My V65 Sabre / VF1100S '85 & its story

Tyrannosaurus
Tyrannosaurus
;-)

  1. Background & the purchase
  2. Changes, accessory & high performance
  3. Manufacturing & mounting of the faring
  4. Changes of fork & shock absorber
  5. Motor, rebuild, high performance & exhaust system
  6. URM Racing 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust system
  7. Dynoruns @ LHL Motor
  8. Technical data, info & the Sabre
  9. Picture gallery

 

Background & the purchase

In 1984-1986 I was the 2'nd owner of a nice and low mileage VF750S '83 that I liked a lot. During that time I thought about if not the great motor from the VF1100C [V65 Magna} (a model name I wasn't aware of at that time yet) wouldn't arrive soon in the "S" (Sabre) chasse. In my mind that had to be the ultimate bike.

By a possibility I saw a picture of a bike that looked a lot like mine in the American bike magazine, Cycle Guide, January 1984. The only major difference I saw from my VF750 was that it was called V65 Sabre(?) and that it had a rear disc brake.

I took the magazine to my local Honda dealer whom I knew quite well, to tell him that I found out that there is a newer models of the VF750 than the '83 which was the last sold in Sweden. The guy (Dan) looked at the picture and said:
- That's not a 750, it's the 1100.
- HUH?! Is there an 1100S!!?? I want it!!! When will it come to Sweden?
- It won't, it's a US only model.

At the fall 1986 I sold my VF750 since I was fully convinced that I wanted a V65 Sabre. By a friend of mine I got an address to a Honda dealer in New York - Honda of Minneola. I called them and asked if they could sell me a V65 Sabre? The answer was sad:
- They're all sold out, but I can sell you a nice Suzuki Madura instead.
At the time I didn't know what a Madura was (also a model that never have been sold in Sweden) but I got it explained that it was some sort of a cruiser. So my answer was obviously:
- Not interested.

Later I got another address in New York by the same friend - CamRod Motors. At CamRod I got in touch which one of their sellers - John Flynn. This person is worth all honor he can get for his great helpfulness (he even took his time with me at his off time).

He also told me that all the V65 Sabre's was sold out but they expected a last delivery of new Sabre's soon and if I wanted he could reserve one for me. This was a question I didn't hesitate a second to answer yes on.
After various preparing with transport companies, custom authorities and others, and a number of telephone calls to the States I finally was able to pick up the bike at the Ocean Terminal in Stockholm with the help from a friend and his truck.

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Changes, accessory & high performance

Since this was my dream bike I was fully convinced that it should get a personal touch and also that I could allow it to costs some. That the bike had high bars and no faring I didn't see as any major problem since I already had the picture clear what it should look like.

The first change was to replace the bars since I've never liked high bars and get the feeling of loss of contact with the bike with high bars.
The original bars was mounted only to have something to grab when the bike was lifted out of the crate in was delivered in, then it was dismounted, never to be used again. It was replaced with an adjustable Laverda bar from the Jota that the dealer Lelles sells as Laverda OEM instead of bad copies that can be found at some other places.

A luggage rack was also something that was somewhat hard to find. Hondaline racks for the Sabre were no longer available and the last thing I wanted was a big and ugly universal rack. In the same bike magazine, Cycle Guide, were I first saw the V65 Sabre, I found an add for custom made racks of the brand GSM Sport Racks. The company had however moved out long ago, but by a lot of research I finally found them at something called Summit Industries. It's BTW the same concern that manufacturers Jardine exhaust systems.

The next step was to fix saddle bags, but as already said I didn't want a big and ugly rack. The solution was fix and tight home made top fitting made of stainless flat steel that was bended and drilled to fit into the GSM racks fittings, the stock turn signals fittings and the license plate holder. To this steel that got a black powder coating I fitted new Kawasaki ZXR turn signals (looks a lot like Honda's but much smaller) further back and tighter than stock and thru that behind/inside the bags when they are mounted on the bike. The bag fittings them self are also home made with welded nuts so they are almost as easy to remove as the bags them self's.

Some accessories and parts was bought from CamRod Motors and John Flynn who was so helpful so I almost felt sorry from him ;-)
In the first delivery I got among other things Russell branded steel brake hoses. The front brake hoses were later replaced for two full length hoses from NBM Hydraulic to get rid of the splitter at the lower steering bracket that often is an air trap. This is simple thru just moving up the dual banjo bolt to the master cylinder. Also the clutch hose was replaced.

At this delivery I also got the Yoshimura Slip-on's #V65SO which I later modified with Competition baffles. When I asked if I would need to rejet the carburetors I got the answer that I sent enough money so he would include some jets, which showed up as a whole box of jets, needles springs, drills and instructions. This was called Dynojet Part #1121 and something I at the time had never heard about before. Since the jetting recommended was very different from stock I didn't dare to mount it and asked a friend who works as a bike mechanic. He just said: "Mount the kit, this is the latest high performance goodies from the States!"

