Honda VFR1200F

By Kevin Ash

Pictures: Ula Serra, Francesc Montero, Zep Gori, Félix Romero (click on images)

Honda_VFR1200F22.jpg

Honda`s new VFR1200F always had a huge amount to live up to, not least of which is its role as the latest bike to bear the iconic VFR moniker.

The VFR750 reversed the dreadful reputation for unreliability of Honda`s first big V-fours, the VF700 and 750 cruisers and VF750F of 1982, the VF500 as well, all notorious for their rapid-wearing camshafts, sagging camchains, breaking camchain tensioners and other issues. The VFR750 was designed to put that right, and even did away with camchains altogether by using a costly gear train to drive the camshafts. It was dependable, durable, lasted forever, and gained a huge fanbase for its combination of quality and all-round ability: this was the bike that the term sports-tourer was coined for.

We knew the VFR1200F was coming four years ago, and Honda started admitting as much officially two years ago when the V-four concept bike was shown. Since then more and information has been leaked, much of it deliberately, and Honda even set up a special VFR1200F website which not only let us know how soon VFR would be coming, it told us how it would take motorcycle engineering to a whole new level and be the new flagship of Honda`s motorcycle range.

Boy the VFR1200 needed to be good! And good it is... but not good enough to carry all that baggage. Sit astride the bike and several factors are immediately obvious. First is the size: compared with modern superbikes it`s a big machine, and for most people, all the better for that. But it`s a fair stretch to the bars, something of a surprise, then when you move the bike you notice it`s nowhere near as light as a sports bike. The kerb weight in fact is a hefty 589lb (267kg) which is some 100-130lb (50-60kg) heavier than a superbike, although the mass is carried low and centrally. The cockpit is quite spartan compared with some BMWs and Ducatis, with a central rev counter, digital speed on the left and other info on the right, You get ambient air temperature but no distance to empty, fuel consumption and so on.

Fire up the engine and the offbeat burble will be familiar to V-four owners, if deeper than a VFR800. Snick it into first, release the clutch and the bike pulls as strongly as you`d expect... the surprise is the way the growl changes dramatically to a blood-stirring snarl as 5,000rpm is reached, and another 1000rpm later the power surges in too. It`s easy to forget this is a 170bhp (173PS, 127kW) motor, almost as much output as a BMW K1300S , but then that`s because the Honda lacks the blast of speed that distinguishes the BMW. The Japanese bike has less torque in depth and carries more weight, I`d estimate as much as an additional 44lb (20kg) as BMW claims 560lb (254kg) with a full tank, where Honda`s higher kerb weight includes only 5 litres of fuel. The K 1300 is no lightweight either... The motor is impressive otherwise though, and while it doesn`t have that leave-it-in-top-gear thrust of the BMW K1300GT , where sixth is all you need, it is still strong enough to minimise cog swopping.

The transmission itself works well, although a couple of times I was reminded of an old Honda trait when during very hard acceleration the VFR dropped out of second gear into a false neutral as the revs closed in on the red line. And while that's a lot of power to unleash, it`s definitely dulled by the bike`s weight.

The upside of this mass is outstanding ride quality. The bike is unfazed by all kinds of surfaces including the very rough and bumpy, and in that respect comfort is very good. You feel a hint of the shaft drive`s mass in a thumping sensation when the suspension is working very hard, otherwise the back end is as unnoticed as any chain drive, with no hint of the vertical pitching with power on and off once associated with shaft drive. This is cited as a significant technological advance for the Honda, but in fact BMW and Moto Guzzi with its CARC system have been doing the same very effectively for some time, by the use of clever transmission and suspension geometry.

A shame though that the seat isn`t especially comfortable. It feels good at first, being very broad and supportive, but after an hour or so you find yourself shifting about a little to keep comfy. It`s not bad, and to be fair after a full day it didn`t feel any worse than that, but there are better seats out there, notably the K 1300 GT`s. But comfort`s further compromised by the vibration. This peaks at 4,500rpm where the tingles at the back of the fuel tank can buzz your sensitive parts in a most interesting way.

You might even consider this a bonus, but it`s distracting, and with some tingles coming through the bars too, really not becoming of a supposedly smooth V-four. In thicker clothing such as I was wearing on the mostly wet press launch it wasn`t such an issue, but in jeans or thin leathers it can be disconcerting. And after a full day, especially as this happens at a typical cruising speed of 85mph (135kph) or so, it starts to become irritating. At higher revs some of the vibes come through the footrests too.

No such annoyance from the screen though, which delivers the air flow to the rider in a creamy smooth flow with no hint of turbulence or buffeting, and this applies to tall or short riders. It`s very impressive and clearly a lot of time has been spent on the bike`s aerodynamics. The fairing in fact features additional outer skins which enhance stability and keep the airflow smooth, while the heat from the engine is very well managed with little of this reaching the rider.

Stability is the dominant feature of the bike. Even at very high speeds it feels absolutely rock solid, as reassuring as any motorcycle I`ve ridden in fact (and we`re talking about speeds approaching 160mph - 260kph). But that`s the upside of the weight and conservative chassis geometry, the penalty is lethargic direction changing. The VFR demands a lot of bar effort to change direction, and while it`s predictable and accurate too, no way is it sharp or a quick turner. If this is a sports-tourer, when you`re trying to hustle it down a sinuous back road you`ll be thinking the emphasis is definitely biased towards the tourer side of the spectrum.

The suspension itself copes very well with a sportier rider, soaking up bumps and keeping the wheel under control with panache, but after a good go at a demanding back road, you wouldn`t call this sporty even like the VFR800 was, it`s just too heavy.

Then the fuel warning light will come on anyway. The VFR has a 4.1 gallon (18.5 litre, 4.9 gallon US) capacity, and at the 40mpg (14.6km/l, 7.06l/100km, 33.3mpg US) we were achieving in mixed riding (with some pretty fast going), that`s a mere 164 miles (264km) to completely dry. In practice then you`ll be looking for a refill at 130 miles, or if you`re in a remote area with fuel stations 50 miles apart, at as little as 80 miles. This is a major handicap for any bike setting itself up as a tourer and I know very well that this one factor alone will turn potential customers towards other bikes such as BMW`s K 1300 series, older machines like the FJR1300 Yamaha or looking eagerly towards Ducati`s Multistrada with its claimed 250 miles (400km) and more range. I`m sure gentler riding on the VFR will reap rewards, and quite possibly many riders will see 150 miles pass before the warning light interrupts their enjoyment, but this kind of bike needs a good 200 mile range to be convincing as a tourer.

That`s even a reason why the VFR1200 won`t cut it as a Blackbird replacement. To be fair Honda is not pitching it as such, but with less weight and a better range it could easily have filled that gap in Honda`s line-up. But you can`t go as fast or as far as a Blackbird with the VFR, so those owners will be looking elsewhere.

The optional luggage compounds the problem. In some respects the design of the panniers and top box are very impressive, with their hidden hinges, lack of external lips and one-key operation. But only one pannier is big enough for some (and not all) helmets, while the top box looks more like a scooter box than a big sports-tourer one: it holds one helmet but not a lot else. There`s some 30 litres less total storage in these than the official Honda luggage for the Blackbird, so two-up touring will mean very careful packing indeed, or leaving the passenger at home.

The passenger is at least well accommodated, with plenty of room and nothing interfering with leg room, although I didn`t try long distance comfort so no comment on that.

There might be some unwanted rider-pillion helmet bumping though, as the brakes can be a little grabby. The feel is typical of six-piston callipers - the VFR has a pair up front, with front-rear brake linking - in that the initial application can feel sharp, with the front of the bike dipping. There`s plenty of power and a more progressive action after that, but conventional four-piston callipers feel better.

