2010 Honda VT1300 Cruisers First Ride

Bryan Harley | April 22, 2010
Honda Motorcycles deems the mid-sized cruiser demographic so important that within the last year it has produced four different models in this range. The forebear was the Fury, the company’s first production chopper, which attempted to break the staid reputation of its cruiser motorcycles with

The 2010 Honda Interstate has a touring package that includes hard saddlebags wrapped in leather  a windscreen  floorboards  a heel toe shifter and brake pedal.
Honda is giving cruiser riders a trio of motorcycles to choose from in its 2010 VT1300 series, including the touring-ready Interstate (above), the more pro-street styed Sabre, and a more conventional style cruiser called the Stateline.

a big-wheeled, raked-out, high-necked ride. Since its early release last April, Honda claims that over the last year it has been the best selling ‘factory-custom’ in the US.

The Japanese manufacturer’s 2010 VT1300 Series continues in that vein, as the new trio deviates from the 2009 VTXs with more custom-styling influences. The frame on the new VT1300 bikes is more open in the head space so the engine isn’t packaged so tightly, the streamline tank is racier and is styled more like the Fury’s, the bars are more pulled-back in custom bike fashion, and the old solo pipes are now dualies blended together beneath an encompassing heat shield. The bodywork, from its fenders, air filter and battery covers, have been infused with edgier styling by adding angular designs on the covers and stronger lines throughout. The VT1300 Series motorcycles are also longer and lower than ever before.

With these three new mid-sized cruiser models, Big Red hopes to offer a wider range of riders the experience of owning “custom bike styling” at an affordable price, and have worked hard to keep the price point below $13K. With three different platforms to choose from, Honda believes that there is enough variation in its VT1300 series to appeal to a

The 2010 VT1300 Series is Hondas most ambitious release of V-Twin cruisers to date.
The 2010 VT1300 Series is Honda’s most ambitious and varied release of V-Twin cruisers to date.
A stream of Honda VT1300 cruisers rumble down CA-79 on the way back to Temecula on a fine spring day.

wide demographic, from cruiser riders who prefer a sportier pro- street style bike to a touring version for those looking to log serious miles on the open road.

So why would Honda invest so much R&D energy into one class of bikes? Because since the VTX’s introduction in 2003, it has been a popular seller for the company. The first year it was introduced by Honda it sold almost 12,000 models. The 2003 VTX1300S was a classic-styled cruiser, featuring spoked wheels, floorboards, and traditional styling. The cruiser market was prime at that time and the Honda cruiser immediately became a sales success. In 2004, Honda amped up the platform with the introduction of the 2004 VTX1300C, equipping the new model with racy wheels, chopped fenders, and more custom-oriented paint schemes. That bike sold comparably, ringing in more than 11,000 units sold in its first year. In 2008, the evolution of the line progressed with the introduction of the VTX1300 Touring, coming prepped from the factory with a windscreen, saddlebags, and a passenger backrest. All told, Honda claims that it has sold 82,900 VTX motorcycles, bringing to light the importance of the model to the company and giving reason for Honda’s decision this year to give cruiser riders the best of all VTX worlds with three new models.

Our one-day of gathering first ride impressions on Honda’s 2010 Sabre, Stateline and Interstate models began in beautiful Temecula, California for a blast over the mountains to the fringe of the desert in Borrego Springs. The

Power to the trio of cruisers is provided by a 1312cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-Twin with a SOHC and single-pin crankshaft.
Power to the trio of cruisers is provided by a 1312cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-Twin with a SOHC and single-pin crankshaft.

approximately 130-mile round trip included elevation changes, a handful of 20-mph hairpins, and plenty of big sweepers which allowed us to get the cruisers tilted over and feel out the capabilities of its chassis and to gauge its handling characteristics.

But before we dive into each bike’s identities, let it be known that all three are powered by the tried-and-true engine developed in the VTX1300. The 52-degree V-Twin runs with an undersquare 89.5 X 104.3mm stroke compressing its fuel/air mixture at a 9.2:1 ratio. The single overhead cam design operates three valves per cylinder. A single-pin crankshaft provides a solid lumping character to the mill, while dual balancers keep vibes in the bars and foot controls to a minimum. The biggest change from prior years is in its method of induction, as Honda has abandoned the former CV-style carb for its Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) that features a single 38mm throttle body. It has an auto enrichment circuit that ensures that the bikes spark to life quickly with a flick of the electric start. The new fuel delivery system is what you’d expect from a Honda, silky-smooth in all gears. And while the powerplant in the new VT1300 series is a carryover, let’s break down what makes each of these models unique.

Bryan Harley

Cruiser Editor |Articles | Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.