Author Four Months with a CT  (Read 1095 times)

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  • Offline Beratna   gb

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    Offline Beratna

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    Four Months with a CT
    on: Aug 07, 2021, 11.34 pm
    Aug 07, 2021, 11.34 pm
    I’ve had my 2018 Cross tourer now for three months... Here are a few thoughts...

    I bought it as a replacement for my 2008 Triumph Tiger, and even older 2002 Yamaha Fazer 1000, but specifically wanting a torquey road tourer capable of two up long distance touring, reliable, and still fast enough.

    I didn’t want a super modern machine with different engine maps, wheelie control, electrically adjustable suspension, etc... as I don’t trust it...  Plus from experience of times albeit years ago when I had a then modern BMW sadIy the “ultimate riding machine” experience came with disappointing hidden costs for all the stuff that went wrong.... 

    I’d ridden quite a few bikes, initially not keen on Honda,  the Pan European and Cross Tourer seemed too heavy, CBF 1000 similar to the Fazer (but down on power) and I had for the last few years been hankering after a Yamaha FJR1300, but was put off by the weight gain with each new model iteration, so an older model seemed to suit better.  The Kawasaki GTR  also seemed too heavy....  However I test rode an Africa Twin as was intrigued by the DCT but was worried  it would feel underpowered after the Fazer and Tiger.  I was wrong... whilst on paper the Africa twin has 25 to 30 bhp less power, in the real world it wasn’t a deal breaker and I also loved the DCT.  The Africa Twin (DCT) became my first choice as my next potential bike..

    Then I changed jobs, moved house, just as Covid 19 kicked off, and like the rest of the world had to march to a different tune for a while....  I had initially discounted the Cross tourer when I read about the weight, thinking it would be too heavy and finding some not so good reviews and that it was boring to ride...  Then I found the forum here and some good articles and realised that the Cross tourer on paper anyway was probably one of the best matches for my needs, reliable and good value for money.  I managed to test ride a manual one, and whilst I loved the planted feel, engine and torque, I found the suspension was a bit bouncy and throttle snatchy, but then I didn’t have time to set the suspension for 2 up, and these were things that I could have adjusted if I’d had the time.  However otherwise both Mrs and I liked it, plus a quick spin without without a pillion highlighted how easy and competent it is 2 up and solo.  Given that I loved the DCT I finally bought a DCT Cross Tourer not road tested and unseen (other than photos and videos) and here I am....

    So a few months later I am very happy with it, and have just spent a week touring with the Mrs, and we had a great time on the Cross Tourer, over a range of different roads from motorways to little twisties and even managed a nifty set of hair pins whilst going up a 1 in 4 gradient....   That was an unexpected worrisome /  exciting moment but the big Honda took this in its stride....  The MPG was good ranging from 49 to 51, and all whilst 2 up fully laden with Shad panniers, a top box and tank bag...  I found that perhaps the most awkward thing about the bike and which needs to be treated with some planning and respect is its weight... Moving it around with the engine off on an uphill parking lot and adverse camber is not fun, especially when you have forgotten to take the parking brake off!  Also although surprisingly nimble and fun cornering,  pushing hard over crests and dips in the road you just need that extra split second to allow the weight to settle before you commit to your next line for that sweeping right hander that’s coming up...


    Notwithstanding the weight, I was therefore perplexed about the mixture of reviews,  that I have read about it being boring, heavy and uninspiring, and other opinions which were the opposite! I have now had enough experience riding it to offer my own opinion that it’s fast, reliable and comfortable...  I think the relaxed engine, big torque and planted feel gives the impression that it’s hardly trying and that little adjustable screen  is a lot more effective than it looks...   As a result much of the time you don’t realise just how fast you are going.  With the screen in the high position I can ride at 70mph with my modular helmet in open face mode and still not need to put my visor down.   For a lot of overtakes you don’t even need to change gear....  This bike is less about that visceral feeling you get from dropping 2 Gears, & listening to the engine howl as you hang on whilst you rocket past, that line of slow moving cars....  It’s more about do you really need to fuss about dropping about 2 gears to rocket past when merely opening the throttle will do the trick and treat you to that V4 rumble becoming a little more urgent as you glide past...  Of course you can drop a gear or two if you like and go really fast and amazingly still feel quite laid back about it, and all whilst still keeping up with your mates who are on crotch rockets... 

    To my mind or at least my style of riding on the Cross Tourer it excels about being laid back, competent and getting to your destination quickly, un-fussed and in comfort.... Then when you have got to where you are going, you find you could go a bit further if you wanted to rather than having to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down to ease aching muscles.... Either that or perhaps I am just getting older!

    For the most part I tend to ride in drive, and override the gears dropping down as needed for overtakes and letting the bike decide when to change back up. When you want that more visceral feel I keep the screen in the low position and tend to keep my helmet in open setting, and maybe switch the gears to manual or sports mode... 

    The sit up riding position is comfortable,  and good for a few hours at a time though I’ve suffered from numb bum syndrome on all my previous bikes, which starts after about 60 to 90 minutes in the saddle, so I usually stop for breather after that sort of time anyway.  Given the off road styling, riding standing up is comfortable and easy and affords a useful way to ease the numbness for a bit longer before you need to stop. 

    I find that despite the weight and DCT the bike is well balanced for slow speed as long as you cover the rear brake and are assertive.  I am still adjusting to the foot pegs being set further forward than what I was used to and need to be extra careful when stopping with a pillion on a hill or corner, but I suspect that’s maybe down to me adapting my slow speed technique to better suit the DCT and not having a clutch that you can slip as needed.  Covering the back brake and gentle use of the throttle is essential under these circumstances! 

