Travelog East (8-26 Jun '05) - By Brian Ford
-84 Kawasaki 550LTD
Paul's Truck
Honda V45 Sabre
Packed and ready
Shelter Island Ferry
SI ferry ride
Shelter Island lndg
Long Island Ferry
On the LI ferry
Coil wire problem

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. The
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 Island. 
I arrived shortly after noon, test drove it, loaded it, and decided to 
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 cc.

This particular m/c was advertised to have a difficulty in starting and
a rough idle and noisy valve tappets. The mileage was low (23,000) for
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 was
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 of
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 Peconic
Sound. That required two short ferry rides and a nice trip across an island 
of well-to-doers. 
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 water!
The ferry ride across LI Sound was on a large ferry and took about an hour.

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 anemic 
on the interstate compared to what I expected from a 750 with the 
Sabre reputation!

The next day (Saturday) Larry and I took our m/cs out for a nice spin
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 noticed
two wires that were unattached. My first thought was that they were for
optional accessories. As I did more disassembly, I thought that under
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 some
degree of surprise, that these wires were supposed to be hooked up to
the left spark ignition coil which fired two of the four cylinders! It
suddenly came to me why the previous owners had claimed hard starting
and rough idles!

After hooking up the wires and reassembling and test driving the Sabre, 
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 price! 
I wasn't complaining at all. I was now quite confident I could return 
to Chicago without any worry.


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February 2006 - SabMag Scandinavia
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