|Engine||DOHC 4-valve 90° V-4|
|Related||Honda Sabre V4, Honda Interceptor|
The Honda Magna was a cruiser motorcycle made from 1982 to 1988 and 1994 to 2003 and powered by Honda's V4 engine taken from the VF/VFR. The engine technology and layout was a descendant of Honda's racing V4 machines, such as the NS750 and NR750. The introduction of this engine on the Magna and the Sabre in 1982 was milestone in the evolution of motorcycles that would culminate in 1983 with the introduction of the Interceptor V4. The V45's performance is comparable to that of Valkyries and Honda's 1800 cc V-twin cruisers. However, its mix of performance, reliability, and refinement was overshadowed by the more powerful 1,098 cc "V65" Magna in 1983.
While Honda's release of their V4 technology in the Magna (and other bikes like the Sabre and Interceptor) was certainly a bold move, it was somewhat overshadowed by at least two problems. One was the decline of motorcycle sales after the boom in the 1970s. While Honda quality was a given and the amount of features provided in these bikes was great, they were still relatively expensive bikes at the time. An expensive, complex bike was difficult to sell in a down market. The second was the manufacturing and engineering problems encountered after the release in 1982.
Though criticized for its long-distance comfort and lauded mainly for its raw acceleration, the Magna was the bike of choice for a Canadian grandmother who toured the world solo by motorcycle, without benefit of the support crew that usually accompanies riders in adventures depicted in such films as Long Way Round.
The Honda Magna of years 1982–1988 incorporated a number of unique features into a cruiser market dominated by V-twin engines. The V4 engine configuration provided a balance between torque for good acceleration and high horsepower. The 90-degree layout produced less primary vibration, and the four cylinders provided a much smoother delivery of power than a V-twin. Good engine balance, plus short stroke and large piston diameter allowed for a high redline and potential top speed.
Besides the engine configuration, the bike had water cooling, a six-speed transmission for good economy at highway speed, and common on other middleweight bikes for Honda in the early 1980s, shaft drive. While the shaft drive is very convenient with virtually no maintenance required (and no oil getting slung around), it also robbed some power from where it was more evidently lacking on in town or lower speed riding. Features like twin horns, hydraulic clutch, and an engine temperature gauge add nice touches to the bike. A coil sprung, oil bath, air preload front fork with anti-dive valving was an improvement, although the Magna did not benefit from the linkage based single shock that was available on later models of Sabre and Interceptor.
The V-65 Magna and other large-displacement Hondas were assembled in the Marysville Motorcycle Plant in Ohio. In 2008, Honda announced plans to close the plant, their oldest in North America, in 2009, which had been still making Gold Wings and VTX cruisers.
1982–1984 V45 (VF750C), 1984-1987 V42 (VF700C)
||This section includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2009)|
|Also called||VF750C V45|
|Engine||748 cc, bore x stroke 70 x 48.6 mm, 10.5 to 1 compression|
|Top speed||122 mph|
|Power||80.3 bhp @ 9500 rpm|
|Torque||46.2 lb ft @ 8000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed, straight-cut Gears, Multi-plate wet clutch, shaft drive.|
|Suspension||Front: Telescopic anti-dive Travel: 5.5in, Rear: Swing Arm, Travel: 3.9in|
|Brakes||Front: Dual 10.8in disc, Rear: 6.25in Drum|
|Tires||Front: 110/90-18 Rear: 130/90-16|
|Rake, trail||30° / 4.1 in|
|Dimensions||W 29 in
|Seat height||30 in|
|Weight||518lb (wet)|
|Fuel capacity||3.7 gal.|
|Oil capacity||3.7 qts|
|Fuel consumption||46 mpg|
The first generation 1982 V45 Magna had chrome headlight and fenders. The front disc brakes have straight grooves, dual piston calipers, and TRAC anti-dive. The speedometer reads 80 mph. The redline is 10,000 rpm. The engine is a 748 cc DOHC 16-valve liquid-cooled 90-degree V-4 linked to a six-speed transmission with a hydraulically actuated wet-plate clutch and shaft drive. Compression is high, and the stroke is short.
