The original VFR
1986-1987 VFR750F-G/H 148mph 86.1bhp £3649
Top speed Power
No mistakes, whatever it costs. Such was Honda’s dedication to restoring their reputation, the VFR750 was said to cost more to make than could be recouped in sales. True or not, Honda certainly cut their profit margin: in 1986 the new VFR750 cost a few hundred quid less than its sporty Yamaha FZ750 and Suzuki GSX-R750 rivals.
The VFR’S engine and chassis technology wasn’t showy but had an impeccable pedigree based on World Endurance and TT F1-title-winning factory RVF race bikes. Precision geardriven cams banished the preceding VF750’S failure-prone chocolate top end. Rods, pistons, rings, valves, springs and crank were strengthened and lightened with techniques from race experience. Internal dimensions
were refined, valve angles optimised, firing interval altered and lubrication improved over the previous motor. The result was 86bhp, 16bhp up on the VFR’S predecessor. It was a huge step up in durability and performance. The extruded aluminium frame and swingarm were also new, with a cutting edge air-assisted antidive fork and Pro-link rising rate monoshock. And the VFR looked different. Honda were obsessed with aerodynamic drag and produced a slippery fairing that still looks modern today. But the first VFR750 wasn’t a pure sportsbike. Honda wanted broader appeal. So while the FZ750 and GSX-R750 won praise for their race-bike performance, the VFR sold as a supreme all-rounder that never went wrong.
The 55,000-mile F-G MCN is riding today is a barn find, only just out of storage. Owner and VFR nut Richard Palmer bought it a few days ago and it’s the first time it’s run. Which it does – amazingly, and testament to the Honda’s durability.
With preparation and preservation they’re just as taut and useable as a modern bike. Owner Richard also has a modified F-G with CBR600 wheels, which he’s had since 1986 and frequently uses to harass modern bikes on trackdays. “I was in the crowd at Donington when Ron Haslam wheeled out a brand new, stock VFR750 and rode it in a Transatlantic Challenge race to a podium spot,” he says. “I went to my local dealer and bought one, immediately. Then Honda borrowed it back to use as a show bike at the Bike Show that year. I’ve kept it ever since.”