forward of the forks, as though it ran under something - which again doesn't bode well for the fork stanchions :(

Both mirror pods gone, right-hand mirror glass missing, mount looks damaged.

Fairing subframe looks skewed to the left - the left-hand main fairing is badly out of shape at its leading edge suggesting it's been pushed sideways by the frame.

Screen is scraped, mostly near the bottom.

Left-hand crash bar cover missing, can't tell if the bar is bent. Right-hand crash bar cover looks slightly scuffed.

Topbox backrest seems to be scuffed.

Small dent in top of tank, paint around it looks OK though. Tank has factory 3-pad set fitted.

Seems to have heated grips but I can't tell where the controller is. Also has the rubber 'wind deflectors' around the fairing edges - these can be removed and sold as far as I'm concerned.

Can't tell if the bars are straight but the bar end weights and both levers look undamaged. No risers fitted (may have been removed)

Both exhausts look undented, there's a scuff or something on the right-hand one that may just need a polish, hard to tell.

Rider's footrests look OK, the right-hand may have a scuff on the end but both side 'feelers' look mostly intact (can't say the same for those on my '05 bike!). Pillion rests look okay; both hangers have those black stick-on scuff protectors.

Tyres are Bridgestones [spit] but look serviceable.

There's a wire hanging out of the right-hand side panel that looks like it could be a round multipole of the type used by Autocom.

Apparently the engine doesn't run: in the one pic I have of the dash you can't make out the clock or mileometer, which I'm sure you usually can if there's enough reflected light, so maybe (read: I hope!) it's just a flat battery. The auctioneers label tied to the bike is dated October 2022 so 4 months is long enough for the battery to have died - even without an alarm.

I don't know whether data protection still permits it, but I'll write to DVLA and see if they'll give me previous owner details, then I can chase for details of the crash, what happened to the panniers, are there any more keys, manuals etc. available. It's worth a try :)

Is there a plan? Of course there is! I'll strip the fairings from the '05 and replace them with its original silver panels (then advise DVLA of another colour change!). The screen and probably my spare motor will be needed, the '05 can have its original screen back. As I don't want to lose my Airhawk-equipped rider's seat or the pair with heating elements, I'll probably put the '14's seats on the '05. The '05 will need to lose its rear shock with the Hyperpro spring (will refit the original unit) and I'll probably swap the front springs as well. The bar riser, cruise control, satnav mount, HIDs etc. will need to come off, but possibly not the alarm (much to the relief of my mates :D). I might also consider swapping the brake discs as the fronts on the '05 have only done a few thousand miles and even the 24,000-mile ones on the 2014 bike wouldn't be a disgrace on the '05. The panniers will need their original lids refitting to go back on the '05 and then I'll need to source new pannier backs for the '14 - unless the previous owner still has the missing ones and will take sensible money. Somehow I doubt either will be the case.

Champing at the bit now for it to arrive :D

UPDATE 190223

OK, I've stopped champing - it's arrived! Unexpectedly, as it turned out. The delivery firm called our office at 0800 and got auto-diverted to the boss's mobile. They said they had a bike, he asked who for and they mentioned my name so he told them to go ahead... but when I got in he didn't tell me so it was something of a birthday surprise :D

Several hours since have passed while I've fiddled, twiddled, prodded and pulled and I think it may turn out to be a good buy (but you've heard that from me before on here so let's wait and see). The bike was delivered with a topbox but no panniers (as in the pic above); the topbox was mostly full of broken bits of plastic (although mostly unmarked itself). From the damage it looks as though the bike hit something (or was hit by something) on the front right 'corner', at about headlamp/mirror height. This stoved in the right main fairing and headlamp, bending the fairing subframe and pushing the right-hand mirror into the fairing pocket! The front mudguard fragments also show sign of impact/scrapes, as though the bike ran under something. This made me even more suspicious that the fork legs were bent, but more of that later. After that impact, the bike appears to have dropped onto its left side fairly hard, as the engine crash bar cover was missing and the crash bar bent inwards, pulling the fairing panel with it. I took the screws out and the panel popped back into shape, but the bar needs replacing. The ignition key took some wrestling to extract as it was bent and twisted, presumably by the instrument surround being forced back. The battery was as flat as the proverbial fart and took three days before my charger said it was OK. Meanwhile I found an ex-alarm system 12V lead-acid battery that had enough grunt to spin the starter motor. The engine whirred for a few seconds and then... it started! I had wondered whether the reason the auction listing said it wouldn't run was down to the tipover switch having been dislodged and sure enough it's come off it's mountings on the rear of the smashed headlamp. Just by chance it was the right way up in the midst of all the carnage and when I tipped it, the engine stopped. So it's fair to assume that, as with my other bike in the Luxembourg incident, when it fell over the engine stopped and should be undamaged internally. So good news there; suitably cheered I set about stripping the damaged bits. For all the apparent carnage there are 'only' 5 of the painted panels that need replacing: right main fairing, mudguard, nose/ headlamp cowl and both mirror pods. The instrument panel surround has two chunks out of it that renders it scrap and the screen cowl is also scrap. The (original, Honda-badged) screen is scraped but mostly at the bottom so won't affect vision through it; the screen motor unit, however, is a write-off. The right fairing inner cowl with the air temperature sensor is nowhere to be seen! Also like my other bike, it's surprising what DIDN'T get damaged: both bar ends are unmarked, as are the levers. The silencers and footrests haven't a mark on them. Both mirror glasses are smashed but the mirror units themselves could be reglazed - the indicators survived but the pods didn't. The instrument panel has two mounting lugs snapped off which will be difficult to repair as polypropylene is one of those plastics that won't take adhesive. I'll probably engineer a fix and then look out for a cheap set of clocks to rob the rear cover from. Thus far the shopping list was:

