2008 Honda VTX1300

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The VTX family wouldn’t have been the same without the 1300cc models featuring classic styling and clean lines. Let your gaze take in its beefy 1312cc V-twin and sleek shaft final drive to notice that these bikes are serious about their VTX heritage.

 

Introduction

This muscular V-twin custom obviously follows right in the footsteps of the awesome VTX1800 as it delivers distinctive custom styling and loads of torque in a high-value package. But this cruiser, by following the recipe of its bigger brother, also promises to have the same success and we all know that the VTX models are built with the guarantee of success.

History

Honda VTX1300

The 1995 edition of the Tokyo Motor Show presented Honda Zodia concept, a machine that inspired the creation of the Honda VTX series.

Following the VTX1800, introduced in 2002, the 1300cc version saw the production line in 2003 as a brand new model featuring appropriate characteristics with the earlier bike.

The VTX 1300 was introduced with a muscular looking body, being quite long and low to the ground featuring significant rake and trail. It presented unliked brakes, with a single large front disk. The VTX1300 also uses a carburetor unlike the fuel injected VTX1800, and therefore is much simpler in terms of design.

Although similar to the 1800, the engine is not just a smaller bore/stroke but a different design. This lead to great sales numbers and the motor company was satisfied with the results of its new cruiser.

Future years brought changes of colors but no technical upgrades or redesigned elements could be found on Honda’s 1300cc cruiser. In order for the bike to be upgraded, the VTX series would have to follow its footsteps but we all know that Honda won’t start with the VTX1300 as a bigger machine waits to give the tone. This gives us a good expectative and a clear clue of when this machine will be redesigned.

Competition

Honda VTX1300

Yamaha also enters the scene by presenting their most powerful V Star and the recipe behind it. All things in moderation, nothing in excess, that’s the idea behind the V Star 1300. At the heart of it beats a fuel-injected 80 cube engine, surrounded by a chassis built to handle. Finished off with a little streamlined style and plenty of Star quality engineering, the machine proves to be a fair competitor for the Honda.

The other two competitors are not that fair but that is what the manufacturers have to offer and that is on what I base my review.

Suzuki invites us to take our place on the boulevard with their new Suzuki Classic Cruiser, a bike that captures all the kinetic energy of a crowded boulevard on a hot August night. And right on the head of the lineup is the Boulevard C90, VTX1300’s opponent. With its long-stroke, 45-degree V-twin powerplant, the Boulevard C90 cranks out monstrous amounts of torque, which you can tap into for a raw rush of acceleration in any gear. The Boulevard C90 is equally at home on the wide-open highway. That’s where you can kick back and enjoy its wonderfully spacious riding position, which lets you and your passenger stretch out and ride in comfort all day long. With its bold styling, lustrous paint and sparkling chrome, this is one cruiser that’s bound to capture attention, whether you’re cruising down the boulevard or kicking back at a rest stop. The Boulevard C90 is here to stay, and if he can, to beat the Honda.

Kawasaki also offers performance and value that’s hard to beat in a full-sized cruiser ready for the open road.

One of Kawasaki’s best-selling cruisers, the Vulcan 1500 Classic owes this success to a big-bore V-twin engine wrapped in ageless styling that serves as a great starting point for a uniquely customized motorcycle.

The last two motorcycles are practically competing in a class of their own as they feature bigger engine displacement and similar characteristics but I decided to mention them because the Honda is suitable for the battle and I am sure that it can handle this kind of competition.

Honda VTX1300

Exterior

Honda VTX1300

Honda took care of VTX1300’s look and the result was right from the start very impressive. The idea was to create a muscular-looking machine that would prove its cruising abilities through its looks and, of course, it succeeded.

The broad fuel tang with tank-mounted instruments makes a real statement on what the bike is all about and says toughness every time you look at it. Its comfortable seat is very well designed and smoothly unites the fuel tank with the beautifully-shaped rear fender.

I especially appreciate the position of the chrome handlebars which in communion with the floorboards provide a comfortable riding position.

2008 model year brings a sleek redesigned two-into-two exhaust system presenting bullet-style mufflers for a better overall look. To complement the visual appearance created with the new exhaust, Honda also added stylish chrome side covers.


