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 Post subject: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:02 am
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Location: Foothills of The Smoky Mountains
http://www.ebay.com/gds/the-honda-pc800-pacific-coast/10000000011607414/g.html

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The Honda PC800 Pacific Coast

Riding a Honda Pacific Coast makes you a lightning rod for all kinds of questions and comments. Over the years, I’ve gotten used to the worst of them, realizing that any motorcyclist who utilizes the term “rolling porta-potty” has issues of their own.

The Pacific Coast, or PC800, was introduced by Honda in the 1989 model year. It was a revolutionary look back then, the bike completely sheathed in plastic body panels, and a spacious clamshell trunk in the place of traditional saddlebags. The appearance was pure Starfleet, sans phasers and warp drive. Had it arrived in ET's UFO, it could not have been more striking. The futuristic shape caught the eye of filmmakers, appearing in movies such as “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man,” “Back to the Future,” and “The Bourne Identity.”

Honda wanted the bike to appeal to the suit-and-tie set; a bike one could ride to work without the risk of soiling the Armani. With that in mind, they purposely modeled the rear end after the very popular Honda Accord, the Yuppie flavor of the month for that era. Honda produced the bike for two years, the ’89 in an ethereal Pacific Pearl White, and the ’90 in a magnificent Candy Glory Red. However, the marketing folks at Honda, choosing a soft, jazzy, avant-garde approach for their ads (a technique also used initially by Infinity), rolled consecutive gutter balls. The popular image of the motorcycle, all leather, do-rags, and sweaty biceps, completely clashed with this approach. Bikers snickered, and Yuppies remained confused. The price point was too high, and the flood of execu-commuters never materialized. With a ton of surplus machines on hand, Honda halted production.

The company tried again in 1994, while still selling the bike in Europe and Japan from '91 to '93 (identified by a silver-blue paint job). Inflation made the price of the bike much more palatable. Success was moderate and overall, Honda produced some 11,000 units through the 1998 model year before the guillotine fell, this time for good.

Since then, the bike has attracted a sizeable international cult following, identified by the characteristic “Body by Tupperware” decals. A truly eclectic group of people, home base for whom is the IPCRC (Internet Pacific Coast Riders Club), which consists of about 4,000 members from 18 different countries, a total that climbs at a rate of 20 to 30 per week. A recent poll showed that the majority of them work in the engineering and IT fields, which is a strong statement in itself. Clearly, folks for whom precision is a way of life find this bike attractive. The group sponsors many rides throughout the year, always easily identified. A parking lot full of brightly colored PC800s resembles not so much a covey of bikes as a spilled bag of Skittles.

The PC800 is possibly the most misunderstood motorcycle in industry history. The bike was designed as a sport-tourer, yes; but its primary intended function was commuting. Hence, its capacious carrying capacity, low-maintenance, upright riding position, and balance between a bike heavy enough for stability, yet nimble enough to maneuver through heavy traffic. As long as you understand this basic fact, then the bike becomes comprehensible.

--It was never intended to be a CBR in drag. If eyeball-squishing acceleration is what you want, look somewhere else.

--It was never intended to be Just Another Harley Clone. If that's what you're after, check the sheep pens across the road.

--And while it is a perfectly capable long distance tourer, it won't ever grow into a two-wheeled RV, like the Goldwing. It's kinda like a country doctor: it does a lot of things well, it’s just not a specialist.

These days, the volatile nature of gas prices has many commuters looking at motorcycles in an entirely new light; from the standpoint of practicality. Along with the exalted MPG, maintenance issues are usually high on the list. Commuters don't like to tinker. They want something that's easy to take care of. One of the Pacific Coast’s strengths is that it’s about as close to “fill and forget” as you’ll ever get with a motorcycle. Noteworthy are the hydraulic valves, which eliminate the need for valve adjustments. Digital ignition, hydraulic clutch, and automatic cam chain tensioners add to the easy care. The exterior skin also means that clean-up is an absolute breeze. 15 minutes, and this baby shines as it did on the showroom floor.

