Want a high-tech motorcycle with a V4 engine, but you can’t afford a new Ducati Streetfighter? If your budget leans more towards ramen than caviar, then maybe you should stop ogling expensive Italian motorcycles. Head over to Bring a Trailer, and bid on this 1984 Honda V65 Magna VF1100C, instead!
History hasn’t been kind to the Magna series. Budget-strapped builders will slobber all over an air-cooled Honda CB with an inline four engine, but there's little excitement over the V4-powered Magna cruisers. At one time, Magnas were one of Honda’s strongest, most technologically advanced lines. Magnas came in three flavors—500cc, 750cc, and 1100ccs (later, there was a V-twin 250 that didn’t compare to the other machines), and their V4 engines were some of the hottest equipment available on the street., Directly descended from Honda’s MotoGP designs, the Magna V4s were closely related to the Interceptor sport bikes, and it showed.
Why don’t they get the same respect as an older CB? The V4 engines were advanced for their time, and that meant maintenance was more difficult—a lot of important parts were tucked between the cylinders and under the gas tank. If you had to wrench on the bike, you had to know what you were doing. Some of the early 750 engines had reputations for bad top ends, too.
The 1100cc engine didn’t have the same bad rep, though—it was one of the most powerful motors of the 1980s, with a claimed 116 horsepower. In a straight line, the Magna V65 was basically as fast as any superbike on the market for several years. Even today, its horsepower would put it on par with most made-in-America V-twins.
On an old machine like this, you won’t get ABS, fuel injection, modern handling, or any guarantee of long-term reliability—just a big motor, weird anti-dive forks, shaft drive, and mid-’80s Japanese cruiser styling. If that makes you happy, then this machine does look like a lot of fun. The exhaust is a bit scabby, but if you shop around, you can likely find a replacement. Remember, chrome won’t get you home anyway. Everything else looks fairly clean, and the odometer reads 16,000 miles. If the price stays reasonable, this could be a lot of motorcycle for very little money.