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Honda’s full metal packet

2010-11-15 12:49

Dave Fall

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Honda
Model Honda VT1300CX Custom chopper
Engine 1300cc V-twin
Power 42.5kW at 4250rpm
Torque 107Nm at 2250rpm
Transmission Five-speed, shaft drive
Zero To Hundred 4sec (est)
Top Speed 160km/h (est)
Fuel Tank 12.8 litres
Weight 309kg
Price R133 999
Honda’s first attempt at building a truly customised, factory-level, chopper-type motorcycle for 2010 seems to have ticked all the right boxes for bike enthusiasts for this type of bike in the US already — but what about their popularity in other parts of the world?

Such as South Africa.

With sales of the Honda VTX chopper having reached close to 100 000 since their US introduction back in 2003 it’s little wonder that this remarkable company (the largest engine manufacturer in the world is just one their accolades) is able to set aside a dedicated factory to churn out the customised VT1300CX, a completely radical machine that’s a real hoot to ride.

By their very nature customised choppers are extremely difficult to build. I’ve a pal here in Cape Town who is trying such a task as we speak and such are his medium to long plans he already rents a small factory to house all the pipe-bending equipment, welders and so fort… the bike is taking shape, that’s for sure — but ultimately at what cost?


I suppose, if you say it quickly, R133 999 isn’t such a lot of money for the bike you see above… you’d be hard-pushed to identify it as something that emanates from the East though, as there are just two small Honda nameplates to be found on this boulevard cruiser … so it’s pedigree and exclusiveness remains ensured to the casual eye!

This is the Honda VT750S’ big brother that was launched earlier this year, that’s for sure!

First impression before actually riding the VT1300CX was of one pure minimalism — well, that and the fact that the wheelbase seemed almost unwieldy — clearly not the case, because it’s a very easy bike to ride.

The best pillion passenger in the world wasn’t charmed… she took one look at the minuscule rear seat and a full-scale row almost ensued there and then as I blatted out of the driveway towards Simonstown to enjoy what turned out to be a fun ride at least equal if not better than a certain machine with a double-barrelled name…

That’s the rub with bikes of this type (although the wife would always put up a good argument against), a cruiser/chopper-type bike is really just for the single rider. It’s for those lazy Sunday morning rides when you want to just get away from it all, meet up with some mates and take in a breakfast somewhere.


Engine revs, fast pull-offs, winning traffic-light drags and top speed will never be mentioned over the munching of egg-‘n-bacon rolls and countless cups of coffee, either, I’d wager.

All of those classic, customised, hallmarks can be found at Honda showrooms if you decide to take closer look at the VT1300CX. The ubiquitous yet decidedly lusty vee-twin motor, albeit liquid-cooled, is very-much present and booming out all the right noises through the pseudo slash-cut exhaust pipes.

The seat height is extremely low at 678mm and the swoopy, ultra-long fuel tank is good only for trips of around 200km. The tear-drop headlight and classical speedometer in its diamond binnacle proved informative and extremely stylish but it’s the radically raked forks (32°) that will set the tongues wagging from knowledgeable folk as to who is the manufacturer of this particular machine … nice touch, Honda!

Final drive is a shaft — and there’s certainly nothing wrong with this non-maintenance item.


Perhaps the pièce de résistance (and a feature, as far as I’m aware) only found on this particular chopper is the superb anti-lock brakes. While “linked” brakes aren’t possibly such big news it’s a bold step to implement them on a bike such as this. Factor in a whopping 200/50 R18 fat takkie on the bike and it’s fair to say this particular chopper goes — and stops.

Two colours are available: graphite black and blue-wave metallic. The latter definitely being the better choice, I reckon. While the longish wheelbase of 1805mm might seem a little intimidating, once mobile and with your feet resting firmly in the forward pegs, the horizon can only beckon — surely a very good reason for owning a bike of this type?

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