80's V65 Honda Sabre?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Worroll, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. Worroll

    Worroll Been here awhile

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    So I really like the concept of the 80's honda sabre. Powerful V4 engine, standard bike ergo's, physically big, 5.8 gal tank.

    I think it would be a solid base for a cheap well performing sport touring machine. But I've read a lot of reviews bad mouthing the handling of the bike. How bad is it? Compared to other bikes? I see the rake is 30 degrees, pretty lazy, will any amount of suspension/tire swaps from newer bikes make it up to par? Say to get it to handle as well as an modern FJR1300? I've found that rider size will completely change how well people think a bike handles, and how heavy it 'feels'. I'm 6'2" and not a lightweight. Are the reviews of it handling heavy a result of smaller test riders?
    #1
  2. sfarson

    sfarson On a Ride

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    Possibly. I'm 6'4" 195lbs and owned a sweet '83 V45 Sabre. Rode it all over the place with my wife hugging me from behind, and never once thought it was handling challenged.
    #2
  3. Uglydog56

    Uglydog56 Adventurer

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    I put around 60K or so on a V65 Sabre over about 5 years. Mine was an 84 with the TRAC front end, a hondaline fairing, a padded Corbin gunfighter, and KZ1000 hardcases.

    Comfort: This is where these bikes really shine. Much more sporty than a wing, but just as protected and comfortable. The seating position is very comfortable. They have the super-adjustable handlebars which I consider a huge asset. My G/F loved it. She could set on it for days. Corbin seats didn't used to be made of concrete. I lent it to a coworker who rode it for 6 months while his wife's car was in the body shop. When it came time to give it back, he bought a valkyrie interstate. His wife asked him to get the Sabre back because she liked it better. This is notable because my Sabre was a salvage yard special, and not known for its aesthetic value. :puke1


    First of all, handling is not Bad, really. In a bike with a good (meaning holds air & shock oil isn't all water etc) rear shock, good forks (see previous), that you spend a little time with the preload and adjusting the TRAC, will handle Good. They are never unstable. They will eat interstate all day. They love sweepers. You can haul your house and do 140. I made it from the south side of Portland to the Seattle airport in an hour and a half once. They hold lots of fuel and get pretty good mileage for the size and power. I did an Experienced Rider Course on it and could bob and weave the cones and do the box better than the crotch rockets.

    However, they will never handle Great. If you are an exceptional rider who knows his machine, you could take down the run of the mill 4/10's riding sport touring guy. But you are going to be at 7-8/10's to do it. And there just aren't a bunch of upgrades to fix the shock or the damping. The shaft drive has incredible amounts of anit-squat (leaning into a left hander, if you gas it too hard you will be in oncoming traffic - they jump that hard). The rear tire is a 130 from the factory. Some bikes have 130 FRONT tires these days!

    Don't get me wrong, a v65 sabre is on my "Wish I hadn't let that one go" list. I had over 100K on it when I sold it, and it was still a powerhouse.

    BTW I am 5'8" with a 32" inseam. I was on the balls of my feet at a stoplight.
    #3
  4. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    You're not going to get one to handle like an FJR1300, no way. The brakes are not outstanding either. The issue with the handling on big older heavy bikes like that is not just the suspension components, it's the entire frame and construction of the bike. Not rigid enough to provide anything better than decent.

    If you are OK having a heavy, large bike that rides like a heavy large bike, you'll probably love it.
    #4
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  5. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Well said. If you want something with modern handling, brakes, suspension, frame rigidity, etc., get something modern. Without rebuildiing the bike and spending many times more than its worth, you'll never get the overall performance up to modern standards.

    That's not to say these old bikes can't be enjoyable and practical rides. But your expectations have to be based in 1983, not 2011.

    - Mark
    #5
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  6. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    I had a baby Sabre for a few years that I really enjoyed, but I had a lot of little mechanical and electronic problems with it, and it was just too hard to find parts for and keep on the road. (I'm not enough of a mechanic on my own...) but still, I loved the way that it went down the road.