Test Drive

Honda VTX1300

Once on the desired machine, I quickly pulled away in order to receive the precious information that I now gathered and formed a review. I first wanted to see how the bike reacts at quick acceleration so I hardly twisted the throttle only to notice that the VTX1300 gets cooking relatively late and there isn’t too much thrill involved in the process. I have to admit that I expected this kind of feedback from a cruiser but I had a small hope that the Honda would be another story. Sure, the bike will absolutely win the fight with most 1100cc cruisers, but apart from the fact that it was designed to do just that, it can actually be compared with the Vulcan 1500 so it knows its place very well and the numbers give a good information on the bike’s capabilities.

The fact that it is being equipped with a carburetion system allows the rider to evenly pull away by working the smooth-operating clutch, though there’s still a bit of lash detectable in the drivetrain, more than on similar machines. This annoying aspect makes the bike lurch when transitioning from closed throttle to acceleration. Don’t expect for an easily- rising chassis because you won’t encounter that reaction on this model. If you desire to observe the bike’s behavior better, you should gas it up significantly after changing the gears which, by the way, make an acceptable noise.

Controls are at quick reach and allow the rider to pay attention on the road ahead even if it hasn’t gotten used to their position. I also appreciate the instrument arrangement which is clean and spare while still providing the necessary info although not completely. There are no frills, no fuel gauge, clock or any other data that you would expect to encounter on this cruiser.

Although a heavy cruising machine, the VTX1300 is very manageable in the handling department and it actually feels lighter when pulling away. I tried to ride it to its limits and I noticed that the footpegs don’t join the cornering process, all the contrary. This can also be generated by the fact that the bike is pretty low.

Although delivering massive amounts of torque, the well-balanced V-twin doesn’t send any detectable vibrations to the seat, handlebar or footpegs (at leas I couldn’t detect any) and the riding experience is strongly improved by this factor. That same triangle formed by the previous-mentioned elements is suitable to most riders and allows for a comfortable riding position. In fact, this is what cruising is all about: comfortable riding along the interstate with satisfying amounts of power and enormous torque-delivery available at any given moment. I actually noticed that the V-twin makes room for some attitude even in the fifth gear so Honda fans won’t have to saddle down to easily.

Braking is efficient but the single 336mm disc up front can’t do its best without the intervention of the 296mm rear disc. I applied both brakes separately and I noticed that for the best result on the heavy bike, I must say that they are not recommended separately when strongly braking.

Suspensions are very comfy and they are very well set in order to behave great while cornering and that is pretty much what they are all about. Performance and comfort reach the highest levels on this cruiser and part of that is due to the suspension system which makes sure to provide a positive feedback in every situation.

Overall, I suggest that if you are attracted to this cruiser you should buy it without any second thoughts as the 2008 version has a good and positive feedback. Although not situated in the top-end, the bike offers sufficient pull through the powerband to satisfy an experienced rider but can be very calm when needed and that makes it adequate for starters.

Price

If you are decided to buy this motorcycle, you probably took in consideration the fact that it offers a lot for the money and that it won’t get you bored very soon. If not, I must say that this is the impression that the bike left me and I would be surprised to be wrong.

For the retail price on 9,599, the package is awesome but I wouldn’t expect at anything else from a Honda motorcycle.

Conclusion

The Honda VTX1300 left me with a positive impression given by the quality of its design, relaxed riding position and sufficiently wide powerband. This combined qualities lead to a great riding experience on a beautiful and enjoyable machine which will surely mark the spot in the years to come.


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine and Transmission

Displacement: 1312cc
Type: liquid-cooled 52 degree V-twin
Bore and Stroke: 89.5mm x 104.3mm
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Valve Train: SOHC; three valves per cylinder
Induction: Single 38mm constant-velocity carburetor
Ignition: Digital with three-dimensional mapping, two spark plugs per cylinder
Transmission: Five-speed
Final Drive: Shaft

Chassis and Dimensions

Front Suspension: 41mm fork; 5.1 inches of travel
Rear Suspension: Dual shocks with five-position spring preload adjustability; 3.6 inches travel
Front Brake: Single 336mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake: Single 296mm disc with single-piston caliper
Front Tire: 110/90-19
Rear Tire: 170/80-15
Wheelbase: 65.45 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 32.0 degrees
Trail: 149mm (5.9 inches)
Seat Height: 27.46 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons, including 1.0-gallon reserve
Curb Weight: 678 pounds

Other

Colors: Metallic Black, Metallic Silver, Candy Red, and Pearl Yellow.

