It all started innocently enough, what would become a motorcycling passion, an obsession some might say. Back in 1991, I was visiting a local motorcycle shop in Indiana, PA, where I had graduated from college. With very little to do, I decided to drop in a local cycle shop, release a bit of testosterone, and make vroom, vroom noises. This was to be the beginning of an insatiable appetite for two wheeled transportation. In hte ten years that would follow, I would traveled around the United States, raced 1/4 mile drags, attended professional track schools, and met some of the finest people on the planet. Want to know more? Visit my motorcycling FAQ. Anyway, here is a chronology of my past bikes:
This first choice of motorcycle, I will have to admit, was based on the styling of the bike - the cruiser. However, because of its V4 engine design, it made excellent power for it's diminutive 500cc size. Although I had no idea at the time I bought it, It put out 62 Hp, which is more than most Harley-Davidson (Hardly Ableson) 1340cc Vtwins. So much for big, bad, American muscle! Harleys sound powerful, but stock ones are just plain pitiful. Anyway, this bike lasted me 5 years without a single hitch, and I sold it for a few hundred less than I paid. I was looking for another bike to do everything that it did, but be bigger, which led me to my next bike. I had yet to understand the functionality and pure excitement of sportbikes.
Although the Magna was discontinued after 1988, it was reborn in 1994. The look had changed into a much lower, longer bike, but I was long sold on the amazing V4 powerplant. The V4 has the low end grunt of a V-Twin, but can also rev to the moon like an inline four, thus giving you the best of both worlds. So after much searching, I was back with the Magna. The V45 was a 750, and made around 88 horsies, I believe. If you want to know anything and everything about the Honda V4s in general, go to www.sabmag.org., which is a comprehensive source of info on the older and late model Magnas, Sabres, and Interceptors. I was so into this bike that I wrote a website dedicated to it. I had this bike for a couple of years, before a BDC (Brain-dead Cager) turned left in my path, totalling my bike as well as my left ankle. With the insurance money I bought an identical 96, and had it a short time, before a weekly visit to my local dealer would change my moto life forever.
This was the only sportbike I would've considered. When I first got into motorcycling, I looked at it as many of you do. I thought that cruisers were the way to go, because they just had to be more comfortable than sportbikes, right? WRONG! You see, a sporting position actually distributes your weight evenly among your hands, feet, and rear. Cruisers do not. Your spine and ass take all the abuse. On a sportbike, you are leaning into the wind. On a cruiser, you hold yourself from being blown off the bike. Now, some sportbikes are more extreme than others. Not to mention, that sportbikes are just plain FUN. They can carve corners, pull wheelies, and bring a connectedness to the road that a cruiser never could. That's why when the opportunity rose, I jumped at the chance to own what is widely considered the finest all-round sportbike made, the Honda VFR. It still had the wonderful V4 engine, but surrounded by high technology and beautiful bodywork. I traded my Magna in on the spot, and I'll never go back. Cruisers might look good to putt down to the local bar and look tough, but real motorcyclists (not bikers) value performance and ridability over poser points. The 93 VFR (not my pic) was a pearl white, and many consider it to be the finest looking VFR ever made. It is not as hard core as some of the sport bikes out there, but will hold it's own anywhere except on the professional track level. I had added a Givi windscreen, electrically heated handgrips, Two-Brothers exhaust and some minor body modifications. I rode the snot out of this bike for about 2 years. I moved to Arizona, from Pittsburgh, PA, and enjoyed the incredible mountainous roads of northern Arizona, and did several trips to L.A., the Grand Canyon, and all over AZ. I had no intentions of getting a different motorcycle until...
The VFR was completely redone in 1998. It kept all the good things about the VFR, but added fuel injection and about 10% more power (103 Hp with slip-on), lost some needed weight, and tightened up an already good package. They made it even more comfortable, yet lighter, faster, and more powerful! I had no car payment, and I could still get good market value for my 93, so I went through the process of selling it. With money in hand, I visited my local dealer and got a fair deal on a leftover 98 sitting on their showroom floor. I simply love this machine, and use it for commuting, touring, canyon carving, and even some drag racing! Best 1/4 mile time so far is 11.66@119mph, not bad for a stock "sport-tourer". I've seen reviews that have it down around 11.14, but last time I checked, I wasn't 130lbs, and I don't thrash the clutch in 4 runs. Besides, I ride it 100 miles to the track. Not many guys on track day can say that! Like I said, it is simply the best all rounder on the planet. If you want to really be a fast rider, I recommend The Pace. I have added electric handgrips, Givi shield and Two Brothers High Mount slip-on exhaust.
|Black & White Studio Pic||Black & White Outdoor Pic|
|Color Studio Pic||Color Outdoor Pic|
|VFR Parking Only!||Close up High Mount Two Brothers Exhaust|
|Growl #1||Growl #2|
OK, after all this talk of great all round sportbikes, I have eaten my words and gone and bought a more dedicated sportbike, the Honda VTR1000, or Superhawk, as it's called! I sold my VFR to buy it, (Hey, I'd LOVE to be able to afford more than one bike, but I have to EAT, ya know?) and found it on www.cycletrader.com. The VTR differs from my VFR in many ways. FIrst of all, living here in the mountains, I'd gotten to really appreciate more aggressive road riding and canyon carving over all of the touring I used to do. The VTR1000 is a V-Twin engined sportbike. That alone is pretty unique in the sportbike world. Historically, only Ducati has used this platform with any success. The V-Twin configuration gives you much more low end power and feel and character unmatched by other engine layouts such as inline fours. The bike makes around 110 Hp, but it's the WAY the power comes on that is intoxicating. Very easy wheelies, and great roll-on power without downshifts. I look forward to getting to know the bike better, and posting further reports.