“I tested one of the first ones!”

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CLASSIC EVENTS -

At this point, we nor­mally in­tro­duce some­body of im­pec­ca­ble pedi­gree who was in­ti­mately in­volved with the model one way or an­other: this time round though, you’ve got me again. Back in 1983 when the first VFS ap­peared in the UK, I was work­ing as ed­i­tor of a monthly magazine called Mo­tor­cy­cle Me­chan­ics, still alive in its present day guise of Per­for­mance Bikes or PB as some call it. I had a blue and white model on test for two weeks. Other staff mem­bers, in­clud­ing the late and much missed tech­ni­cal guru, John Robin­son, had a tough time get­ting the keys away from me. It was such a rad­i­cal bike for the time, V4, liq­uid-cooled and (for a 750) blis­ter­ingly quick. We recorded 137.94mph through the tim­ing lights at MIRA. Honda were so chuffed that they bought a dou­ble page ad­ver­tise­ment in the magazine to shout about the fact. We took it to Snet­ter­ton back when it was a proper track, two mon­ster straights, no stupid bus stop to di­min­ish the sheer ex­hil­a­ra­tion of Rus­sell’s chi­cane and no car pleas­ing in­field mod­i­fi­ca­tions af­ter Riches. I for­get what other bikes we had with us on that oc­ca­sion, but I do re­mem­ber that Don Mor­ley, with­out doubt one of the best ac­tion pho­tog­ra­phers of the day, took the pic­tures. John Robin­son was the quick­est rider among us and I was happy to hand him the keys for half the ses­sion to get his opin­ion on the han­dling. We agreed that it set new stan­dards for the time. It marked the be­gin­ning of a new phase in bike de­vel­op­ment, cen­tring on bet­ter han­dling, re­duced weight and more power. Bikes be­gan to get lighter, faster and more agile. In rapid suc­ces­sion we had the GPZ900R from Kawasaki (1984), Yamaha’s de­light­ful FZ750 in 1985, Suzuki’s GSX-R750 the same year – jaw-drop­ping bike af­ter jaw-drop­ping bike. By the time Suzuki’s air/oil cooled marvel hit the streets, Honda’s orig­i­nal V4 was con­signed to the scrap bin of his­tory, be­trayed by a dodgy top-end. It was re­placed by the VFR750 in 1986, twin spar frame, gear driven cams and all. I was Ed­i­tor of Mo­tor­cy­cle News by then and rode the bike at its launch on the re­cently opened Jerez race track in Spain. That’s a story for an­other page… page 32 to be ex­act.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.