Car­los Ar­tal De, Madrid, Spain

1984 VF1000R

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Restoration Revealed -

“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

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