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Honda ST1100 Pan European (1990-2001): Review & Buying Guide

Massively experienced road tester



1990 Honda ST1100 Pan European Review Used Price Spec_01



Price: £1300-£4500 | Power: 101bhp | Weight: 297kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


Is the Honda ST1100 Pan European really now over 30 years old? It seems incredible that a bike so old is still held in such high regard by so many owners. But there again, if you get it right, as Honda most certainly did with the original Pan, why should age matter that much? So what did Honda get so right with the Pan? Where do we start...

Released in 1990, the Pan European’s name gives away its purpose in life. This full-dress tourer was designed from the very outset to allow its rider (with a pillion) to merrily explore Europe (or just the UK) in total comfort and without any worry in their mind about reliability. A task countless Pans have more than succeeded in achieving over the years.

Built with absolutely no corners cut, the Pan European is Honda displaying what they do best – engineering a rock-solid machine that will just run and run. It is no coincidence that stories of Pans with over 100,000 miles on their clocks are commonplace and a few have even topped 250,000! And it is also why so many of the emergency services also picked the Pan as their two-wheeled vehicle of choice.

Nowadays used Pan Europeans can be found for incredibly little money, making this highly accomplished mile-muncher a tempting prospect either for a cheap tourer or a reliable commuter. It may not (arguably) be that sexy but when it comes to the important things in life, the ST1100 Pan European still has plenty left to offer.


Honda ST1100 Pan European (1990-2001) Price

Back in the 1990s a Pan would have set you back close to £10,000, which was a lot of money but you were also getting a lot of bike. Unsurprisingly nowadays they can be had for far less! If you search online auction sites you can pick up a ‘project’ Pan for under £1000, which is best avoided as ‘project’ often translates to ‘basket case’ and is effectively a spares bike. Aim to spend £1500 and you will get a high-ish mileage (can 50,000 miles really be classed as high on a Pan?) bike that has been used and looked after while a dealer will ask upwards of £2000 for one with also 50,000 on its clocks. This does say a lot about a Pan as the fact a dealer will sell one (and often include a warranty) tells you they have confidence in the bike. The top end of the Pan price range is £4500 but in truth that’s a bit silly. Aim to spend £2500 and as long as it has been looked after, that should be a sound investment that won’t let you down. And if you have the room, maybe buy a basket case bike to strip for spares and even practice some maintenance on to save yourself cash in the long run!


  • High build quality

  • Very comfortable

  • Good reliability

  • It’s an old bike so may throw up faults

  • Quite heavy at low speed

  • The look is a bit dated


Engine and Performance

Honda have long championed the V4 engine format and that’s what the Pan runs. Although more expensive to build than an inline four, this format of motor has lots of advantages and Honda were also pretty clever about how they mounted it in the Pan’s frame. With its cylinder heads exposed on both sides of the bike rather than tucked away within, the Pan’s V4 is nice and easy to get to when it comes to service time (more on this later) and also quite narrow at the bike’s waist, meaning the Pan’s weight is less of an issue as riders can easily get both feet on the ground.

Despite only having five gears the V4 motor is a real beauty and perfect for its role in life. Relaxed, pleasingly vibe-free and gutsy in its mid-range, the Pan’s engine is super-linear and effortless to ride, soaking up miles like a sponge. And reliable, meticulously reliable! But you do need to keep an eye on a few things...

There are few major worries when it comes to a Pan but one thing that is increasingly becoming an issue is the swingarm. The shaft drive system (no messy chains, it’s a classy tourer) is solid but the swingarm itself can rust through and that is obviously very bad news. The only way to really get a proper look at the problematic area is to remove the rear wheel, which isn’t always practical, so using a torch get on your hands and knees and look for bubbling up of the paint and even give it a prod with a screwdriver if the seller lets you. Owners report that as the centre stand is located in the same area (as is the exhaust collector box, which also rusts) this can be used as a gauge – if the stand is heavily rusted, be extra cautious about the state of the swingarm.

High mile Pans are common and mileage is seldom an issue for the motor as long as the bike has been serviced regularly. The only real worry is the cam belt, which needs to be changed at 90,000 miles but if it is an original belt, it may be worth swapping it out sooner to be safe. There are lots of ‘how to’ guides online and it’s not a massively tricky operation – although it can often open a can of worms... To get to the belt (which is located on the front of the motor) you need to drain the radiator and that’s when old pipes can snap as this area is in direct line of fire from road crap. Not only that, bolts can seize, etc etc... A new belt costs about £70 for a genuine Honda item but if things start to go wrong, the bill can quickly escalate... It is also worth checking when the valve clearances were last inspected. Again, the positioning of the engine makes this a fairly simple job (if you know what you are doing, there are loads of videos online) but it often gets missed and incorrect gaps can lead to poor fuel economy or even engine issues. If the bike runs poorly or is down on power, it might be the valve clearances or (more likely) it could be down to the carbs, which can hole their diaphragms or suffer from blocked jets. Neither is a massive job to sort.

