The Honda Magna was the focal point of motorcycle evolution in the 1980s.
The Magna’s greatest contribution to motorcycling, aside from its display of widely successful market performance and high-performing engines, was its place in history. The Magna heralded a new era of motorcycle design at Honda by enabling researchers to successfully test and further refine their designs.
After the Magna was introduced, then came the Interceptor V4, one of Honda’s greatest motorcycle racing machines ever produced.
The Magna’s Place in History
The Honda Magna was first produced in 1982 with enough power to enable it to compete on equal footing with motorcycles that were equipped with engine displacements twice the size of the Magna’s. Unfortunately production only lasted until 1988 before it was discontinued for the first time. Production then resumed in 1994 to cease forever in 2003.
As the saying goes, “When Harley’s are made, Honda will make them.” This playful turn of phrase is meant to be a cheeky attack on Harley by Honda fans, but in the case of the Magna it’s not too far off. This motorcycle dominated the cruising wing of motorcycle manufacturing in the United States and elsewhere during the first iteration of its production.
The Honda Magna’s design resembles the standard Harley-Davidson physique in more ways than one. Everything from the upright- and- high design of the handlebars to the deep, black silhouette made this motorcycle look like a Harley from a distance. However, once you got up close, things became distinctly Honda.
This motorcycle lacks the standard long- and- low frame structure that Harley-Davidson motorcycles are known to so frequently incorporate into their designs. The engine is also quite obviously honda, incorporating a 748cc engine into a lightweight, bouncy frame.
A Big Family
The Honda Magna series isn’t nearly as large as the CB series or even the XR series; however, it certainly isn’t small either. There are a grand total of six generations in this family, but in the interest of providing as much information as possible, we’ll focus only on two of the most important models in the series.
Honda VF750C Magna (1982-1984)
The first generation of the Magna series of motorcycles is obviously the most important, if for no other reason than that all other motorcycles in the series are based on its seminal design.
This generation featured a four-stroke, 90-degree, four-cylinder, DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder, a 748cc capacity, and a comfortable standing quarter mile of 12.2 seconds at 109 miles per hour.
Honda V45 VT250C Magna (1994-2003)
This revival model for the Magna series was incredibly different from the generations of the 80s. It featured a modernized, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, twin-cylinder, DOHC engine with only a 249cc engine and 27 horsepower.
The Honda Magna may have started out as a great and well-known motorcycle, but in 2019 the name “Magna” doesn’t come up all that much in conversation. All news of the Magna-series motorcycles essentially dissipated within a few years of each discontinuation.
Fifteen Seconds of Fame
A few different generations of Honda Magna-series motorcycles have appeared on set in at least nine well-known T.V. shows and films. While this number might not seem like too much, many motorcycles never gain any kind of traction with producers.
Most of the time, when a motorcycle series goes on to appear in television shows and movies, that motorcycle generates a large-scale following on social media. For the Magna series, however, reception has been mixed, with only a select few fan pages and groups, such as this one, collecting more than 5,000 members.
Honda Magna – A Pivotal Moment in History
The effect that the Magna-series motorcycles had on history cannot be disputed. This series ushered in a new era of engine design at Honda that has since culminated in countless other high-performance designs.