Features

 

New for 2008

-Sleek restyled two-into-two exhaust system with bullet-style mufflers for a classic custom look.

- Colors include Metallic Black, Metallic Silver, Candy Red, and Pearl Yellow

Unique Features

-Custom cast wheels give a performance-custom profile.

- A beefy 170/80-15 rear tire puts the VTX’s power to the ground and provides exceptional traction.

- Minimalist front and rear fenders complement the VTX’s street-rod styling.

- Artfully designed tank-mounted instruments.

Engine/Drivetrain

-1312cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin engine delivers strong low-end and mid-range torque, with ample power for passing and relaxed cruising.

- Powerplant features a single-pin crankshaft to accentuate the VTX engine’s character.

- Dual two-axis primary counterbalancers minimize harsh engine vibration without eliminating the powerful pulse transmitted by the VTX’s traditional V-twin design.

- The engine mounting system uses carefully matched hangers to eliminate unwanted vibration, while preserving the powerful character of the V-twin design.

- Three-Valve Dual Plug Combustion Chamber.

- Easy-to-service screw-and-locknut valve clearance adjusters.

- Single 38mm constant-velocity carburetor offers crisp throttle response at all engine speeds.

- Electronic control unit (ECU) provides 3-D ignition maps for each cylinder, creating ideal spark advance settings for superb rideability.

- Coolant-heated carburetor improves rideability and ensures smooth operation in cold conditions.

- Unique dry-sump oil system utilizes a closed-crankcase design and placed the oil tank inside the gearbox case. The result is a freer-revving engine for improved power and lower engine height, allowing optimum rider ergonomics and a low 27-inch seat height.

- Custom chromed two-into-two exhaust system produces a deep exhaust note.

- Radiator with cooling fan maintains consistent engine temperature for optimum performance and long engine life.

- Maintenance-free automatic cam-chain tensioners.

- Sturdy clutch utilizes a rubber clutch-center damper to ensure smooth and quiet shifting.

- Five-speed transmission with carefully selected gear ratios for exciting roll-on performance.

- Shaft final-drive system provides smooth, low maintenance operation.

- Drive-flange design at the final-drive gear eliminates final-drive noise and wear, and simplifies rear wheel installation.

Chassis/Suspension

-The engine’s power is harnessed by a massive tubular steel frame and gives the VTX a long, low, classic stance.

- Large 41mm extended front fork provides 5.1 inches of plush yet responsive travel.

- Dual chromed rear shocks with five-position preload adjustment feature an advanced internal valve system for a comfortable ride.

- Front disc brake features a twin-piston caliper with a large-diameter 336mm stainless-steel rotor. Combined with the rear single-piston caliper and 296mm stainless-steel rotor, the brakes provide excellent stopping power.

Additional Features

-Specially designed tank-mounted chrome housing features a speedometer, odometer/A&B tripmeter and indicator lights for the turn signals, high beam, neutral, oil pressure and coolant temperature.

- Electric speedometer with easy-to-read classic numerals uses an electronic transmission speed sensor, which eliminates the front-wheel-mounted speedometer cable. This contributes to a clean, uncluttered look.

- Extensive chrome-finish of engine parts include cylinder-head covers, valve inspection covers, airbox cover, left crankcase cover, clutch cover and left-rear engine cover.

- Distinctive, chrome-hooded headlight housing features a powerful 55/60-watt halogen bulb with a computer-designed multireflector for superb lighting in all conditions.

- Stylish chrome tank emblem.

- Handlebar design provides a comfortable, upright riding position.

- Comfortably padded, large-diameter handgrips with polished aluminum handlebar switch housing and triple-clamp assembly.

- 4.8-gallon fuel tank for extended cruising and touring range.

