Bags of tal­ent

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Two Wheels -

ac­ces­sories to per­son­alise the bike for long-dis­tance cruis­ing. A set of pan­niers is $1485, top box $792, heated grips $382 and LED fog­lights $329.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The V4 en­gine is the key to the VFR’S ef­fort­less long-dis­tance lope. De­pend­ing on the road and the mood, sixth gear will do the job if fuel econ­omy is the pri­or­ity. Drop it down into third gear and the torque surge be­comes a tsunami.

Ei­ther way, the ride-by-wire throt­tle re­sponse is gel-lube smooth. A trac­tion con­trol sys­tem helps avoid mo­ments on the tar­mac or dirt.

How­ever, the ABS sys­tem can­not be switched off and does not have a sep­a­rate ‘‘ dirt’’ mode.

STYLING

The sig­na­ture Honda head­light de­sign dom­i­nates the front end, with the now-oblig­a­tory ‘‘ ad­ven­ture bike’’ duck bill mounted be­low.

The bike looks slim from any an­gle— even with the pan­niers fit­ted— and you do not feel the 275kg weight un­til you pick it up off the side­stand on a slope.

The dig­i­tal dash has a bar tachome­ter at the top, easyto-read speed, gear po­si­tion in­di­ca­tor and fuel con­sump­tion read­out.

SAFETY

The com­bined ABS links the front and rear brakes to max­imise ef­fec­tive­ness. It works a treat on the road but the in­abil­ity to turn it off earned some scowls.

RID­ING

The launch route took in ev­ery­thing from high­way run­ning to C-grade back roads and moun­tain twisties. Com­fort was never an is­sue with the up­right seat­ing po­si­tion.

VER­DICT

A great long-dis­tance ride, it can match any bike on the bi­tu­men and should hold its own on gravel or sandy roads. The big test will be how it han­dles sin­gle-trail en­duro tracks.

Ver­sa­tile: The pro­duc­tion VFR has wider ap­peal than the Cross­tourer con­cept of 2010

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