HONDA’S CHEAPER V4S

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - MARKETPLACE -

V4 vic­tory, that’s how Honda teased 1980s riders of in­line four motorcycles to con­sider chang­ing their mo­tor­cy­cle habits. Hind­sight is a won­der­ful thing, and it wasn’t un­til the VFR750 ar­rived in 1986 that con­fi­dence was re­stored in the V4 con­fig­u­ra­tion, the rest is his­tory. Honda gave mo­tor­cy­cling a whole range of new V4 mod­els in 1983; their own­ers mostly gave them back un­der war­ranty shortly af­ter tak­ing out their HP agree­ments. Hor­ror sto­ries of choco­late cams were mostly as­so­ci­ated with the VF750F and the largely for­got­ten VF750SC, other mod­els were guilty by as­so­ci­a­tion and Honda was left with Creme Egg on its face. If you fancy buy­ing one of these V4 mod­els, chances are if they are run­ning now then any me­chan­i­cal grem­lins have been long since ad­dressed. For decades there’s been no love for any of the V4 mod­els, other than the gor­geous VF1000R, which thanks to it run­ning gear-driven cams and be­ing the flag­ship of the V4 ar­mada meant it was over en­gi­neered in the first place, they have never been a cheap op­tion, mostly be­cause there wasn’t much change out of two GPZ900RS if you bought one new. With so many won­der­ful motorcycles from the 80s to pick from, bikes like the VF750F and VF500F have strug­gled for ad­mir­ers. But hold up – it ap­pears that they’ve be­come sexy! Prices for these good-look­ing 80s mod­els are on the up, with the trade mostly lead­ing the way with am­bi­tious ask­ing prices. For some­thing with orig­i­nal paint, ex­haust and ap­pear­ance there isn’t too much out there for less than £3000. If you re­ally do have your heart and sav­ings set on a V4 there are other ways to achieve your goal. The VFR750 is where it’s at, it’s the pin­na­cle V4 from the last mil­len­nium. The best bit is there are oo­dles of them out there for sale. The later F-R on­wards mod­els are the ones to track down; they will be that bit fresher than the equally bril­liant F-L to F-P and also look a touch more mod­ern. For some rea­son they are cheaper to buy too! De­cent early Pro-arm VFR750 mod­els are creep­ing up in price, not mas­sively but they are def­i­nitely on the rise. If you fancy one of these you’re go­ing to have to shell out the wrong side of £2000 for a good one. The first mod­els are of­ten the ones that be­come de­sir­able, but that’s not re­ally hap­pen­ing in VFR750 land. The very first F-G model was a mas­sive step for­ward for Honda, but the last of the con­ven­tional swingarm mod­els are that bit more re­fined, the VFR750 F-K even gets an ad­justable screen and a clock! Price-wise there are bar­gains to be had; they of­ten ap­pear with sub £1500 price tags. Thank­fully they all have cen­tre­stands from stan­dard, though some after­mar­ket ex­haust sys­tems mean it might have been ditched. The real Honda V4 bar­gains are the 400s, no, not the VF400F with its in-board discs, I re­fer to the grey im­port VFR400 mod­els. Un­less you al­ready own one you’ve missed the boat if you fancy a cheap NC30 or NC35: that ship sailed a few years back. The ear­lier NC24 is a great look­ing bike, it’s got a proper al­loy frame, gear-driven cams and looks a mil­lion times sex­ier than a CBR600F from the same era. For me it’s the ul­ti­mate Honda 400/4…

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