- Reliable 364-watt alternator.

- Durable, maintenance-free 12-amp-hour battery.

- Convenient push-to-cancel turn-signal switch.

- Transferable one-year unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.

- Assembled in Marysville Ohio.

- Purchase of a new, previously unregistered Honda USA-certified unit by an individual retail user in the United States qualifies the owner for a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America.

Available Genuine Accessories

-Windscreen/Lightbars: Custom Windscreen, Boulevard Screens (two styles: Clear and Tinted), Sport Screen, Chrome Lightbar, Chrome Spotlight Visors.

- Leather: Saddlebags (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Leather Touring Bag (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Leather Front Pouch (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Leather Tank Belt with Pocket (two styles: Studded and Plain).


- Backrest: Chrome Backrest with Pad (available in Tall and Low styles), Deluxe Chrome Backrest w/Pad, Deluxe Chrome Backrest Trim w/Emblem, Chrome Rear Carrier, Deluxe Chrome Rear Carrier, Chrome Backrest w/Pad (Tall, Sport-Custom), Chrome Backrest w/Pad (Low, Sport-Custom), Chrome Backrest Trim (Tall, Sport-Custom), Chrome Backrest Trim (Low, Sport-Custom), Chrome Rear Carrier (Sport-Custom), Chrome Passenger Grabrails.

- Chrome: Chrome Allen-Bolt inserts (three-sizes: 5mm, 6mm and 8mm), Chrome Driveshaft Cover, Chrome Horn.


- Billet: Master-Cylinder Cap (four styles: Fluted, V Design, Neo-Retro and Chrome), License Plate Frame (three-styles: Fluted, V Design and Neo-Retro), Clutch Cover, Timing Cover, Swingarm Pivot Cover Set, Countershaft Cover Trim, Driveshaft Bolt Cover (three-styles: Fluted, V Design and Neo-Retro), Dipstick, Banjo-Bolt Covers.


- Additional Honda Genuine Accessories: Digital Audio System, Cycle Cover, Rubber Heated Grips, Chrome Heated Grips.


Models Available

 

VTX1300C

I based my review on this motorcycle as all the features and specs are belonging to this first model at Hondas. The characteristics encountered on the C version are also at the base of the other Honda VTX1300 models so I would only name the ones that are particular to each model in part.

Colors available for the C version: Metallic Black, Metallic Silver, Candy Red, Pearl Yellow.

VTX1300R

Honda VTX1300

Classic, old-school cool is what sumps up the VTX1300R, whose “R” stands for retro, by the way. You’ll understand once you get an eyeful of this beauty, with its deeply valanced fenders, chrome-hooded headlight and timeless tank-mounted instruments. Then, of course, there’s the mighty 1312cc V-twin snarling its throaty growl through staggered dual exhaust. Yeah…it doesn’t get much more classic than this.

Unique Features

-Deeply valanced front and rear fenders, chrome-hooded headlight, broad fuel tank with tank-mounted instruments, semi-swept handlebar and floorboards with heel-and-toe shifter create a classic retro style that sets the VTX apart from the competition.

- Rider comfort is enhanced with comfortable ergonomics and a firmly padded saddle featuring a low 27-inch seat height.

- Retro-style cast wheels.

- Large 140/80-17 front tire gives the R model a commanding profile.

- Available in Black, Pearl White, or Dark Blue Metallic.
Accessories available for the VTX1300C can also be added on the Retro version.

VTX1300S

Honda VTX1300

With its beautiful spoked wheels, deeply valanced fenders, chrome-hooded headlight, and semi-sweptback handlebar, the VTX1300S ups the ante when it comes to classic retro cool. Add a quartet of eye-catching colors, and you’ll quickly this 1312cc V-twin is as mesmerizing to stare at as it is exhilarating to ride.

This model can not be encountered in the 2008 lineup but this year it features some cool colors like Black, Titanium, Dark Red Metallic, and Metallic Blue.

VTX1300T

Honda VTX1300

Honda wasn’t about to let the VTX1800 family have all the touring fun, so they introduced the all-new VTX1300T. Build with the same purpose as its VTX1800T sibling, complete with large touring windshield, spacious leather saddlebags and handy passenger backrest, the VTX1300T is the perfect choice for riders seeking big performance in a slightly smaller machine with a slightly smaller price tag.