The looks of course are entirely subjective, but there`s no doubt the bike has considerable presence. I happen to really like the VFR's appearance, I think it`s a handsome, cleverly styled machine with great simplicity which pushes forward motorcycle design just as the Fireblade has. The swimming pool deep gloss of the paint helps too, but the overall effect is that this is a bike people are going to notice, and most I think will admire too.

It`s beautifully made then and clever in many respects too, but the sports side of its character suffers for the weight, while the touring angle is hit by the seat comfort and the fuel range. VFR owners will find it a better bike than the machines they trade in, but the canny ones will be looking at different tank badges, and maybe for the first time in their lives, risking Italian when the Multistrada appears in showrooms in March.

After all, at £11,600 the VFR1200F is slightly more costly than the base model Multistrada and up there too with BMW`s K 1300 S and K 1300 GT, as well as several older but very competent touring or sports-touring bikes. Or how about a fabulous Triumph Sprint ST at £8,849 with ABS? It`s got a 4.4 gallon (20 litre, 5.3 gallon US) tank too, with better economy, and it`s nearly 60lb (26kg) lighter too.

£11,596 on the road, available from February 21

.

Honda VFR1200F review Honda VFR1200F test VFR 1200 F

Additional Images: 

playlord
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Sure, I know kev is rightly sensitive about plagiarism hence my limited quotes but hopefully it is appropriate to post the links:

http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/honda/2010-honda-vfr1200f-review-...

http://www.ultimatemotorcycling.com/2010_Honda_VFR1200F_Review

kevash
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Posting links is absolutely fine, in fact everyone encourages that as it's taking people to the originals. It's generally not a problem either to have a thumbnail picture and quote as well as a link. It's only copying features wholesale or large chunks of them which is wrong.

rocca
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Thanks Playlord. That DCT sounds like a real blast, doesn't it? I'm also very impressed by the journalist's name - Arthur Coldwells - which has a ring of solid and dependable credibility to it. In fact, short of resurrecting T. E. Lawrence, that site seems to have some of the best-named bike journalists ever working for it. They've got Alan Techhio (technical features?), Raven Payment, Bill Miko and Ron Lieback (I'm not making this up, and assume they're not, either).

roundincircles
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Honda today announce the early launch of the VFR DCT ( auto box ) to meet new EU Motorcycle Directorate legislation for the 2011 model year.

New motorcycles will have to duplicate brake and gear change pedals both side of the motorcycle. This is as a result of an extensive research project, commissioned by the EU, into what is an average rider. Safety Organisations and minority groups were also consulted.The main conclusion was that the avearage biker has less than two legs ,unfortunately due to a number of one leg riders. Thus the need for pedal duplication. Additionally boot manufacturers will have to offer seperate left and right boots as well as pairs. Also all Public parking will have to incorporate One Leg Biker Parking Bays (OLBPIBS).

A Honda spokesman said that they 'stand by' their core design phylosophy to develope bikes for the avearage rider and the VFR DCT achieved their goals on all fronts.

It is expected that the VFR DCT will 'walk away' with the Bike of The Year award as one leg journalists sway the vote

The EU Commissioner For Transport, Neil Kinnock, could not be contacted for comment.

chipper
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Joined: 05/08/2009

I think this is possibly one step too many but may weigh heavyly on single minded omnipods. Chipper

silvercub
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Roundincircles, just received news from Pillion Riders Against Numb Knuckles that EU Safety Directive AF1.4.10 is due to be implemented before noon today. This effectively gives pillion riders separate control of steering input (so-called 'rear wheel steer')by means of secondary handlebars, located between pillion & rider. Pillions are fed up with having to blindly obey rider's directions and find that leaning the wrong way into corners isn't a strong enough corrective measure. Most manufacturers are reportedly responding by removing rear pegs, since this is a cheaper option, with the exception of BMW which is currently trialling heated rear grips.

roundincircles
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This link to Trevor Hedge riding his VFR across Australia records his thoughts on the VFR AFTER 12000 klicks. It is informative and he achieved 291km with 13.5 litres of fuel at 110 km/h which he recons equates to 400km on 18.5 litres at 110 km/h

Thats in 40c heat with an Emu keeping up with the bike?

http://www.mcnews.com.au/

Paulvt1
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Joined: 07/03/2009

Picked mine up today. Will keep you informed as to it's strength's and weaknesses.

G4HKS
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Joined: 11/03/2010

Congrats Paul - was out on mine yesterday - some sunshine - hooray! Let me know what you think.

honda1964
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Joined: 22/04/2010

Hi kevin

All has been a very interesting read, since the early posts quite a bit of negativity. But the tide seems to be changing in my mind. Have you had a chance to to try out the bike again. I myself have bought one and must say it is very much a VFR, I was not star struck when I first saw it and could not see myself letting my 800 VTec go. However 2 months after the launch i made the mistake of a test drive and that was that. I never thought it was ugly, other than the Exhaust just different, but the looks have grown on me. I owned a lot of bikes, my 800 topped them all, and now the 1200 tops what i thought was almost the perfect bike.

Thanks for listening

Paul

kevash
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I think inevitably the initial focus was on those aspects of the bike which surprised by not being up to scratch, like the weight and the fuel range, but the build quality and sophistication then made their mark when people rode it.

Personally I've always liked the looks of the bike and I think it has a very strong presence, and it does feel good generally to ride. For some riders the weight and range are deal breakers, but people's priorities are different and others don't mind those, in which case the bike comes across much better. But you have to wonder how much better the bike's reception would have been if it was lighter, with a 200 mile range and had an electronics package option which was up there with BMW's and Ducati's.

The fact that it isn't is disappointing, especially in light of Honda's hype that it would change motorcycling, but that doesn't make it a bad bike, only one that didn't match the very high expectations Honda itself set for it. It's not as if a bigger range and less weight was going to put anyone off, but getting them wrong certainly has with some.

Paulvt1
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I agree up to a point. OK, i've only done 300 miles so far on mine, so these are initial findings. I love the chassis, engine, brakes and the shaft drive. It's a bit heavy, but solid and utterly unflappable. The tank is too small - unfortunately. Approx 110 miles before the last bar flashes, rode on until 135 miles, then the tank took 16.90 lts. So probably 150 miles before you are pushing it. It means i'll have to go back to splash and dash type riding. Annoying - but livable.
As for the electronics. No thanks. I like the robust "simplicity" of the VFR (if a 175 bhp, fuel injected, ABS Shod, shaft drive monster can be called simple).
I am interested in the DCT version, but i don't think i really need it, as 3rd and 4th are all the gears you need on the twisties.
Love it to bits and hopefully will usher in a new era of V4 bikes from the big H.

G4HKS
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Joined: 11/03/2010

Glad to see you are enjoying it Paul. Where in the UK are you?

honda1964
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Joined: 22/04/2010

G4HKS wrote:
Glad to see you are enjoying it Paul. Where in the UK are you?

Fife Scotland

G4HKS
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Joined: 11/03/2010

Oh! I was going to say if you fancy meeting up for a ride.. I'm in Surrey! I guess we would both put some miles on the machines even if we met half way.

Paulvt1
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Looks like there are 2 Pauls'. I'm in Wolverhampton. My stomping grounds are mainly Wales, when work allows.
Took the VFR into work for the first time. Some of the younger lads reckon it's "Bad, Phat and Bitchin"
I nodded in agreement...They made me feel old.

honda1964
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G4HKS wrote:
Oh! I was going to say if you fancy meeting up for a ride.. I'm in Surrey! I guess we would both put some miles on the machines even if we met half way.

I think a 1200 get together should be on the cards to mark the first year. Ace cafe something like that.

AJB
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Joined: 01/05/2010

Excellent site this - balanced articulate comments.

I have test ridden the VFR1200 twice. The first time (30 minutes that the dealer allowed) I was unimpressed. The second time I had it for about 90 minutes and I found it extremely easy to ride on fast country roads.

However - I have a K1300GT SE (and am very familiar with the S too) and for me the GT is significantly more punchy for sporty riding and much better suited to two up touring.

