Honda VTX 1300S & VTX 1300C
NOTE: Where they differ, specifications for the VTX1300C are in italic.
Suggested base price: $9199
Standard colors: Pearl blue, silver, black/pearl orange, black
Extra-cost colors: Candy red ($9299)
Standard warranty: 12 months, unlimited miles
Recommended service interval: 8000 miles
ENGINE & DRIVETRAINType: Liquid-cooled, 52-degree V-twin
Valve arrangement: SOHC, two intake valves, one exhaust valve operated by screw-type adjusters
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1312cc, 89.5mm x 104.3mm
Compression ratio: 9.2:1
Carburetion: 1, 38mm CV
Lubrication: Dry sump, 4.5 quarts
Minimum fuel grade: 89 octane
Transmission: Wet clutch, five speeds
Final drive: Shaft
Wet weight: 708 lbs./ 689 lbs.
GVWR: 1105 lbs./ 1089 lbs.
Wheelbase: 65.7 in. / 65.45 in.
Overall length: 102.3 in. / 95.4 in.
Rake: 32 degrees
Trail: 5.7 in. / 5.9 in.
Wheels: Wire-spoke, 17 x front, 15 x rear / cast alloy, 19 x front, 15 x rear
Front tire: 140/80-17 Dunlop tube-type / 110-90-19 Dunlop tubeless
Rear tire: 170/80-15 Dunlop tube type / 170/80-15 Dunlop tubeless
Front brake: Twin-piston caliper, 13.2 in. disc
Rear brake: Single-piston caliper, 11.7 in. disc
Front suspension: 41mm stanchions, 5.1 in. travel
Rear suspension: Dual shocks, preload adjustable, 3.7 in./ 3.6 in. travel
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Handlebar width: 34.5 in. / 33.3 in.
ELECTRICAL & INSTRUMENTATION
Charging output: 364 watts
Battery: 12v, 12 AH, sealed
Forward lighting: 55/60-watt halogen headlight
Instruments: Speedometer, LCD odometer/tripmeter; warning lights for neutral, high beam, turn signals, oil pressure, coolant temperature
PERFORMANCEFuel mileage: 29 to 37 mpg, 33.3 mpg average
Average range: 175 miles
Roll on (60-80 mph): 6.37 sec. / 6.40 sec.
Quarter-mile acceleration: 13.86 sec. @ 93.12 / 13.79 sec., 93.63 mph
Friedman: I'm not a fan of the VTX series. I regard the 1800s as awkward, overweight and surprisingly unrefined. The 1300s have almost nothing to offer me. They are both uncomfortable, and both have surprisingly little cornering clearance, mediocre suspensions, lackadaisical detailing, unremarkable (good or bad) power and a raft of annoyances (like a clumsy front brake lever, abrupt throttle response and an optimistic speedometer). The finishing touch was that one boiled over every time we rode it in traffic (and of course the other one never did, so it isn't necessarily a standard problem). I just can't believe that Honda let these things out.
When readers ask about buying one of these, I tell them to look at the less-expensive and far more comfortable Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic ($8999), Honda's own Spirit 1100 ($8099) or the Yamaha V-Star 1100s ($7899 to $8499), all of which are more desirable motorcycles, in my view. (See the Road Tests section of MotorcycleCruiser.com for tests on all of these.) I'd much rather ride any one of them, and the money I saved would pay for a nice road trip.
Honda really missed the mark with the VTX 1300s.
Art FriedmanNeed a cranky old fart to run down your favorite ride? E-mail Friedman at Art.Friedman@sorc.com.
Cherney: The big VTX has never been my cup of tea -- powerful, but too ponderous -- yet I'm also not ready to slam its smaller cousins just yet. I can see where Honda's going with these bikes, even if it needs to perform a few more nips and tucks along the way to get things nailed just right.
Both VTX 1300s are good-looking machines, and I like the engine's powerband, jerky delivery and all. Their proportions suit me much better than those of the heftier 1800. The VTX 1300S seems to be the more evolved of the two models, exhibiting slightly better stability while providing more sensible ergos for small riders.
Stylistically, I like the 1300C for its naked street-rod sensibilities, but in this case, "naked" also means "too much showing" -- the C reveals far too many unfinished rough patches to earn the name "Honda" on the tank badge. Both bikes need suspension work, but since it's only the first model year of their production run, I'm optimistic that Honda will refine and improve the duo (and maybe drop the price a notch) to better deal with the existing 1100 crowd -- those bikes are probably a better value now. But I have hope.
Elvidge: Unlike Cherney and Friedman, I have great taste when it comes to big-twin cruisers, and I love Honda's VTX1800C. I'm no fan of the Retro version (of either displacement package), it's true, but the straight 1800 is a substantially sexy machine.
The 1300cc spin-offs might seem like a great option for people who are smaller or just getting started, but I'd always recommend the big gun instead. To me, it's worth an extra $3000 to have the real thing instead of a chip off the block. The size, weight and handling of the 1300s is very comparable in feel to the biggie versions anyway, but the power is not.
Too big to be justified as a choice to go small, these new Hondas are only middling to me.