2015 Star Motorcycles V Star 1300
The base model of Star’s 80-cubic-inch (1,304 cc) V Star lineup, the 2015 V Star 1300, is a mid-size cruiser with classic features such as the two-into-one exhaust and modern retro look typical of Star Motorcycles. Introduced in 2007, the V Star 1300 is just as suitable for an entry-level rider as it is for folks experienced on two wheels.
The V Star 1300 falls into the category of a light-heavyweight touring cruiser and with the option of adding bags, fairing and windshield, you can flesh that out as you like. Don’t let "cruiser" put you off. With a surprisingly deep lean angle, cornering is still in your game if you like to get after it once in a while.
Continue reading for my review of the 2015 V Star 1300.
2015 Star Motorcycles V Star 1300
Engine:Liquid-cooled V-twin; SOHC, 4 valves/cylinder
At almost 700 pounds before you get on it, the V Star 1300 isn’t a small bike, but the low center of gravity and balanced weight make it manageable in the parking lot and in low-speed traffic. With the low seat height, it’s easy to find the ground and all but the shortest of the shorties will flat-foot and still have a bend at the knee.
The pull-back handlebars and rider floorboards make for an upright triangle and the wide seat cradle gives comfortable all-day riding. With plenty of chrome bling and a 3-D tank medallion, Star goes for that modern-classic look the American market looks for in a cruiser.
The frame layout is something of a mixed bag of features. Up front, widely-spaced downtubes support the large radiator, and form a double cradle beneath the engine after the turn. This spacing coupled with the large engine, leaves the front end looking a little blocky, and not in a good way. However, the upper lines of the frame adopt a certain amount of fall that tapers toward the rear axle, similar to a Softail-style or even a true rigid frame. A hidden monoshock keeps the rear end nice and clean, and it springs the yoke-style swingarm on 4.3 inches of travel with a spring-preload adjuster. Shrouded, 41 mm forks support the front on 5.3 inches of wheel travel, and keep the front end extra beefy with a fat, 16-inch front wheel to match the rear.
At 668 pounds soaking wet, the V Star 1300 definitely feels like a cruiser even though the 36-degree lean angle lets it corner like some of the sportier categories. The factory installed a 298 mm disc in back, large for a rear disc, and a pair of 298 mm discs up front to help manage the weight. Star doesn’t offer ABS or linked brakes for this model.
The V Star is meant to capture the classic form of the American cruiser. Part of that stereotypical mold consists of a large, V-twin engine, and Star toed the line with its 60-degree mill. Although it’s liquid cooled, and there is no hiding that big radiator, the polished cooling-fin edges on the heads maintain the illusion of air cooling, at least when viewed in profile. At least Star went to the effort of routing the cooling hoses in such a way as to hide them from casual observation, so the cooling method is a bit ambiguous until you actually spot the rad.
At 80 cubic-inches, the plant meets the large-engine requirement for the category, and the 81.8 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm gives you plenty of grunt to work with. A Mikuni throttle body controls induction through two, 40 mm bores, and the electronic fuel injection delivers 42 mpg. An idle-speed control helps to stabilize the idle rpm, and aids in cold-weather starts automatically – no groping for a choke knob with gloved hands on this ride.
The five-speed tranny runs off a wet clutch, and drives the wheel with a low-maintenance belt drive. Personally, I prefer the belts. Been using them for years and have yet to break one, or wear one out. Also never threw a belt either, not like you can a chain with a little too much slack.
MSRP on the 2015 V Star 1300 is $11,290. If you like the Metallic Silver, you’re in luck because that’s the only color Star offers on the 1300 for 2015. If you hunt around and find a 2014 or a 2012, you can have it in Candy Red. If black is your thing, look for a 2013 or 2011. Star offers a one-year limited factory warranty on your new V Star 1300.
The mechanic in me wants to match engine sizes when looking for a competitor, and so I thought of the Scout from Indian. At 69 cubes (1,133 cc) it’s close enough to go apples-to-apples and the price point is within 10 bucks; but the styling of the two bikes seems like it would appeal to two different camps. Instead, I was drawn to the Chief Classic for looks and appeal.
You can see common design features between the two, and both are meant to represent a slice of classic Americana. As you might expect, Indian comes closer to the genuine as it has its own history to fall back on. Both ride on fat, shrouded front forks, though the Chief Classic takes it a step further with a headlamp nacelle. The upper lines are likewise similar as they flow across the tanks to the saddle scoop, with geometry that suggests at the old rigid look.
Both rides run big V-twin mills, but again Indian takes it further with the parallel pushrod tubes, head exhaust ports and cooling-fin rocker box covers meant to emulate the look of the old flathead engines. The V Star engine falls a little short at 80 cubes versus the massive, 111-inch Thunderstroke engine on the Chief, but I knew this going in. The size difference predictably gives a performance differential, with the Thunderstroke well on top at 119.2 pound-feet of torque at a low 3,000 rpm, over the 81.8 pound-feet from the V Star.
The differences run deep, despite the similar outward appearance, and that depth is proportional to how deeply you will need to reach into your wallet. You can ride off on a V Star 1300 for $11,290, not bad for a heavy cruiser, and even within the top-end of the entry-level range. Indian wants $18,999 for the 2015 Chief Classic, so the extra cubes, power, and a certain amount of name recognition, reflect in the sticker.
My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “I don’t want to sound harsh, but this ride is something of a Frankenstein in my eyes. It has suggestions of this and hints of that, and some of the features contradict rather than compliment. I would almost prefer to see a model targeted on, say, a specific 10-year period or custom era and commit to it. As it is, this bike looks a little too confused for my tastes.”
"I’m not as harsh as my husband when it comes to the looks of the V Star 1300. The engine is big enough to be big without being too intimidating for folks stepping up to a heavy cruiser. It’s surprisingly agile and nimble for its size. All steel sheet metal is desirable for customization, and I really like the stamp of quality that the 3-D tank emblem gives. The decal tank emblems are just so cheap."
|Engine:||Liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin; SOHC, Four valves per cylinder|
|Displacement:||80 cubic inches (1,304 cc)|
|Maximum Torque:||81.8 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm|
|Fuel Delivery:||Fuel injection|
|Ignition:||TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition|
|Transmission:||Five-speed; multiplate wet clutch, left foot operation|
|Suspension, Front:||41mm Telescopic fork; 5.3-inch travel|
|Suspension, Rear:||Single shock; 4.3-inch travel|
|Brakes, Front:||Dual hydraulic disc, 298 mm|
|Brakes, Rear:||Hydraulic disc, 298 mm|
|Wheel, Front:||Cast Seven-spoke aluminum, 16M/C x MT3.00|
|Wheel, Rear:||Cast Seven-spoke aluminum, 16M/C x MT4.50|
|Tire, Front:||130/90-16M/C 67H|
|Tire, Rear:||170/70B-16M/C 75H|
|Seat Height||27.2 inches|
|Ground Clearance:||5.71 inches|
|Minimum Turning Radius:||137.8 inches|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.9 gallons|
|Fuel Reserve:||1 Gallon|
|Fuel Economy:||42 mpg|
|Recommended Fuel:||Regular Unleaded|
|Wet Weight:||668 Pounds|
|Maximum Payload:||463 Pounds|
|Warranty:||One-Year Limited Factory Warranty|