Since I still was unsure I called Dynojet in the USA. The person a talked to gave me a basic lesson in carburetor jetting, the air/gas condition and convinced me that if I want the bike to run good I should definitely mount it. The result was as good as it can be expected with both clearly better throttle response as well as some more power.

Talking about high performance goodies. In the American bike magazine, Motorcyclist, May 1984, I found an add from Russ Collins - RC Engineering. When I contacted them I found out that they didn't work with motorcycles anymore, and they didn't know if and who had taking over the production of bike high performance parts. Later and thanks to Sabmag I found out that Dave Dodge - DRP who showed him self to be a former general manager at RC Engineering had taken over the operations of producing and selling high performance jobs and parts for the Honda V4's (more about that further down).

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Manufacturing & mounting of the faring

Since I wanted a sports faring was both the Hondaline, Pichler and similar fairings not interesting. After looking around for some time by German Keim and French Chaplot I finally found a very nice looking faring at Italian Motoplast which is almost a copy of the faring from the Honda CB1100R but made as a half-faring and with dual 5¾" headlights. That it wasn't going to be easy to make it fit the Sabre was obviously. So where do you find someone to do the job, when you don't have enough knowledge in casting fiberglass and welding fitting by your self?

By a possibility I meet a guy at a bike-meet who had built a very special faring based on just the CB1100R (rebuilt to unrecognizable) for his BMW K100RS. It came clear that he (Mats) and a friend of his (Mike) had a small business MM Dresser where they made special jobs with both fiberglass and welding. I showed the picture from Motoplast:
- Can you build a faring looking something like this with dual headlights and make it fit my bike?
- It could work if you just get a mounting bracket for the lamp pods!

I got a mounting bracket from Keim who has a good system from Hella. Quick screws I got from a Swedish company. The bike was parked in MM Dresser's garage past the winter and the job started. During the winter it came up various ideas how to improve the faring. For example they suggested to use their rebuilt top part instead of the real CB1100R part since it's both wider so the dual headlights would fit better as well as it has a more modern edgy look.

  • So the faring is basically a copy of the Honda CB1100R -82-83 but the top part is totally remade and it's only the screen frame and the little chin under the headlights that still looks like the CB1100R faring.
  • The lowers are unlike the BMW, where the idea for the "gels" on the sides comes from Ferrari Testarossa, almost stock CB1100R but wider and higher to fit. It's also split under the motor to be easier to remove for service etc.
  • The faring has cast inner panels to as much as possible try to look like an OEM faring and not just like something thrown on. There is even space for a car stereo under a small lid in the panel under the screen and the wiring is in place, but buying a stereo has so far been having a lower priority than other more important things.
  • The headlights are Cibie 5¾" H4 relay controlled with dual Hella twin relays. the turn signals are Hella mini with 20W halogen H2 bulbs. Later I replaced them for mini flashers with dual threaded bulbs from Lockhart Phillips USA to be able to use the original position light function. They where mounted with home made fittings under the radiator.
  • The "VFS" text on the sides are cut out from gold foil decals.
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Changes of fork & shock absorber

The Suspension on the V65 Sabre is quite soft as stock (probably made for American highways at 55 MPH at ;-)

  • The fork springs are replaced for Progressive Suspension (#1126) Magnum springs and I use Spectro SAE 15 fork oil instead of ATF. Later SAE 20W-20 oil to make the fork even harder.
  • The Pro-Link shock is an Öhlins gas shock.

To find a fitting Öhlins shock I contacted Öhlins north of Stockholm. Yes, they could build me a shock if I just provided them with the linkage measurements and the stock shock absorber so they had something to go on. Basically the shock is for the VF1000F Interceptor but it's longer and harder set to fit the V65 Sabre. Thanks to that the shock is longer there was enough space for a dividing piston inside the housing.

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Motor, rebuild, high performance & exhaust system

The Yoshimura Slip-on's and the Dynojet kit are already mentioned. The Yoshimura mufflers came with standard baffles which in my opinion are too restrictive. So new competition baffles was ordered from Yoshimura's Swedish agent BoOve Motor. The crankcase ventilation was also opened to give the bike the best breath possible.

Unfortunately there is no K&N airfilter available for the till V65 Sabre (Doug Hathaway in Denver, Colorado have later come up with a solution) and I thought for some time over a possibility how to replace the quite restrictive stock foam airfilter. The solution came up when I first saw a Jama Sport Airfilter for cars that are made from a kind of porous foam like material that looks a lot like the foam fronts found on some stereo speakers. The stock filter was taken out, washed and taken to the stereo speaker kit shop Hi-Fi Kit Electronic:
- Do you have a foam front close to this size?
- Just a minute, please...
(the clerk came back with a piece that was the same length and a few millimeters off wide) this is the closest size a could find.
- Looks good, how much is it?
- A Dollar a piece.
- Fine, I take four of them :-)

Since it's quite slim I figured that I can use two layers to get a better filtration effect and I also have two as spare. Some thin spray foam airfilter oil on top and the filtration effect improves even more since dust and stuff sticks in the sticky oil.

