Honda VTX1300S – Motorcyclist magazine

6 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Honda VTX1300S – Motorcyclist magazine
Honda VTX 1300 C

Right-sizing the V-twin extreme

Even among cruisers, where bigger has always been better, there is such a thing as too big. For many riders, Honda’s enormous 1795cc VTX1800 V-twin crossed that boundary. No one complained about the 1800’s displacement or power, but the bike’s mass simply pushes the limits.

The original version of the VTX (which stands for V-Twin Extreme), the C model, was a bit of a buffalo at low speeds and in corners, and the second-round S and R models were even heavier.

Final drive: shaft


Weight: 708 lb. (wet)/679 lb. (fuel tank empty)

Although the whole package looks nearly identical to the 1800. there is a tremendous difference in feel.

Honda claims 76 horsepower at 5000 rpm for the VTX1300. (Our tester cranked out 60.3 hp at 5000 rpm and 77.4 foot-pounds of torque at 3000 rpm on the SuperFlow dyno.) Acceleration is comparable with the stronger 1100s (such as the defunct Virago). Power flows smoothly from just off idle, with plenty in hand for top-gear passing on the highway. Throttle response is smooth and predictable.

The gearbox and clutch work smoothly, but there is a bit of lash in the drivetrain, which can induce some lurching in throttle transitions. Indeed, chassis jacking with throttle changes is much less noticeable than on the 1800. In a class where sound can be as important as performance, the single-crankpin layout of the engine joins with carefully tuned intake and exhaust systems to produce a solid exhaust note and a traditional cruiser cadence.

We like it.Heavy bikes with a single front brake usually mean lethargic stops, but Honda has teamed what is probably the biggest brake rotor (13.2 inches) of any cruiser with an effective two-piston caliper to produce strong, straight stops with good control. The pedal for the rear brake is bigger than that of many cars, but it is easy for most feet to cover and the brake provides good power and control.

If you like the lines and flourishes of the VTX1800 retro model, the 1300 will be every bit as pleasing. The detailing is just as well executed even though you are paying more than $4000 less. The bike comes from the same Ohio facility as the 1800, and the paint and chrome are just as smooth and thick as on the bigger bikes.At $8999, the 1300 is much more affordable than the 1800, though it’s just as roadworthy and even more civilized and refined.

The VTX1300S arrives with 30 accessories in 12 categories (there is, for example, a choice of passenger backrests). You don’t get the bragging rights to the biggest V-twin on the planet, but the VTX1300 is a bike we think more people will enjoy riding.

VTX Spotter’s Guide The 1800 and 1300 versions of the VTX-S models (the retro-styled versions with wire spokes) look so similar that you may have trouble telling which one you are looking at unless you get a good look at the displacement announcements on one of the badges, emblems or cases. To help you avoid stammering when one comes by, here are four quick visual cues to help you determine instantly which one you’re looking at.–A.F.

Honda VTX 1300 C

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