Honda ST1300 Suspension (Overview, Upgrades & Maintenance)

Honda ST1300 has an aluminum twin-spar frame and a hydraulically adjustable suspension for sport touring capability.

Honda ST1300 handles well despite the weight. Many riders have experienced front-end nose dive with their ST1300.

ST1300 Suspension Overview

The ST1300 has an aluminum twin-spar frame and a hydraulically adjustable suspension for sport touring capability.

The front suspension is inverted front forks and the rear is a single-sided Pro-Arm swingarm system.

Front Suspension

45mm HMAS cartridge fork; 4.6-inch travel. Spring preload and rebound damping are adjustable.

Rear Suspension

HMAS gas-charged single shock with five-position spring-preload adjustability; 4.8-inch travel.

The rear shock absorber is a single, Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm with, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping. 4.1 inches of wheel travel.

The rear shock absorber has 18 rebound positions.

Comfort and Handling

The ST1300 provides very good comfort for a sport-touring bike, though not quite at Gold Wing standards.

We can say the motorcycle handles well despite its weight.

One won’t feel confident on the ST1300 after speeds of 90 mph. The motorcycle feels wobbly at high speeds.

One can adjust the rear shock absorber to stiffen up the rear for a firmer ride.

If this doesn’t feel enough, you can improve the handling in your ST1300 by upgrading the suspension setup.

Honda ST1300 Preload Adjustment

To adjust the preload on your ST1300’s rear shock, you will need a C-spanner to loosen the top locking ring and spin up the shock to gain access to the adjuster ring.

If you want to increase preload so the spring has less travel and to make the bike feel stiffer, turn the adjuster ring clockwise.

Honda ST1300 Suspension vs Rivals

Suspension can be adjusted on the FJR1300 from the dash, both on pre-load and damping. The FJR1300 provides a smoother ride compared to the ST1300.

You won’t feel as confident with the ST1300 at high speeds as the FJR.

ST1300 SuspensionFJR1300 SuspensionBMW R1200RT Suspension
Front Suspension:
45mm air-assist cartridge fork, 117mm 4.6″ axle travel
Front Suspension:
43mm inverted fork, electronically adjustable rebound and compression damping; 5.3 in. travel
The front suspension has a central spring strut and a 120/70 ZR17 front tire.
Rear Suspension:
Single shock absorber with hydraulically adjustable preload and rebound damping, 120mm 4.75″ axle travel
Rear Shock has 18 rebound positions.
Rear Suspension:
Single shock absorber, electronically adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping; 4.9 in. travel
The rear suspension has an adjustable spring pre-load and rebound damping.
Sub-par suspension setup impacts the handling at high speeds.The FJR1300’s suspension setup is better than that of ST1300 as it’s adjustable from the dash.The rear suspension travel is considerably longer than that of the ST1300. It offers more comfort to the rider.

Honda ST1300 Suspension Review

The ST1300 has a compliant, comfort-oriented, adjustable suspension suitable for touring. It provides a smooth ride but lacks sportiness.

Front-end dive under braking can be excessive.

Ride quality is plush and comfortable at lower speeds but the chassis can feel vague when pushed.

Progressive rear shock suits heavier loads but can feel soft without luggage or passengers.

Wheel travel is generous and soaks up bumps well. Compression damping could be stiffer for sportier handling.

Dive from the front end under hard braking affects handling. Aftermarket fork springs can improve this.

Honda ST1300 Suspension Upgrade

The ST1300’s suspension is under-sprung and softly damped.

Such a suspension setup impacts braking performance. reduced resistance to bottoming out, and increased harshness at higher speeds.

Honda ST1300 suspension upgrades include the installation of a 640 Wilbers rear shock with a remote preload adjuster and progressive springs for the forks. This setup costs around $1400.

Install heavier fork springs on the front suspension and re-valve them for improved performance.

Adjust the rear suspension with a heavier spring for solo and two-up riding. Do a test ride and adjust the preload according to your preferences to complete the ST1300 suspension upgrade.

Honda ST1300 Suspension Maintenance

  • The suspension system consists of front forks, rear shock absorber, steering stem, swingarm, etc. Regular inspection and maintenance is important.
  • Check the front forks for leaks, smooth operation, and any noises. Change fork oil periodically as specified in the manual.
  • Inspect the rear shock, swingarm, pivot shafts, and bearings for wear and smooth operation. Lubricate pivot points.
  • Check brake pads for wear. Lubricate brake caliper pins, levers, and pedal pivot.
  • Check the drive chain tension and lubricate the chain regularly. Adjust if needed. Replace worn sprockets.
  • Check steering stem bearing play and lubricate bearing. Adjust if needed.
  • Overall, keep suspension components clean, lubricated, and adjusted properly. Replace worn parts like fork seals, bushings, and bearings. Follow service manual intervals.

Here’s our article on the Honda ST1300’s suspension problems.


In conclusion, the ST1300 has a comfortable, touring-oriented suspension that provides a smooth ride at lower speeds.

However, the soft suspension setup impacts handling at higher speeds and under hard braking

ST1300 suspension upgrades like aftermarket fork springs can be considered to enhance the suspension setup of the motorcycle.

Be sure to maintain the stock suspension by cleaning, lubricating, and replacing worn components per the service manual.

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