Honda Gold Wing
We’re playing diavel’s advocate (ba-boom) by including the Wing—just ‘cause we know folks will howl in protest. But if Ducati gets to call the Diavel a cruiser, surely the ‘Wing can get equal time. Last year Honda recalibrated the suspension and redesigned the fairing and saddlebags. Options for 2013 include new colors, the Honda Satellite Linked Navi System plus XM radio choices. With that do-it-all 1832cc six cylinder engine and all the amenities you could ask for, the Gold Wing isn’t always right for around town, but set a course for the horizon and you’ll know why Honda’s plush luxury touring rig is supreme.
Honda Fury /ABS
Can we still call the Fury radical? Even if it is now considered mainstream, the flag-bearer for Honda’s VT line continues to draw attention with its whopping 71-inch wheelbase punctuated by a 200mm tire on the back end. Honda’s venerable liquid-cooled 1312cc V-twin motivates the whole package, with a 5-speed transmission and shaft drive delivering power to the rear. There’s nothing new for 2103 other than red and black color options (the ABS version is only in black). ABS adds $1000 to the price, which stays the same as the 2012 MSRP.
Honda Interstate /ABS
Almost the polar opposite of the minimal Fury, the long-haul Interstate instead piles touring amenities onto the Stateline foundation, with locking, leather-covered hard saddlebags, windshield and floorboards. It’s stylish yet sleek, even with full fenders, a 17-inch front wheel and a blacked-out powertrain. As on the Stateline, underpinnings include a fuel-injected 1312cc V-twin connected to a 5-speed gear box doling out power to a shaft final drive. There’s a new light metallic silver color for 2013, but the Interstate’s price stays the same as last year (ABS adds $1000).
Honda Sabre /ABS
The foundation is the same on all four VT1300s, though you’d never know it by looking. The lower-riding Sabre may appear the most menacing on the outside, but underneath is the liquid-cooled 1312cc 52-degree V-twin powering the entire VT line. The pro-street-savvy stance is reinforced by the 21-inch front tire, forward controls, a slim gunfighter saddle, and briefer fenders. The Sabre also leaves some air at the neck/frame junction like the Fury. ABS can be had as an option, and black joins the color palette. Price stays put for 2013.
Honda Stateline /ABS
Think of it as an Interstate without the accessories. The Stateline brings a similar classic bike aesthetic, with full fenders, rangy 70-inch wheelbase, wide pullback bar and a 26.8 inch seat height, all rolling on a 17-inch front and 15-inch rear tire. You also get the tried-and-true SOHC, 1312cc powerplant, with five speeds, shaft drive, and a 2-into-2 exhaust. A single two-piston caliper does the stopping up front. Black is new for 2013, and you can also choose ABS for another $1000. A one-year warranty is standard.
Honda Shadow Aero /ABS
The Aero is the all-arounder mount of Honda’s 750 series, with an open ergonomic layout made to fit a wide range of riders. It’s also got a pleasing, full-fendered classic style, and the beans to back it up: the reliable, liquid-cooled 745cc powerplant with PGM-FI that powers all the Shadows, along with a silky-smooth, 5-speed transmission. The 25.9 inch-high dished seat makes it user-friendly for all, and the Aero can be had with ABS (for an extra $1000); new black and silver metallic join the color options for 2013.
Honda Shadow Phantom
Black is the new chrome, and Honda’s 745cc Phantom brings it to the Honda stable, with a thick coat of ebony covering most of its powertrain, bodywork, frame and fork legs. But the menace is surface only, as riders will cotton to the smooth vibe of the SOHC 745cc V-twin engine, wide ratio five-speed tranny and 25.8 inch seat height. A beefy 41mm fork gripping a chunky 17-inch tire delivers 4.6 inches of travel up front, with dual (adjustable—and blacked-out, of course) shocks out back, bracketing a 15-inch wheel.
Honda Shadow RS
Standard-style ergos usually make for greater versatility, and that sums up the RS’s best quality perfectly. With a more-upright seating position, mid-mount foot pegs, and a 32-degee rake, this do-it-all machine also manages to squeeze in a 29.4-inch seat height. Down below is a 745cc, 52-degree V-twin putting power through a five-speed gearbox. Connected to the 16-inch rear wheel is a chain final drive, making the RS the only Shadow without a shaft. That keeps the weight low (under 550 lbs.) to maintain nimble handling. Surprise: black is a new color option for 2013.
Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2
Where the Aero goes for bigger, rounder shapes, the Spirit 750 C2 slims down and bulks up on attitude. It’s nearly 20 pounds lighter than the Aero, thanks to chopped fenders, exposed forks, a punched-in headlight and a thin, 21 inch front tire. A more streamlined one-piece seat smoothes out the Spirit’s lines, too, but otherwise, it shares the same snappy 52-degree 745cc motor with fuel injection as the Aero. Blue Metallic Flame joins black for 2013, and there is an ABS option. Availability: December 2012.
If you took an MSF Basic training course back in the day, chances are it was on a Rebel. More than 25 years on, the Rebel is still inspiring new riders with its 331 lb. weight, low seat, and easy handling. The foundation is simple but effective: a carbureted 234cc vertical twin engine, a single overhead camshaft, five speeds and an O-ring chain drive, so there’s absolutely nothing to fear. The spoke wheels, teardrop tank and bobbed fender are pure cruiser, too. The Rebel gets black as a color option this year.
Hyosung ST7 /Deluxe
The ST7 may displace just 678cc, but don’t be fooled: It’s a fairly high-spec blend of modern technology and classic styling. As a result, Hyosung positions the ST as a ‘performance cruiser,’ and the liquid-cooled DOHC 90 degree V-twin engine doesn’t disappoint, dishing out impressive low and mid-range performance. A sky-high compression ratio (11.5:1) lets this bike really spin up too. A 5-speed gearbox modulates power to a belt drive, and there are disc brakes front and rear. The two-piece 26.5 inch seat height provides an unintimidating perch , and the Deluxe adds saddlebags and a shield to the mix.
Hyosung GV650 Aquila Pro
Its styling is more modern than the ST7’s, but the GV650 still brings plenty of performance and a surprisingly upmarket spec sheet, considering the price. The engine is an 8-valve, 90 degree V-twin, suspension consists of an adjustable (compression and rebound) upside-down fork up front, and adjustable dual shocks out back, and brakes are semi-floating, dual discs in front, with a single disc out back. A constant mesh 5-speed tranny delivers power to the belt drive. Needless to say, the GV650 is the only contender in the lightweight performance cruiser class.
249cc looks pretty full-size on the GV250, as this entry-level cruiser brings a traditional, full-fendered style along with a smooth-running, fuel-injected V-twin engine with dual overhead cams—things you might expect from bigger machines. This smaller GV splays its twin cylinders 75 degrees apart, and adds electronic fuel injection to boot. Concessions to its beginner-bike status include a chain final drive and a drum rear brake, but the rear shocks are adjustable and the fuel tank offers a full 3.7 gallons of capacity. Price is unchanged from 2012.
Indian Chief Vintage /LE
Polaris-designed Indians are set to debut next year (2014), so the Vintage LE is the sole new model for the Tribe in 2013. All four 2013 Indians feature the Power Plus 105ci engine with six-speed transmission, and the 2012 Indian Chief Vintage is the top of the line, featuring post-war design cues like two-tone paint, chrome tank badges, and fender lights. Distressed leather and 60-spoke chrome wheels with whitewall tires distinguish the Vintage from the other Indians. The LE model adds a quick-detach passenger backrest, exclusive paint and, yes, many chrome accents.
Indian Chief Dark Horse
Even perpetually chromed-out Indian has a black bike in the line. But the Chief Dark Horse adds a splash of color to the proceedings, with a warbonnet tank graphic that literally pops against the stark black background. Then it’s back to the Dark Kingdom, with spoked, matte rims and blackwall tires adding a somewhat post-industrial feel to this Chief. The darkness continues on to the headlight, fork covers, and even the stainless steel exhaust system. Your perch is a solo seat complete with fringe and rich, thick leather, and your price remains the same as last year’s.
Indian Chief Classic
Take the Dark Horse, remove the black paint, and you get the base model Chief Classic. What’s more, it comes with a full chromium package: A black and polished engine with chrome covers; a teardrop halogen headlamp, chromed spoke wheels, and a stainless, two-into-one exhaust system. A PowerPlus 105ci V-twin and six-speed transmission lurk below, and those classic deep fenders, tank-mounted speedo and glass front fender light can all be considered sweet bonuses. Get it for the same MSRP as 2012, in Thunder Black or Indian Red, with the Indian Script emblazoned across the tank.