Competition

Honda VTX1300

Yamaha also added leather-wrapped saddlebags, windshield and passenger backrest in order to give the V Star 1300 Tourer even more wide open possibilities. The 80-cubic-inch fuel injected V-twin and belt final drive are good to go just about anywhere.

You may have seen the Suzuki Boulevard C90 around town, but with a stunning new tow tone white/gold color combination, it’ll be sure to capture the spotlight wherever it goes. Now you have the chance to experience its awesome V-twin performance and enjoy the benefits of key features designed for the open road. Meet the Boulevard C90T. Like the C90, it boasts a fuel-injected 45-degree V-twin engine that cranks out a load of torque down low, matched by exciting top-end performance. It also has a spacious riding position and smooth suspension for comfortable cruising. With a multitude of features, the C90T establishes its own identity. The C90T has an aerodynamic windshield and a custom-designed backrest, encouraging you to take to the open highway for true long-range cruising for maximum comfort. This machine also has a range of custom features, from whitewall tires to studded seats, for its own bold look. The Boulevard C90T, a classic cruiser that is as comfortable as it is stylish.

Honda VTX1300

Price

With a retail price on $10,999, the Honda VTX1300T also has the advantage of being affordable so it addresses to a larger mass of riders. The only problem remaining for you is which version to choose based on your needs.

New for 2008

-Stylish custom windscreen for rider and passenger touring comfort.

- Leather saddlebags with 24-liter capacity provide ultimate touring convenience.

- Chrome backrest for passenger comfort.

- Exclusive Tourer badging on the front fender.

- Sleek two-into-two exhaust system features bullet-style mufflers for a classic custom look.

- Stylish chrome side covers.

- VTX1300T colors include Black, Metallic Silver, and Metallic Red.

Unique VTX1300R Features

-Deeply valanced front and rear fenders, chrome-hooded headlight, broad fuel tank with tank-mounted instruments, semi-swept handlebar and floorboards with heel-and-toe shifter create a classic retro style that sets the VTX apart from the competition.

- Rider comfort is enhanced with comfortable ergonomics and a firmly padded saddle featuring a low 27-inch seat height.
 -VTX1300T features retro-style cast wheels.

- Large 140/80-17 front tire, gives the T model a commanding profile.

Available Honda Genuine Accessories VTX1300T

-Windscreen/Lightbars: Lower Wind Deflectors, Boulevard Screens (two styles: Clear and Tinted), Sport Screen, Chrome Lightbar, Chrome Spotlight Visors.


- Leather: Saddlebags (two styles: Studded and Fringed), Leather Touring Bag (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Leather Front Pouch (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Leather Tank Belt with Pocket (two styles: Studded and Plain).


- Backrest: Chrome Backrest with Pad (Low style), Deluxe Chrome Backrest w/Pad, Deluxe Chrome Backrest Trim w/Emblem, Chrome Rear Carrier, Deluxe Chrome Rear Carrier, Adjustable Chrome Backrest w/Pad, Chrome Backrest w/Pad (Tail, Neo-Retro), Chrome Rear Carrier (Neo-Retro), Chrome Passenger Grabrails.


- Chrome: Front Fender Trim, Front Fender Tip, Front Fender Ornament, Chrome Rear Fender Trim, Chrome Solo Seat Seat Rear Carrier, Chrome Seat Rail Trim, Chrome Allen-Bolt inserts (three sizes: 5mm, 6mm and 8mm), Chrome Driveshaft Cover.


- Billet: Master-Cylinder Cap (four-styles: Fluted, V Design, Neo-Retro and Chrome), License Plate Frame (three styles: Fluted, V Design and Neo Retro), Clutch Cover, Timing Cover, Swingarm Pivot Cover Set, Countershaft Cover Trim, Driveshaft Bolt Cover (three styles: Fluted, V Design and Neo-Retro), Dipstick, Banjo-Bolt Covers.


- Additional Accessories: Digital Audio System, Cycle Cover, Rubber Heated Grips, Chrome Heated Grips.


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