Practical Sportsbikes (UK)
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Blown head gaskets: The weak point on an otherwise bulletproof motor. The rear cylinders are where trouble is likely to rear its ugly head. V4s run warm anyway, so avoid town work on hot days. Replacing the gasket is a pig of a job, too. Treat your coolant system to regular flushes. Other than that, the V4 lump is an engineering masterpiece.
Reg/recs: A tedious and all too well known issue for VFRS. Not a case of if the reg/rec will throw in the towel, but when. If you’re buying an RC24, ask the seller how old the reg/rec is. If it’s ancient, expect trouble and budget around £110 for a replacement. Alternators also have a habit of failing at higher mileages.
Rotten pipes: Another perennial VFR issue. There’s no collector box on the RC24, but rot – especially on UK owned bikes – still spells the end for many a system. OE replacements are virtually impossible to find. A tidy used system, or pre-owned stainless Motad may be the only option if you want standard(ish). There are tasty race-style systems available, like Hindle, if originality isn’t essential.
Carb trouble: The Keihin carbs are generally robust, but issues with bikes that have done a lot of low speed town work or time on idle are known. Needles, emulsion tubes and float valves can all fret. If you’re going to store a VFR for a while, empty the carbs of fuel first – modern, ethanol rich petrol can cause havoc, corroding jets and gumming up anything it comes into contact with.
Tyre choice: Early G/H models are at a disadvantage running the 16/18-inch combo. Only Bridgestone list a tyre in the OE 110/90 x 16 size (BT45). Avon offer a Roadrider, but only in 120/80 x 16 size. From ’88 (J model) tyre choice is better thanks to the 17-inch front. The later wheel can be retrofitted, but it requires a complete front-end transplant.