Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Honda PC 800 "Pacific Coast"

In 1989, Honda designed a new motorcycle specifically for the US market and named it after one of the most beautiful roads in America...the Pacific Coast Highway.  

1994 Honda PC 800
This is part of the "MY CARS" series.   

The Honda PC 800 Pacific Coast was introduced in 1989 to try and capture the young white-collar professional (i.e. Yuppie) market.  It was smooth, quiet, had a completely enclosed frame and engine and even had a built in trunk.  It looked like no other bike on the road.

1994 Honda PC 800

1994 Honda PC 800

The engine was an 800cc, 45 degree, liquid cooled V-twin designed to be low maintenance and low noise.  It uses a dual-pin crankshaft design combined with a rubber-mounted engine for low vibration, used maintenance-free hydraulic valve adjusters, maintenance-free cam chain adjustment tensioners and a maintenance-free hydraulic clutch.  Power runs through a 5 speed manual transmisson with shaft drive.  It's very smooth and despite a weight of over 580 pounds, has outstanding handling.  The 4.2 gallon fuel tank is actually under the seat.  The "fuel tank" in front of the seat is actually the air filter cover.  This lowered the center of gravity and aided in handling.  

1994 Honda PC 800

Without a doubt, however, the party piece is the PC 800's trunk.  It's what made it the perfect commuter bike.  Two full-faced helmets would fit into it.  Or one helmet on one side and an armored riding jacket in the other.  Or about 8 plasic bags of groceries.  Or a 12 pack of beer with ice in each side.  The trunk ruled!  

1994 Honda PC 800

1994 Honda PC 800

These bikes sold in very limited numbers, however.  The Yuppies that Honda tried to sell the bikes to were buying Harleys instead while they tried to be "hard core bikers" (yea, right!).  Production figures started out good in 1989, but went down from there:  

1989  6,602 (white with silver bottom trim)
1990  3,739 (garnet red with silver bottom trim)
1991-1993 no production
1994  1,193 (black with silver bottom trim, as in the pictures)
1995  1,009 (black with silver bottom trim?)
1996  1,070 (non-clear coated red with silver bottom trim?)
1997  713 (orange-red, no front wheel cowling)
1998  510 (orange-red, no front wheel cowling)

1961 Olds Super 88 / 1994 Honda PC 800

It's been called  "scooter on steroids", and a few other choice names.  Hard core bikers openly scoff at it and make fun of it, but to the man, when in private, they all said they liked it and wanted to ride it.  I was everyone's friend when I showed up at bike meets with the trunk filled with beer. 

Read Wikipedia's entry on the bike, and you may also want to check out a good article by on a test they did on one back in 1998.  Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly also has a good one.  For as few bikes that were made, there is still many of them out there and they enjoy a hard-core following.  Just the thing to replace that second car.  

Your humble author.

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