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2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe Road Test

The Star V Star 1300 Deluxe is ready for a serious tour or the hirsute commute, with good wind protection and storage.

The Star V Star 1300 Deluxe is ready for a serious tour or the hirsute commute, with good wind protection and storage.

Photo Credit: Brian J. Nelson

Mark Tuttle
June 4, 2013
Filed under Cruiser + Touring Motorcycle Reviews, Featured Road Test, Star Motorcycle Reviews

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Got your eye on a custom dresser, a “bagger,” eh? Can’t say I blame you. Stripped and slammed cruisers are so five years ago. They may have a wicked minimalist look, but actually riding one is another story—us baby boomers are gettin’ too old for narrow seats and suspension with one lousy inch of travel. Crikey, my back! And if you’re going to go anywhere, you need someplace to put a jacket liner, warmer gloves, maybe some overnight gear and a doggie bag from senior discount night at Denny’s. So a bagger it is—except, perhaps, that the prices of these really cool big-twins with nice wind-blocking fairings, sound systems, cushy seats and hard saddlebags can be breathtaking. Crikey, my wallet!

Tall windscreen is very quiet but can be intrusive in corners.

Tall windscreen is very quiet but can be intrusive in corners.

What if you could get into one for $13,690? Star’s new V Star 1300 Deluxe has an MSRP about $3,400-$6,000 lower than baggers like the Kawasaki Vaquero, Star Stratoliner Deluxe and Harley-Davidson Street Glide. What’s the catch? A smaller engine. Its displacement is 80 cubes, or 1,304cc, vs. 103ci or 1,690cc on up for the competition.

But let’s think about that for a second. It wasn’t long ago (1999-2006) that Harley’s biggest big twin, the one used in all its large cruisers and touring bikes, was 88ci, or 1,450cc. It was air-cooled, had fuel injection and OHV two-valve cylinder heads, and stock was good for about 65 horsepower and 75 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel. The fuel-injected V Star 1300 Deluxe’s engine is liquid-cooled with overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, and makes about 70 horsepower and nearly 76 lb-ft of torque, again at the rear wheel. So it’s got a little more power than an entire generation of Harley big twins, baggers included. Sure, few of those TC88 engines were ever left stock, but you get my point—the V Star 1300 Deluxe may have a smaller engine, but it’s no slug.

Power delivery is really good, too. Dual counterbalancers help quell the vibes from the 60-degree single-crankpin V-twin, so all the rider feels is a nice pulsing in the grips and floorboards, and the mirrors stay clear until things get a bit buzzy up near the 6,000 rpm redline. Power flows with a solid, direct feeling through the 5-speed transmission to the rear wheel via quiet, low-maintenance belt final drive. More than 70 lb-ft of torque is always on tap in the sweet spot from 3,000-5,000 rpm, too, so the 1300 Deluxe is quick and accelerates strongly at most speeds, especially ridden solo with a light load. Shifting is smooth, with nice heel-and-toe pedals and a good linear feel at the clutch lever. Long-distance two-up riders carrying a load may wish for a bit more urge at times, but only if you’re in a hurry.

Cornering clearance is good enough for spirited riding, and the floorboards touch down first on both sides.

Cornering clearance is good enough for spirited riding, and the floorboards touch down first on both sides.

The V Star 1300 Deluxe leaves the factory as a pretty, deep-blue V Star 1300, then gets its color-matched, fork-mounted fairing and hard bags installed by the dealer. The parts are, in fact, retrofittable to any 2007 and later V Star 1300. The 1300 Deluxe’s bags hold a useful total of 15.2 gallons, about five more than the V Star 1300 Tourer’s leather-covered ones. Up front, the fairing and tall windscreen provide ample wind protection for the upper body, arms and hands, though you have to look through the screen unless you straighten way up and peer over. This can be troublesome in the rain and in corners for some riders; if it bothers you the screen is easily shortened, or replaced with a shorter accessory one.

I like the tall windscreen because it helps create a nice still pocket of air behind it, the better to stay warm in our cool testing conditions, as well as hear the sound from the speakers in the fairing. The 1300 Deluxe comes with a Garmin 665LM GPS mounted front-and-center, which delivers all of the navigational magic for which they are known and can be set up to play voice directions and music from a memory card through the speakers (or Bluetooth headsets). Volume for the speakers is controlled with a four-button hand controller mounted near the left handlebar grip; you switch tracks and such using the GPS touch screen. Flip open the stylish cover and the GPS is easily removed from its mount in the fairing so it can be locked in one of the bags at stops.

