2013 Light-Heavyweight Touring-Cruiser Shootout - Video
Honda Interstate vs. Star 1300 Deluxe vs. Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S.
Star’s V Star 1300 Deluxe is truly in a class by itself. Not to disparage the other baggers in this shootout, but the Vee-Dee is the only light-heavyweight touring-cruiser in the game with a molded batwing fairing like the ones the big boys sport.
“The Deluxe’s batwing fairing makes it distinctive in this group,” Duke says, “providing wider wind protection and a classy visual appeal.”
As I pointed out in my March review, the V Star 1300 Deluxe cribs the look, dimensions and amenities of a heavyweight bagger, but does so with a 1304cc engine, keeping its weight and cost low. The seat height and wheelbase are comparable to the aforementioned Stratoliner Deluxe, but the V Star 1300 Deluxe’s light weight and low price adds maneuverability and a wide range of rider accessibility to a segment that’s often, ahem, weighed down by Baby Boomer stigma.
Look, it’s not an overwhelming ride or a groundbreaking technical marvel. Rather, the Star won this shootout by performing well in nearly every category on the Motorcycle.com Scorecard. Star has provided Bagger Nation with an affordable, quality bagger that most any motorcyclist can afford. It’s comfortable and fleshed out, with touring standards like copious cargo capacity, roomy floorboards and nice passenger accommodations, in addition to the obvious wind protection advantages a batwing provides.
“In a group of budget-minded touring-cruisers,” Tom says, “Star’s zumo with GPS navigation, XM satellite radio and two fairing-mounted speakers stand out against the technology-devoid offerings from Honda and Suzuki.”
But beyond the batwing and its benefits the other tourers here cannot claim, the V Star 1300 Deluxe also delivered on riding and technical merits. Its dual front discs handily gave it the best Braking score of the three. Thanks to a light clutch pull, plush seat, wide levers and the wind protection offered by the batwing, the bike’s performance in the Ergonomics/Comfort department proved superior as well, netting 29 out of 30 possible points.
“With the best wind protection of the group and the second best seat of the group I could easily spend the most time aboard the V Star,” Tom says. “And if I’m doing the long haul to Sturgis, the zumo, with its XM satellite radio, would make a nice traveling companion.”
Beyond winning the above categories outright, the Star performed consistently well up and down the roster, earning a solid second place in Engine, Transmission, Handling, Suspension and Instrumentation. It had zero third-place finishes on our Scorecard, suffering only in the Tech category because of the lack of optional ABS and cruise control – demerits it shared with the Suzuki. In the end, the Star achieved the highest overall marks on the Motorcycle.com Scorecard, notching 86.25%, while the Suzuki earned 80.89% and the Honda, 70.29%.
Let’s be clear: the Vee-Dee wasn’t without its foibles. We lamented the obvious placement of the evaporative emissions box hanging out like a wart. And some riders might like its windscreen to be a few inches shorter. And we all wish Star offered ABS and cruise control as optional equipment on the bike. But as for serious beefs, the Star was involved in fewer discussions among the jury than the other two bikes.
At $13,690, the Vee-Dee boasts the lowest MSRP in this comparison, although the base-model Honda Interstate without ABS is cheaper, at $13,240. The Star’s value proposition is striking, considering it offers true bagger styling, the best wind protection and largest saddlebags in the group, plus the navi system the others lack.
The V Star Deluxe’s value becomes even more outstanding when you consider how well it performed versus the competition. All day long, Kevin, Tom and I kicked around the pros and cons of the Interstate and the B.O.S.S., pointing out benefits of one and the drawbacks of the other at every stop. Meanwhile, the V Star 1300 Deluxe just led by example, doing it all and delivering the goods with the quiet confidence of a class leader.
“The Deluxe is a very well-rounded package, with few nits to pick,” Duke concludes. “It feels Goldilocks-y – a nice balance between the chopper-esque Interstate and the bigger-boned C90T.”