Honda VT1300s

Steve Bond gives us his take on the new line of VT1300s from Honda and samples the Sabre and Interstate. Costa throws in his two cents for good measure.

Words: Steve Bond and Costa Mouzouris. Photos: Bill Petro and Rob

New VT1300s – After the Fury

By Steve Bond

When Honda introduced the VT1300 Fury last year, it knocked the cruiser world for a bit of a loop. Imagine the world’s first factory custom that actually functioned as a “normal” rideable motorcycle. At the time, I said that I’d take the Fury over anyone else’s mid-displacement cruiser because it simply worked better.


Spot the difference! T to B: Fury, Sabre, Stateline, Interstate.

The kicked out front end didn’t overly affect handling, the minimalist seat was actually fairly comfortable and it didn’t look like anything else you could buy off a showroom floor. The big-tired, fat-fendered, lotsa-chrome look has been overdone. Move on.

As we turn the page on a new decade, things are still not sunshine and roses in the motorcycle industry but Honda is making an effort to turn things around.

Cruisers are still the biggest seller but where most previous metric cruisers were functionally similar with minor styling changes, the Honda VT1300s look similar but are functionally (and mechanically) different.


For 2010, Honda has expanded on the VT1300 Fury ($15,499 or $16,799 with linked ABS) to include three new models – the $13,299 CRA Stateline, the $13,399 hot rod CSA Sabre, and the $14,449 CT Interstate that comes with floorboards, bags and a windshield (basically a Stateline in touring mode).

Honda sums it up by saying the Sabre is for riding downtown, the Stateline is for riding across the state (or across the province for us Great White Notherners) and the Interstate will take you from state to state (or province to… well, you get the idea).

All have the same 1,312cc, three-valve engine with EFI, a slick shifting, five-speed transmission and shaft drive, but there are small but significant differences in chassis geometry, seating position and handlebar placement.

With tanks full of fuel, the curb weights are close as well, and it’s surprising that the Sabre, which checks in at 312 kg (686 lbs) is 4 kg more than the Interstate, despite the touring model having the bags and shield.

All three models have the same 170/80-15 inch rear buns, but where the Stateline and Interstate have 140/80-17 fronts, the Sabre goes with the 90/90-21 inch front from the Fury.



The Sabre is a little less radical Fury.

While the Fury maintains a custom look with extended forks, an open area around the steering head and a smallish 12.8-litre fuel tank, the new VT1300s have shorter forks, less steering rake and an elongated 16.6-litre tank.

They still maintain the clean, custom-looking features of the Fury with hidden routing of the cables, rad hoses and wiring looms, a radiator that’s tucked between the front downtubes and an engine that almost seems to float in the frame, as if it’s fastened without the benefit of motor mounts.

There’s enough chrome to keep an anal-retentive polisher busy for hours and a lack of garish Honda emblems or logos makes for a clean, uncluttered look, although I imagine production models will likely be covered in the usual death and dismemberment disclaimer stickers warning of everything from “always wear a helmet” to “do not use in the shower.”


Sabre comes with ABS.

Non ABS models use a single 336 mm front disc squeezed by a two-pot caliper with a 296 mm saucer bringing up the rear. Linked ABS equipped VT1300s use a three-piston front caliper and a twin-piston in the rear.

Most cruiser riders don’t use the front brake hard enough to lock it up on dry pavement so the ABS might seem an oddity, but it’ll likely prevent a few faceplants when someone’s burbling along in the rain and a minivan-driving soccer mom runs a stop sign.

Which is probably why Honda put linked ABS on the Sabre and Stateline (they’re primarily for urban environments), while the open-road Interstate’s brakes are neither linked or anti-lock.



Bit of a stretch for midgets and trolls.

Honda didn’t have a Stateline at the press launch but I got some time on the Sabre and Interstate and, despite the apparent similarities, they both had different riding characteristics.

The bars on the Sabre are narrower with less pullback than the Interstate, requiring more of a stretch to reach them. It was no problem for me, but those who don’t possess a simian-like arm span may find it a reach.

The forward mounted pegs make for lots of legroom but that, in turn, makes for more weight on the old tailbone. The configuration of the bars on both models makes rotating the bars at slow speeds much like the pivoting action of a sailboat tiller.

Speaking of slow speeds, the narrow front tire on the Sabre makes for very easy steering around town with little tendency for the front to “flop” into the corners. It didn’t seem twitchy at freeway speeds, although the narrow profile made it sensitive to highway grooves and pavement irregularities.


Interstate comes with bags and screen.

The Interstate’s standard bags have an ingenious hidden latch, are (thankfully) fringe and tassel free, but are a bit on the smallish side, although I imagine careful packing could stow a toothbrush, a few day’s worth of underwear, T-shirts and a rain suit.

