Within a week, last spring, of returning
from my m/c trip around Lakes
Michigan and Superior, I planned for a replacement for my long-loved
'84 550cc Kawasaki.
It seems that every m/c I like, was designed and built in the '80s.
one I was now fond of is the Honda V-45 or V-65 Sabre. I found one
on Ebay and won the bidding. Only one other person wanted to bid on
it so I got it for shamefully little.
I arranged for a ride east with a truck driver I know and headed
for Long Island to pick it up. I traveled by truck to Trenton, NJ,
and by trains through NYC to the Hamptons on eastern Long
I arrived shortly after noon, test drove it, loaded it, and decided
sight see some on the eastern end of L.I. which would
also serve as a longer test drive before I left the area for good.
It is a 1983 Honda V-45 Sabre (45 cu. in. is approximately 750 cc)
which is a water-cooled V-4 engine with sport touring styling.
The same engine is used in the Honda Magna (cruiser styling).
It also comes in a V-65 for the Sabre and Magna which is about 1100
This particular m/c was advertised to have a difficulty in starting
a rough idle and noisy valve tappets. The mileage was low (23,000)
a 22 year old m/c. I had read about the problems to expect from this
engine and I can usually do some of the mechanical repairs myself,
so that didn't scare me off. It worked OK for the in-town test and I
departed for a tour of the rest of the eastern end of L.I.
These are the original two lane roads of the area and have not been
widened to handle the increase in traffic over the years. Well, I
soon in gridlock out in the back woods of eastern Long Island during
the beginning of their rush hour in early afternoon. I very quickly
tired of that (and the engine was running hot) and altered my plans
going to Montauk, and instead headed north across the island to the
ferry that ran across LI Sound from Orient Bch. to New London, CT.
The shortest route was across Shelter Island in the middle of
Sound. That required two short ferry rides and a nice trip across an
Now, I had circumnavigated this same island about ten years ago with
Wayne, a high school friend, on his 42' Tayana cutter.
I had now seen the fronts and backs of all these mansions on the
The ferry ride across LI Sound was on a large ferry and took about
I headed out from New London on I-95 for a few miles to visit with a
former student of mine who was now a Naval Officer serving on subs
and living just north of Groton, CT. The Sabre did feel a little
on the interstate compared to what I expected from a 750 with the
The next day (Saturday) Larry and I took our m/cs out for a nice
in the CT countryside. In addition to hard starting when cold, I was
beginning to have some significant power loss on even small hills,
and it eventually overheated and quit while doing a portion at
higher speed on a 4 lane highway.
I eventually limped home to Larry's house and began doing some
troubleshooting with the intent of cleaning carb jets as a first
attempt. While doing basic disassembly to get at the carbs, I
two wires that were unattached. My first thought was that they were
optional accessories. As I did more disassembly, I thought that
the gas tank was not the normal place to provide accessory option
hookups. So I went back to take a second look and discovered, with
degree of surprise, that these wires were supposed to be hooked up
the left spark ignition coil which fired two of the four cylinders!
suddenly came to me why the previous owners had claimed hard
and rough idles!
After hooking up the wires and reassembling and test driving the
it nearly threw me off the back of it on acceleration!
I suppose technically I had just performed the $1000 worth of labor
that the previous owner (a dealership!) failed to accomplish to
bring the bike
up to the normal standards that would have brought a much higher
I wasn't complaining at all. I was now quite confident I could
to Chicago without any worry.