Pros: Comfortable, good wind protection, 7.4 gallon fuel tank, low maintenance.
Cons: Heavy, hard on tires, high seat height, engine has moderate power.
I own a 1998 Honda ST1100 which now has 56k miles. This is my daily commuter vehicle and round trip to work for me is 60 miles.
People who own ST1100's are a very loyal and proud group. There are many reasons for this...
- Quiet, efficient, medium power, low maintenance 1100cc V4 motor. Valve adjustments are recommended at every 16k miles.
- Huge 7.4 gallon fuel cell. I get 340 miles per tank full and usually gas up at 300-320 miles. This is the most for any motorcycle.
- Great wind protection. Both head and body are well protected from the wind which for me is a huge plus since I drive in 100+ degree weather in Arizona.
- Excellent storage from the 2 hard saddle bags which are big enough to hold a full-face helmet. I've added a Givi Top box for added storage. Givi makes top notch hard bags.
- Very low maintenance. I change the oil every 3-4k miles and use synthetic oil. Hydraulic clutch, shaft drive, ease of oil filter location all make for easy maintenance.
- Decent power from the V4. Not outstanding power, just decent for most. Power comes on like a freight train.
- Good gas mileage. Most people get 40+ miles per gallon regardless of where they live.
- Comfortable riding position. I've added a set of Heli-Bars to make the riding position even more comfortable. I also added a Corbin seat which is expensive but well worth the cost.
- Handles well in straights and curves. For such a large, heavy bike, the ST1100 does handle well and straight highway riding is very comfortable.
Although this is an excellent motorcycle (trade rags say "one of the best ever built"), there are some ares for improvement and it looks like the new ST1300 has addressed some of them...
- This is a very heavy motorcycle, especially when you're just sitting on it not going anywhere. The ST1100 is over 700 lbs with fuel! I would like to see this bike trimmed down to 500lbs.
- The seat height is rather high, especially for the vertically challenged (like me!).
- The Honda V4 motor is adequate at best. I would like to see Honda use the CBR 1100XX motor in a ST like bike.
- If you're not on top of your tire pressure, you will square off your tires in no time. The trick is to keep maximum pressure in the tires at all times so they don't square off so quickly. I'm sure the weight has something to do with that.
Other than that, there's not much to gripe about! This is my 8th motorcycle I've owned and the first sports tourer. Now that I've owned the bike for so long and logged 56k miles, I can see why ST owners are so loyal. I cannot find a good reason to sell it and upgrade to a newer model sport tourer.
The bike that has tempted me the most is Yamaha's new FJR1300 (not enough for me to sell my ST). The FJR1300 has more power, lighter weight and an adjustable wind screen. All very nice features, especially the extra power.
The telling point of the ST is that although I could afford to upgrade my motorcycle, I like it so much that I choose not to. That says a lot about the bike.