QUIKSPIN: Honda VFR800F - Return of a Legend

20 May 2014
 
It’s been a long time coming, but 12 years after the VFR800F was last thoroughly updated, Honda has finally given its sport tourer a new lease of life with some substantial changes. Although the chassis is identical and the V4 engine is unaltered aside from tweaks to the VTEC system, fuel injection and intake funnels, the rest of the VFR is new.  
 
As well as a braced swingarm, the suspension is upgraded with a new fork (although not inverted), while revised wheels, a 7kg weight reduction, side-mounted exhaust and radial-mounted brakes sharpen its focus.  
 
However it is the electrical systems that really set the new VFR apart from the older generations.  
 
Apart from ABS, the VFR now comes with traction control, a redesigned dash, LED lights and heated grips as standard, as well as the option of a quickshifter. The VFR is the first Honda to come standard with a quickshifter – so take that Mr Fireblade! 
 
Honda use a slightly different way of cutting power on the VFR than other manufacturers’ TC systems and when it does kick in, the power reduction is pleasingly gentle. Over slippery pedestrian crossings the TC simply puts a gentle lid on the power, rather than slamming the taps off. Having defined the sports tourer class, it comes as no surprise that the latest version of the VFR is very accomplished both in the bends and on the straights. The new seat is even more padded and the riding position comfortable, with low pegs that don’t compromise ground clearance. The screen is a touch small, but this is a sports tourer after all, which is why pannier mounts are now integrated into the tail unit. 
 
Show the VFR a set of bends and it feels typical VFR. Initially it gives the impression of being a bit long, but this is just a VFR feeling and when you get going the Honda is a very good-handling bike. Rather than super agile like a sportsbike, the VFR is instead steady, controlled and reassuring in the bends, with its emphasis on stability rather than pin-point accuracy, which is no bad thing. 
 
Having waited 12 years for an update, VFR fans will love this model. For over a decade owners haven’t had much reason to upgrade, however this year they have a VFR that is a significant improvement without losing the charm that makes this iconic Honda such a special bike. 
 
I reckon it is the best VFR to date as it manages to blend handling, practicality, comfort and now looks and electronic gadgetry together into one seamless package. 
I could criticise the fact the dash wobbles when you touch it and the horrible TC on/off button, but overall, the level of quality, precision and good old fashioned build quality has won me over. 
 
ENGINE
Configuration V4
Cylinder head DOHC, 16 valves
Capacity 782cc
Bore/stroke 72 x 48mm
Compression ratio 11.8:1
Cooling Liquid
Fuelling EFI
Power 77.9kW @ 10,250rpm
Torque 75.1Nm @ 8500rpm
 
TRANSMISSION
Type Six-speed
Clutch Wet
Final drive Chain
 
CHASSIS
Frame material Aluminium
Frame layout Twin spar
Rake 25?
Trail 95mm
 
SUSPENSION
Front: 43mm conventional forks, adjustable
preload and compression
Rear: Monoshock, adjustable rebound with a
remote preload adjuster
 
WHEELS/TYRES
Wheels Cast aluminium
Front: 17 x 3.5 Rear: 17 x 5.5
Tyres: Dunlop Sportsmax D222
Front: 120/70/17
Rear: 180/55/17
 
BRAKES
Front: Twin 310mm discs, four-piston radial
calipers
Rear: 256mm disc, two-piston caliper
Control: ABS
 
DIMENSIONS
Weight 242kg (wet, claimed)
Seat height 789/809mm
Max width Not given
Max height Not given
Wheelbase 1460mm
Fuel capacity 21.5L
 
PERFORMANCE
Fuel consumption 4.6L/100km
Top speed 240km/h (est)
Contact & sale info
 
PROS
Engine
Build quality
Ease of use
 
CONS
TC on/off switch
Wobbly dash
Low screen
 
 

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