The mar­mite VFR

2002-2013 VFR800F VTEC 152mph 96.0bhp £8499 -£10,500

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Top speed Power

By 2000 the world of mo­tor­cy­cling was chang­ing and no-one was quite sure what di­rec­tion it was go­ing. Ad­ven­ture bikes had be­come de facto sports tour­ers, cou­pling flag­ship tech­nol­ogy and de­cent en­gine per­for­mance with up­right rid­ing com­fort. And while peo­ple can change their minds overnight, man­u­fac­tur­ers take longer to re­spond. The VFR800 was caught in no-man’s land.

The shock news was that the 2002 VFR swapped gear-driven cams for a con­ven­tional cam chain, iron­i­cally claim­ing the same ben­e­fits Honda had cited for us­ing gears 16 years pre­vi­ously: lower fric­tion (and less noise). Honda also in­tro­duced a con­tro­ver­sial vari­able valve tim­ing sys­tem, which wasn’t re­ally vari­able. Up to around 6800rpm, two of the four valves per cylin­der stayed shut, op­ti­mis­ing ef­fi­ciency and the­o­ret­i­cally in­creas­ing torque in the area tra­di­tion­ally com­pro­mised by fixed cam tim­ing. Ap­proach­ing 7000rpm VTEC would switch the mo­tor to four-valve op­er­a­tion, re­sum­ing nor­mal top end per­for­mance.

Price new

The re­sult was a dis­tinct dual char­ac­ter VFR mo­tor, with a no­tice­able step in power and change of ex­haust and in­duc­tion note. It was di­vi­sive among VFR cognoscenti: some thought it added char­ac­ter, oth­ers that it was an un­nec­es­sary com­pli­ca­tion. More ob­vi­ously, the VFR’S looks were sharper and more ag­gres­sive than the pre­vi­ous VFR800FI, but throwover-un­friendly un­der­seat pipes didn’t make a lot of sense for a tour­ing bike. So although, dy­nam­i­cally, the 2002 VFR was in­dis­putably a crack­ing bike, for many VFR fans the val­ues of peer­less engi­neer­ing that per­me­ated ear­lier V4s was fur­ther di­luted. Jon Ri­ley’s VTEC is fast, so­phis­ti­cated, and sweet han­dling; it’s hard to see what peo­ple com­plain about. “It’s my first big bike,” says Jon. “I wanted some­thing comfy, but also good for play­ing on. My in­struc­tor said check out the VFR, but said not to get a VTEC, but I took the plunge any­way be­cause they’re so cheap. It was a steal, and I’ve never looked back.”

VFR800 VTEC ‘Don’t buy a VTEC,’ they said. ‘You’ll hate it,’ they said. Jon Ri­ley’s still smil­ing Un­der­seat cans pro­hib­ited soft pan­niers VFR800F Styling put the sports into sports tour­ing Clocks now fea­ture a trac­tion con­trol icon Mir­ror-mounted winkers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.