Honda Stateline & Interstate

While the Sabre bears Honda’s torch for a factory bike with custom appeal it initiated with the Fury, the Stateline and Interstate lean more to the classic cruiser side of styling. Dynamically, the bikes are mirror images, with the only thing separating the two being the Interstate’s slew of touring accouterments. But even though the pair dons a more traditional look, they still are styled much sportier than previous VTX models.

Let’s start with the Stateline. At first glance, it’s hard to differentiate it from the Sabre. But closer inspection reveals that its valanced fenders swoop down much more than the Sabre’s. The larger palette of the rear fender allowed Honda to deck it out with a larger, more triangulated taillight. While its downtubes feature the same curvature as the Sabre’s, a frame cover in the steering head eliminates a little of the open-aired nature of its pro-street sibling. Take a gander at its front wheel and you’ll notice that it’s much thicker and smaller, measuring in at a chunky 140mm wide and 17-inches tall. The bars are also positioned much differently. According to Bruno Conte, Senior Designer for Honda R&D Americas, the handlebars are 25mm higher, 62mm wider, and pull-back an extra 81mm. The seat is also wider. The other most noticeable difference is in the engine compartment, as the Stateline’s mill has received the blacked-out treatment. It also is available with the optional Combined Braking System (CBS), which links the rear brake to the front and engages one piston of the twin-piston caliper, along with ABS.

Bodywise, the 2010 Interstate is a mirror image of the Stateline. It too has the larger, swoopy fenders, a meaty 140mm, 17-inch front wheel, and the blacked-out engine treatment. But there are differences. The upper portion of its 41mm fork is wrapped in chrome covers. The transition to touring machine includes a windscreen, 22-liter capacity leather-wrapped saddlebags, full-size floorboards, a heel-toe shifter and larger brake pedal. The fixed bags feature a hidden locking system and an adequately sized rectangular-shaped storage area. And while you’d think that out of all three of the VT1300 Series that should have ABS as an option it’d be the touring bike, it’s not available on the Interstate. When questioned about this fact, the only reason Honda offered was that it wanted to keep all the bikes under that magical $13,000 threshold, and the Interstate lists just below that at $12,749.

Firing up the Honda Stateline, the first thing that’s immediately noticeable is its contrasting rider triangle compared to the Sabre. The bars are noticeably wider and higher. The reach to the foot controls is the same, but the seat is a little wider, and the combination positions me in a more relaxed upright riding posture. The extra sweep to the bars gives the illusion that the cockpit is smaller. The speedo sits even lower in my line of sight and is difficult to see.

The launch from a standstill is facilitated by the seamless fuel delivery of the PGM-FI. The powerband delivers good low- and mid-range torque, but lacks a little up top. Coming around a bend and over a rise, a California Department of Transportation truck painting a white stripe has traffic backed up. Our group doesn’t see it until we come blasting over the rise, resulting in an emergency braking situation. The 336mm big front disc with a twin-piston caliper has the feel but not a very aggressive bite. I mash the single-piston caliper on the 296mm disc on the rear, and granted the brakes don’t lock up easily, but the combination still isn’t providing enough power to bring a 672-lb bike to a halt for my liking. The front is the better of the two, and the back definitely is a little soft.

  • Engine – 1312cc liquid-cooled 52° V-twin
  • Bore/Stroke – 89.5mm x 104.3mm
  • Compression Ratio – 9.2:1
  • Induction – PGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, one 38mm throttle body
  • Ignition – Digital with 3-D mapping, two spark plugs per cylinder
  • Valve Train – SOHC; three valves per cylinder
  • Transmission –  Five-speed
  • Final Drive – Shaft
  • Front Suspension – 41mm fork; 4.0 in. travel
  • Rear Suspension – Single shock; 3.9 in. travel
  • Front Brake – Single 336mm disc with twin-piston caliper
  • Rear Brake – 296mm disc with single-piston caliper
  • Front Tire – 140/80-17
  • Rear Tire – 170/80-15
  • Wheelbase – 70.1 in.
  • Seat Height – 26.7 in.
  • Curb Weight – 670 lbs (claimed wet weight)
  • Rake – 33° (Caster Angle)
  • Trail – 4.6 in.
  • Fuel Capacity – 4.4 gallons

Heading into a curvy section of CA-79, the wider tire feels more planted on the road, but the wider bars require more action in the twisty stuff in comparison to the Sabre. The four inches of travel on the front has enough give to smooth out road imperfections, but the hidden single shock on the rear doesn’t allow for any adjustment and its 3.9-inches of travel doesn’t give much and provides a rigid ride.

Switching to the Honda Interstate, the ride quality is the same. I find the heel-toe shifter is much more rider-friendly than the standard foot controls of the other two, but it did resist shifting down into first gear on the first kick numerous times. While sitting at idle waiting my turn for photo passes, the engine emits nominal heat. I’ve mounted a GoPro camera on the tank which brings to light the amount of vibrations in the tank area, but it doesn’t transfer to the hand and foot controls. The windscreen is large, sitting just below eye level, but it doesn’t provide much protection from buffeting. I’m wearing a half-shell helmet and I’m getting a face-full of hot air, but it is deflecting the blast away from my chest.

Honda’s 2010 VT1300 Series covers the gamut, from what Big Red hails as its ‘big impact bike’ in the form of the Fury to a boulevard-cruising pro-streeter in the guise of the Sabre. The range includes a big-fendered cruiser with more traditional styling and a bike factory-equipped for the long haul. The styling of the VT1300 Series is a big leap forward for the traditionally conservative Japanese manufacturer. But the bikes maintain Honda’s reputation for performance and reliability. It’s an ambitious venture for the company, but Honda believes that there is enough variation in the VT1300 Series to appeal to almost every area of the cruiser demographic. With almost 83,000 VTX models sold, it’s hard to question their reasoning.

  • 2010 Honda Stateline – MSRP $11,699. $12,699 with ABS. Black, Candy Dark Red.
  • 2010 Honda Interstate – MSRP $12,749. Pearl Blue, Black.