1998 Honda VF750CD Magna from United States of America
Probably the best blend of power, handling, looks, and price ever put on 2 wheels
The two best words to describe this bike are WOO HOOOOO!
After a 30 year hiatus in riding I decided I just had to get another bike. I finally convinced my wife that I probably wouldn't kill myself and got her hesitant OK. So, I spent hour after hour at my computer researching, reading specs, reading reviews, trying to figure out my comfort level. I decided that I needed a mid-sized bike, maybe a 750, and no more than 600 pounds or so. 750cc's so it would keep up with traffic easily, but not be over-powered (I didn't get that part quite right, hehe), and 600 pounds because I was in my early 50s at the time and just didn't feel comfortable with the handling and weight of the big bikes, especially with my lack of recent practice. 900 pound Harley? How the heck do you pick that thing up when you drop it the first time you try to navigate a parking lot?? And what's it going to do to your leg if you don't get out of the way fast enough on the way down?? The best match I could find was the Honda Magna VF750C. Unfortunately this was in 2010, and the Magna had already been out of production for 7 years. I resigned myself to a long search and maybe never finding the exact bike... but maybe something close...
Just on a whim I checked out Craig's List, and I came across an ad for a '98 Magna, supposedly good condition (yeah, right), with 12K on the clock. Hmmm... Asking price? $2600. The bike was about an hour away, but I managed to talk the guy into meeting me, on the bike, at a mall parking lot just about midway between us. All I could think when I saw the bike was WOW! Very near mint condition. No dings. No noticeable scratches. The only wear I could see was on the tires, and the mufflers were showing their age just a bit. And, the icing on the cake, this was the D (deluxe) model, with the 2-tone black/silver paint job with orange stripes, and even MORE chrome! I pondered a bit, offered the guy $2300, and he took it! I wonder if he realizes yet what a GREAT deal I got? Shortly after buying it I saw a '95 (3 years older), with slightly less mileage for $5995 at a dealer, and I have no doubt they sold it. I very carefully rode home (I hadn't even sat on a bike for probably 10 years), took it to my local inspection station, and it breezed through. 7 years later I'm still riding this bike, and no, I will NOT sell it to you! MINE!
I have the typical low-speed surge that most Magna owners either complain about or fix. I've been waiting for a need to get into the carbs for another reason so I can include this minor fix, but this thing just NEVER has any mechanical problems. I also had to replace the rectifier when the bike suddenly started eating headlight bulbs and fried the battery. It mysteriously needed a new battery every spring, even if I pulled it out and put it in my basement on a maintainer with a cycling system for the winter. I have decided that was due to most lead/acid motorsport batteries being junk. I finally spent $150 for a good lithium ion battery and I'm into my 3rd season with absolutely no issues. Just for reference, a Magna will NOT run on a dead battery. You can't just give it a push, pop the clutch, and go. There seems to be some sort of a safety system that shuts the bike down if the charging system is working too hard, probably to protect that iffy rectifier. The only time this bike has left me sitting on the side of the road was when the battery suddenly pooped out in the middle of nowhere.
This bike is now 19 years old, and after a good cleaning and polishing it still looks great. The paint still shines. If you don't do an inspection with a magnifying glass the chrome still looks very nice. I'm not ashamed to be seen on it anywhere, and I get a lot of nice comments.
Sure, there are faster bikes. A VRod will smoke it in a straight line. But who wants to ride in a straight line? Kind of misses the whole point, doesn't it? Put a Magna and a VRod on a twisting country road and who gets smoked? There are plenty of crotch rockets that'll outrun and out-handle a Magna. But that position CAN'T be comfortable, especially for my 60 year old back, and I do NOT want to lead with my head. My nephew has a Vulcan 1700. Similar look, but not quite as pretty as the Magna in my opinion. But, let's see... Vulcan 1700 = 700+ pounds and that big motor makes a whopping 72 HP. Magna 750 = 560 pounds dressed out and with a full tank and makes 82 HP. Umm... you REALLY think that Vulcan'll keep up after the V-twin's low-end torque runs out?
Bottom line? If you like to ride, and you like a good thrill (or SCARE, the first time you try it) when you crank open the throttle, and you want reliability, and gas mileage, and handling, and a reasonable comfort level, and looks, AND you can find a deal anywhere near the one I got on my Magna, BUY IT! Honda should have never discontinued this bike. It's as good as it gets.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th June, 2017