Author: Jon Urry Posted: 29 May 2016
Why you want it:
The original ST1100 Pan European is quite simply a legend. This bike did more to break down European borders for riders than any other machine due to its ability to devour miles without even breaking a sweat. If you want a solid, reliable, comfortable and above all cheap and easy to live with machine to churn out the miles, nothing does it better than a Pan.
Launched in 1990, the Pan uses a V4 motor to give it stacks of low-down grunt, making it perfect for crossing continents. As well as this relaxed motor, Honda ensured ease of maintenance thanks to a shaft drive and then added a stack of practicality with huge panniers, a comfortable seat and a decent fairing. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, they also gave it has a massive 250-mile tank range and the kind of reliability that some bikes of the 1990s could only dream about. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Pan became an instant hit not only with tourers, but also commuters and even emergency services.
Even today a massive number of riders simply won’t look at any other bike than the ST1100 for their daily commuter or weekend and holiday tourer. This is the kind of machine that Honda built its reputation on and if you listen to the purists, the ST1100 is a superior machine to the ST1300 that replaced it. But that point is debatable…
What to look for:
The Pan European is an incredibly reliable machine and you have to expect an ST1100 will be carrying a few miles on its clocks. Distances of over 50,000 miles are very common and some top 100,000, which isn’t an issue as long as the bike has been serviced regularly. A high mileage bike with a full service history is a much better buy than a low mileage one with no history. Cosmetically and mechanically, the OE exhaust pipes love to rot where the collector box joins the silencer, so check this area. Loads of aftermarket firms make pipes for the Pan, but they will set you back a few quid. The biggest issue with the ST1100 stems from the swingarm, which rots from the inside out. Look underneath it for signs of rust or chipped paint and also inspect the seal area. The electrical system likes to throw up fault codes, which are generally down to faulty ABS sensors, so look on the dash for any illuminated lights and be wary of bikes with stacks of aftermarket extras bodged into the loom. Finally, give the suspension a very thorough check as not only do linkages seize, the forks and shock will probably be well past their best. Also check the brake calipers for sticking pistons. Watch out for white bikes, often they are ex-emergency services and have led a pretty hard and generally over-loaded life.
The ST1100 Pan European has led a long and fruitful life and as such has received a stack of updates. After it was launched in 1990, the 1992 model gained ABS as well as a very basic form of traction control in a higher specification version that cost a premium. 1995 saw very slight updates that included a taller screen, modified silencers and revalved suspension while the ABS system became combined in 1996 alongside some larger diameter forks. The ST1100 was replaced in 2002 by the ST1300 Pan European, much to owners’ dismay…
What to pay:
First generation Pan Europeans are always for sale and you can pick up an early model for as little as £1,800, which is a hell of a bike for very little money. That said, it will probably have nearly 50,000 miles on its clocks and a few scuffs. Up the price bracket to just over £2,000 and you can get an early 1990s model with ABS and again a fair few miles or a lower mileage example minus the ABS and TC. Crack the £3,000 marker and you are into the mid to late-1990s bikes, which are a better package while a very late 2001 or 2002 with low mileage will cost you closer to £3,500 – proving how popular early model Pans remain.
Who to ask:
www.pan-clan.co.uk - The UK Pan Owners Club, the Pan Clan, is a very active club and organizes loads of events via its website. If you need to know anything at all about Pans of any vintage, this is your one stop shop.
Engine: 1084cc, liquid-cooled longitudinal V4
Power: 100bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 79ftlb @ 6,000rpm