THE STORY:

My 1998 Magna was purchased used on January 24, 2002 from Pilgrim Motorsports in Plymouth, MI. It had 4400 miles.

The day before, I went to Metro Powersports in Canton, MI and put a deposit on a 2002 Honda Shandow VLX600. That was a huge mistake. The next day, I got my deposit back after realizing both the bike AND the shop sucked. Later that day, I ended up at Pilgrim and checked out what they had. I never liked the Magna in the Honda website. It always looked funny with the dorky passenger pad on the short rear fender with no back rest. Seeing the bike in person was different.

That night, I rode the Magna home...with a 25F ambient temp. And then, the next day I rode it to work with a low temp of 24F. It was great!

From January 24 to February 24, I put 1000 miles on the bike, with most of the riding from 30-40F. In March 2002, I took the riding test and got my full motorcycle endorsement.

Things were great with my Magna until June 2002 when it died three times on the highway, the first time I took a passenger on the highway. It would run lean, and then the engine would cut out. I had to put the choke on 1/2 way to get it to run. I ended up getting home that day and did not have any problems until...

I was riding around scoping out car dealers and ended up on Telegraph Rd heading south. Just before Cherry Hill Rd., the bike died and would not restart. I thought it was overheated, but still, nothing. The bike had to be towed back to my storage unit.

The next day, I tore off the tank and looked for a clogged fuel filter or something. The battery died after trying to start it so much. With a freshly charged battery, I got somehow it running the next day. While cruising Hines Drive, about 3 miles from the storage unit, the bike died again. I had to push the bike up one of the steepest hills around at Haggerty and Hines. My feet were slipping and I could only push about 5 feet before grabbing the front brake to hold the bike.

After a more thorough tracing of the fuel system, I found this cast aluminum piece that appeared to have a vacuum line going to it from one of the carbs. When I popped open this aluminum device, the rubber diaphragm used to cut the gravity fuel flow was torn. Now the vacuum from the cylinder was no longer pulling the diaphragm out again spring pressure and allowing fuel to flow. The problem occurred right after a fresh gas tank, so I wonder if there was a high percentage of ethanol in the fuel that attacked the rubber. That might take more than 30 minutes.

The replacement part was $35. When I bought the bike, it was my first, so I paid $800 for a warranty!!! That was pretty dumb. I never take my vehicles or anything to get fixed; if you can't fix it yourself, you shouldn't have bought it to begin with.

The next part to be replaced was the back tire. It had 10,800 miles on it and cost $185 including labor. I pulled the wheel off myself since I do not trust any mechanics. The $120 motorcycle jack I bought works great!!

I went out one day to try my modified exhaust in Januray 2003. There were some snow flakes flying, but nothing major. The temp. was 20F. Well, when I was in the Pilgrim bike shop, a blizzard started!!! In 10 minutes, there was about 1/4" of snow on the ground. My bike was covered. I had to ride about four miles to get home and the streets were completely white!! I was doing about 35 mph and somehow made it home. The concrete was not even visible. I expected a tar strip or patchwork in the blacktop to wash out the front wheel, but it never happened. At the stoplights, burnouts were pretty damn easy.

Website re-created on February 6, 2006.


MODIFICATIONS:

I pulled the baffles from the exhaust back in January 2003. After doing one, I started the bike. WHAM! It sounds like a real bike now! No more of this pussified V4 sound. Now it sounds like a V-twin when lugging the engine off the line or at 25 mph in 5th gear and a crotch rocket at WOT over 3k rpm.

Corbin Gunfighter + Lady seat... This seat is a HUGE disappointment. It puts the main rider about 2 inches forward. The bike is already a little cramped. The driver and passenger constantly slide forward under moderate or greater braking with the stiff padding and smooth covering. The requires the riders to constantly adjust their position. SOLD ON EBAY!!


December 7, 2007. REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR Day...
Due to weather and other activity, the Magna hasn't been started in about a month. Maybe three weeks? The bike crapped out again almost five years to the day of the first fuel valve failure. I left it in a Meijer parking lot (it failed at a little over 100mph after sputtering) and limped it home the next day. It went lean so many times, I'm lucky there was no permanant engine damage on the way home. This time I ordered two fuel valves. They were quite a bit cheaper online from Honda Parts Direct.

Friday, March 14, 2008
Just got my bike out at lunch. Started and cranked super slow. Got some oil worked around and it jumped up to choked idle pretty quickly. Just gotta look out for the salt water running across Hines Drive. Gonna get some bike/snow pics after work.
I turn 31 on Sunday, should be a great weekend to ride and drink some beer to celebrate 10 years of legal alcohol purchases! Picked up a liter of Glenfiddich and The McCallan single malts from duty free on the way back from China a few days back.

Monday, April 7, 2008
After cruising in the Mustang on Saturday, I jacked up the Magna and oiled the chain. Dropped in some new Valvoline 10W-30 full synthetic, new FRAM oil filter and aired up the tires. I do not remember the Magna ever running so good. No dead spot in the lean range from 4-6k rpm, and it seemed to want to rip through turns like crazy. SWEET! Just bought two new lenses, here is a shot from a Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye. Didn't any Photoshop work, just sharpened slightly.



July 20, 2008
Got out for about 188 miles today. Rolled over 20,000 while sitting in Chelsea, MI coming down M-52. I love M-52.



August 15, 2008
Added a new feature to the Magna for safe cruising with luggage. Looks pretty weird, but this is all about function; and it functions very well.



August 28, 2008
Since I get so many e-mails about how to modify the exhaust, I took some pics and shot some video of removing the end caps on the pipes. After using aluminum rivets, several rivets failed after heat cycling for the past five years on my caps. I put a bunch of high temp exhaust sealant under the caps and re-riveted. Will post pics soon. Here is a video of the exhaust with no caps.

Do not run your bike like this or you will cause engine damage...unless you have done some carb jet work. The only oil change that resulted black oil was after I rode for a few weeks with no caps. The lack of back pressure causes the bike to run lean and the exhaust valves will probably get toasted. If you run low octane fuel, you might run into knock problems which can damage the pistons.



September 12, 2008
Received an e-mail about the auto fuel valve failure. Here is a direct link to the part from Honda Parts Direct.com.
Parts search screen
You will want to order "COVER SET, PETCOCK"
part number 16953-MN5-013.