These enhancements, combined with the bike's tremendous reliability combine to make it one of the most economical rides on the road. Over the nearly 8 years that I owned my PC, the operating costs (including gas, oil tires, batteries, maintenance, and the very occasional repair), consistently stayed below 7 cents per mile. By comparison, my 4-cylinder Toyota Camry averaged a hedonistic 13 cents per mile.

The design has some nice well-thought-out features. At the four corners are crash bars, covered in plastic and seamlessly integrated into the skin. If the bike does lay over, these bars keep the main body from contacting the pavement. (An important tip, when the footpegs contact the pavement, you have also reached the absolute edge of the tire tread. An inch more, and you're riding on sidewalls.) The rear views are the breakaway type with integrated turn signals. If they snap off, they can be reattached with patience and an Allen wrench. Another nice touch is the Torque-Reaction Anti-Dive Control, quite the nifty piece of handling tech. Self-canceling turn signals were available through the 1995 edition.

The car-like instrument cluster is large, easily readable at any speed and logically laid out. It includes a speedo, tach, fuel gauge, water temp gauge, and an idiot light for oil pressure. Strangely, on a bike where the engine noise is so hard to hear, there's no gear indicator, except for the nominal neutral light. It also lacks a clock, but as one rhapsodic PC owner soliloquized, "Riding is a timeless exercise in freeing the human spirit. Who the hell needs a clock for that?"

The seat is wide and comfortable, which is fine for long-distance, but a little awkward for the back-and-forth slide of the dedicated knee-dragger. Seat height is a comfortable 30.1 inches, which fits perfectly for a rider between 5'6" and 5'11". For the long-legged, the forward crash bars are perfectly placed and configured to mount a set of after-market highway pegs. The rider position is almost upright with just a slight forward lean, and the knees at a relaxed angle of 100 degrees; very comfortable, especially for those long days.

On a machine known for it's unabashed individuality, it's most singular characteristic is the sound it makes, somewhat reminiscent of something owned by George Jetson, or a very large industrial fan. This was a key to the marketing of the bike. Honda figured that for the PC's targeted demographic, or the novice rider, noise is intimidating. This bike is beyond quiet. It's almost stealthy. Many PC owners have yarned about idling along close behind pedestrians ignorant of the bike's presence. Usually such a story ends with details of air horns and sudden bladder control problems. Underway, once you get past 60 mph, mostly what you hear is the wind. And its silky smoothness almost makes you forget that you're sitting astride a V-twin.

(By the way, if you're a member of the "Loud Pipes Save Lives" crowd, allow me to point out that accident statistics collected by the insurance industry and NHTSA show no correlation between the presence of loud pipes and lower "failure to yield" accident rates.)

Of course, there's the trunk. Even people who hate the bike love the trunk. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 liters, the space opens vertically, which means that you could lay a neatly folded suit coat in that space and have it arrive at your destination neat and unwrinkled. Because the seams are overlapped and parallel to the ground, the space is completely waterproof. And when you open it, your possessions won’t fall into the mud, as they are wont to do with side-opening bags. As a commuter, I can tell you what a great sense of freedom it is to be able to park the bike, stow your chaps, jacket, boots, and helmet in a locked space and walk away, rather than carting all that gear into work with you.

This cavernous space can carry up to five paper bags of groceries (2.5 bags per side), enough clothes for a three-week trip with no laundry days, and a host of other loads that would frustrate lesser machines. More than one PC owner has been accused of using their bike like a pickup truck. Many times I've been followed from checkout stand to parking lot by people who were frankly curious how I was going to pack all that stuff home. Should the Wesson Oil spring a leak on the ride home, removing a couple of rubber drain plugs in the bottom of the trunk makes cleanup a snap. Adding the Givi top box, either the 46-, 52-, or 55-liter, actually gives the bike as much or more capacity than its big brother, the opulent Gold Wing.

The PC's beauty goes beyond skin-deep.

