Motorcycle / Honda Magna Page
• My 1996 Magna Review with links
to other reviews on-line.
vs Torque page
• Maintenance and Mods page
- General Maintenance
- Mods — Performance based
- Mods — Add-ons & Misc
- ScottOiler install and info.
When I was looking into bikes, one of the things I did not get caught up in was the "bigger = better" theory. There's tradeoffs between engine size, maneuverability, number of cylinders, etc. There's reasons why race bikes aren't 2100cc V-twins. Still, trucks and motorcycles keep getting bigger and bigger because big sells. I e-mailed / called around to some of my older friends and asked them what a big bike was for different years. I was surprised that it came out to be a linear progression. I then applied a simple formula to see what we can expect in coming decades.
|Year||Considered a "Big Bike"||Year||CC||in^3|
Note that in 2000, the Honda Goldwing 6-cyc is almost 1900cc, and they have the VTX, a thumping V-Twin 1800cc.
In 2003, Honda announced the end of cruisers with 4 or 6 cylinders (except the Goldwing) and 750cc v-twins like the Shadow as they expand out their large v-twin line like the VTX.
In 2004, Kawasaki released a new 2053cc vTwin Vulcan (complete with a pushrod, single pin engine and belt drive, like a Harley) and Triumph released a 2300cc 3-cylinder bike. Looks like the curve needs to start going up faster.
Helmets, Accidents, and Stories I almost always wear a helmet, but don't support laws that try to enforce it...t-boned by a SUV or head on into a Semi, it generally doesn't matter if you were wearing a helmet or not. But I do support laws that require you to be able to cover your own medical and funeral as it is more risky to be a motorcycle rider than a caged in steel frame driver with front, side, and side-curtain airbags (one fender bender and 8 bags go off...that's $8,000 just to start repairs!)
Riders, Age, Alcohol, and Helmets: The The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) motorcycle web page published an excellent study on motorcycles, available here. The repeal of the helmet laws in Texas and Arkansas gave a great opportunity to study "before and after" effects, but it wound up finding more than that. When the baby boomers hit their 40's, many took their crazy stock market money and bought huge Harley's with no riding experience, or long ago experience on small bikes. In 2001, this reversed the death statistics—the leading number of deaths was no longer the younger motorcycle riders on crotch rockets in the city. Now the most deaths are older riders on big cruisers on country/rural roads. However, per mile the young guys on a crotch rocket are still more likely to get in a wreck.
Forbes article on helmets. Well thought and factual instead of emotional.
Bicycles helmets voted down as increasing research in both cars/SUV's, motorcycles, and bicyclists show that the more safety equipment you put on a person, the more likely they are to have an accident.
Bicycle helmets mean motorists give you less room.. When you wear helmets, motorists give you less room, are more likely to hit you. Bonus: They give women even more room (both with and without helmets, vs men); researcher is trying to figure out if that's because women are less predictable. I'm guessing he's not married (or is now sleeping on the couch!). I wouldn't touch that statement with a 10 foot pole.
Motorcyclist hits a couger. Thanks survival on his Aerostitch suit. That's what he gets for trading in his Magna for a Midnight Star.
Useful Motorcycle / Magna Links
Magna Owners of Texas: http://www.magnaownersoftexas.org/main.htm (Free! Texas and surrounding states.)
Manga Riders Association: http://www.magnariders.com/ Many great tips, tricks, info. Mostly an east of Mississippi club, but still full of good info.
Sabre Magna Owners of Texas: http://www.smot.net/
Dallas Area Motorcycle Network. (D.A.M.N.) http://www.damnlist.com/thedamnrules.html Any bike, low b.s. rate, just for meeting and riding.
Similar Link Collections & Info sources:
Honda Based: http://www.bulkley.net/~dfbutt/Mcycle.html
Magna: http://www.hilliard.ws/honda.htm (The Hilliard Chronicles)
VFR Technical Articles, Resources & Report. Includes lots of information on the Magna engine (the VFR V-4 engine)\
Great source of info about all things motorcycle: http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com Has detailed list of alternate oil filters and tons of other info.
Delphi Board: http://forums.delphiforums.com/MagnaRider/start
"How To" pages, NOT maintenance related. See maintenance pages for those kinds.
Winching--everything you need to know about winching and towing
Insurance--One of the things to think about is Uninsured/Underinsured and Medial. Un/Under will typically be more than the entire rest of the policy. If your bike drops, it should be covered by comprehensive. Your medical should be covered by your plan. Un/Un will cover your passenger if they don't have medical insurance and neither does the person who caused the accident.
Magna Owners Web Pages (Lots of good ideas, reviews, and pictures here)
Robert Hilliard and his bike Paladin: http://www.hilliard.ws/honda.htm
Places to Buy Stuff (Also, see all the links above, and the Maintenance page for specific sites to buy certain accessories)
E-Bay: Just start searching. It's not just a people auction any more; lots of companies put stuff there.
E-bay seller Talexx has had good quality, good priced motorcycle accessories (for bike and person) that MOOT members have been happy with.
BikeLeather.com has all sorts of accessories.
http://www.RonAyers.com-- OEM parts at a discount from the dealer, plus all the extras.