    There are a lot more of the bigger Sabres on the road, so there should be more parts etc. available, and there's a great resource of info out there: one of the best groups of riders I've found on the inter-webs:

    www.sabmag.org

    Check 'em out...
    #6
  7. MikeinEugene

    MikeinEugene Long timer

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    The holy grail for the big Sabres is the gauge cluster. A set in great condition will go for north of $700 just for the cluster :eek1

    I ride a big Magna. The Sabre riders claim the ride on the Sabre is better. I don't know as I haven't ridden one. A racquetball buddy who's 6' 8" put over 100k on his big Sabre before he got sick of looking at the gauges & went to a Rocket III. He says he still misses it & keeps an eye out for another, with a good gauge cluster :lol3

    The v4hondabbs.com site (need to register to view, very active v4 forum) & the v4musclebike.com site (browseable without a login) are my 2 main sites for my ride.
    #7
  8. JJTV4

    JJTV4 n00b

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    Hey guys, don't be bashing our fat old ladies :D I have a V65 Magna and love it - and remember these are from 83-86 technology. Ya they get crummy milage about 26 for me, but you can't beat the power, it still kills most out there. I am on one of the other forums mentioned earlier and guys say the Sabre handles better, I have never rode one but Magna's lift the front much easier (too easy) :evil I have been to 152 and could not hold on anymore and watch that power band over 7k rpm's wow it's a second engine (free nitrous) :freaky
    #8
  9. ridgrunr

    ridgrunr n00b

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    I've got an 85 V65 Sabre. In fact my brother and I both have them, and have been everywhere from Jasper, Alberta to Tuscon Arizona and everywhere in between. Mine has 57,000 miles on it now and they've both been absolutely bullet proof. Few bikes new or old produce torque like that V4.

    I've loved it, and still have it, but at 25+ years old it's getting a little long in the tooth and there are parts that you can't get any more even from Honda, so a couple of years ago I turned over the long distance duties to a 2003 Kawasaki Concours, simply because it's 25 years newer, has 7.5 gallons of gas and the hard bags for traveling. Itill have that V65 though. It's sort of like owning a 1970 440 Dodge Challenger. In it's day, almost nothing would run with it and whenever I'm in the mood for some afternoon throttle twisting, it's still my bike of choice.
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. MikeinEugene

    MikeinEugene Long timer

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    I recognize you from those other sites :lol3

    You've got something wrong with your Magna, or you ride it like you stole it all the time if you're only getting 26 :eek1 I get 45 on a regular basis on road trips with mine.

    Oh, and bring the bacon sammiches & beer 1st post noob :deal
    #10
  11. scottzilla

    scottzilla Been here awhile

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    The deal killer for me would be the bias ply tires (says the former v65 Magna owner, 67, ooo miles).
    #11
  12. JJTV4

    JJTV4 n00b

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    Hey Mike, I don't think they would last on a ride to Oregon but your welcome here :deal Ya it doesn't see lower than 5k all day long, remember the jet kit and Kerker don't help, it's a rocket and I can live with 26, sure beats my Suburban :rofl
    #12
  13. MikeinEugene

    MikeinEugene Long timer

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    :lol3

    I'll be experiencing that soon too...already have the K&N, picking up a Kerker 4-1 setup soon. I'll send the parts bike's rack (70As) to BillyC for a rebuild/rejet. I have the stock exhaust off the 84 & the stock rack for that too. We'll see which way it stays after I ride a bit with the Kerker :wink:
    #13
  14. filthy phil

    filthy phil team FTP

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    top end oiling issues on the honda v4.
    i had to dump a vf1000r over it.
    fyi
    #14
  15. Celtic Curmudgeon

    Celtic Curmudgeon Indiana Jones wanabe

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    I had two Sabres, one with the sport-touring fairing, and the other a standard. I added a lower bar and a GPZ-style bikini fairing, and it was the most fun you could have with your pants on for $1800. Last I heard, it's on its 4th owner, still a going strong approaching 100k, pulling daily driver duties. Incredible motor in a comfortable, bulletproof bike, but the brakes and handling left a lot to be desired.
    #15
  16. FatherX

    FatherX Cautionary Tail Supporter

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    V4 80's Hondas are fun

    48k miles on this one and running strong

    [​IMG]


    I'd love to have a bigger gas tank and more cubic centimeters like the V65, but this little guy always gets me there with a grin and then home again.
    #16
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  17. Brokerdelete

    Brokerdelete dREAMEr

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    I'm turning mine into this: [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    Loved my '84 V-45 (oops...V-40, Harley tariff bike) I swear, I'd still be riding it today if some lowlife hadn't stolen it in'89. We've almost lost the memory of just how sweet a well dialed-in carb setup can fuel. I'm not bashing FI, i have it & like it, but that v-4 would power up smoooooth. No humps or bumps in the power/torque curve. With a bike that fuels that well, it's easy to learn to ride it well. (& fast....very fast.) Probably faster than it's '84 suspension & brakes could support. (although, as I remember, there was an anti-dive system on the forks that actually felt like it worked in near panic stops)
    #18
  19. Highside>Lowside

    Highside>Lowside Hairier Than Thou

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    Well, V42.5, anyway. :D
    #19
  20. doggitter

    doggitter Long timer

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    Just picked a 84 700 last week. Reading up on it now.
    #20