The Honda looks great in my opinion. Needs more goodies (proper computer for a start). Seat is uncomfortable after an hour. Pillion is a bit perched. Excellent gearbox and shaft drive. Quite expensive for what you get.

I might take one on an overnighter and see how it does as an all day bike. Can't see it outclassing a 13GT though.

For me the VFR does not get close to the sports bike tag. I also have a Ducati sports bike and the VFR, being much heavier and generally bigger, is simply not agile enough. But as an all round compromise "do most things" bike, I think it may well be excellent if one can live with the fuel range.

AJB

Paulvt1
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I might have another go on the K13GT this year. I had a go on one last year and was quite impressed. However, as i only have the one bike, the VFR12 is a good balance for me between sport and tour.

mikemc
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Kevin. I enjoy your reviews and have done one of my own from an ordinary riders` perspective. I got a bit carried away so if you are losing the will to live after a third of it then skip to the conclusions.

BMW K13S v Honda VFR1200

For anyone like me who is unsure which to buy here is a layman`s view of the bikes.

I am ready for a new bike for a mixture of commuting into London, lots of filtering, trips abroad and some long distance motorway travel. The choice after a lot of research came down to the VFR1200 or K13S.

So, read all the reviews and the choice was obvious buy the BMW.

However, reviews don`t give the whole picture; after all it`s not me riding the bike. No doubt the reviewers are all brilliant riders unlike me, been riding a bike for 40 years, still crap! I am influenced by what reviewers say and on the whole they do a great job but a bike is very subjective. It`s not just what the reviewers` write it`s also what the guys down the pub say what they thought the reviewers wrote. One piece I saw, not sure if it was a reviewer or a comment on a forum said,” At the extreme edge of grip, just when the front tyre is about to break away the VFR steering becomes very vague.” Yes quite. Well if my front tyre came anywhere near breaking away I would have soiled myself long ago and would not be concerning myself with vague or otherwise steering, rather I would be concentrating on converting to the Catholic faith. Anyway on to my review.

Arranged to test the two bikes and tried to go at it with an open mind but was still prejudiced by the reviews so I wanted to favour the BMW.

Had a 4 hour 150mile test ride on both on a dry day on a mixture of motorway, twisty lanes and heavy traffic. The results were:

Looks
Well beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and I think they both look great. The BMW is probably a prettier bike but I rather like the macho look of the Honda. Someone said the Honda was ugly but I`ve seen his girlfriend so have to discount his opinion. However bird plumage is important in the mating ritual and if the majority of your species prefer the BMW then I have to go with that
Overall BMW.

Equipment
The BMW has a lot more toys. Gear assist, on board computer, electric adjustable suspension, and it does appear impressive. But after 4 hours riding?
Gear assist- only works on the upshift-oops. Not sure I want it as I get confused easily, does make a lovely noise though!
Adjustable suspension- Yes nice but after about an hour I just left it in the mid setting all the time.
Computer- Lots of things to look at while you run into the back of white van man who just saw a girl in a short skirt. However you can have tyre pressure indicators on the BMW and I do like that.
Overall BMW

Ride
Firstly both bikes are far more capable and powerful than my ability to test them. The VFR in spite of the non adjustable suspension was the better ride and handled different surfaces better than the K13 or maybe I had the K13 on the wrong setting, that`s the trouble with buttons you just keep playing with them.
Overall Honda

Cornering
Both bikes are fantastic, at first I found the VFR to be quite hard to initiate into the turn and ran out of road on a roundabout, the K13 was an easier bike to ride. After I got used to the VFR then I was happy on both but the VFR is definitely harder to get used to. If it had only been a 40 minute test I would not have liked the bike. I did like feel of the VFR as I felt more part of the bike.
Overall equal

Control
I found the VFR to be a bit snatchy on the throttle and again the K13 was initially easier to control in traffic and much more smooth. However after 100 miles I had got used to the VFR. Having come from a 1000cc 4 I had to get used to a V4.
Overall BMW

Comfort
K13 was a more comfortable seat but I really liked the riding position of the VFR. You can make a seat more comfortable but you`re a bit stuck with the riding position so I favour the VFR.
Overall Honda

Filtering
Once I had mastered the jerky throttle then the VFR was best as it seemed narrower and I could slot it through the very small gaps around the Wandsworth one system easier. The back brake on the VFR was fairly useless but this may have been poor adjustment on the dealers part.
Overall Honda

Brakes
Both have awesome brakes, the VFR seemed a bit more idiot proof and forgiving. On test the K13 has a much shorter stopping distance but they both seemed capable of regurgitating my lunch. I think both have a stopping distance way shorter than the guy behind you on the telephone.
Overall equal

Comfort at speed
No contest. The VFR at 135 MPH felt like I was in a Porsche, no buffeting at all and felt rock solid, I was tempted to go faster as I felt so safe and secure, absolutely brilliant, I have never ridden a bike that was so stable at that speed. The K13 was great at 135 but I did not really want to go any faster, it just didn`t feel so safe, this was probably just because wind noise and buffeting made it seem faster than it was.
Overall Honda

Overall Speed and power
Overkill on both bikes, never got near to fully opening the throttle on either of them as they hit warp factor 10 before you know it. In the real world most people are never going to use all that power, but it is nice to have it. I noticed at 4500 rpm you got quite a bit of vibration through the tank directly onto the man parts on the VFR, not unpleasant but noticeable. I was riding in jeans not leathers. (Well except for the thong)
Overall equal

Weight
Again on paper the K13 is about 20Kg lighter than the VFR but I could not notice this either riding them or pushing them around my garage. I am not likely to be carrying them anywhere so the weight issue is irrelevant. You can tip the VFR over more that the K13 without dropping it when stationary. The centre of gravity seems lower on the VFR.
Overall equal

Accessories
The K13 has all sorts of nice toys but I probably would not have them. I don`t need a fancy on board computer as I have a sat nav which has all that stuff on it if you want it, plus you can update it by buying a new one instead of changing the bike. Both have the essentials, ABS, heated grips. But I would like a tyre gauge. The panniers on the VFR are really well designed and look great, far nicer than the K13. I am happy with the size as I do not carry a pillion.
Overall equal

Tank
The VFR has had a lot of stick over this and it would be nice to have a bigger one, (Well yes) but the K13S is only 0.5 litres bigger so on this comparison it is no big deal.
Overall BMW

Price
They are both expensive bikes but once you spec them up to a compatible level there is only a few hundred pounds in it, so not an issue. If you are going to spend around £13K on a bike you`re not going to compromise on what you want for that amount. The K13 is slightly cheaper but over 3 years you might save that in service costs.
Overall equal

Sound
Both bikes were a bit too quiet for my liking. I prefer a good bit of noise especially when filtering through dense traffic; it gives the moron with the earphones a sporting chance as he wanders across the road in front of you. It`s bad enough getting insect body parts on your fairing.
As soon as the VFR hits 5000rpm it unleashes the banshee who screams and wails in a most gratifying manner.
Overall Honda

Conclusions
Firstly, I wrote this review partly for myself to help me to decide which bike to buy. I have not changed any of the above since making my decision as then it would not be an unbiased review. (It is however a very subjective review.) I would be very unlikely to admit to anyone, least of all myself, and certainly not my wife that I had spent our hard earned £13,000 on the wrong bike. Have you any idea how bloody hard it is to earn £13,000 after Tax, NI and all the other deductions? Of course you have, unless you`re a politician. As it is election time I asked my MP if he would pay for my new bike. I reasoned that the government should buy it for me as if they didn`t I might get depressed, obese, anti-social or perhaps all three and it would be a direct violation of my human rights. Like Hank Williams he hasn`t answered yet.

So the result on my 15 criteria are:
VFR1200 5
K1300s 4

So which one did I buy as the result was so close? Was I swayed by the BMW showroom excellent coffee or the comfortable seats in their waiting room? No I bought the VFR, so everything I now say is totally biased.

