80's V65 Honda Sabre?

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

  1. Heyload

    Heyload Bent but not broken Super Supporter Supporter

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    A friend of mine in the Air Force had a V-65 Magna that he just loved.


    Interesting note here: The side covers off of a V-45 Magna are completely interchangeable with the side covers on the V-65 Magna.


    There were more than a few folks that got surprised when he smoked their "bigger" bikes...
    #21
  2. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    Also well said. I loved my Sabre & thought it was the greatest bike ever. (in 1984, it might well have been). But I recognize that I often let my fond memories overcome the realities of 80s technology. A lot has been improved in the last 3 decades, especially in terms of running gear (brakes, tires, suspenders, etc) A nicely restored Sabre would be a joy to own today, but not for any reasons you could attach performance numbers to.
    #22
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  3. EricD10563

    EricD10563 Been here awhile

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    I got this one new in 1987 as a leftover and this is what it looked like when I sold it in 2009. It was a nice bike all motor not much frame but if you knew how to ride it, it was rewarding. I used to surprise the heck out of the kids who thought it was some kind of 650 or just didn't know what it was, it sure could get off the line with it's long wheelbase. The Corbin seat, Daytona bars made it more sporting I even had a set of rearsets that I didn't like, Supertrapp muffler had a nice sound and the bike was dyno tuned, it ran very strong until the day I sold it. BTW I was able to sell it in less than an hour, two phone calls and it was gone.

    [​IMG]
    #23
  4. falconspeed10

    falconspeed10 Adventurer

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    relatively old thread but...v65 Magna "barn find" is my first street bike in some 30 years. Five years riding it now. Funky animea styling had to go. Dirt bike/motocross background so had to change it up, kind of ADV style. Live at the end of a dirt road in the high Rockies. Need to ride gravel. Had to chain it up to get out of the latest snow dump (do you believe that?) LOVE the engine!!! Honda v4 fan boy forever. (Last non vteck gear drive cams VFR on my list.) Raised the front fender to keep mud and rocks from jamming. Flat blacked Mac 4 into 1. Minimal windscreen. Ammo box luggage. Double fork brace, flat bars, pegs moved back to Sabre position, Sabre 17" rear wheel with Shinko ADV tire. Drive shaft lash=not smooth throttle transition. Much better ride over twisty passes now. Can drive/weight the front tire and hang off the side for fun. She is quick if not smooth. A passing/overtaking God! No match for the for the handling of 2001 SV650 at my disposal for sure but FUN especially past 80mph. Top heaviness leads to slow speed drops. Not worth much so she is a keeper. Often recognized as a legend when touring. Buell Ulysses and/or Africa Twin next, before I die...or maybe go electric like I saw at Pike's Peak.
    #24
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  5. coast range rider

    coast range rider I'd rather be riding my Stelvio

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    If you like the concept of that bike pretending to be a dirt bike check out the VFR1200X.
    #25
  6. Shabba2

    Shabba2 Your Face Supporter

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    Also gonna revive this older thread. I just bought an '84 here in Richmond and with 26k miles, it runs like new. Sat for at least 10 years but the tank has zero rust. Put some new gas in the tank, changed the oil, made sure the cylinders were oiled and it fired up. While the carbs were eventually pulled and cleaned to clear up a low idle cough, the bike is smooth as butter and will absolutely annihilate my other bikes in a straight line. Quite the competent all-rounder methinks.
    #26
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  7. giarcg

    giarcg Been here awhile

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    I'm reminded of the V65 Sabre I picked up for a song because the clutch was slipping. As it turns out it was slipping because someone had the clutch apart and reassembled it incorrectly.

    It had a slipper clutch which allowed several plates to slip upon deceleration. The part that allows the slipping (Torrington bearing) had been miss installed so the slipping occurred during acceleration. Flipped it around and all was good.

    Then the rear shock failed internally blocking all the dampener ports and it turned into a hardtail.... ouch. There is a work around on restoring the rear shock if it happens to you.

    Had to go find it: shock rebuild, Showa, Air over | Adventure Rider (advrider.com)
    #27
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  8. LuvPop

    LuvPop adv poser

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    Way back in '83 :gerg, I went without a bike for over 6 months half expecting, and half praying, that Honda would combine the V45 Sabre and the V65 Magna. I'll never forget, or match, the excitement I felt when I received the (iirc) December issue of Cycle World which had the new '84 V65 Sabre on the cover. It even came in a very classy color combo, imo. Didn't come in until April 12, 1984 (yes, I remember the date!), but well worth the wait. What a bike, what an engine. So many great features. Very stable handling (for the time) was perfect for my multiple trips to the higher speed roads "out west". I recently considered a NOS VFR1200X at $10K as a somewhat similar spiritual successor. I passed because it was heavy, top heavy, thirsty, and lacked cruise control. Just like the Sabre did!
    #28
  9. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    A visual styling disaster. One would think Suzuki made it.
    #29
  10. Blackshirt

    Blackshirt Been here awhile

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    I had the use of a V65 Sabre for 6 weeks back in the eighties. I remember riding South on I-45 in Houston and thinking, “What’s going on? People are driving like they’re half asleep!” Only to look at the speedo and see that I was clicking along at 85mph. It seems like there were a number of these sorts of bikes coming out of Japan back then. All made great horsepower, but were a bit portly. At the time it was a revelation...these days I like something a little lighter.
    #30
  11. jfk22

    jfk22 Been here awhile

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    Great score Shabba2.

