What's a sports touring motorcycle then?

Not surprisingly, sport touring motorcycles are a cross between a sportsbike and a touring model. Whereas sport bike engines have the focus on horsepower, those of a sport touring bike have a greater mid-range torque. Curiously enough, when compared to the ST1300, the ST1100 is considered more of a tourer - and the ST1300 more sporty.

For a sports touring motorcycle, it's also an attempt to combine performance with comfort, safety, and long-distance capabilities. Fairings are usually larger, and the riding position is more upright and comfortable. (I can personally vouch for that; my ST1100 went in for a service a couple of years ago and I was given a loan motorcycle for the day, a Kawasaki GPZ500. My neck was aching at the end of the day, and I was very happy indeed to sit astride the Pan once more!)

A sports tourer usually has greater ground clearance than a pure touring motorbike (e.g. the Honda GL 1800 Gold Wing), so it has a more sporty feel on twisting roads ("twisties").

There is also more of an opportunity to customise the bike, adding aftermarket accessories known as farkles.

Contrary to popular belief, although the ST1100 is not just for men over a certain age. Women are more than capable of riding one.

Overall dimensions:

Wheelbase All models 1555mm
Length All models 2285mm
Width UK L,M,N,P,R,S,T and V models, US 1991 to 1997 835mm
UK W,X,Y and 1 models, US 1998 to 2002 935mm
Height UK L,M,N,P and R models, US 1991 to 1994 1395mm
UK S,T,V,W,X,Y and 1 models, US 1995 to 2002 1405mm
Seat height All models 800mm
Dry weight UK L,M,N,P,R 283kg
UK S,T,V,W,X,Y,1 287kg
UK AN,AP and AR ABS/TCS 293kg
UK AW,AX,AY and A1 CBS-ABS/TCS 299kg
US 1991 to 1994 284kg
US 1995 to 2002 288kg
US ST1100A 1992 to 1994 ABS/TCS 297kg
US ST1100A 1995 to 2002 LBS/ABS/TCS 298kg
Ground clearance All models 145mm

Engine and exhaust:

Longitudinal liquid-cooled 16-valve DOHC 90° V4
Displacement 1085 cc
Bore x Stroke 73 x 64.8mm
Cylinder compression 1200 - 1600 kPa
Carburettors : 4 x CV-type with 34.5mm throttle bore
Maximum power output 99.93 hp (73.5kW at 7500rpm)
Maximum torque 111 Nm at 6000 rpm
Ignition: Fully transistorised electronic with electronic advance.
Electric Starter
5-speed cassette-type transmission
Battery: 12V, 12Ah
Alternator (*see footnote): 40A, air-cooled. Earlier models had a problematic 28A alternator which struggled to provide the power for the various owner-installed accessories like auxiliary lighting.

Final drive is delivered to the rear wheel of the motorcycle via a low-maintenance enclosed drive shaft with integrated dampers. No more oiling of chains and replacing of sprockets! With regular oil changes as recommended in the manual, the shaft drive should last for, er, a very long time!

Speed: 0-60mph = 4.38 seconds
Quarter mile: 12.47 seconds @ 107.9mph (173.6 km/h)
Top speed 132mph (212.43 km/h)
Fuel consumption: 49.2 mpg (17.43km/l) (these figures are taken from my logbook. But then again I'm not a courier or despatch rider, most of my riding was, until recently, on motorways).

Fuel, Frame and Fairing:

The ST1100 boasts one of the largest motorcycle fuel tanks, a massive 28 litres, which gives it a range of over 300 miles (480km). Depending on how economically you ride it, of course!

All models have a full cradle twin spar steel frame. The left-hand side frame downtube can be detached to aid engine removal.

The ST1100 front suspension consists of a pair of oil-dampened air-assist telescopic forks with 150mm axle travel. Rear suspension consists of a single shock absorber, adjustable for spring pre-load and damping, acting with a steel swing arm, and has 120mm axle travel.

The Honda ST1100 crash bars are cunningly concealed at each side of the fairing, and covered by sacrificial knock-off sections on the bodywork.

Brakes and Wheels:

Wheels are made of hollow-section triple-spoke cast aluminium, designed for tubeless tyres.

ABS/TCS models were available from 1992 to 1995 with separate front and rear antilock brakes.

1996 and later models with ABS also had a front-rear linked braking system (LBS).

Front brakes: 296mm dual discs, dual combined twin (standard and ABS/TCS) or three (CBS/LBS-ABS/TCS) piston calipers, sintered metal pads.

Rear brakes: 296mm single disc, twin (standard and ABS/TCS) or three (CBS/LBS-ABS/TCS) piston caliper, sintered metal pads.


Standard and ABS/TCS models: Front 110/80 V18
Rear 160/70 V17
CBS/LBS-ABS/TCS models: Front 120/70 ZR18
Rear 160/70 ZR17


When new the ST1100 was presented as having the following:

  • The fairing and "Honda's Air Control WindscreenTM" were designed to offer excellent wind and weather protection, high-speed aerodynamics and low noise, and were tested in a wind tunnel
  • Not only was the front mudguard computer-engineered, but the integrated fork guards protect the vulnerable area of the front forks
  • Roomy cockpit
  • The large 28 litre fuel tank is situated below the seat to provide a low centre of gravity, and offers enormous touring range
  • The colour-matched 35-litre panniers are detachable and lockable
  • Breakaway rearview mirrors
  • Integrated front and rear indicators
  • Integrated fairing protectors for tip-over protection
  • Fairing-mounted quartz clock and headlight adjuster
  • Dual halogen headlights
  • Full instrumentation including fuel and temperature gauges
  • Integrated ignition switch and steering lock
  • A single ignition key also operates all other locks
  • The handlebar switches and controls use ISO graphic symbols which are internationally approved
  • Non-transferable three-year, unlimited-mileage limited warranty

* Alternator or Generator?
"Alternator" is jargon for "alternating current generator. In 1993 the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) discouraged the use of the term "alternator," instead recommending the proper term "generator." This is because all generators produce alternating current; this is converted into direct current by means of a rectifier. The key difference between an alternator and a generator lies in which parts rotate and which are fixed. In a generator, the wire windings (the armature) rotate inside a fixed magnetic field. In an alternator, the magnetic field is rotated inside wire windings (the stator). However, for a vehicle, I've always called it an alternator.
I just thought you'd like to know.

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