The 1983 V45 Magna was available had chrome headlight, instruments, and fenders. The fuel tank and side covers were the basic color. The front disc brake grooves were curved. The speedometer had a 150 mph (240 km/h) limit. The engine was a 748 cc DOHC four-valve liquid-cooled V-4 linked to a six-speed transmission and a shaft drive. (1983 starting SN JH2RC071*DM100011)
The US government imposed tariff rate hikes for foreign-built motorcycles over 700 cc in order to combat their rise in sales in North America, and to aid the domestic motorcycle manufacturers, namely Harley-Davidson. So for 1984 Honda responded by reducing the engine size for the VF750s to 698 cc, and the Magna became the VF700C V42 in the USA. The headlight changed from round chrome to a rectangular chrome housing. The seats were changed to a wider 2 piece design in an attempt to improve rider comfort. The rear shocks also changed to eliminate the extra fluid reservoir. The wheels were different as well. Honda only made the VF700 for the late part of 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987, then back to the VF750 after that. The first part of 1984, the Magnas were VF750.
Models from 1982 to 1984 were unique in their use of a larger primary fuel tank and smaller sub-tank. The sub-tank is located almost in the position of a side cover, well below the level of the carburetor banks and has a low-fuel sensor incorporated into the body. Owing to the low seat height (much lower than in a standard street bike) and cruiser styling of the bike, the main tank is relatively small. Because the bottom end of the sub-tank is so low, all bikes in this family have a fuel pump to get the fuel up into the carburetors. In practice, the fuel pump adds more complexity to a carbureted bike which otherwise doesn't need pressure fed fuel.
Beginning in 1985 models, the sub-tank was dropped in favor of a slightly larger and wider main tank. Again because the reserve level of the tank was below the carburetor, the requisite fuel pump and series of fuel lines was kept.
1983–1986 V65 (VF1100C)
|Engine||1,098 cc (67.0 cu in)|
|Power||116 bhp (87 kW)|
|Transmission||6-speed, shaft drive|
|Wheelbase||62.8 in (1,600 mm)|
|Weight||590 lb (270 kg) (wet)|
The large displacement 1,098 cc (67.0 cu in) V65 Magna attracted attention as Honda's entry in the 1/4 mile wars between manufacturers at the time, causing Suzuki to respond with the 1200 Madura (which had a 1/4 mile time of 11.66 s at 115.7 mph), and going up against such competition as the Suzuki GS1150E (10.47 s at 128 mph). The V65 lay somewhere between these two in performance, posting a quarter mile time of 11.29 s at 119.2 mph (191.8 km/h).
1984–1985 V30 (VF500C)
1984 Honda Magna V30
|Bore / stroke||60 mm × 44 mm (2.4 in × 1.7 in)|
|Power||64 hp[better source needed]|
|Torque||31.7 at 10,500 rpm|
|Transmission||Six-speed transmission, wet clutch, automatic cam-chain tensioners, self-adjusting hydraulic clutch|
|Suspension||Front: leading axle, air adjustable fork, 37 mm tubes, 6.3 in. travel. Rear: dual shock absorbers, 4.3 in travel|
|Brakes||Front hydraulic, single disc, twin piston caliper|
|Tires||Front 100/90-18 Rear 130/90-16|
|Rake, trail||35.1° / 4.4 in.|
|Seat height||29.9 in.|
|Weight||396.9 lbs (dry)
|Fuel capacity||3.7 gallons|
|Oil capacity||2.6 qt|
|Fuel consumption||45.3 mpg|
The Honda VF500 is one of Honda's second generation V4 motorcycle engines produced in a series of motorcycles designated with VF and VFR initials. For 1984-1986, Honda produced the 498 cc, V4 DOHC VF500 for the VF500C Magna V30 and its sister bike, the VF500F. This engine is an evolution of Honda's original domestic market 400 cc engine, originally deemed too small and underpowered for certain markets - notably the United States and Europe. Focusing on adding power and versatility to its motorcycle offerings, Honda bored the original 400 cc motor and improved its power and performance. The engine is almost entirely identical to the version in the Interceptor VF500F sport bike, and while Honda sold the VF500C Magna in the United States, it advertised it as the "most powerful midsize custom in the world".
This standard motorcycle was introduced as a balanced bike that was just as enjoyable yet easier to ride in town than its larger Magna siblings, with good power and a broad torque band. Thanks to its V4 design, power in the 500 engine is not peaky and ample torque can be found throughout the rev band, and the six-speed transmission ratio was unique to this bike versus the ratio on the VF500F. The engine produced between 64-68 horsepower, and combined with its low weight and low center of gravity, the bike was lauded by critics as an easy to ride and entertaining motorcycle.
The Magna had no shaft drive like its larger siblings, but a traditional chain drive.