Mike

Paulvt1
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I suppose i could have gone for the K13S instead of the VFR - but i just don't trust BMW any more. They are relying on the dealer to put right too many issues that shouldn't occour on a modern machine that costs 7 grand - let alone 13 grand +.
But hey! They have character...

dogfm
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Joined: 24/12/2009

Paulvt1 wrote:
I suppose i could have gone for the K13S instead of the VFR - but i just don't trust BMW any more. They are relying on the dealer to put right too many issues that shouldn't occour on a modern machine that costs 7 grand - let alone 13 grand +.
But hey! They have character...

Collected my new VFR1200 from Kent Motorcycles today. Great bike, I expected to keep a vtec VFR for many years but once I'd test rode the VFR1200 I knew that I'd been wrong.
I was offered a great part exchange price on the vtec so the cost to change wasn't too big a leap and allowed me to bring the purchase forward!
On the test ride I had my wife pillion but today rode the bike home solo, I took the long way home along the south coast & then home to Essex so a good mixture of roads and traffic. Plenty of power everywhere (even though running in) but good fun too.
Whilst the BMW K bikes look good on paper and are plenty powerful I found them to be a bit bland and the ride without a wow factor.

steveaustin
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Joined: 24/07/2010

Honda`s new VFR1200F and BMW`s new-for-`09 K1300S - occupy a similar in-between niche. On one end are liter-sized sportbikes bred on the racetrack, like those in our recent 2010 Literbike Shootout.
Motorcycle Accessories

janets
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Joined: 28/07/2010

My cousins in greece had the same complaints they love having plenty of luggage space and range and all around bad reviews on the bike. My aunt just got a 2010 subaru forester now my uncle is looking for a new bike and i told him not to even consider the honda.

Captain Scarlet
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I finally got to have a ride, of the manual version:

Environmental Factors:
- 25C / Dry / Sunny / Mid-Week / Mid-Morning
- Busy City / Slow & Fast Country Lanes / A-Roads / Motorway
- 42 Miles / 1 Hr / Just Under Half A Tank Of Fuel Used (Instruments Based)
- Normal Riding (Smooth, Patient, Mainly 50 - 90 Mph)

Noticeably Impressive:
- Build Quality
- Torque
- Power
- Smoothness
- Mirrors
- Grab Rails
- Light Steering
- Suspension
- Gearbox
- Balance
- High Speed Stability
- General Ergonomics
- Mass Centralisation
- Low Buffeting
- Unburstable Feel
- Ride Quality
- Daring Bodywork
- Pearlescent Paint
- Discreet Heated Grips Button
- 3 year AA Cover
- 3 year Warranty
- £575 for first 24k Service Plan
- Offered 8-10% Discount For Cash

Similar To Peers:
- Weight
- Seat Comfort
- Vibration
- Wrists Comfort
- Steering Accuracy
- Shaft Performance
- Speed Performance
- Wind Pressure & Noise
- Tyres (BT021R)
- Seat Height
- Clutch
- Brakes

Room For Improvement:
- Snatchy Off/On Throttle Response
- Noticeable Understeer at Low to Overrun Revs
- High Counter-Steering Effort
- Indicator/Horn Reversed Positions
- Too Easily Scuffed Heel Plates
- Tacky Fake Chrome Wheel Nuts
- No Miles Until Empty Indicator
- Dated Clocks
- Ugly Exhaust Canister
- Thin Looking Pillion Seat
- No Traction Control Option
- No ABS Option
- Pricey ( £12,075 RRP - £10,200 in USA; £1,925 Diff)
- Lacking Character (neither boring, nor exciting; marginally clinical)
- Range (18.5L. est. ave. 38 mpg; circa 110/120 low to 145/160 empty)
- Widespread Engine Recall (Tolerances/Swarf; it's a Honda, so no deal breaker)

Generalisations:
- Feels a little more compact (lower/shorter/higher bars) than a K13S
- Hard to ride smoothly just off throttle in low gears
- Town riding requires more throttle feathering than it should do
- Smooth delivery once rolling is great for pillions, but expect potential head-butting around town
- Horn position is great; trouble is, it's where the indicator should be, which is used far more often
- Slightly portly on paper weight is not a problem in use, as it's placed very well indeed
- Parked up provides a nice silhouette and stand out Germanic car type quality
- Seat looks thin, but appears to be gel filled and is comfortable
- Very fast and smooth, with low buffeting and effortless overtaking
- Ride is more arguably more sporty than most of it's rivals, but overcooking will highlight understeer/weight
- Lack of ABS/Traction is no problem on a sunny July day; but come February - an obvious oversight
- Range is not significantly worse than it's competition, but it breaks the threshold of acceptability for many

Conclusion:
Would I buy one? The jury is out. A lack of traction control on a motorcycle that is by Honda's own admission an 'exciting 170 bhp Road-Sport' machine, is just not acceptable nowadays. At 267 kilo ready to rock, ABS as standard for wet and slippery Blighty might also of been a worthwhile option, if not standard, feature too. The range is frankly laughable if you live in a decent sized country like the States, or where petrol stations are often few and far between, like mid to north Wales. But, would probably be an acceptable compromise for riding in England, for most of the time. Either improved economy or better still and extra two litres of fuel would have gone a long way as a comforter to most. The bike doesn't feel special like an S1000R and it doesn't feel giddy-up fun like a Multistrada 1200 either. But like a K13S/GT, it is beautifully built and (irrelevant of a significant numbers in batch engine recall) that engine does feel like it would go on forever; in fact much longer than the Ducati and most probably the BMW's will too. Ownership would in all probability prove to be as painless a prospect as asking you to join her in an early night. It lacks a certain whop-bop-a-lu-bop pizzazz; there's certainly no wham-bam-boom, or anything tangibly electrifying in terms of rider involvement/experience, so it's unlikely to induce wood in a 1198R riding Ducatisti. But then again there's very much to be said for 'isn't it nice when everything simply works' as Honda would say. And when it hurts to blow that kind of dough on a bike and you need it to remain more reliable than her indoors moaning at you for not listening to her for the umpteenth time, then it's a kind a perfect solution. Whether it will find it's natural home in the Pan (VFR1200'T') who knows. I suspect it will; but for some reason it seems that will now not be a 2011 machine. The Pan will (allegedly) feature stop/start and cylinder shutdown management systems apparently (Honda's answer to improving range from a smaller tank?), but I think most owners would simply find a larger tank, non too-obtrusive ABS and intelligent traction control features far more appealing than how clever the mighty H can be in other areas less important to the actual owner. Perhaps they think we'll all want hybrid auto's in the future? As if some of their bikes weren't dull enough already. I haven't really come to a conclusion, because there isn't one. If I decide my next bike has to last me ten year or more, it's a far safer bet than a pass-back to an England goalie. I do love everything that the superbikes can do, but I'd like to make it to my next birthday with license and life intact, plus gain some easy-now all day comfort and practicality to balance out the obvious compromises elsewhere. In this respect, it's still hard to ignore that the tall-rounders have truly come of age - with new models like the Super-Tenere arriving and others in the pipeline such as the Aprilia RXV1200 (v-twin) and possible 1200 v4 Varadero replacement (again not expected to be released in 2001), and apparently even a water-cooled boxer GS for 2012 (the other manufacturers can then place their heads back in rheir hands again). And so for me personally, the Multistrada 1200 is most probably still sitting up at the top of the shortlist for now. That's an even more expensive bike that one; but equally, it doesn't lack for abs, traction control, electronic Ohlins, keyless ignition and steering lock, panniers and heated grips, yadder... whilst adding a bit of wahey too.

Paulvt1
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Err..it's got ABS as standard..

Captain Scarlet
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Yes of course it does. I have absolutely no idea why I wrote that, other than it's been a particularly busy and bad week. I am officially a twonk! :-D

Paulvt1
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It also has an ejector seat..