    I've been riding an 84 V65 Sabre for around 20 years. Presently it has around 130k. I like it a lot. Yes, the cams are worn but it still runs just fine. It's a bike from the 80's, kinda silly to compare it to modern machines but at the cost of modern machines I'll just keep riding this one. The honda V4 is a fantastic power plant. Fastest production bike of 84 in the 1/4 mile. It's got gobs of torque, will run deep into the triple digits without a care, and I've done 1000 miles in under 24 hrs and woke up ready to do another. Admittedly, it's not pretty but when I'm in the saddle I really don't care.
    #31
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  12. redlabelmoto

    redlabelmoto Been here awhile

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    2FD76271-7855-40E5-B3AB-5CEB02ED67A4.png

    Picked up this 84 a couple months back. 27k miles. The original owner kept it very nice and it was ridden somewhat regularly until about 2012. Zero mods. He pulled the carbs in 2015 but never got any further.

    Everything is nice and clean. Spinning the engine with a test battery it sounds very healthy and the oil light goes out right away. All the widgets in the cluster light up and do their thing. The properly functioning “1-2-3-4-5-OD” liquid crystal display is glorious to behold as one clicks through the cogs making V4 sounds.

    It came with the full line Honda sales brochure he got when he bought the bike new from Bellevue Honda here in the PacNW. And one of those road test compilation things from the back pages of Cycle World lol.

    Should be an enjoyable/straightforward resurrection.


    85F08DA7-B76E-46A7-A891-F5E8F311BB26.jpeg 504155BC-2CA4-41DF-AF80-39A10FDAFBAC.jpeg CA5548CF-439A-4401-95B1-D8452940CB78.jpeg A36D51E8-6269-4BB3-BA4C-6AB0BEF196B9.jpeg 75DD0FF9-83F6-4335-B766-17F3C841EE7D.jpeg C34230E2-84F4-4D10-85DF-1AFE7B7ECF08.jpeg
    #32
  13. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    My brother had one, I did a weekend ride on it. Pulled like a tractor then hit the power and went like a rocket. Too tall for me though. He had the Supersport fairing on his bike adding to the top heavy feel. But I'm short so that's why it was a problem.

    This could have been his bike, , minus the big backrest/rack, I think he had the small Ashco classic in black on it for a much sportier look.

    [​IMG]

    Backrest looked about like this one:

    [​IMG]

    I don't know if there are air filters available from any source, but I will mention I got an air filter from a Honda mower that was big and flat foam, cut it down to fit in my 1967 Bultaco Sherpa T I had. So if you find it is hard to get or really expensive, go talk to a Honda power equipment dealer if a foam one will fit in there.
    #33
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  14. redlabelmoto

    redlabelmoto Been here awhile

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    The air filter is nla from Honda however a correct replacement from Uni (NU-4086) is avail for $18 bux
    #34
  15. jfk22

    jfk22 Been here awhile

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    Just a heads up...getting those carbs back in is stupidly difficult. You'll need LOTS of patience. If you're prone to doing things like rejetting the carbs do it now cause you'll never want to pull them back out.

    Nice looking bikes, after years of commuting through Oregon winters mine lots its luster long ago. It's now flat black all around. I have the hondaline fairing but took the lowers off since I'm 6-3 and my knees hit them and I also have some old krauser (ala 80's BMWs) hard panniers.

    You'll want to read up on the carb mod, which is very optional, and the cam issue. The cams are prone to premature wear/scoring. The early theory was inadequate oil delivery to the head so I did the oil mod that taps the oil galley but it didn't solve the problem. I believe the final word is that it's due to improper hardening of the cams so hard to fix. Mine look horrid but the bike still runs just fine so I'd not recommend the oil mods. Don't freak when you see the cams going bad. It will happen.

    It's been a very reliable bike, I've had very few problems over the years. I wish my gauge cluster looked that good, but mines a road warrior not a garage queen. Lots of small pits in the forks now from gravel/sand on the road being tossed up by the cars so fork seals wear out quickly.

