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I took back roads down to Nashville and back Tuesday on the CTX700. The bike performed as I expected. The forward foot controls were not a problem. The lack of a windshield was a nuisance. I averaged just a hair under 70 mpg.


I bought this bike because I am tired of paying for a bunch of frilly features on the bigger, more expensive, touring bikes. I ride a lot of 400 mile days on back roads. I often hit 500 or even 600 miles in a day of sight-seeing. My previous bike was a Gold Wing. It was way too big for my needs. I had a couple of ST1100s that were great. But I no longer want something that sporty. The CTX700 has the potential to be a great fit for the style of riding I enjoy.


Here are some of my thoughts after my first real ride on the CTX:

Due to the small gas tank, I started looking for gas at 120 miles. In theory I should be able to ride a bit over 200 miles on a tank. I got gas twice in Kentucky and once in Tennessee. This is a major nuisance. If I decide to keep this bike, I'll put an aux tank over the passenger seat.
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The forward foot controls caused a bit of stiffness in my thighs while riding, but I was not sore at all the next morning. The seating position puts a lot of weight on my butt, but the seat seems to be designed well enough that it's not a problem.
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If I don't find an effective aftermarket windshield, I'll trade this bike. The only soreness I had was a slight bit in the shoulders due to the way a cruiser makes my body into a parachute. It is difficult to maintain a light grip on the bars at higher speeds. It is not easy to lean into the wind with your feet way out in front of your torso.

The other big negative about the lack of a windshield is that I have to wear a face shield on my helmet. This causes all manner of visibility issues. A proper touring bike with a windshield will collect bugs at a level below the rider's eyesight. On this bike, the choice is to accumulate bugs on the face shield or on the eyeglasses. That's OK for short runs, but the purpose of touring is to take in the sights over long distances. I don't want to stop for bug cleaning every 50 miles.

That plastic face shield turns my Polaroid prescription sunglasses into a safety hazard. The interaction causes me to be unable to distinguish slick surfaces from merely shiny surfaces. Since my eyes water at speed without the face shield, my only real option is to ride without my sunglasses. That works against the concept of a sight-seeing trip.

A good aftermarket windshield that lets me look just over the top will let me ride without the face shield. The taller Honda shield for this bike is a disaster. I bought the bike with it installed, but it put my head in the worst jackhammer air I've ever experienced. I ran a Clearview screen on my first ST1100 and a Cee Bailey screen on my second ST1100. Those were awesome and I am hoping someone will provide a good solution for the CTX. I keep checking the Madstat site, but so far I only see a shield for the N model.
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The DCT was really nice on this trip. My biggest complaint with automatic transmissions is that they always shift too late. They shift in response to changing conditions instead of in anticipation of changing conditions. This bike has buttons that let you shift manually even when you are riding in automatic. It also has buttons that let you easily change between automatic Drive mode, automatic Sport mode, or Manual mode on the fly. I rode nearly all of the trip in Sport mode. When I got to the twisty bits, I tapped the Manual button with my right forefinger and then shifted gears with my left forefinger and thumb. When I came out of the twisties, I tapped the Manual button again to toggle back into automatic Sport mode. This was sweet on roads like TN52 and KY192 that alternate between farmland and twisties. While riding in Sport mode, I could downshift manually as I started up a hill. When the bike stayed in 3rd a bit too long, I could manually upshift. This is the best automatic transmission I've ever used.

The upshifts are always very smooth. Downshifts can be a bit abrupt. In either automatic mode, it can downshift just as you apply the throttle in a tight curve. I don't expect this bike to get great rear tire life due to the abrupt downshifts.
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The bike has more than adequate power for this kind of touring. It does not rev up like the Wee Strom. But in the lower revs, it matches the Wee for performance. For this kind of touring, you don't need the higher revs. I had no trouble when I needed to pass slower traffic. I was able to move through heavy Nashville city traffic with ease. You wouldn't want to split lanes with theses saddlebags, but they come off easily.
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If I can get a good windshield, this bike will be more than adequate for my needs. It's not a sport bike and it's not something you'd want to ride from here to California. It's a nice cruiser that could become a great solo mid-range touring bike.
 

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Thanks for the review, agree about 3rd gear in Sport mode - won't shift into 4th if any throttle beyond mild is applied. Honda: please reprogram!

I was using manual at first but now I just use Sport auto and hit the up/down when I need to.
 

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Good review - thanks. As to the windscreen: I assume you visited the ST1100 forum when you had one (I had one too), and remember all the posts by people flailing around searching for the 'perfect' windscreen. Probably no one screen is right for everyone, but if we're patient some contenders with good reviews will emerge. I hope.
 

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Great review. I just ordered my bike last weekend and won't get to pick it up until this Friday. Same version as yours. Is there ANYONE here that is happy with the tall Honda windshield that I added to mine?????? Kinda discouraging. I know everyone is different as I thought my stock Silverwing windshield was great, but nearly everyone else upgraded to Clearviews or Givis back then. I am hoping it will be fine for me (fingers crossed).
 

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I am fine with the tall screen. I'm 5'4". I am also a new rider so I don't really have anything to compare it to except for the short one. I am glad I got it!
 

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Thank you for the very informative post. I am seriously thinking about the ctx but the issues with the windshield will need to be addressed before I can get one.
 

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Well, I think you will have to address the windshield issue yourself, unless Honda redesigns it for next year. There really is no issue, other than there is no windshield. You can install an after market one though.
 

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Great review and information on your trip and bike. I heard from Madstad yesterday - they are close to having a tall screen for the fairing version of the CTX...YAY!
 

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Great review and information on your trip and bike. I heard from Madstad yesterday - they are close to having a tall screen for the fairing version of the CTX...YAY!
Good to hear, I'm waiting!
 
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