Honda VF1100S Sabre V65




Make Model

Honda VF1100S Sabre V65




Four stroke, 90°V-four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder


1098 cc / 66.9cu-in

Bore x Stroke

79.5 x 55.3 mm

Cooling System

Liquid cooled

Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Lubrication Wet sump


4x 36mm Keihin CV type


Digital transistorized 
Starting Electric

Max Power

121 hp / 88.3 kW @ 9500 rpm

Max Torque

101.7 Nm / 10.4 kg-fm  / 75.0 ft-lb @ 7500 rpm
Clutch Multi-plate wet


6 Speed 
Final Drive Shaft
Gear Ratio 6th 4.31  5th 5.16  4th 6.18  3rd 7.43  2nd 9.31  1st 13.19

Front Suspension

Telescopic fork, 41mm air-adjustable leading-axle forks with 3-way adjustable rebound damping and TRAC
Front Wheel Travel 145 mm / 5.7 in

Rear Suspension

Single shock swing arm, air-adjustable Pro-Link with remote 3-way adjustable rebound damping
Rear Wheel Travel 119 mm / 4.6 in

Front Brakes

2x 274mm disc 2 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 279mm disc 2-piston caliper

Front Tyre

110/90 -18

Rear Tyre

130/90 -17
Wheelbase 1590 mm / 62.6 in
Rake  30.5° 
Trail 94 mm / 3.7 in
Wheelbase 1590 mm / 62.6 in
Seat Height 831 mm / 32.7 in
Ground Clearance 152 mm / 6.0 in

Dry Weight

241.5 kg / 532.5 lbs

Fuel Capacity

21.9 Liters / 5.8 gal

Standing ¼ Mile  

11.38 sec. / 120.36 mph

Consumption Best

44 mpg
Top Speed 177 mph

Americans love performance, so Honda gained lots of fans with the V65 Sabre. The bike stood out from the crowd not only because of its record-shattering quarter-mile performance, but also because it was powered by a V-4 in a sea of inline fours. The 65? That referred to the motor's displacement in cubic inches; metrically, it packed a whopping 1098cc.

The Sabre was a high-tech performance machine that broke the mold. Not a cruiser, a standard, or a sportbike, the Sabre had a style all its own, and boasted the kind of stump-pulling engine performance that the inline fours of the day couldn't match. The powerplant featured liquid-cooling, twin-cam heads, a six-speed gearbox and a low-maintenance shaft final drive.

The chassis components were equally impressive; cast six-spoke wheels front and back, single-shock rear suspension and a beefy 41mm leading-axle fork with Honda's TRAC anti-dive system. On top of that, the Sabre was smooth, versatile and comfortable enough for touring.

Though the V65 engine debuted a year earlier in the Magna—a machine that featured a cross between cruiser and drag bike styling—the 1984 Sabre galvanized public opinion of Honda's newly minted V-4 engine configuration.

Until then, Japanese high-performance was defined by inline fours. Honda did offer V-4 400s for the Japanese market in 1982, but the V65s raised the performance bar with a broad torque range combined with a serious top-end rush. Four valves per cylinder, relatively mild cams, an efficient induction system with straight-shot intake tracts, clean-burning combustion chambers and a quartet of 36mm constant-velocity carbs gave the V65 Sabre its most powerful production motorcycle engine available. Pumping out a walloping 121 horsepower, the mighty Sabre could launch from a standstill to 50 miles per hour in just 2.31 seconds!

In addition, the 90-degree V-4 package was physically narrower than the transverse four-cylinder engines. Though the V-4 powerplant may have been slightly longer than an inline four engine, the Sabre's forward bank of cylinders helped ensure sufficient front-end weight bias for excellent steering.

With its well-balanced chassis and muscular engine, the V65 Sabre earned a reputation as a versatile motorcycle that was fun to ride in more than just short, straight bursts down the drag strip. Californian Jim Newberry rode his Sabre to a fifth-place finish at the 1984 Iron Butt Rally and improved one position the following year, demonstrating that the bike was comfortable and reliable for the long haul.

Indeed, the Sabre proved the versatility of Honda's family of V-4s, which included machines as diverse as the custom V65 Magna and the Interceptor sportbike line. The Sabre's unique balance of performance and versatility became a hallmark of Honda's V-4 machines in the years to come. These virtues still define Honda's current V-4 models, the Magna, the ST1100 and VF800 Interceptor—machines that carved a niche in the marketplace as great streetbikes for riders who demanded high-performance without trading comfort and versatility.