    I have not found a problem with the throttle, which to me seems smooth enough, though when two up and fully loaded at low speed in sport mode the ride was more snatchy, but easily rectified by switching to drive, or changing to a higher gear.  I did notice however that after a day out riding a selection of small capacity lighter weight adventure bikes off road that when I first got back onto the cross tourer it did feel a bit too sensitive at first, but I soon got used to it again.

    My bike came with heated grips, auxiliary LED lights, a Honda top box, centre stand and plastic hand guards but without panniers or crash bars, so I had the latter fitted.  I went with hepco bars, and Shad panniers, and changed the small Honda top-box for a 46 litre Givi that I used to have on my Tiger....  My Mrs complained about the pannier rails being uncomfortably close to the rear foot pegs, so I replaced the foot pegs with some multi adjustable ones that also stick out a bit further, and that has made it much more comfortable for her.  I already had some bagster tank bags, so also invested in a second hand bagster tank cover, and finally some grip puppies as I found the standard hand grips quite narrow and not comfortable with thin summer gloves.

    I’ve just bought a “cool cover”  for the seat as have got this on my other bike and found it more comfortable by spreading your weight better across the seat, a bit like an air-hawk but much less bulky...  I tried it out for the first time today on the Cross tourer, and did 2 hours straight in the saddle before a mild numb bum syndrome began to start... so that’s a big improvement over stock seat.  As the name suggests it also keeps you cool by allowing air flow between your butt and the seat, and as a bonus in the rain allows it to drain better so you are never sitting in a puddle on a wet seat...

    I have also just changed the original battlewing tyres to Michelin 5 road trail, have just ridden 75 miles to scrub them in, and they seem to give more feedback and confidence then the battlewings, in fact I was surprised to see I have removed the chicken strips on the rear tyre, with just little ones still left on the front.....

    Compared to my old Fazer 1000 the main disadvantage is that the Cross tourer is much more of a handful to move around with the engine off, and not as easy to filter in heavy traffic. But on the road is much more comfortable, better weather protection, more torque, feels as fast, though not quite as agile or exciting. 

    Compared to the Tiger the Cross tourer again is not as agile or as exciting, but more is more comfortable and feels  faster, and surprisingly easier to handle at slow speed, especially with a pillion...  Also much more planted and stable at high speed..

    So, did I make the right choice?  Yes I think I did, I am pleased with the big Honda and am looking forward to more touring before the summer is out....







  • Offline maccduff   gb

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    Offline maccduff

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    Re: Four Months with a CT
    Reply #1 on: Aug 08, 2021, 10.35 am
    Aug 08, 2021, 10.35 am
     :031: good review , love my dct  :046:

  • Offline Pickaxe   gb

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    Offline Pickaxe

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    Re: Four Months with a CT
    Reply #2 on: Aug 16, 2021, 08.24 am
    Aug 16, 2021, 08.24 am
    A fair and balanced assessment.

    My use is mainly with a pillion and IMO the CT is one of only a few bikes that genuinely handles a passenger well. Although the CT is often described as boring, I find it relaxing to ride and don't feel the need to ride too aggressively. The real game changer for me however is the DCT gearbox, which without, I wouldn't be riding a CT.

  • Offline andyrob

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    Offline andyrob

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    Re: Four Months with a CT
    Reply #3 on: Aug 16, 2021, 09.18 am
    Aug 16, 2021, 09.18 am
    Great right up that. Glad you are enjoying the big beastie. Its no spec sheet hero but in the real world it just works great, touring or thrashing, taking it in its stride. Got a new set of PR5's too. Awesome tyre.

  • Offline DE65Y   gb

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    Offline DE65Y

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    Re: Four Months with a CT
    Reply #4 on: Aug 16, 2021, 10.21 am
    Aug 16, 2021, 10.21 am
    A good review that I agree with.

    Not having a DCT myself, I find that I hardly ever look down and find myself in 5th or 6th!
    I find the engine is so good, that 3rd and 4th give me the roll on roll off that I need most of the time.
    (And that includes the torque'y overtakes.)
    It only seems to be motorways where I use the extra two cogs that Honda put in the box!

  • Offline Pickaxe   gb

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    Offline Pickaxe

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    Re: Four Months with a CT
    Reply #5 on: Aug 16, 2021, 10.54 am
    Aug 16, 2021, 10.54 am
    *Originally Posted by DE65Y [+]
    A good review that I agree with.

    Not having a DCT myself, I find that I hardly ever look down and find myself in 5th or 6th!
    I find the engine is so good, that 3rd and 4th give me the roll on roll off that I need most of the time.
    (And that includes the torque'y overtakes.)
    It only seems to be motorways where I use the extra two cogs that Honda put in the box!

    You could probably remain in 2nd & 3rd but fuel mileage would suffer badly. The advantage of the high torque is you can select a higher gear at relatively low speeds and the engine will cope. With the DCT gearbox in D, the bike will often automatically reach 5th at 30 MPH and pull relatively easily, even two up.

    I know every rider has their own preferences with the DCT box and I favour using D most of the time and override it occasionally when the situation demands. On UK roads and keeping to speed limits (corrected to GPS accuracy of course) I get about 50mpg. If I use S2 and ride more enthusiastically,  the fuel consumption gets noticeably worse.

    Fuel consumption on the CT isn't great compared with bikes of similar performance, but it's consistent with other V4 Hondas I've ridden like Pan Europeans and the VFR800. However, if you're careful I find it's more acceptable than some reports I've seen.

     



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