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Okay, what has a twin-lop steel frame, dual shocks on the rear, and a dirty great four-cylinder powerplant? Yep, your typical universal Japanese motorcycle (UJM). The basic specs may not have changed much in the last 30 or so years, but I have to say the

Honda's CB1300 is living proof that the UJM is alive and well, and still a hoot to ride.

Wot's this then?

We've pretty much given the game away already, but the spec sheet, if you squint a little, could be swapped for all sorts of machines since Honda spooked the bike world in 1968-69 with its then mighty CB750-Four.

The powerplant is a newly-developed liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, in-line four with four valves per pot, and claiming around 115ps at 7500rpm with a max toque figure of 117Nm at 6000. This is mated to a five-speed gearbox (wet clutch) and chain final drive.

suspension is conventional 43mm fork up front and dual shock rear, while braking is via triple discs - four-piston jobs up front and single rear. That's hauling up a claimed dry weight of 224kg. Seat height is 790mm, while the broad steel fuel tank holds 21 litres. A 5'8" (170cm) could get the balls of their feet on the ground.

Wot's it like?

You may have noted the 115ps power claim, which is pretty modest for an engine this size. While it may not instantly shred the stock Dunlop Sportmax rubber, it will give it a fair old hiding and just might surprise a few people with its grunt-at-any-revs performance. Actually we loved it. Super smooth, and very accessible power. As a package, it feels very much like a milder Blackbird.

Something which mystifies us is the fitting of a manualchoke/fast idle switch on the side of the engine, given it's running the factory injection. Weird, and we ended up ignoring it, as the bike starts first time every time without it - even in mid-winter Melbourne.

Gearshift and clutch are hassle-free, and we like the conventional brake set-up. The latter offered good power and feel.

Seating is generous and well thought-out, with the only proviso being there's not a lot of pillion legroom, thanks to the upswept exhaust. Speaking of which, the muffler is enormous. We like the inclusion of ample luggage strap hooks.

Steering is surprisingly light, once you get over the slightly top-heavy feel - particularly with a full tank of fuel. Suspension is well sorted, providing a comfy ride and a respectable level of control once you up the pace.

There's no real surprises in the instrumentation - it's analogue presentation has all the info you're likely to want, including a clock.

This is one bike that has us fumbling around for the credit card. It raises the naked bike game by a substantial notch and is on the must-ride list if you happen to come across a demo.

Price is $14,750 (plus ORC), which we reckon is good value.

Story: Guy Allen

Published : Friday, 25 July 2003
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Editorial prices shown are a "price guide" only, based on information provided to us by the manufacturer. Pricing current at the time of writing editorial. Pricing prior to editorial dated 25 May 2009 may refer to RRP. Due to Clarity on Pricing legislation, RRP for those editorials now means "price guide". When purchasing a bike, always confirm the single figure price with the seller of an actual motorbike or accessory. Click here for further information about our Terms & Conditions.