The engine, the slightly re-worked mill from the 750 Shadow, is an 800cc 64 bhp 45-degree V-twin with two spark plugs per cylinder. It is smooth, durable, and efficient, but hardly dramatic. It will go 120 mph (with an almost eerie calm), but you might want to take a good book along for the acceleration part of the ride. It has proven over time to be a virtually bulletproof power plant. In the long memory of the IPCRC, the only PC engines known to have gone bad were both victims of owners forgetting that last important step to an oil change: replacing the oil. Even so, they both managed to get over 30 miles down the road before the pistons seized, apparently so enraptured as to completely miss the blazing bright red oil light.

Like all Honda motors, it is quality through-and-through. It is common to find owners who have racked up in excess of 150,000 miles without any major repairs. The current record is 300,000 miles, a PC done in by an inattentive mini-van driver.

And it’s perfectly happy sipping 87 octane at a rate of 40 to 50 miles per gallon, depending on speed and aggressiveness.

The engine is paired with a robust radiator cooling system that keeps things within limits even on the hottest days. The radiator fan, like a car's, works off a switch connected to the engine thermostat. It almost seems counter-intuitive that a clothed bike could keep the engine cool, but the sensuous skin hides a sophisticated and efficient cooling air path.

The 5-speed gearbox can be a bit clunky at times, but still does its thing with little fanfare. A virtually indestructible shaft drive completes the drive train ensemble.

The standard shoes were Dunlop K-177's, but many owners have shifted to Metzelers, preferring the much longer tread life of the Teutonic tires. The appeal of the Dunlop is that brand's slightly softer compound, which makes it (by narrow comparison) a better rain tire; albeit with a shorter tread life. This is important, since most PCers are dedicated all-weather riders. The drawback is that the Dunlop tread pattern meets in the middle of the tire, so when you ride over longitudinally grooved pavement, or an open-grate bridge, the bike has a nerve-wracking tendency to dance, as the tires try to follow the not-so-nuanced directions of the road surface. On the other hand, Metzeler's tread pattern overlaps the center, so grooves and grates are mostly ignored. However, when you lean hard into a twisty, the Metzeler's will moan at you. I never let the sound bother me, but others find it unnerving. There are PC's out there also wearing Michelin, Avon, Pirelli, and Cheng Shin. But there's no more passionate debate among owners than the one between respective fans of Dancing Dunlops and Moaning Metzelers.

Easy rideablility is one of the best characteristics of the Pacific Coast. The bike has a very low center of gravity, (helped by the 4.2-gallon internally mounted fuel tank) which makes it a very friendly machine to operate, even at parking lot speeds. At around 620 pounds wet, it is a bit heavy, but nothing you feel once underway.

The full fairing and tall windshield provide a comfortable bubble for the rider. At high speeds, however, the bubble tends to collapse between the rider and the passenger, making the backseater feel buffeted, especially around the helmet. The occasional appearance of bugs coming at you from behind attests to the odd aerodynamics at work. For new riders, the PC is very friendly and forgiving, despite its apparent girth. For experienced veterans, the bike gives you reliability out the wazoo, which means far more time riding than fixing, perfectly filling the commuting bill.

This machine is equally at home on the Superslab with the trunk stuffed to the gills, eeling through rush-hour traffic, or rippin’ through Killboy Corner at Deal’s Gap. The flexible nature of the PC’s design was also revolutionary. Back then, you had to choose between “go hard” motorcycles and “go far” motorcycles. The PC melded the two together quite nicely.



The real joy of owning a PC comes when you take this Starship into the twisties. It's relatively high underclearance and low center of gravity allows the rider to...not "flick" really...perhaps "fling" would be the better term. Once you get into the rhythm, you can't help but smile. It is oh, so stable, which gives the rider an absolutely intoxicating feeling of confidence.

On the straightaways, the PC is pure pleasure. The seating is comfortably upright, which allows the rider great 360-degree visibility without undue neck strain. On hot days, the body panels keep the engine heat from roasting your legs, a nice touch I discovered on a hot July afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona. And since the engine is so smooth at all speeds, you can rack up an 700-mile day and not feel like the bike spent the time pummeling your pelvic saddle.

