Is a Honda ST1300 too big of a jump? (Top-Heavy or Not?)

The Honda ST1300, a high-performance touring motorcycle, is a machine that entices riders with its promise of comfortable long-distance travel.

With a 1261cc V4 engine, producing an impressive 106 hp and 84 lb-ft of torque, it offers brisk acceleration and a top speed of over 135 mph.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll explore how this motorcycle fares for riders of varying experience levels, from beginners to seasoned riders, and discuss its handling, performance, safety features, and cost of ownership.

Whether you’re a novice rider eyeing this powerhouse or an experienced one considering a shift to touring, this article provides insights to help you make an informed decision about the Honda ST1300.

Is the Honda ST1300 top-heavy?

Many riders felt that the ST1300 was more top-heavy than a Goldwing, which is a large, heavy touring bike.

I’d recommend new riders to be extra cautious with low-speed maneuvering and stopping due to the high center of gravity. Make sure to keep the bike upright when coming to a stop.

Take it easy for the first few days and get used to the weight and handling before becoming too confident.

ST1300 Weight Specifications

At 680 lbs wet, the ST1300 probably feels heavy to riders transitioning from a sport motorcycle.

Its long wheelbase and 29.1-inch seat height also make it a much larger motorcycle as well.

The considerable heft and size could make it intimidating for newer riders to handle, especially at low speeds.

A rider who is accustomed to tossing around a nimble 400lb sport bike may find the ST1300 unwieldy at first.

Getting used to the higher center of gravity and slower handling may take some time.

Proper technique and experience will be required to comfortably manage the weight in parking lots and other tight spaces.

Overall, the much larger size and weight of the ST1300 represents a significant change from what a typical motorcycle rider is used to.

Read our article on ST1300 weight specifications for more info.

Rider Experience

The Honda ST1300 can work for riders at varying stages of experience but is likely best suited to intermediate or experienced riders.

Beginner riders would find the large size, heavy weight, and abundant power very intimidating and risky to learn on.

The ST1300 works best for those with a few years of experience accustomed to proper motorcycle control and handling fundamentals.

Intermediate riders will appreciate the predictable handling and ample safety features as they continue progressing in skill.

For experienced riders, the ST1300 unlocks long-distance touring capabilities beyond smaller motorcycles while still delivering ample performance.

The power must be respected but is manageable for seasoned riders adding a touring mount to their stable.

Overall the ST1300 matches best with intermediate experience levels and above, allowing skilled riders to take on ambitious touring rides in comfort and style.

Motorcycle Overview

The Honda ST1300 is a high-performance touring motorcycle designed for comfortable long-distance travel.

With a 1261cc V4 engine, it produces a powerful 106 hp and 84 lb-ft of torque. This gives it brisk acceleration and a top speed of 135+ mph.

The ST1300 has a curb weight of 680 lbs with a full tank of gas, making it a very large and heavy motorcycle in comparison to 600cc sport bikes.

It comes equipped with hard saddlebags, an adjustable windscreen, and a comfortable upright riding position ideal for racking up miles.

Read the article ST1300 specifications for a precise overview of the motorcycle.

Engine and Performance

The powerful 1261cc V4 engine produces torque across the entire RPM range, providing excellent drive when accelerating from a stop.

With 106hp, the ST1300 has 50-100% more power than the rider’s previous motorcycles.

This grants it blindingly quick acceleration up to an electronically limited top speed of 135mph.

For a rider used to 600cc sportbikes, having literbike levels of power on tap may be an intense experience requiring respect and restraint.

The abundant torque also means the ST1300 can effortlessly cruise at highway speeds in top gear.

Read the article on Engine Specifications of ST1300 for more info on the motorcycle’s engine.

Handling and Riding Dynamics

The ST1300 strikes a balance between stability and maneuverability thanks to its touring geometry.

It delivers confident straight-line tracking yet still corners adeptly once heeled over.

The suspension smoothes out most bumps, allowing the rider to maintain control in varying conditions.

Slow-speed handling requires more effort than on lighter bikes due to the higher center of gravity.

Once moving, the ST1300 changes direction relatively easily for its size.

The linked ABS brakes provide strong, drama-free stopping power.

For an experienced rider, the ST1300’s handling characteristics are easy to master. A newer rider may find the weight more difficult to manage at slower speeds or on uneven terrain.

Safety Features

Honda equipped the ST1300 with a full suite of modern safety features.

This includes linked ABS for confident straight-line braking, adjustable traction control to prevent wheel spin, and an immobilizer system.

The ABS can be deactivated but traction control remains on to filter excess power to the wheel.

These technologies help manage the power delivery and chassis, preventing loss of control in emergency situations.

The systems complement proper riding techniques to make the ST1300 safer for riders of all skill levels.

Riding Comfort

The ST1300 prioritizes long-distance comfort with its ergonomic rider triangle.

The seat is generously padded and sculpted to support the body during extended periods of riding.

The adjustable windscreen and hand guards divert wind blast to reduce fatigue.

The compliant suspension smooths out harsh impacts when encountering bumps and dips at speed.

Vibration is kept low thanks to the smooth V4 engine and rubber-mounted handlebars.

The lockable saddlebags provide ample storage for touring.

Overall the ST1300 provides an excellent level of comfort for covering hundreds of miles in a day. Long trips are far easier compared to most sport bikes.

Cost of Ownership

The Honda ST1300 stands out as a remarkable motorcycle, excelling in performance, comfort, reliability, and overall value.

My long-term ownership experience highlights its affordability and durability, with minimal maintenance expenses even after covering substantial miles.

For riders in pursuit of affordable luxury touring, the ST1300 proves to be an excellent top choice.

While we’ve covered various costs associated with the bike, it’s worth noting that maintaining its cosmetic appearance over time, including issues like scratched plastics and faded gauges, is an aspect to consider as well.

Refer to our article on Ownership Review of ST1300 to get an idea of the maintenance costs of the motorcycle.


While the Honda ST1300 represents a sizable jump in power, weight, and size over the rider’s previous motorcycles, its touring capabilities open up new riding possibilities.

An experienced rider with strong fundamental skills should be able to safely manage the additional power and weight after an adjustment period.

Refresher courses on low-speed maneuvering or test rides can ease the transition.

Ultimately, the ST1300 provides performance, comfort, and versatility well beyond typical sport bikes. With care and training, it can be a rewarding next step for a seasoned motorcyclist looking to expand their range.

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