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Motu
28th September 2004, 22:26
I bet most here have never even seen an XLV750,let alone ridden one,so I thought you might like to come for a ride with me.

First a bit about the bike - I had a go at this before,but used up my post word count just about the bike,guess I'm kinda passionate about it.So let's be simple...the motor was designed for dirt track racing in the USA,mile and half mile tracks,and is based on the layout and dimensions of the HD XR750.To homogulate the cases for dirt track Honda also built a bike for privateer Paris/Dakar use - to compete with the big BMWs...so they used a big aircooled twin,shaft drive and hydraulic lifters for ease of maintanence in extended racing with 20min service breaks.The RS750 proved to be very sucessful,beating Harley at their own game...the XLV750 was not a sucessful desert racer,but Honda kept at it and were ultimatly able to develope the bike into a winner,somewhat removed from the XLV750,but not really the same as the XRV750 which resembles the racer.

So,let's try it out - walking up to it it's a big sucker,swing a leg over and try to touch the ground...tall for a street bike,but normal by dirt bike standards,the bike is very wasp waist,narrower than my XT400,but the tank dominates,this is a bike you sit in,not on,the tank flaring out and up,filler cap on one side,fuel tap on the other,with the air filter in the middle...up high in clean air it's hoped.Another ease of maintanence feature,the air filter element can be remove in a matter of seconds,one screw and just twist.It's heavy,195kg dry,and it's all up high,to me this is the worst thing about the bike,I'm small and light and if it goes over too far it's a goner.Key on and thumb it into life...hey,that sounds cool,what's up here? This is an unusual motor for Honda - a 45deg V twin,air cooled and dry sumped,with bore and stroke measured in inches rather than mm,this is a Harley,not Honda layout.The RS750 used a single crank pin,but for balance Honda staggered the VLV crank,like their other V twins of the period - the pins are 90deg apart,thus it sounds like a Ducati,not a Harley.This gives perfect primary balance,but gives a rocking couple,you can feel this as you ride...it has a waddle at low engine speeds,but is smooth as any V twin without a balance shaft at speed.

CLUNK into gear and we're off - oh,good grief,what the hell - this is a 1970s BMW gearbox!,there is no way you can do a clean shift,it's as slow as a truck gearbox,you can feel each dog as you move it through the gears,you just have to live with it,I don't even notice now,but fast shifts are not part of XLKV750 riding.There is a hell of a lot of movement as you ride - long travel suspension and shaft drive making it feel like you are using all the suspension travel just going through the gears.A sports bike rider may not feel comfortable with such long travel soft suspension,but dirt bike riders will know not to worry.

For me the handling is exactly what I want in a bike - but it will depend on where you're coming from to enjoy it.If you have ever ridden an XR250 hard up an open fire break,the XLV750 will feel at home on a sealed road,dirt bike riding on the road.This thing is superb lunging up the saddles on SH43...XR style,sit on the nose of the seat,hunched over the bars,chin over the steering head,elbows out...look with your eye,and the bike follows,no thought required...flick,flick,charge,toss it down and punch the gas - fire break riding on a sealed road...nothing better!Sports bike riders have asked me how it handles in the twisties with the weight high up,the wide bars and 21 in front wheel - uh,hellooo! what are the fastest turning bikes? dirt bikes of course,you don't see them on an MX track head down arse up with narrow bars and small front wheels...you can change direction a hell of a lot faster on a dirt bike than a sports bike,tight twisties are the home of adventure bikes and motards.

This is an off road bike,so how does it do off the seal.Not too good for me - on gravel you probably won't go much faster in the 750 class,but it's a big heavy bike,with a ton of grunt - just wheel spin to hell and gone again coming out of corners,it builds up some stupid speeds and then takes a hell of a lot to slow down again...we are using the same size tyres as a lightweight 250 after all.So you just get scary lunges between corners and panic brake slides to slow it down for the next one,kinda like a V8 compared to a zippy rally car,all noise and show,but no real speed at all.It also carries too much weight on the front wheel,on a real dirt bike you don't even notice the front wheel in gravel,but it's all you think about with the XLV750,if you punch the front out it's a goner,it's slipping and sliding in mid corner.A few times in perfect conditions I have been able to use it to the max in gravel,it's one hell of a feeling to be going as fast as you can on a bike of this size.

