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2012 Honda ST1300 Review: Night Rider


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2012 Honda ST1300 Review: On the Road, Part I
2012 Honda ST1300
Photo © Basem Wasef
There's no getting around the fact that Honda's ST1300 weighs 730 pounds: lift it from the sidestand or push it off the centerstand, and its heft becomes immediately apparent. With a full tank of gas, those 7.7 gallons of fluid don't help ease of handling, either. The slightest grade makes pushing the ST into a parking spot a challenge, so you'll need to plan your low-speed maneuvers accordingly.

The ST1300's big V-Four starts up and settles into a whiney idle, and its abundant torque becomes immediately apparent off the line, whisking the heavy bike forward with ease. The shifter operates smoothly and easily. Overall ergonomics are pleasing thanks to a big, cushy saddle that distributes your weight evenly, and a relatively upright seating posture that enables the ST to conform to your body, not the other way around. That comfort level helps explain why law enforcement forces speak highly of the ST1300's usability; few motorcycles are as comfortable for all-day riding. The integrated saddlebags operate easily enough, with the ignition key locking and unlocking the hinged outer door, as well as the mechanism which allows the bags to be removed.

On twisty roads, the ST1300 has generous power to charge ahead on the straight sections, with the V4 easily pushing the tachometer towards its 8,500 rpm redline. But a lack of front end feel makes it less enjoyable to flog around corners. The suspension feels stable around most bends, but there isn't a whole lot of feedback coming from the front tire to let the rider know how weight transfer and grip are affecting the bike's handling dynamics. Again, this is a motorcycle that's biased more towards straight line comfort and speed than surgical precision in the corners. Linked three-piston front and rear brakes offer strong stopping power, but there isn't a huge amount of braking feel, either.

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