The windshield on the Interstate provides welcome relief from the windblast on the highway, although I know that Costa and a few of the other riders mentioned excessive helmet buffeting at freeway speeds.

Perhaps it was because my six-foot-three frame had me towering above the dirty air but I honestly didn’t notice a lot of gratuitous turbulence.

However, as speeds increased, the front end started feeling decidedly skittish, which is always a possibility with a windshield mounted directly to the handlebars. It was barely noticeable at 100 km/h but once at a Georgia-legal 120, the feedback from the front tire was like a bad cell phone connection – intermittent.


Even the motor looks minimalistic.

Performance of the 52-degree V-twin is more than adequate both around town and on the highway and the fuel injection makes for linear and seamless throttle response.

The exhaust note from the staggered shotgun pipes is a pleasing rumble and Honda engineers even allowed a little vibration to get through to the rider. It’s not obtrusive or annoying – just enough character so you know you’re not aboard a refrigerator.

The new VT1300s are an interesting approach by Honda. They offer styling that you could only previously get when buying outrageously expensive, fly-by-night boutique customs.

Now cruiser riders can find a radically styled motorcycle that’s engineered as much for the ride quality as it is for its ability to attract onlookers’ gapes.

VT1300 Sabre/Interstate second opinion

by Costa Mouzouris


I must hand it to Honda. The company that once built bikes that you met the nicest people on now builds some badass-looking choppers. At first glance these stretched out customs look like they were built in a fabricator’s workshop.


Where’s the unicorn?

The stretched out steering necks, elongated fuel tanks and tire-hugging fenders look like they’ve been manipulated through hours of cutting and welding; the work of some obsessed metalworking madman. All that’s missing for the full effect is an airbrushed nude riding a unicorn across the gas tank.

Then you notice the cleverly disguised liquid cooling, shaft drive, and the most unlikely of chopper features – linked ABS. It’s then that you realize this machine wasn’t custom built in a metal shop, but was manufactured en-mass in Japan.

Riding it only confirms this as a refined, modern metric cruiser – with the prerequisite limited cornering clearance and keep-this-ride-short ergos.


But that’s when it turned me off. If I’m going to ride an Easyriders-worthy bike that has a tailbone-hammering, nut-airing riding position and scrapes parts at the thought of turning, I’d rather go for the gusto!

I need the bone-jarring vibration, uncertain reliability and frightening handling that goes with that bad-boy persona. I’d want to leave a trail of parts as a record of my journey, and the accompanying greasy jeans and dirty fingernails to boot.

Yeah, the problem with these new badass Hondas is that they’re just too nice.




$13,399 $13,299 $14,449

1,312 cc 1,312 cc 1,312 cc 1,312 cc

Four-stroke, sohc 52° V-twin,
Four-stroke, sohc 52° V-twin,
Four-stroke, sohc 52° V-twin,
Four-stroke sohc 52° V-twin,

(crank – claimed)
57 hp @ 4,250 rpm 57 hp @ 4,250 rpm 57 hp @ 4,250 rpm 57 hp @ 4,250 rpm

79 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm 79 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm 79 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm 79 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm
12.8 litres 16.6 litres 16.6 litres 16.6 litres

EFI with 38 mm throttle body EFI with 38 mm throttle body EFI with 38 mm throttle body EFI with 38 mm throttle body

Final drive
Five speed, shaft drive Five speed, shaft drive Five speed, shaft drive Five speed, shaft drive

90/90-21 90/90-21 140/80-17 140/70-17

170/80-15 170/80-15 170/80-15 170/80-15

Single 336 mm
disc with dual-piston caliper
Single 336 mm
disc with three-piston caliper – linked
Single 336 mm
disc with three-piston caliper – linked
Single 336 mm
disc with dual-piston caliper

296 mm disc with single-piston
296 mm
disc with dual-piston caliper – linked
296 mm
disc with dual-piston caliper – linked
296 mm disc with single-piston

678 mm (26.7″) 683 mm (26.9″) 678 mm (26.7″) 678 mm (26.7″)

1,804 mm (71 “) 1,778 mm (70″) 1,780 mm (70.1″) 1,780 mm (70.1″)

Wet weight
302 kg (665 lb) 307 kg (677
312 kg (688
308 kg (679

Graphite black, red mettalic, matte silver Graphite black Candy red Pearl blue

12-months, unlimited mileage 12-months, unlimited mileage 12-months, unlimited mileage 12-months, unlimited mileage



  1. Costa’s comments nailed it big time … as usual.

    For me these bikes can actually induce motocyclic (sic) depression. How can any self respecting individual find themselves riding a pseudo bad ass designer bike? I need a pill … no, make that two. :upset

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