In real dirt? No way! at least for a short arse weakling like me - this is a real mans bike,you got to be a front row forward to be able to make use of it,you need the legs to hold it up,you need the body weight for transfer,no matter how I move I don't have the weight to use body English,no response.This thing need much bigger inputs than I am able to give it.In easy going it's ok,I can see it has potential for the right person,you can stand up,pick a line,do all the right things,but not for me.Too much weight on the front comes back to haunt me...if it slips in a muddy rut I just can't hold it,fishtailing up a hill and I just fall over.No,it's not my off road bike.

The most impressive part of the bike is the motor,it's just magic - max torque at 5500rpm,max HP at 7000rpm,rev limiter and red line at 8250...the motor only drops a couple of HP between 7000 and 8000rpm,this gives a very useful over rev,on the road you can just change gear where you like,between corners you can just keep it nailed without shifting up and down too much.On gravel it allows the bike to rev out on loose spots,bumps etc,come out of a corner,over the wheel track and she screams with wheelspin,just let her go and snap back in with a huge kick on the hard pack.

I just love this bike,it's heritage,the sound,the dirt bike set up on a big bike,it's imposing,rare,totaly off the wall,it's me in a motorcycle.

It's biggest stength is maintaining speed point to point,nothing is a problem,bumps and slips,potholes,gravel,roadworks,road kill,wandering stock - it just takes everything in it's stride,the ultimate New Zealand back road bike.

Posh Tourer :P
29th September 2004, 07:31
Great write up - needs a part two though, it seems like you missed a lot out...

Racey Rider
29th September 2004, 08:29
Ahrr, yes, But does the Pajero respect it?!

riffer
29th September 2004, 08:38
I like the review. A lot of passion and love for the bike, which really draws you in and gives you an understanding of what its like to ride it. Cheers Motu :2thumbsup

F5 Dave
29th September 2004, 11:59
Yeah my mate put a 19" GS750 spoked wheel on his so he could run decent(ish) tires. Could scrape his knees on it, mad bugger. Suffers the usual Camchain gremlins of Hondas of that era & the gearchange lever tries to gobble your toe shifting from 1st to 2nd.

Absolutely scary anywhere near real dirt, but I think youíve got the right idea as it was kinda fun on the road.

Holy Roller
29th September 2004, 12:31
I remember when they came out, had the poster hung on the wall. Was really impressed with the shaft drive but was way too far out of my league at the time. My XR500 could thrash most sport bikes of the time in the twisties, higher ground clearence meant that you could lean further, I was slightly loose as a goose in those days. I hope that none of my kids carry that trait, though I suspect that two do.

Motu
29th September 2004, 13:45
Great write up - needs a part two though, it seems like you missed a lot out...

Ah,shut up and go check my spelling and grammar.I've got so much to say about the bike I can't get down to the basic facts and ride impressions,a million things in my mind about the bike and I just gotta grab some to put down.

I've often thought about a smaller front wheel Dave,but I'm very happy with 21s,I've often fitted a 21 to a bike with a 19.As a young guy riding at high speed on gravel I reckoned it was only the 21 that kept the bike upright.The earlier XLV750 (RF,red motor) that we never got here had cam chain problems,our YaHoo group often has someone saying their inlet valves are bent,why did this happen - it happens from worn cam chains advancing the timing.But the RD (black motor) had a few changes and don't bend valves as often.Mine has done over 90,000km now and it always worries me,but all seems well.Actualy this puzzles me - a morse chain is supposed to be self compensating for wear,so should need no tensioners (yank V8s don't use them),but these chains are so long I guess it only takes a little wear to make a lot,if you get the drift.

I better put up some pictures eh?

F5 Dave
30th September 2004, 09:01
His was a black one, but heck nothing to fret over, all Hondas of the time had cam chain grief. I had a CBX550 & they were pretty much poked every 18 thousand k, was the tensioners that gave up 1st I believe. Even í90 CBR600 had a few worries. Thatís why Honda went down the gear driven route on some of their bikes.

vifferman
30th September 2004, 14:09
His was a black one, but heck nothing to fret over, all Hondas of the time had cam chain grief. I had a CBX550 & they were pretty much poked every 18 thousand k, was the tensioners that gave up 1st I believe. Even í90 CBR600 had a few worries. Thatís why Honda went down the gear driven route on some of their bikes.Pity they didn't say, "The hell widdit - we don't know how to make camchains; let's put gear drive on all our engines!"
Yup, they still have problems, even on the latest and greatest (like the CBR1000RRRRR; a guy on the Superhawk list bought one and the CCT crapped out within weeks).