Fairing subframe; left crash bar; screen cowl; headlamp; right mirror (it looked more damaged than it turned out to be but I'd already bought one by that point!); right inner cowl; instrument panel surround, left crash bar cover. As I bought a job lot I managed to get a spare set of screen fixing trims thrown in as one side is damaged. The array of broken plastics looked like this:

With the eggshelled plastics removed and the engine running, the next thing was to take it around the car park after hours and make sure everything worked. It does :D I took it up to about 50 (hard to say with no instruments) and took my hands off: it went in a straight line even when I braked hands-off using the pedal. Engine sounds smoother than the old bike but then there are 55,000 miles between them. Even so, I wanted to be certain about the fork stanchions so I dropped the legs out (the left fork seal has been leaking for some time judging by the oily muck around the leg and caliper) with the intention of stripping them and rolling the stanchions on the work's surface plate. In the event I thought I'd try a straight-edge first and sure enough both stanchions have a slight deformation - one sharper while the other is more gently curved. So that's that resolved. On the plus side the top and bottom yokes look OK and the headstock bearings don't feel slack or notchy.

The fuel tank has two small dents in it, one I knew about but the other didn't show in the auction photos. All three exhaust clamps have corroded through. The radiator is absolutely hammered! I don't know where it's been ridden but the rad of my ten years older bike with triple the mileage looks much healthier, even though I've thought for a while it was looking scruffy. It's odd because the 'new' bike's engine front cover, fork legs and plastics don't show much 'road rash' - maybe the rad has already been replaced with one from a high-mileage bike, who knows. It runs up to temperature and doesn't leak (yet) so at least it wasn't another casualty of the crash. Leaving aside the fork oil over the brakes, all the brake and wheel fixings bear liberal quantities of Coppaslip or lithium grease so everything came apart easily enough.

Further rummaging in the topbox and fairing pockets turned up a proper assortment of things: a copy of the Sunday Express magazine, a flyer from the Royal British Legion about writing a Will (!) and a car park ticket from a hospital. An expired insurance certificate has (I presume) the last owner's name on it (but no address) and the service handbook shows it last saw a dealer stamp in 2018. There's a puncture repar outfit with several gas capsules, some bungee cords, an emergency airway tube and a breathalyser (!!) - while under the pillion seat was the original toolkit, looking like none of it's ever been used and the owner's manual in a plastic bag to keep it dry. The service booklet shows that heated grips, mirror and fairing deflectors and tank pads were fitted when the bike was new. The left grip has the control buttons integral although the housing for it is missing so it's open to the weather - but the grips don't appear to work anyway. There's an expensive Migsel satnav mount which is designed to hold the nav just above the instruments (same position I have my Tomtom on the other bike but the Migsel should be more rigid); it came with a Garmin RAM mount but I'm sure I have an unused TomTom one for my Rider 400 somewhere.

Just to kill time while I wait for a large pile of parts to arrive I whipped the spark plugs out to give them a sandblast and gap check (they're all spot-on), then raised the tank and popped the airbox top off to see what the air filter is like. Well: it looks brand new! Can't have done more than a few hundred miles as it's absolutely spotless. A quick wipe of the oil filter suggests that it too may be fairly recent. The tyres have plenty of life left (good because it's less immediate expense, bad because they're Bridgestones). The front brake pads have plenty of meat left (though they're SBS rather than the EBCs I'd normally use) and with all the brake dust and stray grease cleaned off they also look fairly recent. Strangely though, the rear pads are down to the backing - literally; the inner pad has about half a millimetre of friction material left while the outer is scraping the steel backing plate over the disc. Glad I found that sooner rather than later - and maybe it was a contributory factor in the crash? The shopping list is further extended by a pair of fork stanchions, oil and dust seals, fork oil, left mirror glass. I've dug out a spare left-hand crash bar cover and the screen motor unit I bought for my first ST13 which came without ABS/ power screen.

UPDATE 270213

As I said further up the page, fork stanchions have gone up in price: last ones I bought were £112 each. Now they're £220 each. Plus postage. Luckily I found Firefox Racing who had them on special offer at a paltry £170 each, postage included. So I pinged my £340 and... I'm still waiting. The money's gone from my account but no sign of any stanchions, or even an email to say when they might arrive. All of which means that the bike is sat doing nothing as there's no point in rebuilding the front end fairings and then stripping the forks out again (after ascertaining they were bent I put them back in as I don't like the idea of a bike balanced precariously on a jack under the sump, even if it is a screw and not hydraulic).

Meanwhile the instrument panel casing is more badly damaged than I'd at first thought; I think I'll have to buy a second-hand clock set and swap the cases over as these won't keep the rain out for long. The pile of 'new' parts arrived and look like they should all be serviceable; the instrument panel surround and screen cowl were rather dusty so a session in the bath with some car shampoo and washing-up liquid got them clean and a spray with silicon polish (remember 'Back to Black' for car bumpers? That's all it was - silicon polish) brought them up a treat - so much so that I stripped the lower fairing panels and the side covers for the battery and suspension and gave them the same treatment.

