The 2008 Honda VTX1300 Tourer offers buyers a motorcyle with the amenities of a touring bike teamed with the styling cues of a classic cruiser powered by a reliable, road-tested Honda mill.
The Honda Cruiser line added a new member to its family for 2008, the VTX 1300 Tourer. Based on its popular VTX model and powered by the same 1312cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-Twin, riders looking to go the distance will no longer have to convert the VTX 1300 themselves for two-up, long-distance travel. Honda has done it for you, equipping the VTX 1300T with a tall windscreen, leather saddlebags with 24-liters of storage space and a chrome backrest for its leather pillion.
Since styling can make or break a cruiser, it’s no surprise the VTX 1300 Tourer is an amalgamation of classic American cruiser styling cues. The deeply valanced front and rear fenders aren’t quite as dramatic as those popularized by Indian Motorcycles, but do give the bike a splash of old-school appeal. The speedo and odometer are mounted high on the back of the tank in the same style that’s been coming out of Milwaukee for a long time, but include modern electronica like an A&B tripmeter, turn signals and indicator lights. The electric speedo uses an electronic transmission speed sensor that eliminates the front-wheel-mounted speedo cable, a move seen more in the custom world than on manufacturer bikes. The result is less wiring cluttering up the front end.
At the heart of the 2008 VTX 1300 Tourer is the chromed-out 1312cc V-Twin popularized by the standard VTX 1300. The mill is fed by a single 38mm constant-velocity carb and has a single-pin crankshaft. Its Electronic Control Unit provides 3-D ignition maps for each cylinder that Honda claims creates ideal spark advance settings. Honda has attempted to minimize vibrations associated with big V-Twins by equipping the Tourer with dual two-axis primary counterbalancers. It also has a cool dry-sump oil system in a closed-crankcase design that places the oil tank inside the gearbox case. Without a tank hogging up space underneath the seat, Honda was able to drop the seat height to a rider-friendly 27 inches.
Sitting low in the saddle will allow riders to sit on the padded leather seat in an upright riding position with the semi-swept polished aluminum handlebars easily within reach. Riding ergos are rounded out by short floorboards with heel-and-toe shifters.
The VTX 1300 Tourer’s ride will be smoothed out by a 41mm front fork with 5.1 inches of travel. A plump 140/80 front tire sits on a 17-inch retro-styled cast wheel and will provide plenty of stability as the Tourer gobbles up miles. A front disc brake with a twin-piston caliper and a large-diameter 336mm stainless-steel rotor will be responsible for stopping duties. On the back end, dual chromed rear shocks with 3.7-inches of travel will take the edge off of rough roads. The shocks have five adjustable preload settings with an internal valve system, a necessity for a touring bike where loads can include another rider and full saddlebags. The 15-inch cast rear wheel bears the same retro-styling as the front with a 170/80 tire and stopping power provided to the rear disc by a 296mm rotor with a single-piston pot.
The 2008 VTX 1300 Tourer will come in a trio of flavors for cruiser lovers – Black, Metallic Red and Metallic Silver. And though Honda has completed the touring conversion for you, there’s still plenty of aftermarket goodies in the Honda accessory line that will allow riders to customize their bikes further. Based on looks, I would group the Tourer in the same category as the Harley-Davidson Road King, minus a couple hundred cubic centimeters. Of course, the MRSP is around six-large less, which is definitely a plus. At $10,999, it will make plenty of people take a second look when deciding on their next cruiser-styled touring bike.
Model: 2008 VTX1300T
Engine Type: 1312cc 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
Final Drive: Shaft
Front: 41mm fork; 5.1 inches travel
Rear: Dual shocks with five-position spring preload adjustability; 3.7 inches travel
Front: Single 336mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 296mm disc with single-piston caliper
Wheelbase: 65.7 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 32.0-degree
Trail: 144mm (5.7 inches)
Seat Height: 27.4 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons, including 1.0-gallon reserve
Colors: Black, Metallic Silver, Metallic Red
Curb Weight*: 748 pounds
*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel–ready to ride.