Oh yeah - great write-up, Motu!:niceone:

Blakamin
30th September 2004, 15:21
Pity they didn't say, "The hell widdit - we don't know how to make camchains; let's put gear drive on all our engines!"
Yup, they still have problems, even on the latest and greatest (like the CBR1000RRRRR; a guy on the Superhawk list bought one and the CCT crapped out within weeks).

Oh yeah - great write-up, Motu!:niceone:
When did they start using gears and why/when did they stop?

mines gear driven.. was hoping all later cbrs were.. oh well... definately no cbr600 in the future for me... bring on the Monster

F5 Dave
30th September 2004, 15:25
Well usually the CBRs, 600s well included are a paradigm of reliability. Think the CBR900 has been voted most reliable bike a few times.

vifferman
30th September 2004, 15:25
When did they start using gears and why/when did they stop?

mines gear driven.. was hoping all later cbrs were.. oh well... definately no cbr600 in the future for me... bring on the MonsterThey put gear-driven cams on VFR750s/800s from 1990 to 2001, and on VFR400s and RVF400s for all years, likewise the SP1, 2 and 3. But I dunno about the 250s and other bikes.
They dropped gear-driven cams on the VFR800 in 2002, supposedly to save weight, but in reality probably to save cost and reduce noise for EC noise regulations. Pity.

Blakamin
30th September 2004, 15:43
Well usually the CBRs, 600s well included are a paradigm of reliability. Think the CBR900 has been voted most reliable bike a few times.
True...


They put gear-driven cams on VFR750s/800s from 1990 to 2001, and on VFR400s and RVF400s for all years, likewise the SP1, 2 and 3. But I dunno about the 250s and other bikes.
They dropped gear-driven cams on the VFR800 in 2002, supposedly to save weight, but in reality probably to save cost and reduce noise for EC noise regulations. Pity.

I dunno if I'd go a twin without it being a Duc...

never even liked cam chains in my cages...most have ended up with straight-cut adjustable timing gears

hmmm... there are too many hondas on the road as it is... might have to go the Duc for that reason alone!

vifferman
30th September 2004, 15:49
I dunno if I'd go a twin without it being a Duc...

never even liked cam chains in my cages...most have ended up with straight-cut adjustable timing gears

hmmm... there are too many hondas on the road as it is... might have to go the Duc for that reason alone!The Suzuki V-twins have a good system - a combination of camchain and gears, which (apparently) makes head removal easier. And gives a pseudo-Ducati gear whine. Mind you, the VTR camchain clatter can sound like dry-clutch rattle, like on the Ducati Superlights.
Or maybe not...

Oscar
4th October 2004, 20:04
XLV?
I rode one up a hill once.
The owner was indisposed...

Oscar
4th October 2004, 20:10
Here he is..

http://oscar.smugmug.com/photos/719648-S-1.jpg

Oscar
4th October 2004, 20:14
And getting his instructions from New Zealand's Dirtbike Godfather, Don Vegetori...

http://oscar.smugmug.com/photos/719665-S-1.jpg

I'ma gonna make a you an offer you can't refuse...

Motu
4th October 2004, 20:34
''You do that one more fuckin time boy and you''ll wish you wuz never born!''

'Yes Sir,yes Sir...I'll never do it again Sir!'

badlieutenant
4th October 2004, 21:14
They put gear-driven cams on VFR750s/800s from 1990 to 2001, and on VFR400s and RVF400s for all years, likewise the SP1, 2 and 3. But I dunno about the 250s and other bikes.
They dropped gear-driven cams on the VFR800 in 2002, supposedly to save weight, but in reality probably to save cost and reduce noise for EC noise regulations. Pity.
oi !! i beleive the gear driven cams first started on the vf1000 but were noticed more on the vfr750 and 700 interceptor models of 86. I belong to a vfr forums as well and the bitching regarding honda going to chain drive when its been so good for so long as gear driven. And the vtec model doesnt seem to inspire many people either.
awesome right up motu. Like the pics too :D