Love the attention to detail on the ST1300 - intricately-pressed stainless steel heat shields inside the fairing lowers (early bikes didn't have them):

The 'new' fairing subframe and left crash bar are straight and while the subframe only had a couple of patches of rust around welds, the crash bar was extensively rusty in a couple of places so I fired up the air compressor and blasted the worst bits of both of them, then degreased, primed and sprayed with satin black paint:

Yes, I know putting them on the workshop surface plate is a bit naughty :op - that's my calibration lab at work and it's maintained at a dehumidified and toasty 20 degrees C which is ideal for drying paint in the middle of winter.

I've tested my spare screen motor plugged-in to the bike and that works perfectly. The reason I have it (in case you haven't read from the first page) is that my first ST13 was a non-ABS bike that also didn't have the electric screen. I bought a kit that was available at the time (2007) which added the screen motor and switchgear, but when I got knocked off it in 2010 I reverted to the fixed screen before the bike was towed away for salvage. Several times over the intervening years I've thought 'I really must sell that'... but now I'm glad I didn't :D

Thanks to 'data protection' the DVLA will no longer tell you who the previous owner of a vehicle was. Which in this case is a bit of a pain as I'd like to find out if the guy still has the panniers, spare keys etc. As noted earlier, there was an expired insurance certificate in one of the cubby-holes on the bike with a name but no address. However, once armed with the V5 document I was able to download the previous MOT certificates, which were all issued by only two testing stations a few miles apart. I thought it'd be a fairly simple matter to pin down a guy with (what I thought was) a fairly uncommon name, to a particular area. I was wrong. First off, although he wasn't called John Smith he may as well have been as 192.com throws up 200 entries. Granted some are the same person at different addresses and most aren't in the 'target' area but that still leaves me with about a dozen possibles within striking distance of the two MOT stations. As luck would have it, some of them are company Directors so thanks to Companies House I was able to find contact details and called them up: not the person concerned. At time of writing I have left a voicemail message with another likely suspect but no response so far. I even called the last MOT place and asked if they recalled the bike and if so, could they pass my details to the person concerned but again, nothing so far. Watch this space...

UPDATE 010323

The new fork stanchions finally arrived, so along with new seals and oil the legs were rebuilt successfully - I'm not keen on the dust seal design they use now; instead of the neat original with a radiused outer face the new design have a visible external spring... I'm sure it's effective, it just looks a bit agricultural. Anyway, reinstalled the fork legs, front wheel and brakes and torqued everything per the manual. I also swapped the bent left-hand crash bar for the repainted replacement. I was going to pull the right-hand one off and repaint that as well but although there are a couple of scabby rust patches it'll do for now. The fairing subframe has been refitted to the main headstock mount but I need to find a replacement screw for the long M6 that had sheared off in the crash, flush with the surface of course. Having tried and failed to get a purchase on the raggy end I centre-punched it and started drilling it through with the intention of using a screw extractor but the drill overcame the friction of the screw and wound it in, until it fell inside the frame spar! Oh well, at least the frame thread is undamaged.

Having not heard anything from any of the people I'd previously contacted, I decided to give the other MOT place a call and although the ST hasn't been in there for a couple of years the guy did remember the bike and its owner and says he will try to find a contact number! If this doesn't turn up the previous owner I'm not sure where I can go from here...

UPDATE 060323

Couldn't put it off any longer :D Apart from the mirror glasses, the rebuild is complete and yesterday was the day to find out whether there's a good bike hiding in there. Although it was bitterly cold (or should I say I was inappropriately dressed for the weather - cotton combats and summer gloves, tut tut) I just had to get out. Rolled the bike out of the workshop, turned the key and pressed the button... and it only just had enough in the battery to get it running. Quick walk-round of the lights, then sidestand up, into gear and away. Those of you who live up this way (and probably some who don't) will recognise this market square:

... for the rest of you, it's Helmsley in North Yorkshire. Traditional meeting place for bikers from a good swathe of the northeast of England. Note that the wet patch on the ground is not from the ST! The combination of silver and black bodywork actually seems to work quite well, I feel. The bike in the background is a Benelli 125 and when you see the engineering on it, it's hard to understand why young guys don't flock to biking. Upside-down forks, discs both end, trellis frame, sports tyres, satin pseudo-military paint... much nicer than the CB100N I started on back in the 80s!

Anyway, back to the plot... the 'new' bike definitely feels fresher in some ways than the '54-plate (effectively a 2004 model, registered Feb '05) that I've been riding since 2010. The 14-plate has 3000 miles more on than the '54 had back then, so little difference there. However you can feel the difference 55,000 miles makes - the newer bike's engine is a bit smoother, the gearbox is slicker and less clonky (though to be fair I've always thought the older bike's box was a bit agricultural so maybe Honda changed something?). The off-idle throttle response has always been a bit hesitant on the older bike as well, where this one seems better. Maybe, being generous, it's something to do with the cruise control throttle cable interface fitted to the '54. On the other hand, the older bike's brakes are better, though that could be down to the new bike having SBS pads and not EBCs - I've never used SBS before so don't know if they're usually less responsive. The new bike also has Bridgestone tyres, which (as you can find reference to elsewhere on here) I haven't used since discovering the then-new Michelin Pilot Road 2. Back then the Bridgestones were BT-020 but now they're up to the -023 variant and I have to admit they do feel more secure than I recall of the -020. These are still nicely rounded so it rolls in and out of bends well, not much wear although they're dated late 2019 I think so might have been on the bike a while! I don't get the impression that the previous owner was a thrash-merchant: the wear patterns don't get very close to the tyre edges and the footrest 'feelers' are unmarked (unlike my other bike!). I was a bit surprised to find the average fuel economy reporting at only 9.4 miles per litre, which is about 42.7mpg - although I squirted up to 'a bit over the limit' to check the stability it wasn't for long, so maybe the topbox was affecting it. I think the most I ever saw on an ST13 was 60mpg, two-up with full luggage and meandering down French N and D roads for hours on end. The old bike will tickle 50mpg without too much effort (11.1 miles/ litre - silly Honda way of reporting it) but more typically it returns 45 or so. In other news, the rebuilt fork legs work perfectly (as they should), the rear could have done with a little more preload over some of the undulations on the 'Helmsley TT' road (the rear shock preload was set at minimum - literally, it was off the bottom of the scale!) and the headlights seem to be aimed a bit low, but there are knobs to twiddle for that. The electric adjuster is working but sounds a bit rough compared to the one on the older bike - remember that the 'new' headlamp is from a breakers so could have seen lots of action (or neglect); maybe I'll swap the headlights over. All the other electrics are fine, but there's no air temperature readout as the sensor's missing (as was the panel it's mounted to!).

