Around the turn of the century the Varadero was traded for a Honda ST1300 the Pan European in red.
The ‘Pan’ a V4 across the frame with its shaft drive was a very capable bike and as the name suggests, a long distance machine the ST referring to ‘Sports Tourer’. It was quick for a heavy bike (326kg wet) with really good brakes when you used front and back together which was important as it could arrive at junctions rather too quickly as one was cocooned behind the screen which gave the impression of nothing much going on. The pan could be hustled along and benefited around twistys by getting ones arse off the seat. It made it settle really nicely.
Now I suggested V4s and this came about when I randomly dropped into a small motorcycle shop and sitting there was a red, white and blue Honda NC30 VFR400R British model and I definitely heard it say “buy me” so having my 50th birthday very near that’s just what I did as my present to me. I still have it to this day.
This is a fantastic little bike. Surprisingly roomy, handles like a dream, turns on a sixpence, drop dead gorgeous to look at and sounds fabulous when the proper (front to back) V4 is wound up.
There is only one way to ride this and it is “ride it like you stole it” and it pays dividends.
I did my first ever track day on this which was at Cadwell Park which apart from the bottom straight was perfect for the NC30. As a novice I got blitzed by the 1000cc bikes on the straight only to end up being held up into Coppice after they scarred themselves going too fast. Stopping and turning in at the bottom of Mansfield was just a hoot though.
Been there many times since and turning in, up hill into Coppice at speed on a large bike is just the best…