..and lasers.

i love me some frikken lasers...

Captain Scarlet
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Some lay-schores you say... ooh, behave - yeah, baby!

G4HKS
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Great thread this - just seems to go on and on! After buying my new VFR in May I then trapped a nerve at the top of my spine and couldn't ride my new bike!! BUGGER.

Really liked reading the recent posts above and I have managed to take the machine out for a few 100 mile rides over the last weekends, (with right hand fingers tingling and arm going numb - nothing to do with the bike. Still very impressed and it seems others are too. Agree about the slightly snatchy throttle and indeed the foot rest guards that were marked on mine after the first 50 or so miles. Will be calling the dealer next week, obviously a weak spot and one that shouldn't be showing signs of wear this quickly.

Captain Scarlet
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"Agree about the slightly snatchy throttle and indeed the foot rest guards that were marked on mine after the first 50 or so miles. Will be calling the dealer next week, obviously a weak spot and one that shouldn't be showing signs of wear this quickly"
... the curse of many modern efi bikes it seems is surging or snatchy delivery (or both) at slow revs or on/off transitions. By the end of my ride I was much smoother with the bike in this respect. It was just noticeably that I was having to feather the clutch more around town centre manoeuvres than I would have expected to. It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, adjusting my riding style slightly to suit, and lets face it half the bikes now are released with sub standard fuel maps which are periodically upgraded and downloaded to customer bikes at their next cyclic service. I fully expect Honda to be improve the base map, and whilst I don't think the trait will completely disappear, it will in all probability improve to make it's use more fluid. Many boots nowadays, like Sidi's, often have metal heel plates. I can imaging that anyone who wears these and sometimes rides the ball of their feet on peg ends through bends might scuff the kick plates. I.e. that one might be more of an observation than a genuine Honda design fault. It's annoying though on what is IMPO the best finished production machine that you can currently buy. I think you'd likely get some replacements under warranty. I'd then suggest that you immediately cover them with some clear fablon or similar plastic film coating to protect the surface a little better. If that doesn't work, then simply hammerite the buggers! :-D

Captain Scarlet
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'Del' button for accidental double-postings please Kev! :-D

Captain Scarlet
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'Del' button for accidental double-postings please Kev! :-D

G4HKS
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Thanks for the response. My boots haven't any metal side plates and every other bike I have owned in the last 6 years (there's been a few!) hasn't suffered from the wear visible on the Honda. If there was a way of easily uploading an image I would place one up here..

Troppo
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Greetings all from Tropical Oz.

I have been reading this thread (and Kev's excellent review) from the start.

Like most on here, I'm a bit of a bike whore. I have owned just about all types of road bike.. From a V-Strom, to a FZ1, to a Blackbird, to a K6 Gixxer to an FJR (now there was a culture shock...) to a ZX14 to my current B-King.

A good friend of mine is about to replace his VFR800 with a 1200, and it got me thinking....

The B-King is a magnificent beast, with a truly superb engine and good handling/poise for a bike of her size. However, she is a naked, and a pain in the proverbial to tour on. (If only Suzi made a ST version of the Busa.....).

I have narrowed my new bike search down to the VFR, the MS1200 and the beemer RT.

I have sat on the VFR, and I just love the styling and build quality...the bike really speaks to me.

The MS looks like a hoot and the beemer is an arm chair with built in MP3 player and engine...but having never owned anything but Jap road bikes, I'm still rather leery about Ducati and BMW quality/reliability (yes, yes, I know that many owners have done many k's on them, but.......)...

Hard to argue against the big H's reputation for reliability....my XX never missed a beat.

The one thing that I do not like about the VFR (without even thumbing the starter) is the riding position - one of the things that attracted me to the King was its upright ergos.

After much digging about on the net, I see that Heli have some new bars for the VFR (50mm up and 25mm back). 25mm lower footpegs are also available. Apparently, when used in combination, these make the bike very comfortable for the long haul.

These days we all personalise our bikes....the aftermarket offers solutions to most shortcomings (like ergos, luggage etc).

The much talked about lack of VFR fuel range is really a non issue here in Australia (yes, really). Even on the Nullabour plain, the max distance between fuel stations is only 190 k's. A VFR was ridden around Oz recently, and the pilot didn't have to get off and push...not even once...

My mate and I will be test riding the VFR this weekend.

I will take everyone's comments on board - will pay particular attention to throttle/FI response, heat on R shin and vibrations at back of tank.

Aussie dealers have already started to discount the VFR.

G4HKS
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Hi Troppo

Well I wish you all the best for your ride this weekend. I have also noticed the heat blasting onto my right shin and it does get pretty hot!

They are sort of discounting it over here too - in the Sunday Times there is a large advert from Honda GB "giving away" £1750GBP's worth of over-priced luggage, rack and heated grips. That probably means that they haven't found enough wombats to pay at least double the price they were worth in the first place (apologies to those of you who did,but if it makes you feel any better, I paid at least double for the stupid "genuine" Honda fit SatNav from Garmin that hasn't even got Blutooth!), or, it is a way of discounting their almost flagship model without being totally obvious...

Still enjoying mine but wish the BMW S1000R wasn't quite so extreme - I do like BMW....

roundincircles
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Where are the VFR's. Just been 3000 plus miles around the Alps and Dolomites, saw 10,000 Gs's, no exageration,5 MTS's and Zero VFR's. It must be serious for Honda, a great engine in need of a bike.

G4HKS
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Nice to know my VFR is more unique than the run of the mill other machines on the road. Honda are struggling selling the things - look at the figures. Since they jacked the prices up they have almost stopped. They were expensive to start off with.

Troppo
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Ha ha!

Do I detect a small amount of cynicism there, OM!

:-)

Hmmm, if you find the R shin hot over there in the freezer, it will be even hotter over here in the oven...

Will check that one out closely.

Yes, I have ridden an S1000R with all the goodies...wow! Pity about the ergos - they can be fixed (like most 'problems'), but it would be annoying to tour on.

Re the overpriced luggage...yes, I would go the Givi route, I think - I have seen a 1200 with Givis. Not as nice as the Honda stuff, but more practical.

Shall report back.

73

Rod
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I am doing a five day bike tour in Japan in a couple of weeks time (there on business but fitted this into the plan !) Did the same last year & rented a KTM 990 SMT, great bike. This time I have rented a VFR 1200. The trip will be mainly on mountain roads, but with motorways there & back. It will be an interesting comparison of bikes, as I have a Multi 1200S & did an Alps tour on that in July, which was perfect.......
Can any VFR owners tell me what the recommended tyre pressures are for solo riding (as stated in the hand book).....it's something that might need to be checked on a rental bike.
Thanks for your help.

dogfm
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Front 36, rear 42
I got one with the intention going to Scotland (saw another one there too) - so I guess this year we were all seeing how it handled in the wet with no traction control. I bought it with the overpriced luggage but without overpriced satnav.
The bike is great and handled myself, wife & luggage there & back- nearly 2,000 miles in a week. No complaints about comfort, range or handling in the wet.
The only complaint I have is overpaying by the amount of the recent £1,675 which came into play shortly after I took delivery!
Bike magazine had Ron Haslam take it round the track- he seemed happy enough, he altered the suspension settings by increasing rear preload by 4 clicks & a smidge more damping. But for exhaust clearance issues he apparently said he could win a club race on it! Mind you he is rather good.