So a quick first ride summary: looking good, keep the Bridgestones for now, ditch the SBS pads - and get some mirrors!

UPDATE 090323

These updates are coming thick and fast :D First, the air temperature display (or lack of) is soon to be remedied as I've bought a used sensor (along with the panel). I've also replaced the rotten exhaust clamps with Mikalor stainless items as all three had corroded through. The old bike has had the silencer clamps replaced (with Mikalors) but the balance pipe clamp is still hanging in there. No such luck with the 'new' bike. I still haven't got to the bottom of why the heated grips aren't working: all the connections are in good shape, there's resistance where there should be and none where there shouldn't but even if I bridge the controller module there's no heat. Next plan is to poke a beefy DC supply up each grip individually and see if they do get warm.

Meanwhile, and more importantly, although I missed it out of the last update, the MOT place I rang was unable to help but was convinced the owner lived locally to them. Having run out of other ideas I resorted to buying 'credits' with an online directory search site and got the address for the only person with that particular name in that particular town - but no phone number. So I resorted to old-fashioned communications and wrote a letter :D Three days later the phone rang and a chap said "Hello, I'm ****** ****** and I used to own a black Honda ST1300. Your panniers are in my garage, when would you like to collect them?". Now that's what I call a result :D Sadly, he doesn't have the missing spare keys as they were handed over to his insurers. As they weren't with the bike it begs the question: what do the insurers do with them? Do they get destroyed or is there a big bucket full of keys, a thief's jackpot if ever there was one, in a corner somewhere? Think I'll ring the salvage place and see if they can shed any light...

UPDATE 120323

It was time to introduce the ST's to each other:

'54-plate on left with resprayed spare panels; 14-plate on right wearing original panels from the older bike... if that makes sense! Comedians will say the driveway is cracked due to the combined weight... ;o) The '14 is still living at work as I don't have room for them both at home. While it was visiting for the afternoon I took the opportunity to renew the clutch fluid which was looking decidedly brown, while the front brake fluid looks like it may have been changed fairly recently. The rear fluid is a bit off-colour though, so another job for the list. The bevel box oil level is good and the oil looks and smells clean. The front mudguard was a bit skewed and I was concerned that maybe the top and bottom yokes were misaligned slightly, so I slackened the spindle and yoke clamp bolts as well as the top yoke nut, then bounced the front end a few times, but it didn't improve matters. Closer examination showed that both of the rear stay brackets (behind the fork sliders) were bent to one side, though strangely enough the opposite way to how everything else had been bent in the previous owner's crash! I removed the brackets, bent them straight (if that isn't a contradiction in terms) in the vice and refitted them, then put the mudguard in and all the holes lined up. Tightened the bolts and the mudguard sits more like where it should. I've also dropped the idle speed a bit (it was sitting at around 1000rpm warm). The headlight aim needs playing with; main beam is up in the sky somewhere and the horizontal alignment is off as well, but that's what you get with parts taken from other bikes - you don't know who's been twiddling. I've ordered a spare key for the bike from an ebay seller who cuts new keys from a photo of the old one; it comes with a blank transponder chip and the bike should be able to encode it to match. We'll see.

UPDATE 190323

The spare key turned up: works perfectly! I haven't programmed the transponder yet though because... having remembered that the previous owner told me that he'd handed the second set of original keys, along with various documents such as the Datatag registration, to his insurers, I found myself wondering what would/ could/ should happen under such circumstances. So I emailed the salvage place and asked if they could tell me what might have become of the other keys. A few days later they emailed back to say they'd found the keys and 'documents' and would send them to me at their cost! Which is a result, but had I done it sooner I could have saved myself twenty quid on the extra spare. Never mind; but let's see if they do actually arrive. In anticipation of programming the new spare I've also made up the little cable you need to put the ECU into encoding mode. I must find a new right-hand mirror glass though; it's a bit disconcerting not having one (although I did ride without mirrors many years ago and got used to looking back a lot). I did buy a spare complete mirror but if I just replace the missing glass I can sell the spare mirror and claw some money back. I've already recouped a couple of hundred by selling the unwanted rubber wind deflectors! Must say I don't find the Pan Euro to be particularly cold or draughty (except in the Alps!) but then I don't ride all year round. I'm sure the extra frontal area can't help the fuel economy though. The 'new' bike only has a couple of weeks' MOT left so will need to get that booked in. It's also only about 9 weeks till this year's Euro-blast so if I'm going to swap bits from the other bike I'd better get my finger out...

