Jon Langston’s review of the Honda Stateline appeared in the December 2010 issue of RoadBike. Here are a few outtakes from the photo shoot:
At first glance, the Honda Stateline, part of Honda’s new VT 1300 Custom Line, appears to be a full-fledged production chopper. It’s certainly got the bare-bones styling and long, low, fat-tired stance.
Upon closer examination, though, you begin to notice details that Honda seems to have overlooked, or just ignored. Touches such as such as custom-like one-inch handlebars that don’t bother to hide plain black cables that protrude like antennae, steel (not billet) foot levers and other components, and shiny chrome engine covers that, as it turns out, are made of plastic. On the plus side, they don’t get as hot as they would if they were metal …..
Staying true to its “custom” styling, this is the only badging on the bike (besides engine stamps). Yet it’s obviously nothing more than a sticker slapped between the taillight and the rear pillion.
Instrumentation is rudimentary — too rudimentary. That LCD readout is toggled by a tiny, hard-to-reach button about three inches down on the front of the dash — you can see it right off about the 30mph mark in the speedo. Keep those wide bars steady with your right hand, shift your weight forward (being careful not to upset the delicate balance of the long wheelbase), and reach up & push it in. With gloves on.
What do you get for all your hard, potentially dangerous work? Two tripmeters and a clock.
There are some nice touches on the Stateline, such as the inclusion of a helmet lock on the rear fender behind the seat and the wrapped, short-shot pipes. But considering all the other things Honda either missed or ignored, this sudden and erratic attention to detail seems like an afterthought.
Still, despite its inadequacies, the Stateline has a lot of positive attributes, such as a fine, well-balanced powerplant and comfortable riding position. I just wish Honda would’ve gone the distance in its execution, rather than letting the concept disappoint upon close inspection. Be sure and read my full review in the Decenmber ’10 issue of RoadBike. — Jon Langston