It also looks like I probably won't need the spare filters since they seem to stand both gas, oil and degreaser, and so far it has worked fine for over 10 years. I guess there is a good chance this more open airfilter that was installed after the Dynorun can have given maybe a few extra HP.

To improve the motors breathing even more and to get rid of the big and heavy collector box I ordered a MAC Tri-Y 4 into 2 into 1 (#001-2301/001-2701 [Magna/Sabre]) that according to MAC should be the same and fit. It didn't however fit and had to be sent back. Instead I ordered a Hindle 4 into 1 which did fit but A) it was so low under the motor so the fairings lowers couldn't be used, and B) the muffler was so high up at the back so the right side saddle bag couldn't be used. So it was taken off after one season and in the meantime the stock pipes and the Yoshimura mufflers had to do service.
Next step was to have a stainless steel 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust system special made. But more about that below.

2000-2001 a cylinder head renovation and high performance job was made by Dave Dodge - DRP. This included Stage II head porting, Stage II Webcam cams, valve and seat competition job and new valve guides. Also an Oil Mod kit was mounted at this time (Stage II has later been upgraded to Stage III by Dave Dodge). Sadly there was a number of difficulties and bad circumstances before everything worked as supposed to again.

  1. When the motor was back together I realized blue smoke and guessed on the simplest error, a broken head gasket. But a replacement for the next season didn't help.
  2. It showed up that the head likely was cracked, probably due to a transportation damage. The head was replaced by Dave Dodge no charge, after he established the crack.
  3. The new cams did go bad after just about 5000 km, likely due to material error. They where replaced with new Megacycle Hardface cams and rockers for reduced discount price.

All these difficulties and troubles took a lot of time since parts had to be sent back and force to the USA, due to that there was sadly not much riding the first three years. At first in 2004 the bike was in condition to be fully ridden again despite that the cams still where bad. They where replaced for the season 2006 by Megacycle 151-00 Hardface cams and rockers After that runs the bikes without problems.

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URM Racing 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust system

In Marsh 2005 was a new full header 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust system manufactured in stainless steel by URM Racing in Sundsvall 400 km north of Stockholm where I live. The exhaust system is entirely replaced, also the rear down pipes are replaced and all the primary header pipes are now 5 mm. larger in diameter than stock, now 40 mm. to 35 mm. earlier. To get access for the replacement and the rear down pipes the swing arm had to be removed. As for muffler is a MAC megaphone used but with a special manufactured 2" full length baffle since MAC's baffles flow are too restrictive.

Later it has come clear that also the special made baffle is too restrictive and makes at the same time a yell and metallic sound since the volume of a megaphone with a large diameter baffle gets too small. Because of that the muffler was replaced in 2009 with a special made canister style muffler in aluminum with end caps and and adapter in billet and baffle from Ray Simons

Since the header system runs very tight to the bike, the new mufflers inlet hole had to be made eccentric to run clear of the swing arm. A db-killer was manufactured a little later by a friend for occasions when I want or need to run quiet. It turned out that it was effective beyond expectation and makes the bike almost run quieter than stock.

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Dynoruns @ LHL Motor

  1. Dynorun 1 - April 2001: Stock heads, Yoshimura slip-on mufflers, competition baffles, Dynojet stage 1 standard mainjets #122, open crankcase ventilation:
    105 RWHP - Must be considered as a good result on an almost stock V65 Sabre.
  2. Dynorun 2 - November 2004: DRP high performance stage 2½ heads, worn Webcam cams, Yoshimura slip-on mufflers, competition baffles, Dynojet mainjets #124, open airfilter:
    106 RWHP - Both good and bad news, since the motor was not in good condition, so we knew there was more to find.
  3. Dynorun 3 - May 2005: DRP high performance stage 2½ heads, worn Webcam cams, URM Racing 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust system, MAC megaphone muffler, special competition baffle, Dynojet mainjets #132, open airfilter, removed intake snorkels:
    106-110 RWHP but a strong increased midrange power.
  4. Dynorun 4 - 2009 ?: DRP high performance stage 2½ heads, Megacycle street cams, URM Racing 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust system, special competition canister muffler, Dynojet mainjets #1??, open airfilter, removed intake snorkels:
    More RWHP !?

Beside the increased power, I have also noticed a strong decreased fuel consumption, from about 0,8-0,9 l/10 km to about 0,6-0,65 l/10 km.

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Technical data, info & the Sabre

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