- Standing-start quarter mile - 12.9 sec at 103 mph
- 0-60 in 3.9 seconds
- 60-0 in 120.6 feet
Changes by year
- The "HONDA" fuel tank logo was straight in 1984, and curved up in 1985
Facts from Cycle Magazine, July 1984
1987–1988 V45 (VF750C) Super Magna
||This section includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but the sources of this section remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (July 2009)|
1987 Honda Super Magna, Canadian-export model
|Also called||Super Magna|
|Production||Less than 20,000|
|Engine||699 cc 1987 / 748cc 1988|
|Top speed||125 mph|
|Power||88 PS @ 9000 rpm / 86 bhp|
|Torque||6.6 kg-m /7000 rpm, 47.74 lb-ft|
|Transmission||6-speed, shaft drive|
|Suspension||39 mm non adjustable fork, dual coil over shocks|
|Brakes||Single disc front, drum rear|
|Tires||Front: 100/90-19 tubeless, Rear: 150/80-15 tubeless|
|Wheelbase||1660 mm / 65.35 inches|
|Dimensions||L 2385 mm / 94 inches
W 810 mm / 32 inches
H 1155 mm / 45.5 inches
|Seat height||27.8 in (706 mm)|
|Weight||529 lb (240 kg) (wet)|
|Fuel capacity||13 L / 3.43 US gallons|
|Fuel consumption||30 to 45 mpg|
Various mechanical and cosmetic changes were introduced over the years, but the basic core of the Magna remained the same. However, for the two years the 2G Magna was produced, it was dubbed the Super Magna. In 1987, the 700 cc engine produced 80 bhp (60 kW) @ 9,500 rpm, with torque being 46 ft·lbf (62 N·m) @ 7,500 rpm. In 1988, the Magna grew back to its original size of 748 cc.
On similar fashion the Magna V-four has done the old 750-700-750 two-step. 1982: the 70 x 48.6 mm Magna 750 debuts. Quick cuts, 1984: the 70 x 45.4 mm 700 (699) arrives. Revival, 1988: back to the original stroke and 748cc displacement. The Magna V-four has endured through the first and second generations of the VF and VFR Interceptors - both come and gone by 1988. Like the original 750 Sabre and VF 750, this 750 Magna engine uses a 360-degree crankshaft and chain-driven double-overhead camshafts. Thus, the VF750C unit is technologically quite different from Honda’s last V-four sport bike engine, the VFR750 Interceptor, which had gear-driven overhead cams and a 180-degree crankshaft.
The Super's cams are also line-bored (a feature first seen in the Euro 1985 VF1000F & F-II, and 85/86 VF1000R, 1986 VF500F, 1986 VF700C Magna), which greatly reduced the premature cam wear that plagued the earlier models, together with changed oil ducts.
The 1987 V45 Magna was available in either Candy Wave Blue or Candy Bourgogne Red (1988 dropped Blue in favor of Black). For 1987, the fake airbox covers were wrinkle black with a "Magna" emblem. The fake airbox emblem changes to "V45" for the 1988 model.
The 1987 Super Magna had a silver, grey & black Honda "wing" tank decal, while the 1988 model had a silver "MAGNA" tank decal.
The exhaust system was now an upswept 4-into-4 set of pipes, truly unique in the cruiser world. Although the exhaust pipes were a beautiful sight, they were not friendly to the use of saddlebags as they were too high. The rear wheel was a solid aluminum disc. The chin fairing was unfinished black plastic for the 87, and color-matched for the 88. The second generation was also the first to have the lower seat height of a mere 27.8 inches (706 mm), more than 4 inches (102 mm) lower than its predecessor. A total of 16,000 units were built for the 1987 model year, while only 3500 were built for 1988. (1987 starting SN JH2RC280*JA100001)
1994–2003 V45 (VF750C)
||This section includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2009)|
1999 Honda Magna with aftermarket saddle and exhaust.
|Engine||748.8 cc (45.69 cu in) liquid-cooled 90° V-4,|
|Top speed||120 mph (190 km/h)|
|Power||76.3 bhp (56.9 kW) (rear wheel)|
|Torque||46.5 ft·lb (63.0 N·m) (at rear wheel)|
|Transmission||5-speed, O-ring chain|
|Suspension||Front: 41 mm cartridge fork; 150 mm travel, Rear: Dual shocks with 5-way spring preload adjustability; 3.9 inches (100 mm) travel|
|Brakes||Front: 2-piston caliper, 12.4 in (315 mm) disc. Rear: Single-leading-shoe drum|
|Tires||Tubeless, Front: 120/80-17, Rear: 150/80-15|
|Rake, trail||32°, 5.2 in (130 mm)|
|Wheelbase||65.0 in (1,650 mm)|
|Seat height||28.0 in (710 mm)|
|Weight||539 lb (244 kg) (wet)|
|Fuel capacity||3.6 US gal (14 l; 3.0 imp gal)|
|Oil capacity||3.3 US qt (3,100 ml)|
The Magna 750 was launched in 1993 as an early release 1994 model. Honda sought to capture the market for powerful cruisers by lifting the engine from the VFR750 and slotting it in a cruiser chassis. The engine itself was beautified by the addition of chrome and some extra fins, and by the chromed 4 into 4 exhaust. The seat was kept very low, at 28 inches, with the passenger seat being detachable. The all new frame was complemented by 41 mm forks, dual shocks, and a single disc on the front. A drum brake was used on the rear. A few internal changes were made to the VFR engine for use in the Magna, including a different crankshaft, a 5-speed transmission and chain driven cams. Smaller carbs were also utilized. The changes resulted in a stronger mid-range pull, and a very broad band of power.
