In motion the V Star 1300 Deluxe feels light and is very easy to turn despite its 700-plus pound curb weight.
Whether you’re shopping for groceries, or a new motorcycle, many consumers demand value. Star Motorcycles recognizes this philosophy is more than a trend and entices price-minded motorcyclists with its V Star 1300 Deluxe ($13,690). This all-new bike blends the rugged looks of a boulevard cruiser with the practicality and touring comfort of a bagger. For all the juicy technical details refer to Cruiser Editor Bryan Harley’s 2013 V Star 1300 Deluxe First Look article as this report focuses on its road performance.
Although the V Star 1300 is powered by a smaller displacement 1304cc/80-cubic-inch engine (as compared to other bagger models), it is still a formidably sized motorcycle. Because its curb weigh is in excess of 700 pounds, lifting it off the side stand requires muscle. Still, it’s relatively low mounted seat (27.2 inches off the ground) and wide handlebar make it easier to command in parking lots but it does require a fair berth to get in and out of tight spots. Dial in even the slightest amount of throttle however and its bulky handling evaporates and is replaced with a ride that is responsive and eager to turn. In motion it’s surprising how lithe the bike feels, boosting rider confidence as a result, especially on rough or narrow roads. Steering feel is predictable and step-less with too much lean angle signaled by a scrape of the floorboards. The OE-fitted Bridgestone and Michelin tires are fabulous and offer tall, bump absorbing sidewalls paired to a rounded profile which no doubt aids in the V Star’s excellent side-to-side handling and steering precision.
The suspension has a very supple feel as evident by how much pitch the motorcycle has with even the slightest amount of pressure on the front brake lever. But it works well smoothing out the effects of road bumps or rough, broken pavement. With a passenger or a full load of cargo inside the fixed saddlebags we presume the ride could get too springy and spongy feeling but as long as you show some restraint in the corners and not ride the bike too aggressively it delivers a smooth, compliant ride. Speaking of luggage, the two lockable hard cases provide enough storage for a solo overnight getaway. They also have a pocket and connection cable for your iPhone or iPod.
(Left) The windshield is tall and wide and does a fantastic job of shielding the rider from road debris and wind. (Center) The V Star 1300 Deluxe offers a streamlined shape that is both functional and pleasing to look at. . (Right) The V Star’s 1340cc engine gets with the program and offers good acceleration, smooth throttle response and great sound and character.
Even though the 1300 Deluxe doesn’t offer ABS, we never missed it. Both brakes—especially the rear that offers strong, fade-resistant stopping power. There is an equally high degree of feel through each lever which makes them easier to apply. The front lever doesn’t offer any position adjustment but it has a pleasing contour making it comfortable to grab and actuate with two or three fingers.
In the ergonomics department the V Star offers little to complain about. Although the saddle looks nice and cozy it was the weak link in terms of all-day comfort. It’s important to note that Star offers a vast line of accessories, including a seat back support that’s designed to improve rider comfort. The position of the handlebars puts almost zero strain on the rider’s arms and the shape of the 4.9-gallon fuel tank and floorboards afford plenty of leg room for rider’s legs. However, it could be a little cramped for those who are really tall (above 6’1”). The shape of the windscreen does a marvelous job of shielding the rider
(Top) The touchscreen Garmin GPS is fully integrated into the cockpit of the motorcycle. It also controls audio sources. It is also removable too. (Bottom) The V Star’s cockpit is accommodating and will be well-suited for all but extremely tall riders.
from road debris and windblast, and we were surprised by just how quiet the cockpit is even at freeway speeds.
The V Star 1300 Deluxe comes standard with intuitive electronics highlighted by a Garmin GPS mounted just below the windshield, within the rider’s direct line of sight making it safer to view while riding. A clever hidden mounting system gives the GPS a flush, integrated fit and appears like a genuine OE-component rather than an aftermarket piece. In addition to navigation the GPS controls incoming audio sources (XM radio, AM/FM radio and iPod or iPhone connectivity). Both the navigation and audio functions can be manipulated via the color LCD touch screen and can be used while riding—a tremendous plus compared to other brand’s systems. The menu system takes a few minutes to learn but once you figure out its structure it becomes simple to use. Furthermore a separate volume and track control buttons are located near the rider’s left hand. Despite the V Star’s audio system only employing two forward speakers the sound quality is superb. Not only do the speakers pump out a loud decibel reading the clarity of the sound is excellent. This is one of the best stock performing dual speaker set-ups we’ve ever sampled.
Engine performance was another shining aspect of Star’s latest bagger. The motor offers plenty of get-up-and-go and had no trouble pushing the bike through wind at speeds up to 90 mph. It’ll even do more than that we just didn’t get the chance to push it more. Enough torque is on tap to overtake vehicles without excessive downshifts. The motor has a pleasing and charismatic heart beat and the exhaust note from the right-hand side exhaust is first-rate with just the right amount of growl, but not so much as to piss off neighbors or folks soaking up the sun in their drop top cars. It truly offers the best of both worlds. Annoying engine vibration was also negligible.
For the most part throttle response is also top notch, though it did have a herky-jerky feel during delicate off/on applications in first gear only, most notable when you’re riding through tight, low speed turns. The engine’s fueling in the remaining five gears is near perfect. Drivetrain performance including feel from the clutch and transmission was excellent and the final drive gearing was low enough to climb steep grades but tall enough to keep the engine revving to the moon in top gear on the freeway.
Considering its affordable price tag, it would only be logical for Star to cut costs by skipping on the bike’s less obvious details, including the bolts and fasteners, or the spacing between the bodywork and the all-metal fenders. But it didn’t. Instead the 2013 V Star 1300 Deluxe is one of the most well put together cruisers we’ve seen from Star. It’s a testament to its commitment to the American market and a shot over the bow of its chief competitors. Value aside, this is a motorcycle you’ll want in your garage.
- Crazy affordable price point
- Excellent quality and craftsmanship
- Awesome handling and stereo
- Heavy at a standstill
- Abrupt throttle response in first gear only
- Limited fuel capacity