Of course, no bike is completely perfect. Pacific Coast owners yearn for the 1100cc powerplant from the big Shadow. The tranny feels like it's a gear short, and the stator has very little excess capacity, so loading up aftermarket electronics requires the accurate computation of wattage. Over 100,000 miles, the top end of the engine will sometimes develop oil seepage. In a rare "why did they do this?" Honda used goop instead of gasket to seal the marriage between those two engine pieces. This seepage has absolutely no effect on the engine performance whatsoever, but it does leave embarrassing Harley-like oil spots on the garage floor. It's an easy fix, in and of itself, but the amount of disassembly and reassembly required is both time-consuming and expensive.

(Let me step in here and offer a reality check. On what other motorcycle have you ever gotten a maintenance advisory about a problem at 100,000 miles? How many other motorcycles would you expect to even still be on the road at 100,000 miles? Don't think too long; the list is very short.)

The gas tank needs to be bigger. PC riders complain that 180 miles is too short a distance to have to pull over and fuel up. The bike is that comfortable. In addition, the float in the gas tank has to be adjusted, since the default factory setting has the gage reading "E" when you actually have about half a tank left. A common complaint is an incipient odor of gasoline that tends to develop in most of these bikes. The culprit is the vacuum petcock, easily replaceable. The ’89 model is notorious for the trunk rubbing on the rear tire and a stator that can’t seem to last more than 30,000 miles. (Both issues were fixed for the 1990 model and beyond.)

The skin consists of a series of interconnected panels assembled in a sort of Rubik-like sequence attached by pin-and-boss and Allen screws. Over the years, some older models have begun to experience a few problems with the mounting systems, the plastic becoming somewhat brittle with age. When you introduce a PC to your wrench, it is important to make sure he or she knows the ins-and-outs of the off-and-on. This, of course, adds unwanted labor dollars to any repair bill. Some PC owners remove the panels themselves, and then ride the naked bike to the dealer.

Available to all owners is the legendary WOTL, or "Wisdom of the List," the accumulated hard-won knowledge acquired by IPCRC members. This includes some short-cuts and work-arounds regarding maintenance access to the bike's innards. For example, a wrench may tell you he has to remove the entire trunk to change the rear tire. Actually, just taking out the rear tail light bar gives just enough room. Other mechanics may state that up to seven panels have to be removed to replace the battery. The IPCRC has devised a method that requires the removal of only one panel. It pays to ask the experts.

Some of the most common owner additions and modifications include, radio/CD/CB (speaker cutouts flank the instrument cluster), voltmeter, auxiliary lighting, suspension upgrades, stiffer clutch springs, trunk liners, Givi top box, custom seating, air horns, and GPS. (For a comprehensive list, see the IPCRC website.) One owner grafted a larger 5.5-gallon fuel tank onto the bike, which required some design ingenuity. Another owner, a welder by trade who opted for a more authoritative exhaust note, adapted the 2-into-2 exhaust system from the Shadow.

Unfortunately, no one yet makes a performance-enhancing jet kit for the PC. But there was one guy who added a nitrous injection system. According to legend, he removed it after the first test, which launched him into a wild eye-bulging, sinus-clearing, butt-puckering wheelie from 70 miles per hour. Apparently, the decision to uninstall was heavily influenced by his wife, who was occupying the pillion seat at the time.

All the model years are almost identical, so parts are still very available. You can ID a PC's vintage by its paint job. '94 and '95 models were black over silver. '96 models were red over black. For '97 and '98, the bike lost it's front wheel shroud in favor of short fender, while retaining the same red over black paint.

