Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents -

A den­tist needs her first daily-driven car.

‘For rid­ers who are will­ing to trade modern fea­tures for clas­sic styling’

Do you remember how your dad’s big bikes looked like? If he rode some­time in the early ’80s un­til the late ’90s, he would’ve prob­a­bly owned a mus­cle bike—one that was stocky, decked in chrome, and boasted a long wheel­base, big turn­ing lights, a skinny tele­scopic front fork, a plain ana­log in­stru­ment panel, long ex­haust pipe, and a ca­ble-op­er­ated clutch and brake sys­tem.

Th­ese two-wheel­ers that once ruled the roads were seen as sta­tus sym­bols, and peo­ple re­garded their rid­ers as strong and de­ter­mined. No mat­ter that mus­cle bikes had lim­ited fea­tures—dur­ing that era, what mat­tered most were big, pro­trud­ing steel frames and swing arms and large fuel tanks made of metal sheets.

Un­like the much lighter present-day mo­tor­cy­cles, th­ese big bikes hardly used any plas­tic ma­te­ri­als; both in looks and feel, they were very solid. Their sizes and shapes made them truly wor­thy of the ‘big bike’ la­bel. The rid­ers never com­plained about the bikes’ weight be­cause there were fewer cars back then, so ma­neu­ver­ing th­ese burly steeds on the streets was eas­ier.

Such was the pop­u­lar­ity of mus­cle bikes that Ja­panese mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers took a shot at pro­duc­ing their own ver­sions. Th­ese awe­some ma­chines have had their hey­day, too.

One iconic model is the Honda CB1300. First pro­duced in 1998, this clas­sic stan­dard fol­lowed the CB1000. Both bikes of­fered not only ter­rific styling, but also a more com­fort­able ride. In fact, the CB1300 con­tin­ues to be so suc­cess­ful that it’s still be­ing man­u­fac­tured in Ja­pan up to now. It has be­come an epit­ome of a mo­tor­bike with time­less de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing.

Its 1,284cc liq­uid-cooled, 16-valve, in-line four en­gine is still the best for rid­ers who are will­ing to trade modern fea­tures for old, clas­sic styling and bul­let­proof re­li­a­bil­ity. Even bet­ter, the CB1300 Su­per Four’s re­sale value (as well as that of other big bikes with clas­sic fea­tures, in gen­eral) is more sta­ble com­pared with other mo­tor­cy­cle cat­e­gories.

We’re still wait­ing for Honda Philip­pines to start sell­ing mo­tor­cy­cles with big en­gine dis­place­ments, but re­cently, we stum­bled upon a brand-new CB1300 at 7 Power Mo­tors and Trad­ing in Bangkal, Makati. Rayner Lorenzo, the com­pany’s owner, has four units of the CB1300 Su­per Four in red/white, red/gray, and solid me­tal­lic black color schemes, each priced at P780,000. Lorenzo says there are many CB400 Su­per Four own­ers in the Philip­pines right now, and he be­lieves that many of them are dream­ing to up­grade to the CB1300.

The new units are al­most the same in form, size and shape as the ones from the early 2000s, ex­cept that Lorenzo’s CB1300s are equipped with ad­vanced elec­tronic fuel-in­jec­tion and ABS. He claims, too, that the dou­ble-cra­dle frame is now lighter. That said, present-day CB1300s are still equipped with dou­ble 310mm, four-pis­ton caliper brakes in front and a sin­gle disc at the back, as well as 130/70 ZR17 front and 190/60 ZR17 rear tires, twin shocks with ad­justable spring load, a huge 21-liter fuel tank, and square side mir­rors in chrome. Thanks to the im­proved fuel-man­age­ment sys­tem, the av­er­age con­sump­tion of this hand­some beast is 16km/L.

The CB1300 looks amaz­ing in the flesh— it’s no won­der it has en­dured decades of tight com­pe­ti­tion and con­tin­ues to be highly re­garded by mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­asts. When I first saw it be­ing rolled out of Lorenzo’s garage, I had goose­bumps all over. Its long, stain­lesssteel ex­haust sys­tem looked im­mac­u­lately clean and shiny. I had a flash­back of CB1300s as po­lice bikes and es­cort units for VIPs—they are fit­ting sym­bols of au­thor­ity. The rich her­itage of this Ja­panese mus­cle bike al­most made me kneel in front of it as a gesture of re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion. I’d com­pare it to the leg­endary Land Rover De­fender, which lived on for decades with very min­i­mal changes.

Har­ley-David­son used to mo­nop­o­lize the her­itage-bike mar­ket, but Honda wants to break this by con­tin­u­ing the pro­duc­tion of the CB1300 Su­per Four. It’s not clear yet if it will be among the big bikes that Honda Philip­pines plans to bring in come the end of 2017. It would be awe­some to see the CB1300 along­side the Ja­panese brand’s long line of new of­fer­ings. The CB1300 Su­per Four could well get the loudest ap­plause from the dads and titos among the wel­com­ing party.

HONDA CB1300 SU­PER FOUR En­gine: 1,284cc, in-line 4-cylin­der, liq­uid-cooled Power: 100hp @ 7,000rpm Torque: 114Nm @ 5,500rpm Trans­mis­sion: 6-speed Fi­nal drive: chain Seat height: 30.7in

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