Honda 2000 Shadow Sabre
- First Ride Review! -
Honda introduces the 2000 Sabre to the press - we were there!
The Sabre is Honda's new 1099cc, liquid-cooled, 45 degree, V-twin hot-rod cruiser for Y2K. As Honda calls it "a bold new street rod." The concept for this bike was developed by Honda years ago, but not put into full development until after the 1998 Bike Week in Daytona where a strong trend towards performance cruisers was visible.
Built with new and existing parts, the new Sabre is built around an ACE frame and the same basic engine as the Spirit. The 1099cc V-twin engine is rubber mounted, has three valves and two plugs per cylinder and pumps out a claimed 64 bhp @ 5,500 rpm. Torque output is claimed to be 71.8 ft. lbs. @ 3,000 rpm. There are also some gearing changes and an advanced ignition curve for better roll-on performance.
The first thing you'll notice when throwing a leg over the new Sabre is that the seat height is low, just 27.2 inches. The seating position is comfortable and the drag-bike inspired seat is isn't too wide nor too thin. The bars are low, wide and comfortable. Footpegs are forward mounted similar to Honda's other cruisers though they seemed a bit lower which we found a bit more comfortable than previous models. Shorter riders weren't quite sure how they liked the peg location.
This Sabre is about performance, cruiser performance. This being the case, the natural question is how does the bike run. The answer is that it runs very well, though it doesn't posses the arm stretching power you'd expect from a company emphasizing power as much as Honda has. Aside from this, the Sabre's motor pulls smoothly and strong enough to allow for short-shifting and rolling on the power no matter what gear you've selected. The sounds produced by the bike are pleasurable though we'd like a little more exhaust note and a bit less intake noise.
Even though this bike is supposed to be about power, what struck us most about the new bike is it's seemingly unflappable chassis, good suspension, strong brakes and what appears to be excellent comfort. It's no fun riding a bike that's all engine with second rate ergonomics or handling. This certainly isn't the case with Honda's new Sabre as these traits on this bike struck us as much, or more, than how the engine ran.
While riding over terrible concrete surfaces, it was hard to upset this new package. The suspension was quite compliant with no discernable harshness or bucking over big bumps. Just straight and steady was our initial feel of the new Sabre.
When it came to cornering, the new bike will hold it's own and then some. What we like most is that you won't find yourself scraping the pegs when you throw this cruiser into a serious corner. This means you should be able to make good time on roads like California's Pacific Coast Highway. We've experienced too many otherwise capable cruisers that are hampered by ground clearance on back roads. This simply won't be the case with the new Honda.
Styling of the Sabre is ... well Honda. Though there are attractive changes, the overall effect is a bike that looks pretty much like Honda's other cruiser models. This left us wondering why Honda didn't go out of their way to create a different overall look for their new street rod, a theme they intend to carry over to additional displacement categories.
Rest assured Honda will have you covered when it comes to accessories for the new Sabre. They already have 48 separate items developed and available from you local Honda dealer. These include items like billet ignition and clutch covers, light bars, floorboards and various luggage items.
Unfortunately we didn't spend as much time on the new Sabre as we would have liked. Only a good deal more saddle time under various riding conditions will give us the complete picture. For now, we can conclude the new Sabre is a very competent and strong running cruiser offering a well rounded package in terms of chassis, suspension and comfort.
Specifications: 2000 Shadow Sabre
Engine Type: 1099cc liquid-cooled 45-degree V-twin
Bore and Stroke: 87.5mm x 91.4mm
Compression Ratio: 8.0:1
Valve Train: SOHC; three valves per cylinder
Carburetion: Two 36mm CV
Ignition: Solid-state digital, two spark plugs per cylinder
Final Drive: Shaft
Suspension Front: 41mm fork;
4.7 inches travel
Rear: Dual shocks
with five-position spring preload adjustability;
3.9 inches travel
Brakes Front: Single 316mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 276mm disc with single-piston caliper
Tires Front: 120/90-18
Wheelbase: 64.6 inches
Rake: (Caster Angle) 32.4 degrees
Trail: 161mm (6.3 inches)
Seat Height: 27.2 inches
Dry Weight: 573.2 pounds (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gallons, including 0.6-gallon reserve
Pearl Dark Red/Candy Dark Red
Black/Metallic Dark Gray
California version differs slightly due to emissions equipment.
For additional Sabre model information,
use the links below.
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