UPDATE 220323

A package arrived for me at work. Bit large for a couple of keys, I thought, but when I opened it there was rather more in it! The salvage place did say they'd found 'documents' but didn't elaborate. Clearly when they made the previous owner an offer and asked him to send them the spare keys and V5, he just chucked everything he had at them. So the package contained the selling dealer's plastic wallet, complete with various Honda documents (how to use the heated grips...!), several invoices for services, Datatag paperwork and a delivery note from the dealers he bought the bike from - I wondered why it came with two different dealer keyfobs: evidently he didn't buy it direct from the first owner (whose name I knew, ironically, as it's in the service handbook which did come with the bike). The spare ignition and topbox keys appear unused. Rather naughtily, the package also included the last owner's V5, and although they'd obliterated his name and address on the front page they'd overlooked the fact that it also appears on page 2! Had they sent all this with the bike in the first place I could have saved some time and money - although playing Clouseau was interesting :O)

I've been using the bike to get to work as the company van is out on a job; I'm convinced the fuelling is better than on the earlier bike. I suspect the sharper handling may be down to the new one not having bar risers. The brakes have improved with use so perhaps I mixed up the pads when I had them out. The permanent headlamps continue to be as annoying as ever; I'll have to either swap the switchgear from the old bike or find another spare set to modify. I've wound the headlamp mechanical adjustment too far and now the main beam aim is too low! Speaking of which, this is the electric positioner fitted to the ST1300:

It's not branded as a Honda part so maybe it was/is used in other applications (Jodrell Bank, let's say :D) - but what a piece of kit just to tilt the headlamp! The circuit board contains a chip that was designed specifically (so the datasheet tells me) for headlamp levelling. Essentially the motor drives that worm which rotates the large white nylon gear, screwing it in and out of the housing to move whatever's on the other end of the threaded shaft through the cente of it. The shaft has, as you can just make out, a pair of flats on it which engage with the bevel gear on the outside of the casing (at left). If you look up under the ST's nose fairing and locate the positioner at the top of the headlamp unit, you'll notice a grey hexagon. Using either a socket (with extension) or a long cross-head screwdriver you can rotate the hex, which turns the thread through the nylon gear but doesn't move the gear - so it sets the angle of the headlamp before the electric actuator tries to move it. It would seem logical to set the main beam aim with the actuator in the 'full up' (knob fully clockwise) position on an unloaded bike as then you have the maximum range of adjustment available for the actuator to compensate for however many lard-arses you have aboard ;o). I imagine it wouldn't take much extra hardware to make the actuator self-levelling, which strictly speaking is one of the requirements for HID-type lamps - which, of course, I need to swap from the old bike.

UPDATE 270323

Having retrieved the original spare keys, I started using the one I'd had cut from a photo! It was almost spot-on but not quite, needing a wiggle and a jiggle in some of the bike's locks to get them open. So I compared that key with the unused factory spare and identified a couple of areas where a tickle with a file might help, and once I'd waved a miniature triangular file at it, the locks all open much more smoothly. That done, and as the clocks have changed and it's a bit lighter in our workshop after hours, I swapped the right-hand switches between the two ST's. You'll recall that post-2003 Honda stopped making the lights switchable, so I fitted ex-Blackbird switchgear which restored the lights switch (although you still can't turn the sidelights off). I could have bought another set of switchgear but I have a feeling that when I come to sell the older bike the market will be flooded with a thousand of the things for sale, newer and with half the mileage of mine. Consequently I want it as back to standard as I can get it, so I'm not giving away stuff I'd then have to buy all over again for the 'new' bike - I've already reinstated the old bike's original clutch lever and put the span-adjustable (ex-Fireblade) one on the 14-plate. Once I'd taken the old bike's right-hand switch assembly apart I discovered that the throttle closing cable has snapped! I've thought for a while that the throttle response was a bit poor so maybe that's the reason - it quite literally could have been like that for years. Incidentally, you can swap the switches without disturbing the throttle cables: remove the two screws clamping the top and bottom halves together, drop the bottom away and detach the brake switch wires. Now look up under the top half and spot the screw holding the kill switch in place. With that removed the kill switch will drop out and you can unplug the red multiplug from the loom (next to the front ABS unit, so you'll need to pull the right-hand fairing away a few inches). I've also swapped the pannier lids over, so the original silver ones replace the ones I had painted with the rainbow metallic. I actually like the factory Cosmic Black of the new bike; instead of the rainbow effect it has silver flecks of what seem to be varying sizes but it may just be the orientation of them within the lacquer - you really do get that 'night sky' effect! Shame about the dings in the tank, I might see if one of those dent removal people can pull the larger of the two out, but the smaller one's a bit sharp so I can't see that being feasible. Another task off the list was the replacement of the rear brake fluid, doesn't take long with the air-assisted vacuum bleeder. Must get the bike booked-in for an MOT as well...

UPDATE 210423

Got the panniers :D Cost a six-hour return trip and £40 in diesel plus the £100 the previous owner wanted for them, but with the odds being against a pair in the right colour turning up any time soon and the fact that the locks match the key I have, I thought it was a good deal. There are a couple of scuffs on them but no worse than any others I've seen or owned. I gave them a rub with cutting compound and a lot of the marks disappeared. I also got a new MOT: sailed through, although the tester did point out what he thought was a nail in the back tyre! Closer insection revealed it to be a large shard of glass that had fragmented within the rubber. I dug it out and the hole was rather deep, although it isn't losing air. Less than ideal though, so I tried to glue-in a length of that sticky string you get in puncture repair kits. I think it lasted 2 miles, so now I have to either wait for something else to go through the same hole, deliberately puncture it myself and then plug it, or just carry on regardless and hope the tyre wears out first... Euro-trip is scant weeks away so I'll probably go for the safer option of a new tyre. Speaking of which, Michelin tyres in the sizes the ST13 uses are bloody hard to find at the moment! i still have a spare front 5GT but the 170/60-17 rear is like unicorn dung. To be fair, the Bridgestone BT-023s that are on it are proving to be better than I thought. My first ST13 was shod with BT-020s that were shocking, especially in the wet. Having discovered the then-new Pilot Road 2 I've stayed with Michelins ever since... but if push comes to shove I can always fit a rear BT-023 (which might well be cheaper, the Road 5GT is now pushing £170) and live with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Schwantz, Rainey, Sheene or Martin but after nearly 17 years and tens of thousands of miles on the 1300 Pan European I have a good idea of how hard I can push it and I'd rather not find out the hard way that I'm better than the tyres.

