Saturday, 20 February 2016

Honda VF1100C (V65 Magna)

The great and powerful Honda V4. My first bike was the 500cc Magna, and I loved it so much I bought the 1100 as soon as I could afford it. I paid $2000 for a nice example with 14,000 miles on the clock, and in three years I now have 55,700 miles indicated. The bike has been completely reliable so long as I'd owned it. Always tons of power, and never any problems that weren't my own stupid fault.

At 38,000 miles I buggered 2nd gear by shifting without the clutch, drag racing, and popping wheelies. (Yes, a 580lb cruiser can do wheelies if you give it 116hp!). I was going to get the tranny undercut, but by happenstance I found a used 15000 mile engine from a guy that crashed his bike, for only $300. I traveled 500 miles (each way) to get it and bring it home.

When I dropped my old engine out, I noticed that the cams looked pretty chewed up. The new engine had perfect cams, and I wanted to keep them that way. The reason the early V4 cams grenade is because of an inadequate oil supply to the heads. So I installed an Oil Mod Kit. This kit is availible from Dave Dodge (info@drp, eBay, or at Basically it takes oil from the main galley (drill and tap mod), or from an adapter bolted between the block and the oil filter (adapter-style mod) and feeds high-pressure oil to the cylinder heads.

The stock lines are small, and the stock feed to the cams is off a low-pressure feed that goes through the tranny first. As the oil pump in these V4's actually has two outputs (one for the mains, one for the tranny and cams), plugging the cam side actually INCREASES pressure slightly throughout the engine. I've got 55,700 miles on the bike now (about 31,000 on the current engine) and my cams are still perfect.

At 40k my collector was rotted, so I replaced it with one from eBay. At 50k my mufflers were shot, so I put on Mac slip-ons. I'm still using the stock suspension at 55k, and the handling has gotten really bad in the last 10k or so. I'll be installing Progressive springs and shocks soon. I'm still on the original fork seals and steering head bearings, though. I run Dunlop D205 radials (they handle so much better than bias-ply), and the rear's done in about 6000 miles. The front lasts about 9 or 10k, though.

I've taken this bike on several cross-country trips (well, half the country anyway - it's a BIG country!), and I wouldn't hesitate to leave on one tomorrow. This is the most reliable bike I've ever owned.

Charles S

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