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Honda's 1983 V65 Magna hit the street like a 600-pound chrome sledgehammer. Americans had built a long-term relationship with horsepower and high style on four wheels, but a motorcycle with acres of both was new. The V65 made big muscle look cool. Thus the power cruiser was born. "The best part of the V65," according to Cycle magazine's March 1983 road test, " is a mid-range punch that would do justice to Larry Holmes."

The liquid-cooled, 1098cc, 90-degree V-4 engine delivered a staggering flow of power from 1500 rpm to its 10,000 rpm redline. On 3rd October 1982, Honda brought drag-strip maestro Jay "Pee-Wee" Gleason and a standard V65 to Southern California's Orange County International Raceway. Gleason's 10.92 — second 1/4-mile sprint made the V65 America's fastest production street machine, inspiring ads with one powerfully simple headline: Bad News Travels Fast.

For street riders, the good news was Honda engineers made sure the bike was easy to live with as well as fast. The four-cam, 16-valve V-4 cruised through a daily commute as happily as it devoured drag strips. Around town, the V65 was surpassingly agile for its size. A durable, diaphragm-type hydraulic clutch modulated power to the shaft drive, and one-way sprag clutch kept downshifts from chirping the rear tyre. Anti-dive valving in the 41mm front fork helped stabilize the chassis under braking. An overdrive top gear in the six-speed transmission kept the V-4 serene at freeway speeds. Strap on some saddlebags and the Magna was comfortable enough to cruise to some town three or four states away.

Riders expected such well-mannered versatility from Honda. The V65's magnetism came from its totally radical fusion of bad boy good looks and world-class quickness. According to Cycle's March, 1983 test, "Its horsepower translates directly into an immediate gut-wrenching rush, unmatched by any other production street machine." To anyone who ever felt it, that V65 rush boils down to one word. Unforgettable.

Bike Image Description
1983 Honda VF 1100C Magna V65 1983 Honda VF1100C V65 Magna
  • Liquid cooled, four stroke, 90°V-four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder.
  • 6 speed
  • 116bhp @ 9500rpm
  • 335kg
  • Disc brakes
1983 Honda VF1100 Sabre Honda VF1100 Sabre  
1983 Honda VF1100C V65 Magna 1983 Honda VF1100C V65 Magna  
1985 Honda VF 1100C Magna V65 1985 Honda VF 1100C Magna V65  
1985 Honda VF1100 Sabre 1985 Honda VF1100 Sabre  

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