Honda Pacific Coast 800

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The Honda Pacific Coast 800 is a touring motorcycle manufactured and marketed by Honda between 1989 and 1998. Named after California’s Pacific Coast Highway, over 14,000 were sold in North America, Europe and Japan, with a three-year hiatus between two production runs. The bike is noted for its single integrated trunk straddling the rear wheel, full bodywork, and distinctive two-tone paint.

Like the earlier Honda Goldwing and later Rune, the Honda Pacific Coast 800 had been conceived and designed by Honda Research America specifically for the US market. Though subsequent Honda motorcycles would feature integral, side-opening trunks — namely the Deauville/NT700V, ST1100, Gold Wing and ST1300 — the wheel-straddling, top-opening trunk concept remained unique to the Pacific Coast.

According to a 1998 article, “when the PC debuted, it was considered a radical bike.” The PC800 departed convention with its integral trunk, extensive bodywork and marketing aimed at the “white-collar professional.

In addition to naming the PC800 after an important American highway, Honda reinforced the association between the motorcycle and other notable highways of the world; advertising copy from the 1994 Pacific Coast brochure highlighted the famed Amalfi Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, along with, of course, the Pacific Coast Highway.

Similarly, the name of the lower body colour for 1996 model referred to another important road, the Karakorum Highway, the highest international highway in the world.

In contrast to motorcycling advertising that emphasized rebellion or exaggerated masculinity, a 1989 30-second introductory television commercial for the PC800 depicted a couple awakening at a stylish waterfront home. She is seen running on the beach, he is seen showering, lifting his Rolex-like wrist watch from the bedside table, fixing coffee – all with a Honda PC800 next to a grand piano in their elegant living room, the waves crashing visibly beyond. The commercial ended with a single shot of the motorcycle at a very calm (i.e., pacific) shoreline carrying the voiceover: “Introducing the Pacific Coast, from Honda. It is the beginning of a new day.”

Sales over the entire two-part production run averaged under 1,400 sales per year over ten years.

Honda outfitted the Pacific Coast as a “low-maintenance motorcycle for daily use” aimed primarily toward first-time motorcycle owners. Riding position is standard or neutral, instrumentation is “automobile-like,” switches and controls are large and clearly marked, self-cancelling turn signals were included until the 1997 model year along with a seat height of 30.1 inches (760 mm) and an integrated fairing and windshield. 1989 and 1990 models offered an optional AM/FM radio.


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