A tale of two bikes

A tale of two bikes
A tale of two bikes
My second bike was a 1994 Honda Magna. It’s a 500-pound, 750cc, four- cylinder bike that I still have today. When my wife and I looked for a larger bike for extended range and greater luggage capacity, we decided to keep the sporty little Magna. It’s a quick and lively little bike and just a lot of fun to ride. It’s fast in the straights and nimble in the corners. While it will easily reach speeds faster than 120 miles-per-hour, it’s too light be be comfortable going that fast. It takes a severe buffeting on the interstate.
The Other bike I still have is an 850-pound dry weight, 1500cc touring cruiser by Victory. Even 18-wheelers don’t give it too much turbulence passing on the interstate. It feels rock solid at highway speeds, and is comfortable over long distances. My wife has wedged herself into the armrests and gone to sleep several times.
I usually ride the Magna around town, to work and to the store. When I ride the Magna for a while, I get used to taking corners faster and leaning into them more than I would on the Victory. As smooth as the the big touring cruiser is rolling down the highway, it’s an absolute pig at slow speeds. The tall jugs on that 92-cubic inch, freedom V-twin engine makes the bike top heavy. There’s a little more rake on the front forks than most bikes of its size, and the wheel base is about 8 inches longer. All of this adds up to a bike that is tippy and won’t begin counter steering until almost 20 miles-per-hour. I dropped it a couple of times when I first got it. It took me a while to get used to how unstable it was moving at slow speed. And it’s not designed for extreme cornering. I’ve scraped the crossover pipe off three times now in a right-hand turn. The Magna will scrape the pegs when you hit a corner a little fast and I get used to that. Unfortunately, a muffler clamp is the part that catches the pavement on the Victory. When I’ve been riding the Magna for a while and then go back to the Victory I sometimes forget how different it can be. A sudden scraping noise followed by the loud blat of hot exhaust gases coming straight out an open pipe is usually a good reminder.

— Guy Wheatley

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