Speakers and GPS are nicely integrated into the fairing.

Speakers and GPS are nicely integrated into the fairing.

The 1300 Deluxe is also iPod ready, with a 32-pin cable and mesh pocket for carrying the iPod in the left bag. Although there’s no display for the iPod on the instrument panel, you just put your playlist on shuffle and then control the track, volume, etc. from the hand controller. It also allows you to switch back and forth between the iPod and GPS, so potentially you could listen to voice directions, MP3 music and (with a subscription) traffic/weather info and SiriusXM satellite radio from the GPS with the speakers or a headset, then switch to the iPod and listen to a playlist on the speakers. The audio volume can be set to increase and decrease with road speed, and the speakers pump out clean, clear sound that is easy to hear at highway speeds, even over the bike’s lovely rumbling exhaust note.

All of this audio decadence is enjoyed from a wide, comfortable dished rider’s seat, with floorboards and grips on the wide handlebar that are in natural positions for my 5-foot, 10-inch height. Passenger seating is sparer, with a flat pad, footpegs and no grabrails. There’s a fix for just about any issue you might have among the hundreds of accessories for the V Stars, however, including a Comfort Cruise passenger seat and backrest, as well as tons of chrome and billet bolt-ons.

Rider’s dished seat unlocks for battery and toolkit access.

Rider’s dished seat unlocks for battery and toolkit access.

Solid-mounting the V Star 1300’s engine as a stressed member in the tubular-steel double cradle frame stiffens it and helps give the 1300 Deluxe light and precise handling, as well as a decent load capacity of 415 pounds. Cornering clearance is adequate, and it rolls left and right easily on seven-spoke 16-inch cast wheels with bias-ply Bridgestone tubeless tires that should last a long while. I did notice a slight amount of handlebar waggle at highway speeds in windy conditions, but it was nothing unusual for a bike with a fork-mounted fairing. The fork and rear shock have a fair amount of suspension travel and provide a compliant, controlled ride in most situations, though really large bumps can still put a kink in your spine if you don’t slow down first. Triple disc brakes also do a great job and have good feel at the lever and pedal.

There’s a quality feel to most things on this motorcycle, like the nice paint and steel fenders, and nothing whimsical or unnecessary. Those capacious saddlebags are sturdy, bolt-on top loaders with stylish hinges on the outside, so they open outward for ease in filling them and can be left unlocked and the key removed. If not overfilled, they slam closed solidly, like a car trunk. Our test bike’s smelled of fiberglass resin inside, which may eventually go away. Pack light and a solo rider should find the 15.2 gallons of space more than enough; two-up riders will probably need to add a luggage rack and perhaps a magnetic tankbag on the wide steel tank top. It holds 4.9 gallons, which gave our bike a range of more than 200 miles on regular unleaded. An LCD panel in the center of the elegant speedometer keeps track with a clock and dual tripmeters that can be scrolled and reset from the handlebar. My only gripe with the bike is that it can be hard to put the key in the ignition (particularly at night), because the switch is partially concealed by the fairing. That’s about as short as my gripe list ever gets.

Clean styling, lots of function, great fit and finish, and a low price are 1300 Deluxe highlights.

Clean styling, lots of function, great fit and finish, and a low price are 1300 Deluxe highlights.

At the moment, the V Star 1300 Deluxe is the only factory bagger with a fairing in this engine size and price range. Competitors are sure to follow, but it will remain special for the real value it offers for the money, and because it works so well and is so nicely finished, equipped and carefully thought-out. Whether you want to travel in comfort or just commute in style, it’s ready.

2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe
Base Price: $13,690
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: starmotorcycles.com

Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 60-degree V-twin
Displacement: 1,304cc (80ci)
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 83.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Adj. Interval: 16,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ 40mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.6-qt. cap.
Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt

2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe

2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe

Electrical
Ignition: Digital TCI
Charging Output: 460 watts @ 5,000 rpm
Battery: 12V 18AH

Chassis
Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ box-section steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 66.5 in.
Rake/Trail: 32.7 degrees/5.7 in.
Seat Height: 27.2 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm stanchions, no adj., 5.3-in. travel
Rear: Single shock, adj. for spring preload, 4.3-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual discs  w/ 2-piston pin-slide calipers
Rear: Single disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.00 x 16 in.
Rear: Cast, 4.50 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 130/90-16H
Rear: 170/70-16HB
Wet Weight: 716 lbs.
Load Capacity: 415 lbs.
GVWR: 1,131 lbs.

