Introduced in 2007 to fill the space in the Star Motorcycles lineup left by the departure of the V Star 1100, the V Star 1300 has stuck around, relatively unchanged, for the past seven model years. In that time, it’s grown to include a pair of spruced up siblings: the V Star 1300 Tourer and the V Star 1300 Deluxe. Despite the passing of the years, we haven’t revisited the unadorned V Star since our first ride report from the Asheville, NC introduction. Has time been kind to this workhorse of the Star line, or is it time to put it out to pasture?
If a motorcycle is going to show its age, the engine is usually the first place anything lackluster stands out. Happily, the 60° four-valve per cylinder 1304cc V-Twin is just as amiable as it ever was, with a smooth and linear powerband. The fuel metering provided by the Star’s EFI is glitch-free through most engine speeds, although we noted a slight off-to-on-throttle abruptness in the lower revs. Yes, we’d always like more power, but trading the mill’s overall competence for a peakier power delivery might usurp the 1300’s gentlemanly character.
The engine’s vibration is just about the right level of V-Twin pulsing at all engine speeds. The five-speed transmission shifts smoothly and features gearing that is appropriate for most riding situations. However, extended stints at highway speed made us wish for a sixth gear to drop the rpm just a tad lower. Even in its EPA-legal state, the exhaust note from the two-into-one pipe is pleasantly throaty, but riders who like to listen to an engine sing will enjoy the intake honk that varies with rpm and throttle opening – giving the rider the impression that the right combination of asphalt topography would allow the V Star to be played like a fine musical instrument.
The perch from which that symphony is conducted is a wide, nicely sculpted seat. The handlebar is comfortably spacious without spreading the rider out like a sail – which is of particular import since the base 1300 tested here has no windshield. The floorboards straddle the compromise of good leg positioning and acceptable ground clearance. The rubber inserts help keep engine vibrations from reaching your boots. The view of the cockpit is quite nice, with the instruments framed by chrome, while the back of the headlight shell continues the glossy theme.
The suspension does a good job of sorting the ripples from the big jolts. Freeway expansion joints aren’t bothersome the way they are on more stiffly suspended bikes, and the rear suspension’s 4.3 in. of travel absorbs the worst that the road throws at it about as good as any other cruiser in its class. The V Star’s handling is best described as stable. The bike tracks well through corners, turning easily – if not quickly. Floorboards dragging end the cornering party before either the chassis or suspenders get stressed.
The V Star’s brakes are worth noting. The dual 298mm discs and their 4-piston calipers easily haul the bike’s 663 lb. down from speed, though the set up is strictly old school: no ABS or linked brakes here.
The V Star 1300 impresses for its overall competence, with few nits to pick. The deepest criticism from our editors is, ironically, the most recent addition to the bike. The tank’s graphics stand out – and not in a good way – from the polished presentation of the rest of the Star. Otherwise, the paint’s color and the rest of the bike’s fit and finish are quite good, as we’ve come to expect from a Star motorcycle. Since the brand is known for its attention to detail, this styling miscue probably draws more attention than it deserves.
In summary, the 2014 V Star 1300 stands up to the test of time quite well. What was a very polished motorcycle at its inception continues to be so, today. Add Star’s (and the aftermarket’s) extensive accessory catalog to the mix, and the 1300 becomes even more desirable. Available for $11,290, you can have the V Star 1300 in any color you want, as long as it’s Candy Red.
|+ Highs ||– Sighs |
|2014 Star V Star 1300 Specs|
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled 60° V-Twin|
|Bore x Stroke||100.0 x 83.0 mm mm|
|Fuel System||Fuel injection|
|Ignition||TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition|
|Valve Train||SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Front Suspension||41mm Telescopic fork; 5.3-in travel|
|Rear Suspension||Single, preload-adjustable shock; 4.3-in travel|
|Front Brakes||Dual 298mm disc, 4-piston calipers|
|Rear Brakes||Single, 298mm disc, 2-piston Caliper|
|Front Tire||130/90-16M/C 67H|
|Rear Tire||170/70B-16M/C 75H|
|Seat Height||27.2 inches|
|Rake/Trail||32° / NA|
|MO measured wet weight||663 lb.|
|Fuel Capacity||4.9 gal.|