Accessories/Places to buy stuff I found worth saving
SaberGear: Thigh pack. Lets you get change out at the tool booth, easy cell phone storage, etc.
Model History and Known Issues (I am responsible for all errers...correct me if I'm wrong)
History: Why re-invent the wheel. Just go here. (From Magna Owners of Texas)
Issue: Starter Switch failure.
1992-2003 Magnas (3rd generation)
Frequency: Occasional reports.
Solution: The only part that needs to be replaced it the switch assembly. You can try lubricating it as well.
Temp Fix: Remove starter switch cover, bridge electrodes with screwdriver to start. There are two sets of contacts in the switch assy, one for the headlight and one for the starter motor. When the button is pressed it takes the headlight offline so the starter motor gets all the juice, when you let the button go the spring returns the plunger to the headlight online position. Headlight cutoff switch may or may not come back on; you will have to verify.
Issue: Knocking engine. Affects
1992-1994 Magnas, supposedly only at top-end. Was supposed to be
fixed, but I know my 1996 still has the problem when idling.
How To Tell: Mine does it sporadically at idle (some days it knocks, most day sit doesn't). One way to tell is if you lean the bike to the right, and the knocking gets worse. Straight up is quieter, and leaning to the left the noise is almost gone.
Temp Fix: Thinner oil, or Lucas Oil Stabilizer.
Solution: Honda issued a September 1994 service bulletin to fix this. Drill some extra oil passages.
Vehicle--Stock Vehicle Questions
Upgrades: Why does a bigger spark give you more power from your
gasoline? Here's a common
sense way to think about it: When two cylinder motorcycles get to
1100cc (which is 550cc per cylinder jug), they switch to 2 spark plus per
550cc chamber. Why would they do
this when it means a more complicated system? First, remember your
physics gas laws:
¤ Pressure * Volume = k (fixed constant) * Temperature
¤ As the volume goes down, pressure and temperature increase.
¤ When the spark fires, it makes a huge percentage increase in pressure. The higher the pressure is at combustion, the more power you get. (More efficient the conversion from chemical fuel to physical motion.)
¤ Now, think of a huge 550cc jug at max compression, and slow down time because the spark makes a fire that burns outward to the cylinder walls rapidly, and and engines turn fast:
==> Motorcycle with Single plug per cylinder: In the motorcycle example, a single spark fires and starts the ignition cycle in the fuel around it. This causes heat-expansion of the fuel-air mixture, and and the piston is pushed down as the fire starts burning out from the spark point. As piston moves down, compression decreases and the continued burn is less efficient at providing power than the initial spark. In addition, not all of the fuel is burned. In a nutshell, the longer it takes to burn the fuel, the less efficient the process is.
==> Motorcycle with Multiple plugs per cylinder: Using the same motorcycle 550cc jug, think of splitting the cylinder head into two halves. Now put one spark plug in the center of each half, giving you two evenly spaced spark plugs per chamber. At max compression, both halves of the chamber are sparked, starting ignition. Compared to the single spark plug, twice as much fire is started at the high compression point, providing quicker burn, faster expansion and more power. In addition, more fire in the same space of time means more total fuel is burned.
How can I get more power out of my engine?
Dave Dodge Racing is your best bet. It's not cheap, but he will take the v4 and crank it from 85 HP to over 100. Contact him for details.
Exhaust System: New pipes can lower back pressure a little, but don't expect huge gains out of new pipes...except in decibels.
Air Intake System: You can put in a K&N stock replacement filter. Since the air filter is sold as an integrated piece, it takes a bit of modification.
CamShaft -- Buy a higher performance cam or have yours reground.
Ignition System: Jacobs Electronics and MSD offer competing products. Both work essentially replacing the coil with a higher power one.
Super/Turbo Charging: You can put in a turbo-charger or super charger. This involves the most work of all. Google it.
Manuals -- Magna Service Manual (specific to the Magna)
1994-2004 VF750C/CD Magna Service Manual from http://www.helminc.com Catalog # 61MZ509 $45.00
Manuals --Honda Common Service Manual (general maintenance)
1994-2004 VF750C/CD Honda Common Service Manual from http://www.helminc.com Catalog # 61CM001 $48.00
Manuals -- PDF versions
Click "model info" button on left. Then click your bike--they have the parts manuals!
You can also get the same manuals in a text page here http://thepit.shacknet.nu/honda/
There are Honda Manuals (of varying quality--some quite good) available here:
Here's their latest file list (Oct 2004)
Honda Common Service Manual
Honda VF750C Magna Service Manual
Honda VF750C Magna Service Bulletin #1
Honda VF750C Magna wiring diagram pic1
Honda VF750C Magna wiring diagram pic2
Honda VF750C Magna Maintenance Schedule
Magna Owner's Manual 1987 VF700C
Magna Owner's Manual 1988 VF750C
Magna Owner's Manual 1994 VF750C
Magna Owner's Manual 1995 VF750C
Magna carburetor removal and shim installation
My Magna: Dyno - data
My Magna: Dyno - results
Motorcycle Jet Kits & Carburetion Basics
Motorcycle carburetor theory
Seats: See Rick Meyer making a custom seat. http://www.my-mc.com/messages/1/1358.html