I also picked up... wait for it... a spare alternator! New they are an absolute fortune and even used ones are typically for sale at over £200, so when one appeared on eBay ('broken, not charging', said the seller) at £35 posted I thought it was worth a shot. The same seller had other alternators for sale which made me wary: was this one assembled from all the knackered bits of others he'd repaired? Also, his decription stated it was a 40 Amp alternator. The ST1300 never had a 40A alternator; that was the 1100. The 1300 got an uprated one of ether 742W or 675W (equates to 60A or 55A) with pre-2008 bikes getting the beefier version. In addition, I couldn't make out the part number on the label in the advert photos due to light reflecting off it - the ST13 uses a CGD-56 where the ST11's was a CGD-38. Anyway, I clicked 'Buy Now' and a few days later the unit arrived - the label said CGD-56. It was a bit scruffy, but didn't look as though it had been tampered with, which was a good sign. I duly tampered with it - stripped it down and got busy with the multimeter. Although it smelled a bit of hot wiring, the rotor and stator windings measured OK - although when they're such low resistance it's hard to tell if they're short-circuit anyway! The slip rings were in very good condition and there was plenty of meat left on the carbon brushes. All the diodes in the rectifier pack appeared to be intact. What then could be the issue? Pretty much the only thing left was the regulator unit, and that's the hardest bit to test other than to have the alternator fitted to the engine and running, while you measure the battery voltage. A bench test is harder to perform. As it happened I already had a spare brush set and regulator which I bought a couple of years ago having perused endless cross-reference lists to try and identify the particular variant of each from the myriad that Denso offer - I still can't pin down the rectifier unit. Comparing resistances between the regulators failed to show up any discrepancy. I scratched my head a bit, then opted to reassemble it and work out a way to spin it up that didn't require a 1260cc V4 :D In the process I cleaned up a few corroded terminals, mostly where the stator leadout wires were attached to the rectifier pack. Then I wrapped a piece of lead around the splined end of the rotor shaft and gripped it in the lathe chuck.With a battery suitably wired up and a voltmeter across it, I pressed the start button. Ramping the lathe up to its full speed (about 2000rpm) failed to produce more than about 12.6V across the battery. Hmm. So maybe it isn't charging. Then I had a think and realised that the alternator is geared up from the engine crankshaft. Perusing the photos in the Honda workshop manual I was able to count the number of teeth on the various gears and calculated that the ratio is about 1:2.14. Thus at the ST's 8500rpm redline, the alternator would be spinning at about 18,000rpm! Or, looking at it in reverse, if the alternator was spinning at 2000rpm (as in the lathe), the engine would only be doing about 930rpm - and on the bike, there's a marked change in the headlamp brightness at about 1000rpm which suggests the alternator doesn't start working properly until that point. I changed tack and made up a bracket that allowed me to hold the alternator in the vice on my Perrin drill (which can spin up to about 20,000rpm), then found an ER collet that would grip the splined shaft. Centring the alternator under the spindle, I locked the table in place and fired up the 3-phase inverter that drives the Perrin. The voltmeter still showed negligible charge. I ramped up the speed and - up went the voltage! It peaked at about 14.45V which is pretty well what Denso state for most of their alternators:

I stopped the drill and reconfigured the meter wiring, then started the motor again. This time the ammeter showed charge current being delivered to the battery!

So the 'broken' alternator would appear to be working - perhaps it was just one of those corroded connections preventing it from generating. The Denso alternator, incidentally, weighs about 3.2Kg - no wonder the ST1300 is such a weighty beast! I've seen alternator failures mentioned a few times on internet forums over the years, although (touching plenty of wood) I've not had a problem so far. I guess if you had heated grips and clothing, auxiliary lights (why, FFS?) and whatnot you could soon ramp up the electrical load - just the standard lighting must pull 10A. Add in braking and turn signals and that goes up to almost 18A, and that's without running the fuel injection, dashboard etc., let alone heated grips, phone charger, satnav and so on.

