MO Church: 1997 Honda Magna 750

Once upon a time, Honda’s mighty V-fours ruled the road. Now they don’t even make them anymore. In the case of the latest Magna 750, that might not be such a bad thing. Maybe take a look at a Rebel 1100 DCT instead? Take it away, old Billy Baroo.

Supposedly, there are only two types of motorcyclists – those who like to ride comfortably and those who like to take quick, steady trips to the chiropractor. However, Honda realized long ago (1981 in fact), that there were a select few who wanted to relax in comfort. and rip the asphalt. For these hybrid riders, Honda created the V45 Magna and, a year later, the V65 Magna. Long and low, the Magna impresses with its 28-inch seat height.

The V65 went the way of the dodo bird a few years later, as reliability issues arose with its larger 1100cc engine (V65 refers to cubic inches). The V45 remains; however, his amenities have changed over the years.

Today’s Magna shares the “power cruiser” designation alongside Yamaha’s V-Max and Harley-Davidson’s XL1200S Sportster Sport, though, with its sportbike V-4 engine lodged in a frame designed for cruising, it has more in common with Kawasaki’s Eliminator. Motorcycle styles have passed, as have Magna’s. In the 80s, his look was characterized by a high and narrow profile. In the fashion-conscious ’90s, the Magna underwent a complete makeover, first with upswept pipes and a bikini fairing, and now with its long, low apparel.

“However, a word to the wise: don’t be fooled. It’s not a cruiser.The four-into-four exhaust is cool, the drum brakes are not. Today, the Magna shares its four-cylinder engine with the VFR750F, a motorcycle long honored by motojournalists (yes, us too) as the most liveable sportbike ever made. Equally hailed by motorcycle press around the world as the best cruiser in the world, the Magna raised our expectations. We salivated at the thought of long sunset rides, with its new pipes and cam synchronization for even more torque and a cool, relaxed feel.

When we took the Magna out for a 300 mile trip, we were disappointed for several reasons. First, its plush seat, while good for short city jaunts, took its toll on the posterior as your butt sank into oblivion. Second, the bars have been positioned at exactly the right angle to catch every molecule of air heading towards the rider. The massive rectangular radiator sticks out like a sore thumb on the otherwise pretty front end.

Unless you have a steel grip, speeds over 85 mph are nearly impossible, and cruising over 75 mph is very uncomfortable. We suggest you buy the $132 bikini fairing from Honda-line.

Then, just as your shoulders begin to separate and your derriere is eaten up by the seat, the engine begins to lose power and bog down. Damn, we were almost out of gas. After only about 110 miles on the road (85 in the city), it’s time to fuel up.

On a more positive note, we liked the close-ratio gearbox, it’s strong and smooth, but ill-suited for a cruiser. It has high and top gears that spin you around five to six times on the highway.

“We saw the engine’s full potential as it moved past the buzzing 7-8 range and into motorcycle nirvana.”

Our next jaunts on the Mag’ were city commutes and boulevard cruises. Here, the tall, wide bars and plush seat are comfortable, but we discovered some new concerns.

While not apparent on the highway, around town we did experience mid-throttle carb issues. When cruising between 4000 and 5000 rpm, the Magna has a tendency to lean, and pushing through that we felt a wide flat spot that lasts through 7000 rpm (see dyno diagrams). However, at that time you probably feel sorry for the poor engine and you will want to shift gears soon.

The answer (obviously enough) is to drag the engine low, but that only leaves you with about 25 horsepower to work with.

After its inauspicious debut, things didn’t look bright for the V-four. Fortunately, one day we got bored sitting around the office and went for a ride in the canyons. There we found Magna’s house. Hanging out with the relative slugs of our midweight cruiser test, the Magna dusted them off. Its firm, supple suspension soaked up the bumps and kept its composure through the turns.

The flat spot was still present, but tilt thrust was not an issue with the constant throttle roll and ever-changing revs. The varied and aggressive environment of the twisties also gave us a chance to open the throttle and scream, and we finally saw the engine’s full potential as it moved past the buzzy 7-8 range and into nirvana. of motorcycle.

Please email Flames about the helmet here. Are we saying the Magna is actually a sports car in disguise? Not exactly. Don’t try to hang out with Ducatis and GSX-R750 in your local thrash zone, because unless they’re ridden by total squids, you’ll end up dusted or dead.

And while the ground clearance is plenty for spirited cruising through tight stuff, at full sport pace, you’ll scratch parts of the bike or parts of your body at the bottom of a ravine.

So, having glimpsed the potential of this bike, we’d like to offer a few suggestions for turning this slightly flawed bike into a truly awesome bike. A few suggestions for the Magna we recently tested: A different cam for more low end. Clean the carburetion. Lose the plastic. Clean components, radiator. Put a good place in the ACE 750.

Manufacturer: Honda Model: 1997 VF750C Magna Price: $7,499 Engine: DOHC 90 degree V-4 valve Bore x stroke: 70mm x 48.6mm Displacement: 748cc Carburetor: four 34mm CV Transmission: 5-speed Wheelbase: 65.0 in. Seat height: 28.0 in. Fuel capacity: 3.6 gal.

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