    The fork brace will crack around the mount holes, ignore it...it's really not a fork brace but a fender mounting bracket.
    #35
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  16. rlb84v65

    rlb84v65 n00b

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    Love to read about the V65 Sabre and new riders still discovering this great bike. I have had an '84 like "redlabelmoto" above since late 90s and modified it for some riding around US. Sadly it no longer looks as nice as redlbelmoto. I'm currently refurbishing it - carb orings, etc., and rechroming the rear rack and front engine guard. Man, would I like to find a set of gauges with clear lenses (mine are fogged up), but I may try to replace the lenses myself. With some mods (most of which could still be done today, but why spend the time and money when newer bikes are available - but that's another story) I was able to make this a great touring bike. The handling shortcomings of the stock setup can be overcome beautifully: front forks need Superbrace and change fork internals to Race tech cartridge emulators and springs; secondly, change the stock rear shock for a Fox (my choice) or Ohlinsn (the two that had adapters at that time); and thirdly, switch to radial tires (originally I used Dunlops) - and to help the fork seals last I put on some black fork gators. With these changes the bike handles incredibly well. As everybody is different, seats are personal choice - after several tries I found a Sargeant that works great - lower and comfortable. The stock fairing and screen didn't work that great as far as wind buffeting goes, but a Rifle aftermarket with a repositioned screen (slid farther up and tilted back more) ended up working very well for me (6' tall). Brakes are ok but braided lines and better pads are improvements. Like some other owners, I figured out how to mount Krauser hard panniers on a modified rear rack. And I also took a trip up to the Heli bars shop in Maine (24 years ago) where the owner agreed to make me some custom adjustable bars with which I was able to find just the right position. For the engine, I did the oil mod which was recommended on the now defunct SabMag forum and installed Accel hi output coils and wires (the yellow wires also are a nice touch). I added a set of PIAA running/fog lights - extra light is really a necessity for safe touring. And a few years ago, I made a custom HID headlight and replaced most other light bulbs with LEDs - helps out a lot because stock alternator never put out enough juice - sometimes in summer at night with all lights going sitting stopped for some reason when the radiator fan kicks in you could watch the battery voltage start dropping (a voltage gauge and an oil pressure gauge are great additions to the bike). And that reminds me that I installed a switch to be able to manually turn on the radiator fan before things start to get too hot - a lower temp radiator temp switch is also good as is a lower temp thermostat. Heated grips are a must for touring also (another load on alternator). Being seen by car drivers is critical for cyclists, so I added custom large rear turn and brake lights which fit in and look ok when the panniers are on the bike - when they are off the lights look pretty clunky but I don't mind since being seen stopped at an intersection is more important. It took some time to figure this all out and get it put together but when completed, the only thing I wished for was electronic cruise control - which is still the only thing that makes me want to get a new bike, that and the new Honda DCT transmission which I have demo'd and love. While the Sabre was never intended as an offroad bike, I have happily done some dirt/logging roads and been fine. It is true that getting the carbs out and in (in and out) is a royal pain - happily not necessary very often. Everything else is pretty easy to deal with. I have loaded this bike up to the gills on a few trips and its been fine (except when I tried to park in a gravel parking lot at Arizona gas station and it went down - with help of some very friendly people we got the "loaded" bike up again with just a few scuffs and scratches and a bruised ego :-) - if you camp and tour expect a lot of scuffs and scratches. All loaded up, this bike still cruises happily at "illegal" speeds. Finally, the only complaint, which is common to many cycles, is that in summer when at street lights or slow going in stalled traffic, the heat coming off the engine can be pretty brutal, and like "jfk22" the fairing lowers didn't allow my legs enough room. A couple years ago in the fall foliage season, I was riding across the Kancamagus and stopped at a scenic overlook. Some tourists from Japan saw my Sabre and wanted to have their picture taken sitting on it :-) Enjoy the V65!
    #36
  17. rlb84v65

    rlb84v65 n00b

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    I meant to add a recommendation regarding the oil cam wear issue. As I said I did the oil mod and I believe it helps reduce cam wear - but I still have gotten a little, but as rfk22 said its not an issue. But to really help make things last as much as possible, try not to cruise around too much below 2500 rpms. The oil pressure below that is too low and doesn't help engine protection both from a lubrication standpoint and a cooling standpoint (the oil is also a cooling agent.) The big V65 has way more than enough power/torque to cruise at 1500 rpms, but oil pressure is way too low at that point for proper engine protection. And the "fun" of this machine doesn't really get going below 4000 rpms anyway - once you hit 4-5k rpms, hold on all the way to 10k! When doing 65 and you want to pass someone in a hurry, drop down from 6th to 4th (it will jump from around 3200 to around 5k) and twist it and you'll be doing 100 in a few seconds - don't forget to slow back down again, as it is so very easy to cruise at 100 plus:-)
    #37
  18. JHG67

    JHG67 Been here awhile

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    Funny, looking at these pics I can almost hear that hollow sound of the Honda v-4 starter motor spinning.....:rofl
    #38