A good-condition Pacific Coast with low miles can be had for less than 5 large, which makes for a very reasonable investment. Purchasers be warned, however! Figures given in Kelly Blue Book and the ADA Guide are hopelessly out of date. Over the past two years, market values (what people have been actually willing to pay) have boomed. Final figures from Ebay auctions reflect the actual values of PC800's anywhere from $800 to $1,500 higher than the "price bibles" peg them. Since banks and credit unions rely on them to decide loan values, be prepared to contribute some of your personal jack to complete the purchase.

The good news, is that these values are accurate as to the quality and longevity of these bikes. With proper care, the Pacific Coast will last you well into the 6 figure range of your odometer.

The PC was unlike any other bike on the road. It's looks, versatility, performance, and easy upkeep simply had no contemporary match. There were bikes that were faster, larger, trail-rated, or more flickable; but none that did, and still do as many things as well as the Pacific Coast.

This machine gets attention from the white collar crowd, those who are individualistic enough to eschew a Milwaukee product or any of their dozens of clones, and mature enough to know their own limitations as far as speed and power are concerned. For them, a bike is more “tool” than “toy.” They know what a jewell of a bike this is.

And quite frankly they don't care what anyone else thinks.

The very definition of a rebel.

If you’re tempted to ask, “So What?” bear in mind that this is what Honda’s target demographic was when the bike was introduced 20 years ago. For these wise pragmatists, functionality rules; and the Pacific Coast is eminently functional.

This is what owning a PC is like:

A few years ago, I rode to a company picnic hosted by my wife’s employer. I rolled up to a parking area already full of chrome and iron. From a distance, I could see the sarcastic smiles already starting. I parked the bike, enduring the semi-drunken ribbing, which continued until I swung open the trunk lid to reveal both sides filled with ice, beer, and soda.

Reverent silence followed.

Functionality wins again.

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Rusty
Pearl White 89'
The Flying Potato - A Spud Tourer
http://www.StrayTracks.com


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:50 pm
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Location: Leeds, Al
Well done Sir... Well done

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Mike Tribble AKA Ursamajor35126
2014 Can-Am Spyder "Mariah"


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:02 am
Posts: 749
Location: Foothills of The Smoky Mountains
ursamajor35126 wrote:
Well done Sir... Well done


Well..... good posting maybe ..... but I hope I didn't imply that I wrote that..... cause I didn't!

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Rusty
Pearl White 89'
The Flying Potato - A Spud Tourer
http://www.StrayTracks.com


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:44 am
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The PC800 is my like to fun. I rode today to work.. and will again in the morn.


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:44 pm 
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nice writeup


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:53 pm 
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Posts: 67
yes sir! sitting in the middle of a blizzard here in Riverview, NB, Canada. Last day of the Motorcycle show cancelled due to the storm. So nice day to read the write up and think of the lovely summer days to come1

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Arthur

1994 PC800
1998 PC800
2015 NC750XA


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:21 pm 
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Posts: 34
Nice read.

(Where's the "Thumbs Up" button?)


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 6:29 pm
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Location: Kansas
now i cant wait to find out how much beer and ice it can hold.


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 9:46 pm 
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I can get a case of Coke in the cans, in the box of course, in one side, and still have room to pack smaller items around it.
And in the other side I have gotten four of the normal plastic grocery bags that are full.
I have gotten more in there a few times by careful packing. Enough that I had to make a second trip to get it all in the house.


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 Post subject: Re: Good PC Summary
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:02 am
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Location: Foothills of The Smoky Mountains
I can speak for the 4 corner crash bars. I was extremely skeptical when the previous owner told me of the crash bars....... They work. I did it. Layed that sucker down in a right hand curve - musta hit gravel or something - she went down like on ice - got the two plastic covers on the right side crash bars - didn't phase the rest of the bike. Did a number on my right leg - wish I woulda bailed instead of riding it out. Nothing else on the machine even scratched. Mirrors never touched -nor did my helmet. Barley scuffed my jacket - I still wear it!

I think it was 50 or 75$$$ to replace the plastic - color even mateched. Awesome!

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Rusty
Pearl White 89'
The Flying Potato - A Spud Tourer
http://www.StrayTracks.com


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