Carlos Artal De, Madrid, Spain
“There are faster, lighter bikes but there’s no other that gives me more smiles”
“I bought mine in 2001 – I was living in Barcelona at the time and there was a local advert asking the equivalent of about £600 for this 1984 model. It was running and most of the parts were there, but it was painted in black and it had a hand-crafted exhaust system which was the loudest thing you’ve ever heard. But it was running – I bought it in Valencia and rode it all the way to Barcelona, about 250 miles.
“The first thing I did was find out about getting it resprayed to the original red, white and blue colours, but it was going to cost so much money I started thinking about a different approach. I ended up buying a seat unit from the US, an upper fairing from the UK, a lower fairing from Germany and a tank from David Silver Spares. Over the years I’ve gathered as many spares as possible, which is handy as parts are really rare. Prices are crazy now – my set of black fairings would sell for about £1500 at least.
“The VF1000R forums are fairly quiet but there are some really nice people on there who are very helpful. I posted something about trying to find an OE exhaust system and a guy from America gave me a set – he just wanted me to pay the price of shipping. There’s also a guy called Jamie Daugherty at Daugherty Motorsports in America who’s a real expert on these bikes.
“Engine-wise I’ve done the basics, but you have to bear in mind that it’s not a great engine to work on. The cooling system is a pain – it’s so complicated. I also had problems with the fuel pump and it was impossible to get another one, so I had to adapt one from a VFR800. I love mechanics and tinkering with bikes but just to get to the engine you have to disassemble half the bike. It’s absolutely idiotic. The carbs are what nightmares are made of. Just to take them out is a full weekend job, and then it’s another weekend to get them back on.
“But for all that, riding it is sensational. It has a feeling of power that I’ve never felt from any other bike. It’s a great sports-tourer. Every day I commute 25 miles into the centre of Madrid on my VF – quite often at the traffic lights someone offers to buy it off me. There are faster bikes, lighter bikes and more powerful bikes, but there’s no other bike in the world that could give me more smiles per miles. She’s definitely a keeper.”
Carlos regularly gets asked if his VF is for sale. It isn’t