With the 'Saber', the 'Magna' and the 'Interceptor', Honda put an end to the concept of 'UJM', universal Japanese motorcycle. The series had V4 blocks instead of the now-common four-in-line engines. We look at the fattest cruiser in the family: the Honda Magna V65 presented in 1983.
Honda wanted to distinguish itself with the Honda Magna V65
After all, every Japanese motorcycle manufacturer made motorcycles with four cylinder in-line engines at the start of the 80? All in imitation of Honda's CB 750. It was time for something else. Time for a V4. That block setup allowed the high speeds of a four in line while it could be made as narrow as a two cylinder.
And the block angle of 90 ° also guaranteed a well-balanced engine run. The idea was great! And the blocks had their very own, characteristic snorkel and roll. The Honda Magna's were cruisers, the Interceptors the sportsmen and the Sabers the most neutral members of that family. They were, and are, impressive machines with their, after some initial problems, very reliable four-cylinder V-shaped.
There were problems
The problems from the early days were partly technical and partly PR related. Camshaft damage occurred, especially at the blocks in The States. The oil supply to the heads turned out to be too low when driving long below the 3.000 rpm, a speed that the Americans accustomed to Harleys thought was quite high. But one V engine is not the other. And the correct start and warm-up procedures were not devoted to the Americans either. Add to that the fact that those somewhat rude people never structurally do anything about any kind of maintenance.
Yet Honda's response to the misery did not deserve a beauty prize. First the company denied the problems as in “NO! I am not pregnant! ”, Then blamed incorrect maintenance and reduced service intervals and devised a special tool to adjust the valves correctly. They silently changed the design and details and the production methods. And so it all went well technically. Only that reputation, right? The first generation of Honda V4s did not have a good name, the first V4 revolution was unsuccessful. And in the meantime, Suzuki and Yamaha had already started using the idea with the Madura and the Vmax ...
Now the Honda Magna V65 gets recognition
In the meantime, the Honda V4 engines get the recognition they deserve. And Honda's VFRs have become legendary. Our examples are there in the nicest part of the popularity process: there are enthusiasts and there are engines. But the enthusiast club is still small and the range of engines is wide. What do you get then? Exactly: a lot of engine for little money. And remember that a neat Harley-Davidson WLA sometime in the sixties also yielded no more than 150 rock-hard guilders ...
The Honda Magna V65 with its tough 1.100 cc block is meanwhile very carefully labeled "Perhaps one of the best cruisers ever made." Most of those Honda Magna cars that are still fairly under cover in the Netherlands are US models.