The orig­i­nal VFR

1986-1987 VFR750F-G/H 148mph 86.1bhp £3649

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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

Price new

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.”

VFR750FG/H Owner Richard Palmer with his stun­ning 55,000mile VFR750F-G No foam-backed rac­ing di­als here, VFR dash is all mod­ern There’s plenty of grabrail to grab

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