The design of the 3rd generation Magna remained relatively unchanged over its lifetime. The tank decal was changed in 1995, and a miniature fairing was available on 1995 and 1996 Deluxe models.
1994–2003 V25 (VT250C)
1995 Honda Magna with aftermarket exhaust
|Engine||250 cc liquid-cooled 90° V-2, Bore x Stroke: 60.0 x 44.1 mm (2.36 x 1.74 inches), 11.0:1 compression|
|Power||27 hp (20.1 kW) @ 10,000 rpm|
|Torque||23 Nm (17 ft. lbs) @ 7500 rpm|
|Transmission||5-speed, Final Drive: O-ring-sealed chain, Multiple wet plate coil spring clutch|
|Suspension||Front: Telescopic type, Rear: Swing arm type|
|Brakes||Front: Hydraulic disc, Rear: Mechanical leading / trailing shoe|
|Tires||Tubeless, Front: 120/80–17 61S, Rear: 150/80–15M/C 70S|
|Dimensions||L 2,315 mm
W 845 mm
H 1,055 mm
|Seat height||28.0 Inches (711 mm)|
|Weight||379 Pounds (172 kg) (dry)
|Fuel capacity||11 Litres (2.91 US Gallons)|
|Oil capacity||2.1 Litres (After Oil & Filter Change)|
- Holmstrom (2000)
- Bartels (1997)
- Mayershon (1985)
- Lawrence (2006)
- Canwest (2009)
- Hannah (2008)
- Ford (1985)
- Honda specified
- "Honda VF500 Magna print ad". Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Honda VF500 Magna and Interceptor". Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Performance Index ‘07/’08 Version January 2008 (PDF: 382K)", Motorcycle Consumer News (BowTie), January 2008
- Bartels, Billy (February 20, 1997), First Impression: 1997 Honda 750 Magna, Motorcycle.com
- Canwest News Service (January 29, 2009), "Motorcycling grandma chronicles second leg of worldwide tour", Calgary Herald[dead link]
- Carrithers, Tim (March 2009), "Smart money: 1993-2004 Honda Magna 750.(MC GARAGE)(Product/service evaluation)", Motorcyclist: 102
- Cherney, Andy, Honda Magna 750: Heavy-Hitting Middleweight Motorcycle; Honda Magna 750cc -- Road Test & Review, Motorcycle Cruiser
- Farnsworth, Clyde H. (April 2, 1983), "U.S. RAISES TARIFF FOR MOTORCYCLES", The New York Times. (New York, N.Y.:): 1
- Ford, Dexter; Karr, Jeff (February 1985), "1985 muscle bike buyer's guide", Hot Rod 38: 82(3)
- Hannah, James; Associated Press (February 27, 2008), "Honda to end motorcycle production in US", Boston Globe</ref>
- Holmstrom, Darwin (2001), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles (2nd ed.), Alpha Books, p. 321, ISBN 0-02-864258-9
- Holmstrom, Darwin (June 2000), "1983 Honda V45 Interceptor", Motorcyclist: 146
- Lawrence, Leah (July 18, 2006), "Motorcycling grandmother travels the world; An Edmonton woman sold everything she owned to finance her trip through Asia, Europe and South America", The Vancouver Sun[dead link]
- Mayershon, Norman (December 1985), "Brute Bikes; Charging through California's Gold Country on the fastest big-bore cruisers being built, our crew test the limits of the machines, the roads and the riders.", Popular Mechanics: 106–9, 139, 142–3
- "V-Max, Lean And Mean Machines ; 1994 Honda Magna and 1993 Yamaha", Motorcycle Consumer News, September 1993
- "1999 Honda Magna", Motorcycle Consumer News, July 1999
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Honda Magna|
- Honda motorcycles at the Open Directory Project
- Honda motorcycle organizations at the Open Directory Project