Review: 2012 Honda ST 1300 ABS – The Ideal Sport Tourer?

2012 honda st 1300 abs sport tourer
2012 Honda SR 1300 ABS – Sport Tourer

The Honda 2012 ST 1300 ABS Sport Tourer hits the sweet spot when hitting the open road. If like many riders, you find that laying over the tank of an all-out sport bike with your upper body weight pressing on your wrists and holding your head up to see where you’re headed isn’t as much fun as it used to be, then you probably ought to start shopping for a multipurpose Sport Touring bike. There are lots available in today’s motorcycle marketplace to choose from, but after riding the Honda ST 1300, you may not feel the need to look any further.

The Honda ST 1300 ABS isn’t a new bike to Honda’s lineup, but the 2012 model reflects progressive enhancements. The power is courtesy of a compact 1261cc DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled, longitudinally mounted 90° V-4 with a PGM-FI automatic enricher circuit, four 36mm throttle bodies, eight holes per injector and 4-into-two stainless triangular dual side exhaust. The motor features an oversquare bore and stroke of 78mm and 68mm respectively, that improves power flow and drivetrain efficiency. The motor’s energy is geared to the rear wheel via a final shaft drive through a smooth shifting, cassette-type five-speed sequential manual gearbox. There are dampers on the transmission mainshaft, clutch and driveshaft to aid in reducing noise, vibration and driveline lash.

Suspension componentry is made up of a rigid aluminum upper triple-clamp and 45mm Honda Multi-Action System cartridge front forks with 4.3-inches of travel, while the rear suspension incorporates a single shock, which mounts directly onto the swingarm. The shock features 1.2 inches of spring preload adjustability and 4.8-inches of travel.


Slowing and stopping the ST1300 are dual full-floating 310mm discs with CBS three-piston calipers with ABS up front and a single 316mm disc with CBS three-piston caliper and ABS in the rear. Rolling stock consists of Bridgestone Battlax 120/70 ZR18 front and 170/60ZR-17 low profile rear radial rubber mounted on three-swirl-spoke, U-section cast aluminum wheels (3.5-inch front and 5-inch rear).

Other important features that grace the ST1300 Honda include; full-coverage bodywork offering wind and weather protection, low noise as well as high-speed aerodynamics; integrated lockable and detachable hard saddlebags with handles that hold 35 liters each, and contain straps to limit bag opening to 90 degrees for content security; plastic-covered body-protector stays that extend outward to protect the bodywork; dual-section fuel tank that places 5.5 gallons of fuel  in the  conventional tank location with an additional 2.2 gallons located in a sub-tank located low in the chassis, increasing fuel capacity and creating an even fuel weight distribution; an electric fuel pump that operates inside the sub-tank, providing consistent fuel pressure for the PGM-FI system;  a headlight assembly that features dual lenses with twin-filament H4 low/high-beam bulbs and multi-reflectors, with a knob located on the left side of the fairing that electrically adjusts the headlight angle over a 2.5-degree range; a locking left-side fairing pocket offering the carrying capacity of an automobile console, with a weather-resistant vinyl flap covering the right-side pocket;  breakaway rearview mirrors that minimize damage in the event of a lay-over; a convenient centerstand assist-lever that folds away when not in use (there’s also a conventional sidestand); integrated front and rear turn signals (which are unfortunately non-self-canceling); an integrated ignition switch/fork lock, with a single ignition key that operates all locks; and a non-transferable three-year, unlimited-mileage limited warranty.

If that’s not enough to impress, there’s also an electric windshield height adjustment and a locking fuel filler door.


The fairing houses an analog speedometer and tachometer as well as a digital dual trip meter and odometer, average fuel consumption, a depleting bar fuel gauge, air temperature and clock. A light pod appears on the right side with indicators for Neutral, ABS, oil temp and more. Readouts are legible except in very bright sunlight.

The ST 1300 displays an extremely aerodynamic image with full fairing and bodywork. The fuel tank is sculpted for tucking in one’s knees comfortably. Rider pegs and foot controls are positioned midway for optimum comfort.

My test 2012 Honda ST1300 was finished in a sinister gloss Black with Silver logo and graphics. There’s a Black and White Police model with lots of extras geared to law enforcement bikes. The civilian model had a base price of $18,230. Expect to add a couple hundred more for dealer prep and handling, which will vary from dealer to dealer.


SUMMARY: Initially, when told that the ST1300 was coming for a ride and review, what was envisioned an all-out sport bike.  I was a pleasantly surprised to discover that it was in actuality a sport tourer that was not only exceptionally good-looking, but fun and easy to ride. The riding position was near perfect for my 6’4” frame, and despite the bike’s 743 pound weight, it felt much lighter and maneuvered easily at both low and high speeds due to its exceptional balance and weight distribution. The seat is well padded and comfortable and the handlebars are easy to reach from the upright seating position.

The motor-driven adjustable windscreen offers 7.4 inches and 13 degrees of adjustability for greater wind protection and touring comfort. A thumb-operated push-button on the left handlebar operates the windscreen motor, and an additional 2.3 inches of manual adjustment is possible by repositioning the windscreen on its mounting brackets. It does an incredible job of cutting down high speed wind buffeting

Power is linear and plentiful with a quiet exhaust note. throttle response is instantaneous and steady provided the revs are kept up, otherwise, the shaft drive tends to send a message with a slight jerkiness. Not a problem at all provided you’re paying attention.

The motor is also relatively quiet, allowing one to enjoy a peaceful ride through the countryside. Harley riders won’t know how to act – I didn’t at first. There’s no loud V-Twin rumble – only a mild whirring and thrumming – nice for a change of pace. Ride quality is compliant, soaking up pavement irregularities gracefully, while carving twists and turns easily.


The only thoughts for improvement would be a gear indicator and self-canceling directional signals. Bottom line, the 2012 Honda ST1300 ABS is a sport touring bike worthy of high praise at a lower cost than many competitors.

On The Fast Lane Car’s rating scale of:

• Buy It.

• Rent It

• Lease It.

• Forget It.

Buy It!  if you’re looking for a sporty ride with comfortable touring attributes.

Price: $18,430. *Estimated dealer prep and handling costs vary.


Base Price:                              $18,320.

Price as Tested:                      $18430  *Estimated dealer prep and handling costs vary.

Engine Type and Size:           1261cc DOHC, 16-valve liquid-cooled longitudinally mounted 90° V-4 with PGM-FI with automatic enricher circuit, four 36mm throttle bodies, eight holes per injector and 4-into-two stainless triangular dual side exhaust.

Horsepower (bhp):                      N/A

Torque (ft./ lbs.):                      N/A

NOTE: Honda does not publish horsepower and torque ratings.

Transmission:                    Five-speed sequential manual.

Drive Train:                        Final Drive – Shaft.

Suspension:                        Front –  45mm HMAS cartridge forks; 4.3-inches of travel.

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

Brakes:                                    Dual full-floating 310mm discs with CBS three-piston calipers with ABS front / Single 316mm disc with CBS three-piston caliper with ABS rear.

Tires:                                      Bridgestone Battlax  120/70 ZR18x3.5-inch front 170/60ZR-17×5-inch low profile rear radial mounted on three-spoke, U-section cast aluminum wheels.

Wheelbase:                         58.7  inches

Length Overall:                89.4  inches

Curb Weight:                       743  lbs. (dry)

Fuel Capacity:                     7.7 gallons.

Seat height:                      31.1 inches

0 – 60 mph:                       Not tested.

Review by Arv Voss, Auto Impressions