2003 Honda VTX1300S
Needs work from the factory!
From day one the clutch makes a horrible chatter.
There is a very nasty deceleration wobble between 45 - 38 mph. Never, never never take your hands of the bars!
Initially Dunlop was the only tire you could buy. At best they only last 7,000 miles. I finally went with Metzler when they came out and I have never had the wobble come back. That proved to me that be the Dunlop Tire design is just bad.
There is an intermittent problem with the cooling fan that the dealer was never able to fix. Even with my extended warranty, which just ran out!
Both the front and rear light switches failed.
In 2003 after reading the early reviews on the VTX1300 and then riding both the VTX1300 and VTX1800, I purchased the 1300 because it fit me. All the controls are right where I like them!
I am old school and believe in keeping bikes clean and simple. So I like the fact that there is no fuel injection on this bike. The one thing I don't like is having a radiator. When I purchased the bike this was my only real concern. It took less than a week of riding before the bike before it over heated and boiled the coolant out. (I know this is rare)
Up until this bike I would have said that Honda's quality was "A1". But this bike was made in the USA and I am very sorry to say that its assembly quality was poor. I didn't like the way the engine sounded and asked the dealer to check the tappets. They said wait until the 4000 mile mark. I didn't feel comfortable doing that so I checked them myself. I am glad I did. There was ZERO clearance on 3 of the 6 valves. And too much clearance on 2 of the remaining 3. I suspect if I had not checked I would have had 2 burned exhaust valves.
When I decided to upgrade the exhaust, the cap nuts that held the exhaust flange on the head ended up tearing the threads off the the studs and one stud broke off in the head. Turns out that during assembly they cross threaded the stud in the head. The reason the cap nuts tore off the thread is they let some of the chrome plating get on the threads. So when you backed the nuts off the plating balled up in the threads and just tore them off.
The rear fender is made from 2 piece that were welded together in the middle. They only ground the welds off where they were exposed. Under the seat they left the welding slag. Unlike the fenders on the earlier 750 Shadow Ace that was produced in Japan. They ground the whole weld off. Very nice quality.
The factory shocks are poor quality and in my opinion must be replaced to appreciate riding the bike.
Way too many parts on this bike are made of plastic. I guess that is one way to save money.
Bottom line, I like the bike because it fits me. I don't like the quality of assembly. I would never again buy this bike new. I would buy a used one that was not abused.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th December, 2008