Vifferownerdownunder
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G'day to all,
Having just come across your site, and after reading everything posted on the VFR12 I feel I had to slap my coin on the bar top and have my say on this testy subject. I live in the Blue Mountains, 80k,s west of Sydney New South Wales Australia and have been riding 2 wheeled machines for around 35 yrs now and will never stop until such time as I don't remember my own name! I purchased my VFR12 2 months ago after a lot of research and about 8 test rides at different dealers(so as to get different viewpoints from the expert salesmen who all seemed to be about 12 yrs old, and to satisfy myself that the big bucks added up to a big smile on my dial). This bike is magnificent!!! I traded in my excellent 2001 Blackbird and 600RR fun bike to make the purchase and have been more than happy with my decision. Over the New Year break I took my gleaming red machine on a 2000klm test ride to the south coast and then into the Snowy Mountains ( it's high summer here) to break her in, and avoid the test cricket debacle :-) and I have to say it's the best bike I have ever ridden full stop. Not only was the performance on the open road mindblowingly exceptional but when I did have to force myself to pull her over for a rest and some fuel(which we all have to do from time to time right guy's) crowds of people would come over and want to ogle the red machine and tell me how lucky I was for owning it. The deep snarl from the V4 mill when I had to often overtake 10 campervans in a row and bunches of Harley riding wankers who were holding up my progress was worth the money spent alone!
All this with my panniers and top box stuffed full of crap I knew I only needed half of( this was only to test how she handled with more weight)which she accomplished with grace and surefootedness(is that a word?. Lets face it, all this talk about more luggage space really is ridiculous, it's a motorcycle, you just need to know how to travel lighter. The VFR may be 267kgs but when you let the clutch out for the first time all that mass seems to disappear and the bike is a joy to ride and feels nimble and powerful. I am only 5'8 and weigh 75kg and I can handle this motorcycle with ease. It's a beautiful bike to look at as well, fantastic finish and quality build. I for one am a big fan of the VFR 1200F! the only thing that might improve this bike is it's duel clutch brother, which I am determined to have a test ride on soon. To those of you who make your decisions on which bike to buy based on someone else`s ride of the machine I say get out there and ride the bike yourself, you may just be surprised at what you find.

roundincircles
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Respect is due. 8 test rides says it all. You snare a bike that meets your needs and then tell prospects to go out there and test ride. That's the only way to buy a bike and minimise surprises despite what everyone else spouts!

Regarding the lack of luggage space, no problem - 10 day trip, one pair of underpants and 9 panty liners, job done, practical solution.

kevash
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roundincircles wrote:
RRegarding the lack of luggage space, no problem - 10 day trip, one pair of underpants and 9 panty liners, job done, practical solution.

Too much detail there...

silvercub
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Saw an ad for ex demo Viffer in Motorcyclenews and as luck would have it, the dealer is only 20 miles away. Popped in this morning, when all was quiet and business slack(theirs & mine too!).

The salesman let me ride it 'for as long as you like sir'.
And it needed a fair bit of time to get used to the long wheelbase, bucketloads of torque and its bulk, compared to a midrange Italian v-twin.

After 2 hours in the saddle, my inner dialogue was running very much along the lines of the 'try it before you knock it' contributors above. It did feel quite special and the view from the bridge (conservative dash notwithstanding) was panoramic one minute, time-distorting the next. Not much rain but cack, slime and potholes to die for, so no opportunity to test tight cornering ability with any degree of commitment (though I suspect that KA is spot on). Long sweepers were a joy and when my recalibration of momentum failed me, the linked brakes effortlessly calmed it all down again.

On the return run, I kept finding reasons to deviate (as you would expect!) until the rain started in earnest and I decided to call it a day.

Long story short, I am won over by its touring (especially 2-up) capabilities and will not be too disappointed if I'm unable to extract every last morsel of its sporty side. I still have the Hyper after all for Yorkshire Moors, Pennines, Wales etc. Fuel range I will put to the test but it can't be worse than the Shiver's 130m to reserve.....can it?

So yes, I talked myself into it but not before extracting a pretty good deal plus discounted panniers. And a year's supply of panty liners, of course, RiC!

The search for the vintage Honda continues.....

Captain Scarlet
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Cubs which are silver. Most have judged it based on (Honda's own defined) expectations levels and it certainly had a lot of lineage to live up to. But judged purely as if it were a brand new model, I'd say you are getting a very high quality and competent machine, from probably the best production engineers there has ever been. Enjoy!

rocca
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silvercub wrote:
I talked myself into it...

Have they stopped making The Bike That Is Four (And Not One)?

Was the BMW shop shut?

At this time of national economic crisis shouldn't you be doing your bit for Thailand by buying a new Triumph?

But most important of all: how many more sleeps until it arrives and what colour is it?

silvercub
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Thanks chaps,

I had the typical wobbly moment after doing the deal. In KA's words "Bikes very often are emotional rather than rational purchases" - I haven't quite worked through in my mind whether it was heart or head. I have a better track record (both meanings!) with the former.

I'll have to revisit Silvercub sophistry that middleweights make the best all round bikes or accept I was right all along and have made a costly error! At which point I will put a tankful in the Tiger.

Five nights and white. How long for you now Captain?

Paulvt1
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I'm still loving mine. get a Bos Carbon can and all doubts will cease. I still think i'll be keeping it long term - unless the rumour about the new RVF is true...

rocca
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It'll be all white on the night.

Just don't look at this photo in the meantime otherwise you might start feeling all conflicted again. It's a fine looking machine in any colour but black/ silver could test the sternest resolve...

(Click on to enlarge.)

silvercub
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Paulvt1 wrote:
I'm still loving mine...

And there was me thinking you were trading it in for a Tiger. You're nearly as big a tart as I am!

Rocca, it's a good job I didn't look at the pic. or I'd have called you a f&$#in' wicked bustard. The demo was available in any colour as long as it's white but it does have a sexy glossy black strip along the top of the tank.

Paulvt1
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That looks bloody good..

Navy Boy
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I must say that the black does look the business. Funny how a colour can make such a difference isn't it?

shuggiemac
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Mz good friend Silvercub - what are you doing? This is no Monkeystrada !

Cingratulations on the new love, I look forward to hearing how you get on.

shuggiemac
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Mz good friend Silvercub - what are you doing? This is no Monkeystrada !

Cingratulations on the new love, I look forward to hearing how you get on.

zzrwood
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Congratulations Silvercub! I hope you have more fun with your new bike than I did - after picking up a new VFR on Christmas Eve it started raining, and never stopped. Just starting to dry out enough to get a ride or two in and I'm loving the bike.

And shuggiemac is right, it isn't a Monkeystrada - but then I paid 60% of the Ducati's price for the VFR - the dealers here are very negotiable on the Honda (probably because its not selling all that well). That might improve considering it just won Bike of the Year in the local magazine, Two Wheels, which has to be a very authoritative publication - seeing as how Kevin is one of their writers.

Cheers from Brisbane, finally above water!

Captain Scarlet
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"How long for you now Captain?"
... Oh you know, when you buy an Italiano bike the term delivery date is somewhat 'fluid'! ;-D Allegedly it will arrive 'sometime' during February, which is most probably a very accurate indicator as far as Ducati are concerned. To be fair I could of had a 2010 model by now. But decided a few extra weeks of general poor weather missed for the latest spec delivery was probably worthwhile. A VFR or Tiger 800 were the only other two bikes that realistically made my personal shortlist. I know what I'm getting with the MTS. I'll naturally get to hear a lot about how T8 riders are getting on via this site. It would be good to hear periodic updates from yourself, zzrwood, etc, as to how you are all getting on with Honda's new'ish flagship. In the interim, enjoy!

silvercub
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Shuggie - you're right of course and this was main reason I was 'conflicted' after doing the deal. It's white - will that do? No, of course not.

However, I have a cunning plan that may link my search for a vintage Honda with a Monkeystrada-ish bike. Follow this link http://www.livablelandscape.org/CYCLES/CL350K0brochure.htm

There will only ever be one Monkeystrada for me - sob - and that is Shuggie's. Everything else will be a pale (yellow) imitation! I anxiously await news of its antics at the Elefantreffen this weekend.

zzrwood - website guru and closet VFR owner. I didn't see that one coming as I thought you + 1 were wedded to BMW tourers. We will doubtless compare notes over the coming months... Meantime, you must follow Shuggie's exploits on the real Monkeystrada - http://www.ashonbikes.com/forum/monkeystrada

I hope you were spared the worst of the floods. Some of the images we've been receiving suggest it's borderline catastrophe. The Ozzies look to be as phlegmatic as us Brits, but without the acid aftertaste!