UPDATE 300423

Not done much with the bikes, despite my best intentions - bloody weather this spring has been shocking. Several times I've gone to get the 'new' bike out, only for it to start raining literally as I opened the garage door. Our Euro trip is now three weeks away, but last time I checked the weather in the area we're staying it was still below zero up on the mountain passes. I have swapped the Hyperpro springs from the 54-plate bike to the '14, removing the handlebar riser block from the earlier bike in the process, but whether I'll remount it to the new one I'm as yet undecided. I think I'll see how my back copes on the trip and make a call afterwards. I'm also contemplating repurposing that membrane keypad (fitted to the right-hand glovebox lid, originally used to control the Zen Micro MP3 player way back when) as a means of controlling the heated grips. The original 'integrated' grip controller, you'll recall, fits into the left-hand fairing pocket. It's neat and has the benefit of remembering the setting when you turn it off. The '14-plate ST I have uses the later, universal Honda heated grip set which uses a controller module hidden under the fairing and switched by a push-button on the left grip. It doesn't remember the last setting - but the grips do seem hotter on this bike. The grip control button housing is missing, perhaps damaged in the previous owner's crash, and I keep dislodging the remaining part with the switch on it. It's also not very weather-resistant, and I find the red LED a bit 'glary' (though it probably wouldn't be as bad if the cover was present). I was thinking I could divert the switch wiring to the right-hand side and use the membrane pad instead. What to do with the other membrane buttons, though? I also need to swap the Tomtom's base and wiring, and probably the cruise control system. The Airhawk seat, of course, will take seconds :D Must also remember to install a 12V charge socket - the 'new' bike had one, but it was in the right-hand pocket that got smashed to bits. My replacement pocket doesn't have one - yet.

Among the parts to be swapped from the old bike are the HID headlamp bulbs - to be fair I'd probably just swap the entire headlamp unit when I have the fairings off - but I have been contemplating fitting H4 dual LEDs instead. The main issue (apart from there being so many Chinese-made things on offer) is that the majority of them use some form of heatsink and/or a cooling fan on the back, and I suspect there won't be enough clearance in front of the fork stanchions once you turn the steering. A couple of designs seem to have a heatsink fitted forward of the mounting flange, i.e. inside the headlamp shell, but how that would help dissipate the heat I'm not sure!

UPDATE 120623

The European trip that was impending is now receding! There was a bit of a rush to swap the various parts between the bikes in time for the trip, so the '14-plate now has HIDs, power socket in the right-hand glovebox (and a USB port under the pillion seat), the Airhawk-equipped rider's seat and the TomTom mount wired in. It clamps to the Migsel aluminium bracket that sits across the top of the 'dashboard' and was present when I bought the bike. It's a much more rigid mounting than was the flexible arm I'd been using for years on the old bike - although you can still guarantee that just as you aim a finger at the satnav's touchscreen, the bike will hit a bump and you'll tap the wrong place! The bike also finally has the full set of bodywork with the 'rainbow' sparkle paint: there was one slight glitch when I found that for some reason, Honda changed the diameter of the interconnecting pipes between the upper and lower fuel tanks - the later ones are smaller. I managed to make up a new piece from two sizes of fuel hose, one inside the other, and so far it's working fine. However...! When I'd finished the job, I went to turn the ignition key and found it had snapped in the lock! This was the one I had cut from a photo by an Ebay seller. I couldn't see how anything I'd done at the rear of the fuel tanks had impinged on the ignition switch but clearly something had caused the key to fracture at the narrowest point, leaving a length of brass deep down in the ignition switch. Try as I might I couldn't fish the broken bit out so I had to resort to stripping the front end bodywork so I could dismount the switch and take it indoors, where I dismantled it to its component parts and finally extracted the broken piece of key. I tell you: the air was blue.

I subsequently visited Timpsons and obtained a new (non-chipped) key for £20, and then worked out how to transplant the chip from the snapped key into the fob of the Timpsons key. I'd like to say it was a 5-minute job... but no. Anyway, I fitted a new Michelin Road 5GT to the front wheel in place of the Bridgestone that didn't look likely to last the trip (it turned out to be 2320 miles, less than planned owing to various passes remaining closed) but opted to simply switch the rear wheels between the bikes as the '54-plate had a 200-mile old Road 4GT fitted and it didn't seem to make sense to wrestle the thing off and on rims for the sake of having the original wheel on the bike! I resolved the heated grip controller by simply making a new one: I milled out a block of acetal to be the same size as the Honda integrated one and fitted it into the hole I'd already made in the right-hand fairing pocket (intended for the heated seat controller). I transplanted the wiring from the left-hand grip switch to a waterproof button and LED mounted in the acetal and sealed the whole lot with 2-part epoxy. Works a treat: the button is chunky enough to hit with gloves on - although it's less convenient than having it on the left since you have to take your hand off the throttle to adjust the heat setting.

The bike behaved itself perfectly on the trip; average consumption worked out at 11.3 miles/litre or 51mpg which is possibly fractionally better than the older bike which on previous trips averaged more like 45mpg - but without using a measured amount in both bikes and riding the same route, it's also possible that it's just calibration of the tank senders etc. The only items I haven't yet refitted to the new bike are the bar risers and the cruise control system, neither of which were greatly missed on the Euro trip, although the cruise would have been nice on a few of the motorway slogs. Meanwhile the '54-plate is pretty much back to factory standard now, just the rear wheel to reinstate to make it original.

UPDATE 190823

Some of the last update was a bit waffly so I've edited it :D Not much to report: following this year's Euro trip I had a few days up in Scotland with the usual posse of mates. This year the bikes included a KTM Superduke, a 1290GT, BMW GS1250, the new Multistrada V4, a Multistrada 1200 twin, Honda Crossrunner... and me on the Queen Mary. A few days after I got back I realised that in the closing miles of the trip I'd picked up a bloody nail through the back tyre and had another puncture to repair. I've also recently noticed that the right-hand silencer has picked up a dent which definitely wasn't there when I bought it. I'm usually pretty careful, so I'm not sure what I've clipped or leaned against to have done that.

Other than that, both bikes are still in fine fettle - the old bike hasn't been out much though, must look into selling it soon.

