Motorcycle History - The Honda 750 Magna
January 21, 2013 - San Diego, CA
The Honda Magna is a cruiser motorcycle that was manufactured by Honda from 1982 to 1988 and from 1994 to 2003. The Magna was powered by the Honda V4 engine (which was taken from the VF/VFR series of motorcycles). This engine technology and layout was initially seen as a bold move, however the V4 technology in the Honda 750 Magna was overshadowed due to engineering and manufacturing problems that occurred after the Magna's release in 1982.
Besides the V4 engine configuration, the Honda 750 Magna had water cooling, a six-speed transmission for good economy at highway speed, and shaft drive (common on most other middleweight Honda bikes in the early '80s). Although the shaft drive required little to no maintenance required, it also sucked some power out of lower-speed riding. The Magna also featured twin horns, a coils spring, hydraulic clutch, oil bath, air preload front fork with anti-dive valving, and an engine temperature gauge. (Bike Bandit carries many of these Honda OEM parts.)
1982-1984 V45 (VF750C)
The first generation Magna - the 1982 V45 Magna - had a chrome headlight and fenders, with the 1983 V45 Magna adding chrome instruments as well. The front disc brakes had straight grooves, while in 1983 the front disc brake grooves were curved. The speedometer read 80 mph in 1982 while the speedometer had a 150 mph (240 km/h) limit in 1983. The engine was a 748 cc DOHC 16-valve liquid-cooled 90-degree V-4 linked to a six-speed transmission and shaft drive.
Honda Magna models during 1982 to 1984 were exclusive in their use of a larger primary fuel tank and smaller sub-tank. Beginning in 1985 models, the sub-tank was eliminated in favor of a slightly larger and wider main fuel tank.
1983-1986 V65 (VF1100C)
The 1,098 cc V65 Magna was Honda's entry in the "1/4 mile wars" between manufacturers during the '80s, posting a quarter mile time of 11.29 s at 119.2 mph (191.8 km/h). This time fell somewhere between the Suzuki 1200 Madura's 1/4 mile time of 11.66 s at 115.7 mph and the Suzuki GS1150E's 1/4 mile time of 10.47 s at 128 mph.
1984-1985 V30 (VF500C)
Focusing on adding power and versatility to its motorcycle offerings, from1984-1986 the company produced the 498 cc, V4 DOHC VF500 for the VF500C Magna V30 and its sister bike, theVF500F. This engine was derived from Honda's original domestic market 400 cc engine, which was originally deemed too small and underpowered for U.S. and European markets.
The VF500C Magna V30 was introduced as a "balanced bike" that was easier to ride, yet just as enjoyable as its larger Magna siblings. Thanks to its V4 engine design, it offers good power and a broad torque band. The 500 engine produced between 64-68 horsepower, and combined with its low weight and low center of gravity, the bike was praised by critics as an easy to ride and entertaining motorcycle.
Unlike its larger siblings, this bike had no shaft drive but a traditional chain drive instead.
1984-1987 V42 (VF700C)
Honda only made the VF700 for the later part of 1984 through 1987, and then it went back to the VF750. The first part of 1984, the Magnas were VF750.
1987-1988 V45 (VF750C) Super Magna
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. In 1988, the Magna reverted back to its original size of 748 cc.
1994-2003 V45 (VF750C)
The Magna 750 was launched in 1993 by Honda as an early release 1994 model. The company created the Magna 750 in an effort to capture the market for powerful cruisers. The engine was lifted from the VFR750 and slotted in a cruiser chassis, and then beautified with the addition of chrome, extra fins, and a chromed 4 into 4 exhaust. The seat on the Honda 750 Magna was kept a very low 28 inches, with a detachable passenger seat. 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 750, including a different crankshaft, a 5-speed transmission and chain driven cams.
The VF750C and VT250C stayed in production by Honda until 2004, when it saw its demise along with the V-Twin Shadow ACE, the Shadow Spirit, and the 6-cylinder Valkyrie.
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