Cap'n - just scrolled up and perused your screed. Very interesting and pretty objective in the 'key points' section. Difficult to disagree with many of your observations (positive and negative). Useful benchmarks that I'll consider over the coming months & report if I have an audience! Hot shins....is that the sequel to 'Hot Fuzz'?
Or - KA - buzzy gonads, which they do!

shuggiemac
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silvercub wrote:
Shuggie - you're right of course and this was main reason I was 'conflicted' after doing the deal. It's white - will that do? No, of course not.

However, I have a cunning plan that may link my search for a vintage Honda with a Monkeystrada-ish bike. Follow this link http://www.livablelandscape.org/CYCLES/CL350K0brochure.htm

There will only ever be one Monkeystrada for me - sob - and that is Shuggie's. Everything else will be a pale (yellow) imitation! I anxiously await news of its antics at the Elefantreffen this weekend.

Mr Cub, as I write, the Monkeystrada is prepped and ready to go, for an early start in the morning towards the Elefantentreffen. It has been a real saga to get it ready and there have been some big modifications. I hope it makes it as so far I have not had a great deal of luck in the run up. On the plus side the weather forecast for the next three days at the site is good - highs of minus 3 and lows of minus twelve celsius but clear. I am looking forward to it all but I may not be quite so enthusiastic in ten hours time when I am freezing my parts off. I shall keep you updated.

ZZR - I think my Monkeystrada has less value than a set of genuine VFR panniers - cést la vie!

zzrwood
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Looks like I'm out of the closet now silvercub! And thanks for your concern re the floods, we were just on the edge of them but it really has been a major disaster for a huge number of people we know.

Was persuaded to move on from my old but much loved BMW R1200ST by a very good price on the new VFR. Also, while maybe not as much of a new bike whore as some on here (who set a very high standard, mind...), I have been trying to decide between the Multistrada, K1300GT and the VFR for quite a while.

So far the VFR has been pretty impressive, biggest negative to me is a lack of adjustable compression damping - I think the front forks are a little overdamped - particularly for our crap roads. The handling, brakes and power delivery have all really impressed me and, while it certainly is a heavy beast, the weight really does seem to disappear when it gets rolling - it seems to be a very well balanced bike.

Depending on how much I twist my wrist I'm getting around 300km which is adequate, barely. The luggage is a bit small but well executed - only wish they had copied BMW a bit more and enabled the panniers/top box to be opened/closed without needing the key every time. I have added a Bagster tank cover and bag to give total luggage space around what I had on the BMW.

All going well my good wife and I will be shipping it to Barcelona early next year to spend a few months touring Spain, France, Italy, the Alps, England and Scotland - should have a fair idea how good a sports tourer it is after that.

Cheers from Oz.

PS - shuggiemac, firstly, congratulations on the new arrival!
...and secondly I think you are confusing "value" and "cost" regarding the Monkeystrada and the VFR's panniers - I bet you get much more value!

Vifferownerdownunder
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Hey zzrwood,
just have a question for you regarding your VFR, have you noticed wether the flap in your muffler stays open after you have been for a ride and the bike is switched off? I notice mine is open and stays open until I restart the bike. Just like to know if this is normal or wether mine is maybe sticking. My bike has stalled on me a few times and am wondering if this could be the problem.
Cheers.
vifferownerdownunder.

Captain Scarlet
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"Very interesting and pretty objective in the 'key points' section. Difficult to disagree with many of your observations (positive and negative). Useful benchmarks that I'll consider over the coming months & report if I have an audience!"
... Thanks. Always interesting to read your views, so look forward to the further updates from you.

Paulvt1
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Vifferownerdownunder wrote:
Hey zzrwood,
just have a question for you regarding your VFR, have you noticed wether the flap in your muffler stays open after you have been for a ride and the bike is switched off? I notice mine is open and stays open until I restart the bike. Just like to know if this is normal or wether mine is maybe sticking. My bike has stalled on me a few times and am wondering if this could be the problem.
Cheers.
vifferownerdownunder.

I can't really remember which position the flap valve is at rest. I disconnected the actuator cable pretty early on. Nicer sound and seemingly smoother. Now i have a Bos carbon can which is lush.

Vifferownerdownunder
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Joined: 14/01/2011

I know that the muffler flap is supposed to be closed at start up and only opens at somwhere above 4-5ooo RPM, my thinking is that it should then close again when the RPM drops below this level in order to do what it was designed for, so I believe mine might have a problem and be staying open when it should be closed. My bike has stalled on me three or four times now usually when changing down through the gears before coming to a stop such as at traffic lights and once when I was just about to pull into my driveway( engine just died as if I had flicked the engine kill switch) This could be a problem when considering the weight of the bike if you were leant over at very low speed and the engine stops abruptly. If anyone knows if this is normal or not(the flap staying open) or can maybe observe their own VFR's behaviour regarding this I would love to hear from you before I resort to taking it to the workshop. thanks :-)

P.S. It's interesting to note that you have removed the original muffler and it's flap altogether and not mentioned a problem thus far with doing that!! Perhaps this intermittant fault of mine is as simple as crap fuel in the tank. Would still love to hear from other owners how this flap valve performs on their bikes.
Cheers.

zzrwood
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The muffler flap on mine is definitely closed when the bike is not running - you can hear it open around 5500rpm - I think it might be also opened momentarily on startup as well.

I have had the bike stall once on me just as you described - was a VERY hot day and happened when I was coming off the throttle in first gear - only happened the once so far.

The fueling at low speed could be better, but I am finding I'm getting better at riding around it, like the Captain said.

Just back from a short morning run - and enjoying it more each ride.

Cheers from Oz.

Vifferownerdownunder
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Thanks for your response zzrwood,
Maybe we are uncovering a fuelling problem with the vfr at low speed and low gear selected. if any other owners discover the stalling problem please let us know via this post. cheers from OZ also.

silvercub
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Vifferownerdownunder wrote:
Maybe we are uncovering a fuelling problem with the vfr at low speed and low gear selected.

Viffer, etc. It may be that slight adjustment to throttle cable will help. Try this link:
http://www.bikersoracle.com/vfr/forum/showthread.php?t=111483&page=3

Haven't had any problem with stalling yet but only picked the bike up on Monday. The white finish gleamed in the sun until I followed the fresh tracks of a muck spreader for 3 miles!

Further impressions when I've spent more time in the saddle on dry roads. This will definitely be a grower!

silvercub
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zzrwood wrote:
Looks like I'm out of the closet now silvercub! And thanks for your concern re the floods, we were just on the edge of them but it really has been a major disaster for a huge number of people we know.

Blimey zzrwood, no sooner have the floods abated than you are clobbered by a cyclone.

I hope you are bearing up and that the VFR is still standing (with or without garage).

The gearbox really is a peach, the dash a lemon, the engine a mango & passion fruit smoothie. That's my recommended daily intake sorted!

zzrwood
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silvercub wrote:
Blimey zzrwood, no sooner have the floods abated than you are clobbered by a cyclone.

I hope you are bearing up and that the VFR is still standing (with or without garage).

The gearbox really is a peach, the dash a lemon, the engine a mango & passion fruit smoothie. That's my recommended daily intake sorted!

Good info silvercub, I didn't realise that VFR stood for "Very Fruity Ride"... The big question is, what fruit do you think best represents the handling? Hopefully not a raspberry! Also, I have to ask why the dash gets a lemon?

The cyclone was a long way away from us - its almost 2000km to ride to Cairns from Brisbane, where we live. To give you a feel for how big Queensland is, in our recent floods we had an area the size of France and Germany underwater - but that is only about one third of the state. Mind you there's a hell of a lot of not much when you go inland.

