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The VFR is another iconic bike, which started life as an all out racer, sporting it's V4 engine with pride. Through the years though, it has been softened down and has lost some of it's racing pedigree. Lucky for us though, that it has! No longer is the VFR a race bike, it's a sport tourer, which is biased towards the sports side of the equation.
If i could describe it in a nutshell, I'd say it's like a CBR600F for grown ups. It has a similar riding position, though less cramped, and it has near to the same beautiful handling. OK so not quite, but it's a nicely balanced machine, offering plenty of smiles in the twisties. It also has a decent fairing, which doesn't create too much noise or buffetting, however it lets the wind hold you upright at motorway speeds which is nice.
The VFR800 is a great all round machine. The suspension is stiff enough to provide ample feedback, the brakes, though they are linked, are really good, I generally only use the front most of the time, so for me the linked brakes work well. You can really give it some welly when you fancy having some fun, and when you just want to do some long distance touring it'll settle down and let you enjoy the scenery without the need for too much input.
There is one cause of controversy with the new VFR, and that's in the VTEC engine. Yes, it's a V4, so it gives you a bit of midrange grunt as well as screaming highs, but Honda have fitted the VTEC system to this one. To explain simply... The engine uses only 2 valves per cylinder at low revs, which offers more grunt, but then when you hit about 7000rpm the VTEC system kicks in and offers 4 valves per cylinder, to give more top end horsepower. In essence and on paper, it's a rather cunning idea, however in reality it's a bit like having a sudden turbo kick which comes on a little too swiftly for some, it's a bit like flicking a switch. To be honest though I think that the feeling's more psychological than anything, as it suddenly roars at 7k, making you think you're going quicker than you are. It's far from a 2 stroke powerband anyway.
Recently Honda have tuned the system a bit, so it comes on earlier and switches off later so you don't get a jerky throttle response, however it's far too complicated for me to try to explain! It works though.
So it's got a great engine. Stick some aftermarket cans on and you can enjoy motoGP style notation that only the Ducati Desmosidici RR can offer. OK so the Viffer's got about half the horsepower and it's not a road going GP rep, but the sound of a race can from a V4 is just plain awesome.
OK so it's a great bike, offering over 100bhp, nicely balanced handling and ample feedback, but that's only half the story. This bike is a sport-tourer, and so tour we must!
There are plenty of gadgets, fuel gauge, digital speedo, a couple of trip meters, I believe heated grips are an option, and it's got a 22 litre fuel tank. Use that wisely and you should see 200 miles to a tank thanks to it's gearing, which means you can sit at motorway speeds and hardly even notice the engine is running!
It's a great touring bike. The position is a little on the cramped side for some, the pegs are a bit high and the bars are a bit low, but really unless you're doing silly miles per day you're not gonna suffer with any real aches, and it's not squeezing you into a racer's crouch. My personal thoughts are to raise the bars by about an inch, but I'm used to riding big comfy trailies. The seat is comfortable, it becomes a little on the hard side after a couple of hours, but nothing that a quick petrol stop can't remedy. The beautiful thing with these bikes, all the sport tourers in fact, is that they give you a perfect balance between bum and wrists, so instead of just getting a sore bum like you would on a harley or other tourers, or getting sore wrists like on sports bikes, you get slight wrist aches and slight bum ache. Nicely balanced!
I rode a brand new one and looked at an 04 one, and there's not much difference in all fairness. The new ones are about £8000, but second hand, reasonable examples can be had for about £4000-£4500, which is actually great value for money, plus it's a Honda, they just last forever!
After my cbr 600 and my zzr 600 I decided to ride something a bit less racy this vfr has it all.I mean I can still get that buz from twisting back the throttle whilste trying to hold down the front end. The acceleration is still plenty for me but it also feels powerful unlike the 600 which rip your arms off but you know thats it. The other big plus is taking pillions with a 6 its a big no no but on the vfr it makes no difference. After riding for 29 years this bike has got me wanting to get out on it when I can, it makes me twist the throttle out of bends just to feel the pull and not the back tyre sliding side ways . I really love to ride this bike. O the joys of biking even at 45 .O and if you want 0-60 and all that stuff well theres loads on MSN and so on.. headlamps are great though.enjoy ridding.
I have had my Vtec for 6 weeks now and despite the weather have managed a few hundred miles. First opinion is that compared with the old VFR800 the seat height may be the same but bike width is the problem for short people like me, it realy is a stretch, even after having the seat reduced The ride is comfortabe and easy and with the bike weight low down there is less stress on the arms, compared with my ZZR600 it is a pleasure to drive it around the town as the engine is very responsive at low speed. I have not used it in VTEC mode as this only comes in at 7000rpm and while running in I have not exceeded 6000rpm. Pillion position according to my wife is comfortable and her bum and legs do not get stiff during longer rides. Main niggles are that the screen should be higher as even for me the wind just catches the top of my helmet, and a hugger is my first priority as the rear wheel spay gets all over the underside of the seat and the exhausts, but maybe it's only for riding in the dry!!