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2012 Honda ST1300 Review: Night Rider


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Bottom Line, Key Specs, Who Should Buy the Honda ST1300?
2012 Honda ST1300

A rider's view of the ST1300.

Photo © Basem Wasef

Bottom Line

The Honda ST1300's dashboard (seen here) says a lot about this sport tourer: It's ambitious, offering lots of information and a mixture of analog and digital displays. But it's also dated, particularly the section on the right. The instant fuel economy gauge only updates every 15 seconds or so, and unlike bikes costing half as much, there's no digital gear indicator. While the ST1300's strengths are many, namely its smooth, powerful engine, large fuel tank, and comfortable ergonomics, so are its shortcomings, which include unsporty handling, non-adjustable front suspension, a heat-generating powerplant, and a disconcertingly heavy curb weight. Perhaps most crippling to the ST1300 is its $18,230 MSRP, which is $2,231 pricier than the sportier VFR1200F (though saddlebags cost extra on the VFR.)

Cross-shopping the ST1300 reveals serious competition from the Ducati Multistrada 1200 (starting at $16,995) and Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS ($15,899)... and to a lesser extent, the aging Yamaha FJR1300A ($15,590). If you're willing to spend a bit more, the options open up to the stellar BMW K1600 GT, which starts at $20,900. Formidable competition should also arrive with the forthcoming Triumph Trophy SE (price TBD.)

The Honda ST1300 isn't necessarily a bad or unlikable bike, but its dated platform and excessive curb weight puts it at a disadvantage against other bikes in its class. So while you might find satisfaction like I did on my solitary night ride, you might also find the ST1300 is a less-than-ideal tool for technical, warm weather riding-- which makes me pine for a ground-up refresh much in the same way Honda re-imagined the VFR1200F. No doubt there are tons of Honda enthusiasts (and police officers) who are saying "Bring it on!"

I know I am.

Key Specifications

  • Price: $18,230
  • Engine: Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 1,261cc V-Four
  • Fuel Economy: 7.7 gallons
  • Fuel Efficiency: 35 mpg (EPA estimate)
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual
  • Final Drive: Shaft
  • Brakes: Linked ABS, 3-piston front and rear
  • Suspension: Non-adjustable 45mm cartridge fork, preload-adjustable single-shock rear
  • Rake/Trail: 26.0 degree (Caster Angle) / 98mm (3.9 inches)
  • Storage: Two dash compartments, plus hard rear saddlebags
  • Seat Height: 31.1 inches, plus or minus .6 inches
  • Colors: Black
  • Warranty: Three years, transferable, unlimited mileage

Who Should Buy the Honda ST1300?

Long distance riders looking for a comfortable bike who don't demand cutting edge electronics, of-the-moment styling, or exceptionally sporty road manners.
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