2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe: Yamaha Adds a Budget-friendly Bagger

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Brian Nelson

Yamaha’s Star cruiser division has launched its new 2013 V Star 1300 Deluxe, which it calls a “midsize” bagger. My, how times have changed. Why, it wasn’t that long ago that an 80-cubic-inch motorcycle was considered full size!

A bright multi-reflector headlight, LED taillight, and turn signals with clear lenses give it a custom look. The V Star 1300 Deluxe’s most prominent features are its large batwing fairing and color-matched saddlebags, which readily distinguish it from the otherwise similar V Star 1300 Touring. It also comes in only one color, deep blue.

Thanks to its $ 13,690 MSRP, the 1300 Deluxe has the lowest list price in the full-dress cruiser category. This should make it affordable for potential buyers and popular in this economy.

Powertrain and Performance

The V Star 1300 Deluxe uses the same 1,304cc water-cooled twin found in the V Star 1300 Touring. Forged connecting rods share a single crankpin, to deliver a pleasing V-twin sound and throb. The single-overhead camshaft design breathes freely through four valves per cylinder, while roller rocker arms reduce friction. Dual counterbalancers smooth out the heavy vibrations while retaining some characteristic pulsing. Rugged, ceramic-composite cylinder sleeves minimize wear, and the hydraulic cam-chain tensioner eliminates the need for adjustments there. A 9.5-to-1 compression ratio allows the use of regular-grade gasoline, which also saves money.

To make the water cooling less obvious, the radiator is neatly tucked between the frame downtubes, coolant hoses are minimized, and the water pump is combined with the oil pump. A wet sump is used, and the oil filter is kept out of sight yet accessible.

Electronic fuel injection controls the fuel mixture going through a twin 40mm throttle body and eliminates the need for a manual cold-start control. An exhaust oxygen sensor provides closed-loop feedback to the computer and allows the catalytic converter to substantially reduce toxic emissions.

Engine torque passes through a wet clutch to a five-speed gearbox that has overdrive in its top gear. Final drive is via a clean, quiet toothed belt. Clutch lever pull is moderate, gear changes are easy, and neutral is readily accessed. There’s no tachometer, but Yamaha specs show the engine is turning 3,400 rpm at 68 mph in fifth. This allows a relaxed feeling at highway speeds.

Cold or hot, the engine starts instantly and offers immediate throttle response. The engine makes more than sufficient power for merging, passing, and climbing grades, even with two up. It has that typical V-twin feel with low-rpm torque—just roll on the power, little shifting is needed.

Chassis and Handling

A sturdy steel frame with twin downtubes uses solid engine mounts to stiffen the chassis for better handling. A conventional non-adjustable KYB fork with 41mm tubes, a 5.3-inch stroke, and damping-rod internals controls the ride in front. In back, a steel swingarm and single shock absorber, adjustable only for spring preload, offer 4.3 inches of travel. It has nine positions for spring preload to match rider weight and preference.

Cast seven-spoke rims carry a 130/90-16 front tire and 170/70B-16 at the back. Braking is provided by a pair of 298mm rotors clamped by the two-piston front calipers, and one 298mm rotor with a single-pot caliper at the rear. These deliver strong stopping power with low lever effort, along with good feedback. However, ABS is not offered.

Even at parking-lot speeds, the steering feels light, and the Deluxe is easy to handle for U-turns and such. It tracks well through corners and also feels stable at highway velocities. Overall, the Deluxe delivers a comfy ride; its rear suspension provides good compliance for small and large bumps. However, the fork offers little damping, which allows the front end to wallow sometimes.

Features and Ergonomics

Having that large batwing fairing and tall windscreen leading the way parts the wind and offers good weather protection without buffeting. Wide rubber-mounted handlebars soak up vibration and provide good leverage for steering. A minimalist dash cluster includes an analog speedometer, an odometer, dual trip meters, a low-fuel mileage counter, clock, and fuel-warning light. At night, its red illumination is a nice feature, but the bike has no tach, fuel gauge, or ambient (or coolant) temperature readouts. The usual indicator lamps advise of neutral, high beam, turn signal, low-oil level, low fuel, high coolant temperature, and engine-diagnostic warning.

Although the Deluxe model is fairly devoid of gadgets, it does come with a handy Garmin zumo 665 GPS, which also offers weather and traffic updates if you subscribe to a service. It can be easily popped out of the instrument panel and includes a mount to use it in your car. In addition, there’s XM satellite radio (requires a subscription) and Bluetooth connectivity for those wireless headsets. The sound system is iPod/iPhone compatible with a holder and charging connector, and the audio system can be controlled from the left handlebar. We enjoyed the music, which can be heard even at highway speeds, and the GPS worked well.

The seat is nicely shaped for a comfortable ride, and that low 27.2-inch height lets most folks plant their feet firmly on the pavement when stopped. Rider footboards add to the cruiser feel, yet they don’t drag too readily in corners. Passenger seating is comfortable, with a fair-sized saddle and pegs instead of footboards. Get the optional backrest, your passenger will appreciate it.

There’s an auxiliary fuel tank that’s connected to the main tank, which allows the main tank to be svelter. Total fuel capacity is only 4.9 gallons, which is less than we prefer for traveling.

Touring riders will appreciate the hard, lockable, and color-matched saddlebags. They have a capacity of 28.8 liters each and keep the weather out. There’s room for multi-day trips, and for longer jaunts a tailbag can be used. Although a full-face helmet won’t fit inside, we found that a motorcycle jacket will fit in either side, which is handy when going into a cafe.

Final Thoughts

With a price tag under 14 grand, we think that Star’s Deluxe offers good value in the cruiser segment. It’s well made of quality components with top-notch fit and finish, and there are plenty of accessories already offered. If you’re shopping for a cruiser in this size category, check one out at the Star showroom.