UPDATE 121023

Not much to add really, just checking-in to keep the site up. Following this year's Italy and Scotland trips the 'new' bike hasn't been out much and the 54-plate even less - it's still about 400 miles short of 80,000. No issues to report; in recent weeks I've looked around the internet trying to get a spare pair of Michelins in 4GT or 5GT but with no success. I can get a new 6GT for the rear but the front is as yet unavailable (and may never be; 18" rims are not popular) - and the price! Ye gods. I contemplated the cheap option, which was a pair of the BT023's the 'new' bike arrived with... but then discovered that Bridgestone have a new(ish) tyre called the T32GT, retailing at around the same price as a pair of Michelin 5GTs. I had one last card up my sleeve: rang a local tyre place that is popular with local bikers (I've bought from them in the past) ... but their 'supply only' prices were on a par with what I could pay on the internet, including delivery, whereas I'd have a 10 mile round trip to collect them from the local shop. Trivial, I know, but there was a clincher: the online place offers Klarna 3-instalment payments, interest free. I know, I know: you're still spending the money, but at least it hangs around in my savings account earning interest for a bit longer :D

Before we went to Italy I swapped the BT 023 for my spare Road 5GT and I had the impression the Bridgestone was a lot less supple than the Michelin when wrestling with them. That got me thinking that the new T32GTs might also be a bit stiff, so I started looking around to see what might be available in the way of bike tyre fitting machinery. Next thing you know, of course, I wondered how hard it would be to build something! The answer can be found here...

UPDATE 230224

I'm sure some of you hardy souls will have been out this year already but my bikes are still tucked away till things warm up a bit more. Over the winter I've revisited heated seats (or the control thereof) and replacing the ST mirrors. You might recall that my '14-plate bike (now pushing ten years old!) arrived with both mirrors smashed to bits and I ended up buying a pair of used ones once I realised it was impossible to get original glasses for them. I found a place that did stick-on replacements but they weren't a great fit and relied on the broken mirror still being intact enough to prevent it from falling out and taking the new one with it! I found a guy on Ebay selling what he claimed were 2mm thick mirror tiles, more than large enough for my purpose. When I queried something with him he admitted that the tiles were more like 2.4mm thick: when a pair arrived I found they are actually 2.5mm. You may think that's not really an issue, however the ST mirror backs are moulded from polypropylene and have a lip that wraps over the edge of the glass to retain it (along with a sticky pad behind the glass). If the glass is too thick then the lip won't 'wrap'. On examination, there are a number of 'pips' moulded into the mirror back at various locations behind the glass and these effectively hold the glass against the back of the surrounding lip. I thought that if necessary the height of the pips could be reduced (with a soldering iron) allowing the glass to sit further in and permitting the wrapped edge to fit properly.

With that decided and some shiny new mirror glass, there was only one thing left to do: cut the bloody shapes out. Accurately. And without breaking anything. I went in search of glass cutters. Some Ebaying and reading a few online articles led me to the Toyo range of cutters and I bought a TC-10, essentially a heavy brass handle with a tiny carbide cutting wheel on the end. I'd never cut glass in my life but I experimented with cutting slices from one of the tiles until I thought I knew what I was doing (ahem) and then got to it. I polished up a tile, positioned a paper template taken from the most intact of the broken glasses, drew around it with an indelible marker and put cutter to glass.

It was a bit hair-raising every time a piece parted company but eventually I had something that looked like an ST13 mirror albeit with a few raggy bits around the edge. These were dressed off with an Aldi diamond sharpening block (nearest thing I have to a diamond file but the effect is much the same) and with a bit of heat to help the process the polyproplylene back was persuaded to flex far enough to accept the new glass.

Thus emboldened I proceeded to cut the second tile, sadly this one has a few chips out of the back edge which pulled some of the silvering off but it still works - either of them is better than how they arrived and I have another useful tool. Just one cautionary note: the original Honda glasses have a backing that resembles masking tape in colour and texture but is a lot tougher and serves to keep all the shards together if the glass gets broken, rather than allowing them to fall out and be a hazard to tyres. Or people.

So, heated seats (again). Having realised that Honda used a more universal heated grip system, I worked out that for any given bike, the grips themselves (the heat level button being integral with the left-hand one) are standard, as is the 'relay' or controller module; what differs is the wiring loom that connects the bits together. I bought a used module (ex-VFR800 I think) and a new, unused loom for a Forza 125 (it was cheap). I traced the circuitry and found that the grips are electrically fed in parallel, rather than series as was the original design of the ST-specific system with the inset controller. This should mean that when used as a heated seat control, it will work with either one or both seats plugged-in. All I need to do now is replicate the power control button circuit, probably in the same module as I created for the heated grips. When I get a minute...

UPDATE 150324

Forgot to mention I bought a new satnav: having completed 30 years in my current job I decided I deserved a treat and since the company didn't bother, I treated myself \:o| Had the Rider 400 for a few years now and it seems TomTom (and Garmin) are reducing their commitment to standalone satnavs as more and more bikes and cars have integrated systems. So I thought, while the TT Rider 550 is still about I'll grab one of those, sell the 400 to recoup some of the outlay and quite possibly the new one will last till I'm too old and creaky to ride :O The price of the 550 is creeping lower, veeeery slowly, at time of writing they're about £285. I note that they've had to change the rear casing to incorporate the post-Brexit 'UKCA' conformity mark, which might be a way to tell if you're buying an earlier unit. I imagine that legally they can't sell them without the mark (like it bloody matters) but you never know what stock might be lurking in dark warehouses. I should probably have gone for the Premium edition as it comes with a car mount too, but since most of the time I use it on 4 wheels I'm in the company van, I guess technically they ought to provide the necessary bits. I'm not holding my breath.

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