Leland Sheppard's PC800 Page

(This page is devoted to the Honda Pacific Coast Motorcycle (PC800) and to the roads I ride in northern California, mostly in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Sierra Nevada foothills and along the northern California coast.)

My Latest Acquisition - October 20th, 2013

This is a 1989 Pacific Coast that was customized by Wayne Massie of Long Beach, California. If I didn't need the trunk for commuting, I might just leave it this way. It is growing on me, day by day.

The masterpiece The uninstalled parts Rear view Closeup of 'fender'
and wiring
Sort of a front
view

My fleet until a few months ago. The sidecar PC has been sold and is in good hands. The '90 PC needs work to stop the oil leaks. The '94 is awaiting a spare engine and for me to get off my duff and finish it.
The '89 below is my current commute bike and PC ride bike.

My four trusty steeds; they are all Honda Pacific Coasts (PC800).  The motorcycle on the right is nicknamed "Black Beauty" and is a 1994 model.  The second bike from the right is nicknamed "Shadow Dancer" and is a 1989 model.  The third bike from the right is nicknamed "Red Baron" and is a 1990 model. Last but not least, the bike on the left is nicknamed "Hannigan" and is a 1996 model with a 1999 Hannigan Super Sport sidecar mounted  They are my tenth, eleventh, twelfth and fifteenth motorcycles respectively.  The prior nine bikes were also Hondas starting in 1964 with a 50cc street bike. My three non-Pacific Coast bikes are a 2002 GL1800, a 1989 Honda GB500 and a 2002 Ural Patrol. Pictures of the latter can be seen on my home page (link below).

I purchased Black Beauty September 16, 1993 from Lamb's Honda Yamaha in Auburn California for about $6800 out the door (tax, license, etc. included).  As of November 10, 2007, I have 208,400 miles on this bike with very few problems and no engine work.

I had an accident with Black Beauty in August of 1999.  I was leaned over hard in a tight right hand corner when the back wheel slipped out from under me.  I could not figure out why since I had been through this corner, leaned over just as hard, many times before without incident.  The roads were dry and the weather was sunny.  After learning how to tell the manufacturing date of a tire, I realized that the back tire on the bike was over 3 years old when it was mounted and about 3.5 years old at the time of the accident.  It was too old and too hard to be used for that type of cornering.  Needless to say, both bikes have fresh tires now and always will have in the future.

After two days without my beloved Pacific Coast, I went onto the Internet and found another one.  This one was a very clean looking 1989 model and, as it turned out, the man who was selling it lived about 3 miles from me.  I went over, looked at the bike, and bought it.  I paid $3750 for it in August of 1999.  That was probably a little high but the bike was in very good condition with only 11,616 miles on it.  As of November 10, 2007, Shadow Dancer has 104,925 miles on it.

Black Beauty was out of service for about 2 months.  It has had over 70,000 miles added to it since the accident including two 2300 mile jaunts down CA1 with a bunch of other PC800s during September of 2000 and again in September of 2001.  If you own a PC800 and would like to meet other PC800 riders, join us for the ride on the PCH: www.pcpch.org

On October 26, 2001, I flew back to the east coast and picked up the Red Baron in Livingston, New Jersey.  I paid $3900 for it and it had 10,982 miles on it when I picked it up.  Over the next five days I rode it back to California.  It would have been a four day trip but the battery died in Nebraska and I ended up staying overnight to get the problem solved.  Since the battery was probably 11 years old, it was due to quit.  Other than the incident with the battery, the bike performed flawlessly over the 2800+ mile trip.  Just like a PC800!

On November 24, 2001, I took the Red Baron on a 1000 mile ride.  I completed the ride in 16 hours and 45 minutes.  I submitted documentation to the Iron Butt Association in order to get a certificate for completing a "Saddle Sore 1000" - that's a 1000 mile ride in less than 24 hours. I am now Iron Butt Association member #10582.

Because I put over 6,000 miles on the 1990 PC800 during the first month of ownership, I decided to call it the Red Baron; I've spent most of my time on the bike "flying low". As of November 10, 2007, Red Baron has 80,925 miles on it. I have received certification from the IBA for a Bun Burner Gold I did on Red Baron in July of 2006. That's 1500 miles in 24 hours. They certified it at 1526 miles in less than 24 hours.

On August 10, 2005, I flew back to Baltimore and picked up Hannigan from a friend in Salisbury, Maryland. I paid $6,000 for this bike and it had 11,421 miles on it when my friend picked it up for me in Baltimore. By the time I got ready to leave Maryland, the bike had 11,500 miles on it. Over the next four days, I drove (remember it has a sidecar - you don't ride sidecar rigs, you drive them) it back to California. The trip was uneventful except for a flat tire on the sidecar in the middle of nowhere in western Utah. I got lucky and a replacement tire found me and within a couple of hours I was on my way again. Other than that, per usual, the PC itself performed flawlessly even through Eisenhower Tunnel (at over 11,000 feet) and over Vail Pass (at 10,616 feet). This year I took Hannigan on the PCH ride and had fun trying to keep up with everybody else on solo bikes, particularly through the twisties. Coming back from the PCH ride, I did a Saddlesore 1000 with Hannigan and am waiting for certification from the IBA on that one. That was 1018 miles in less than 24 hours. As of November 10, 2007, Hannigan has 28,300 miles on it.