As you would expect on an older bike, electrical issues are starting to raise their head but these are very hard to check for. Older Pans (pre-1996) had a 28A alternator, which is weaker than the updated item (40A) and can fail, and relays go down (especially the starter relay). It’s an old bike so the chances are you may encounter a few issues but they are generally small and easy to fix/ignore rather than major mechanical woes.



Honda ST1100 Pan European (1990-2001) Handling & Suspension

Despite its obvious bulk, the Pan is a good handling bike. You would never describe its handling as sporty but it is solid, predictable and even when fully loaded up, unlikely to develop any worrying weave (cough, ST1300...). The suspension, which was upgraded in 1996 to larger 43mm forks, is set softly and by now will almost certainly need a refresh. As the Pan is so popular, fork rebuild kits are common and so are replacement shocks, both of which make a noticeable improvement to the bike’s handling. Well, as long as the rest of the chassis is ok!

When buying used, check the wheel and head bearings for play as they may well be on their way out now and also the whole bike for crash damage. As the Pan has a full fairing, some damage may be hidden so look at the fairing’s gaps to see if they all line up neatly, if not there may be a bend in their mountings caused by an incident. The Pan actually has crash bars built into the bike as standard, which are located behind plastic covers. Using a screwdriver, remove these covers and see what the bars look like behind – new covers are cheap to replace whereas the steel bars are expensive...

When it comes to the Pan’s brakes, it is the usual story for sliding calipers. Always check that they aren’t seized on their sliders by spinning the front wheel and listening for dragging and also ensure the discs have both lots of wear left on them and also aren’t warped. Honda added C-ABS to the Pan in 1996, which is when the calipers went from two to three-pistons, a system that not all owners like. It’s personal choice and it can be bypassed if the bike isn’t an ABS model through a new brake line kit.



Comfort & Economy

As you would expect, the Pan is a very comfortable bike that allows you to easily see off its 250-mile range in comfort. A few owners find the standard screen too low bit that’s no drama and is easily sorted with a taller aftermarket replacement. Most owners record mid to high 40s figures for economy with 46mpg about average. That said, those who are very conservative make it well into the 50mpg numbers. If the bike records noticeably less, it is worth investigating further as it may be a carb or even valve-clearance issue.



Honda ST1100 Pan European (1990-2001) Equipment

The Pan has quite a high spec list with panniers (35-litre) fitted as standard. ABS was an optional extra from 1992 onwards and this version even came with a very rudimentary form of traction control called TCS. Very rudimentary, don’t rely on it! When buying used, always check the dash to see if the TCS and ABS warning lights illuminate when the ignition is turned on and then go out when the bike is moving. If not, there is an issue with the system and that could be costly to rectify.

When it comes to extras a lot of Pans have a taller screen fitted and heated grips and 12v inputs are common. Honda never sold the Pan with a top box as standard, but loads have one fitted. Ideally get an OE Honda item as it should have the same key as the panniers but if it’s an aftermarket item it’s not a huge drama. Upgraded lights are also a common addition alongside better performing alternators and replacement exhausts.



Honda ST1100 Pan European (1990-2001) Rivals

Pan owners tend to use the bike for either touring or commuting and many have had more than one in their lifetime. Expect them to have a good working knowledge of the bike and be quite happy to break out the spanners for routine servicing etc.


Kawasaki GTR1000 (1986-1999)  | Approx Price: £1000-£2000

Power/Torque: 110bhp/73lb-ft | Weight: 258kg


BMW K1200GT (2003-2005)| Approx Price: £1200-£2500

Power/Torque: 130bhp/86lb-ft | Weight: 266kg


Yamaha FJR1300 (2001-2005) | Approx Price: £1500 - £3000

Power/Torque: 141bhp/99lb-ft | Weight: 292kg



Honda ST1100 Pan European (1990-2001) Verdict

The ST1100 Pan European has built up a reputation for reliability as well as ease of use, making it a great option for either a budget-friendly tourer or commuter. Yes, you are always taking a chance in terms of reliability buying any old bike but when it comes to a Pan, the odds are very much stacked in your favour.


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Honda ST1100 Pan European (1990-2001) – Technical Specification spec

Original price


Current price range




Bore x Stroke

73mm x 64.8mm

Engine layout

90-degree V4

Engine details

DOHC, 16v, liquid-cooled


101bhp (74kW) @ 7500rpm


82lb-ft (111Nm) @ 6000rpm

Top speed



5-speed, shaft final drive

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

28 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

280 miles

Reserve capacity

35 miles

Rider aids

Optional TC and ABS


Tubular steel

Front suspension

43mm telescopic forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension


Rear suspension adjustment

Rebound and spring preload adjustable

Front brake

2 x 296mm discs, three-piston calipers. (two-piston pre-1996)

Rear brake

296mm disc, three-piston caliper. (two-piston pre-1996)

Front tyre

110/80 - 18

Rear tyre

160/70 – 17


27.5°/ 101mm

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2285mm x 935mm x 1405mm



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight

297Kg Dry


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