But it was a bloody huge storm and we were very lucky to get away without significant loss of life.

Cheers from Oz

silvercub
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zzrwood,

Delighted to hear you were spared. You must lead a blameless existence in Brisbane.

Very Fruity Ride; I like it! Brings back happy memories...

Handling. Hmmm, need a bit more practice on warm & dry roads, preferably on a track. I'd like it to be neutral and agile but I'll settle for firm and assured; adjectives that can't be plucked from a bush or tree. In touring guise it's definitely 'planted'.

Yes, the dash. With your BMW history, I'm sure you must be unimpressed with the frankly piddly buttons either side of the dial, rather than a chunky toggle switch on the 'bars. The information is pretty sparse too and whilst I doubt whether we really need all the info seen on many tourers, the VFR is seriously lacking here.

The design is also drab (though it looks and reads better at night). Current Ducatis provide the benchmark, in my opinion: my wee Hyper has a tactile toggle (ooo errr), with access to and resetting of, all the info available on the viffer and the LCD looks great. Okay, so BMW is still king with the SP2 and the forthcoming 1600 but don't you think Honda has been complacent here? We'll all spend a fair bit of time looking at it, after all.

honda1964
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Joined: 22/04/2010

Well I posted a while back, my update is that I still have the bike after 15 months, still simply brilliant, 470 miles on Scottish roads in one day with no aches and pains and at 47 years old that was a real surprise, easily get 45 mpg and that makes it a very reasonable range for a sports road bike, it was never meant to be a tourer in it's current state. I let my Pan keep that job.

hareynolds
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I have a bad case of MBS (Multiple Bike Syndrome) which has resulted in a garge stuffed with 2 Moto Guzzis (CalVin and LeMans), a 750 Dorsoduro, an Aprilia Futura, a basket case R100, and NOW a VFR1200F.

My daily commuter (in suburban Houston) is the Aprilia Futura, but it is getting long in the tooth and I don't trust it for long trips. I searched for over a year for a successor (nothing can REPLACE a Futura), and chose the VFR over the BMW K1300S for three reasons: ergonomics, quality, and PRICE.

VFR1200Fs are simply NOT selling in the USA, likely due to (a) disgruntlement of older model VFR owners, and (b) some really nasty reviews. Honda has made a big push to give the dealers credits for Demonstrators, apparently thinking that folks will buy one IF THEY RIDE IT (which may be true, in fact). Problem: nobody is riding them.

Consequently, demos are currently available for less than USD 13K, WITH an extended warranty as part of the demo program.

MINE was Demo with 137 miles on it with 24 month warranty for USD 12K + Tax, Title and License (TTL); the out-the-door (all -in) price was USD 13K, or UNDER 8000 Pounds Sterling at current exchange rates. I added Givi bags and a SW Motech rack for under USD 700.

Happy as a clam.
I suppose, though, I am the ideal VFR1200F owner; late 50s, daily rider (except in torrential rain, which we DO get here), mostly urban and suburban riding, in a riding environment (long straight roads of Texas) that demand a very stable motorbike.

ANY Yanks out there who are in this little corner of the Motorbike market owe it to themselves to RIDE ONE, while you still can. At USD 12K, they can't last too much longer.

kevash
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The change in price throws a whole new light on the VFR, for that kind of money people should be snapping them up. zzrwood on here got one for similar money in Australia and if you're in the market for that kind of bike you'd be daft not to. The quality is spectacular, it's sophisticated, fast and does most things very well indeed.

It's a lot smoother than a Futura at low revs too! Not seen one of those around for a while, but I gather reliability wasn't their forté...

hareynolds
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Folks FORGET about the Futura, as it had a relatively short run, but it is literally Italy's answer to the VFR. Ergos are virtually IDENTICAL to the VFR800, but the Futura has the 1000cc mill (~113 hp peak and good torque) that the VFR always SHOULD have had.

The 998 Rotax motor is tuned for torque and a bit clattery, but nearly bulletproof (nobody bothers to check valve clearances, as they never change), and the OEM suspension is quite good. Original owners regularly get 50-100K miles without significant drivetrain work.

The Achilles Heel is the electrics, specifically (a) the rectifier/regulator and (b) wiring harness gremlins (mostly related to corrosion and bad connectors). Ironically, I replaced my regulator with one from a 2009 CBR600RR for $40. Works a treat.

I have TuneBoy for mine, so I've tuned-out the low-end issues (at the expensive of about 2 MPG US in suburban riding; on the highway I get 42-44 MPG US). Right now, the Futura is actually SMOOTHER at low rpms than the VFR.

For commuting, the Futura is a stealth bike with "patina", bags, and surprising performance. The performance shocks the Squids, yet the cops see the "patina" and bags (translation: solid citizen)and just wave me through speed-traps.

Re: VFR1200F Pricing
I missed several nearly-new K1300S's in 2009 for USD 12K -13K, and now the prices are exorbitant. With the VFR1200F demonstrators gradually disappearing, and prices falling, and rumours of Honda discontinuing the bike in the US, I figured I better act quickly; as you say, I'd have been daft not to.

Nowadays, USD 12K is used K1200S territory. Funny how much better the VFR1200F is at a 25% discount.

PS I'm not getting rid of the Futura unless somebody offers silly money for it. The VFR may be a GTB4 Daytona, but the Futura is an old Alfa Roadster.

MP1300GT
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Honda has released a revised VFR1200 for 2012:

1. Larger tank - let's not get too excited yet! While I haven't been able to obtain official figures from Honda, someone on a VFR forum has posted that it is only 0.4 litres larger.
2. Improved torque between 2,000-4,000 rpm.
3. Improved LCD readout info, which among other things, includes all the fuel info you will ever need - consumption, amount left, mileage remaining.....
4. Revised seat
5. 3-point adjustable add-on screen
6. Traction control
7. New colors
8. Tweaked DCT functionality

Cheers.

hareynolds
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Joined: 07/08/2011

One Year Update (just in case anybody cares anymore about the Motorbike We Dare Not Speak Its Name):

(1) I Found Its Niche
The Big Viffer, I discovered purely by chance, is a FAST COMMUTER (tm). (Reminiscent, perhaps of the fast commuter boats, fully crewed of course, that took Wall Street types to work from Long Island Sound in the Roaring '20s).
Europeans won't be impressed, but it's pretty RARE for Yanks to DO THE TON every morning on the way to work. The Big Viffer makes it almost mandatory.

Too heavy for a sport bike, too little range for a touring bike, but Just Right for making that long commute a pleasure. Makes me wish I lived farther away from work.

(2) Screw The Honda Bags
The Givi side cases are bigger, arguably better looking, and many hundreds cheaper.

(3) Change Tyres
Didn't notice which tyres were on Ash's tester, but mine had BrickStones, which constantly fought a smooth turn-in. I replaced with Michelins (Power 2CT front, Road 2CT rear). Problem solved. Not as nimble as the Dorso with Pirelli Corsa IIIs, but just nice.

(4) Flappy Exhaust
So far, I've been too cheap to get a replacement can, so I wired-open the flap. Good enough.

(5) 1st and 2nd Gear Balkiness
I hesitated to get the Bazazz "Z-bomb" dongle to fix this issue, assuming that the low gears were restricted with good reason, say to keep the front wheel on the ground (ie in lieu of traction control). I was wrong, they must have neutered 1st and 2nd for emissions. Just get the Z-Bomb, and Voila! smooth low-speed corners, just like a Real Motorbike.

(6)"Exclusivity"
Oh, no, another TransAlp!
The USA got the Honda TransAlp for only a year or two, then it was YANKED (so to speak) by Honda.
In a year, I have seen NO OTHER VFR1200Fs on the road. None, nort, squat, zero, null set. Starting to feel like I own the Facel Vega of motorbikes, which is not entirely good.