I live in Placerville, California (in the Sierra foothills) and, until May 31, 2006, worked in Concord, California.  For 3 1/2 years, I commuted 232 miles per day (round trip) using one of the three solo bikes, three days per week, year-round.  I alternate the bikes every day. That added up to over 30,000 miles per year just commuting.

With my pleasure rides and my year-round commute, I am currently riding between 30 and 40,000 miles per year. As of November 10, 2007, I am 2 months past the 14th anniversary of purchasing my first PC800. I currently have put over 385,000 of my own miles on these four bikes. I am averaging over 28,000 miles per year between the four bikes.

Except in the corners, I generally ride pretty slowly on the highways.  I ride at 60mph, generally, although the bikes are capable of doing 115mph (indicated).  I am averaging 53.75mpg with the '94 and 51.47mpg with the '89.  Because of all of the high speed riding I've done with the Red Baron, I'm currently averaging only 48.07mpg with it.  However, I get nearly the same mileage on it for my commute as with the other two bikes so it will eventually almost catch up with the others.

Because of the load of the sidecar, Hannigan averaged about 32mpg on the trip back from Maryland and is now averaging around 38mpg for the local driving I am doing with it.

The rider's footpegs have a bolt on the bottom which is intended to touch the road before anything else on the bike (after the tires, of course...:-)).  The bolt heads on both foot pegs on all three solo bikes are worn significantly from being dragged on the asphalt.  I love cornering.

The Honda Pacific Coast is a great bike.  In my not-so-humble opinion, I think it is the most beautiful production motorcycle ever built.

Besides being gorgeous, it is extremely practical.  It has a large clam-shell trunk lid which exposes two cavernous "saddle bags" that are capable of swallowing a good deal of stuff.  I carry my brief case in one side when going to work.  A fully loaded, tall, paper grocery bag will stand up in the trunk with no problem.

Because of the plastic body covering, it is quite streamlined.  It slips through the air.  It is also easy to clean.

Maintenance is quite low.  The valves require no adjustments.  It has a shaft drive so there is no chain to create a mess, require constant lubrication and adjustment, etc.

Besides being gorgeous and practical, the bike is comfortable, fun to ride; it handles beautifully.  It is equally at home on the freeway cruising at 75mph or better and in the foothills carving canyons with complete aplomb.  I cruised all the way across the US,  and on the 1000 mile and 1500 mile rides as well, at 75mph or higher with the 1990 model.  The bike has a low center of gravity, for a sport tourer, and handles easily and well as a result.

It is extremely comfortable.  On both of my cross-US trips, I stopped only for gas and at night.  The same was true on my Iron Butt rides; I stopped only for gas.  If my butt gets sore or my legs get stiff, I just stand up on the pegs for a minute.

Prior to owning the Pacific Coasts, I had a 1972 Honda CB750 Four.  I owned that bike for 22 years.  I loved it.  It was quick, nimble, had a great sound, handled quite well, etc.  Because of a lack of time to ride, the bike sat for nine years, from 1984 to 1993.  In 1993, I spent $1250 to restore the bike which had only 8300 miles on it at the time.  New tires, new chain, clean out the gas tank and four carbs, new battery, new oil hoses, and so on.  [All of the work (and all of the maintenance on my four Pacific Coasts and on the Gold Wing, Ural and the GB500) was (is) done by John Proto of Performance Cycle in Diamond Springs, California.  John is a factory-trained Honda mechanic, conscientious, honest and, on top of all of that, a nice guy.  I won't let anyone else work on my bikes anymore.]

The CB750 ran like a champ.  I put another 4000 miles on it and decided to buy a Pacific Coast to commute with.  I intended to keep the 750 to ride on the weekends.  After about 30 days of riding the Pacific Coast, I became so spoiled with and enamored of the handling, comfort and every other aspect of the PC that I decided to sell my 750. I didn't like riding it after being on the Pacific Coast.  I have never looked back...

I got personalized plates for my PCs: 

In order to make cycling through the PCs easier (pun intended), I park them on the Pacific Coast highway: 

(A friend of mine had the sign made up.)  With that many Pacific Coasts passing through, the storage building next to my motorhome does, indeed, resemble a "Pacific Coast" highway, don't you think?

Here are a few more shots of my beloved fleet of PC800s:

            

For links to a lot more information on the PC800 and many other people who love and ride them, try:

http://www.pc800links.net

Here's a link to my online photo albums which contain pictures from a number of my motorcycle trips:

http://lelandsphotos.smugmug.com

Some of my favorite rides through the Sierras:

(As soon as I can produce the maps or find software that will, I will add the maps here.  I will add pictures as they become available.)

1. 42 mile loop - if I have an hour to spare and want a bunch of fun, this is where I go.

2. Loon Lake

3. Caples Lake

4. Bodie

5. Tioga Pass

6. Bodie, Tioga, Yosemite loop

7. Eight-pass mountain loop trip report

8. Spring Mountain Motorcycle Camping Trip

This site was last updated on 10/21/2013; the change added my 5th PC, a customized '89.

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