Top-loading 7.6-gallon hard bags are sturdy and open outward.

Top-loading 7.6-gallon hard bags are sturdy and open outward.

Performance
Fuel Capacity: 4.9 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 86 PON min. (low/avg/high) 39.2/42.4/45.6
Estimated Range: 208 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: NA

(This article Going Deluxe: 2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe Road Test was published in the June 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)

Comments

6 Responses to “2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe Road Test”

  1. E Maier on September 23rd, 2013 1:41 pm

    I purchased my 2013 1300 deluxe new with .7 miles on the clock. I do not agree with many reviews on the bike. There is much lag (slop) when change gears upon accellerating . The dealer adjusted the belt but the condition did not change. So I rode another new bike , and it had the same issue , which I believe is dangerous for the rider. The only way I could see to alleviate the problem is to slide the clutch. I also have problems to put the key into the ignition switch. I read reviews previous to my purchase and there were a few complaints about the problem, but being only 144# and only 5’6″ tall I figured I would not have an issue,(,I do have very small hands) WRONG. Especially in the dark, Although after adding a very small light I can at least see where the ignition is. And it makes insertion a bit easier. The seat is not comfortable at all, and I had to purchase a Air Hawk pad. Also I had to call the dealer to get instructions how to adjust the headlight.it was difficult to see at night because it would shine about 20′ in front of the bike. The manual did not cover any adjustment due to the addition of the factory fairing. I am getting used to the bike, but would not recommend it. I would give it only 3 stars out of 5.

    [Reply]

  2. Bill Radel on January 20th, 2014 2:53 pm

    I bought a V-Star 1300 new in 2009..Mine has the large windshield, floorboards, backrest, locking bags all factory installed..I added the luggage rack behind the backrest..This bike handles well for a 740 pounder and goes like an ape..I run this bike with a heavy hand and I’ve had a bike license for 43 years..The other owner’s complaints must be operator error, as this machine is GOLD for the price of admission..Fuel mileage is always near 43 mpg..Helmet lock under seat can be a mild hassle and location of the ignition switch, which is better than many underside of gas tank mounts, c’mon give me a break..!!

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    i just purchased a 2014 Vstar deluxe and I must say at first I thought an 80CI engine wouldn’t do it…. BUT I was so wrong!
    This bike is a beast, and I believe that would have no problem running with my 05 Road Star, and definitely would eat my 08 96ci HD ultr Classic alive. I recently ran this Deluxe againt a 2013 103ci Fatboy fuel injected with a 6 speed trans on the open road, and I have to say it was a side by side race up to about 110 and , well he had another gear. This bike is no slouch at all and the rider complaints must be operator error. However the key location is a very valid complaint as well as the OEM seat which is horrible. I went with a mustang seat just as I have with my other bikes. Also, YAMAHA!!! WTF- with a bike with this nice a fit and finish.. WHERE IS THE DAMNED FUEL GAGE!!!!!! in short, ride what you like, but for me, the HD was a bit worrisome for reliability, the Road Star-what can I say, The Deluxe-well im back with a quality made machine that has a quality engineered water cooled power plant and the ergonomic design that will allow me many thousands of miles!!!!!

    [Reply]

    rick Reply:

    What did you pay for the v star 1300 deluxe?

    [Reply]

  3. Ernesto Unionista on June 25th, 2014 5:43 pm

    A question for those that have the V-Star 1300- how is the cruising RPM at, say, 60 MPH? Is it on a par with the 6-speed machines? My 60 YO, carpel tunnel and osteoarthritis-inflicted hands are getting sensitive to vibration. I’m looking for reduced vibration frequency so low RPMs are mandatory for me. Unfortunately, due to having no tach the mag reviews don’t list cruising RPM. The 1300 looks like a good fit in every other way and my dealer carries it. Nice machine!

    [Reply]

  4. Glenn Sitzes on August 24th, 2014 8:54 pm

    My new 1300 deluxe has a terrible loud wine in the engine,sounds like a jet taking off. Any body else have this?

    [Reply]

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