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I probably shouldn't say this, but...

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45Brit

Posts: 1414

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:52 am

I probably shouldn't say this, but...

I've just bought a Honda VT750SA, basically Honda's take on a Sportster. I didn't see it yet, still at sea, but No 1 Son reckons it is much like an 883 but with proper paint and chrome, 50% better fuel economy less vibration and total reliability. I'm going with his judgement, seeing as he was Service Manager for the local Honda dealer and they seemed to take a Sportster in p/x every time they sold one (try and p/x a Sportster to a Harley dealer!)

Perhaps I'm just getting old...
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
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Pa

Site Admin

Posts: 4693

Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2000 1:01 am

Location: Ohio USA

Post Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:28 am

Re: I probably shouldn't say this, but...

LOL.....Yep....You be getting old alright !! :lol: And I can relate to old. :D
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Dusty-Dave

Posts: 876

Joined: Tue Oct 12, 1999 12:01 am

Location: Ojo Caliente,NM,USA

Post Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:36 am

Re: I probably shouldn't say this, but...

The last VT in my family was given to us because the frame welds were so poor that the frame filled with water then froze and broke the lower tubes. I was really amazed when I took the frame apart to find that the frame tubes were not mitered to fit they just smashed the ends in to get the desired angle. Hopefully they have gotten better. After I threw away all the shit it didn't need and built it a light weight frame it was a ball of fire and quite reliable.
Dusty
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45Brit

Posts: 1414

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:46 am

Re: I probably shouldn't say this, but...

I've heard that story about the water in the frame before. The 1980s VT500 and some subsequent models had engine coolant in one if the frame tubes. You use to see them everywhere - they were very popular with despatch riders and couriers - and often had streaks and weeps around the radiators and frame, not least because the riders used to top them up with tap water, no antifreeze!

I certainly wouldn't dispute that there is a lot of "value engineering" in a Honda chassis. They have never had the mitred joints you see on, say, a BSA A10. The wrap around the headstock on a swing arm A10 is really just a cosmetic cover, but the Japanese use those pressings as structural members and assembly jigs, combined. It's a different philosophy, like the big flanges on a lot of earlier Japanese tanks - easier to weld.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
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Dusty-Dave

Posts: 876

Joined: Tue Oct 12, 1999 12:01 am

Location: Ojo Caliente,NM,USA

Post Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:29 pm

Re: I probably shouldn't say this, but...

This one didn't have any coolant passages in the frame. It was just free water going through welds that no one should have let out the door. I have heard that they are better now.
\Dusty
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45Brit

Posts: 1414

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:13 pm

Re: I probably shouldn't say this, but...

The old pressed-steel frame Hondas had a reputation for internal corrosion in their numerous water traps, they weren't suited to the wet British climate and the habit of spreading salt in winter.

Honda have always been leaders in production engineering. They have never been "craftsmanship" in the sense that the brazed, lugged frames of the pre-unit era, or the mitred, hand-welded frames of the BSA A10 or Norton featherbed were. It's like the general use of hard-chromed bearing channels, or simply moving parts running in cast cases, which are usual in Japanese engines.

They wear out and are discarded. They are not like the bikes built in the period from the later 1920s - when popular use of powered transport spread widely - to the early 1960s and the Japanese engineering revolution. Two generations if riders were brought up to believe that nothing ever completely wore out, that a good degree of selective assembly was required due to the inherent inaccuracies of batch production, that it was not possible to build an engine of any great specific power output that would run reliably for any length of time.

Honda achieved the very clever balance of building engines that would run totally reliably for a limited period - typically about 30-40,000 miles - with virtually no maintenance, or would run about three times that span with the proper maintenance. They did this AND sold them at market leading prices.

But, if you are designing a product to a lifespan of less than a decade, for use primarily in temperate to tropical climates,you focus very hard on production economics. Honda redefined acceptable aesthetics.

All that said I believe they have made great strides in the levels of quality designed into their cycle parts in the last ten or fifteen years. You don't now see chrome discs, for example.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
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45Brit

Posts: 1414

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:59 am

Re: I probably shouldn't say this, but...

Well, I've had some time at home and ridden this bike, and it's pretty good. A real classic 45" medium-weight v-twin.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

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