What owners say…
“I loved the look straight away”
Tony Green Honda VFR800F owner
MOST OF THE owners we spoke to were in their 40s or early 50s, with plenty of experience — quite a few IAM and ROSPA graduates and a couple of examiners too, including Tony Green. Like a lot of owners, he has a history of VFR ownership but didn’t much like the previous VTEC version. “I’ve had around 30 bikes, including a 1996 VFR750 and 1999 VFR800, but when the first VTEC came out I didn’t like the styling or the switch-like VTEC system. When the 2014 model was first shown, I loved the look straight away — and a test ride confirmed it as a great road bike.
“This is several bikes in one. Want sports? Then head down, knee down and take off with power and great fun to thrash into the higher revs. Want to commute? Then heated grips built in, decent fairing, good economy and low running costs. Touring? Don’t use the Honda panniers… they are good quality and fit but are wider than a combine harvester. I generally used a topbox and/or a holdall-type bag on the rear but great all-day comfort for getting to your destination and then, luggage off and into sports mode around the twisties.”
Alan How’s another serial VFR owner: “I saw a black VFR750 when on holiday in Cornwall in about 1992 and told myself I’d have one of those one day. Now I’ve had three, including this 2016 model. It’s very comfortable; you can commute, tour, carry a pillion, do a trackday or just go for a Sunday blast. I do a long weekend away to Europe on it every spring — the most I’ve done in one go is 400 miles back from Luxembourg. Some might find the VTEC ‘step’ annoying — even my 2016 model has a tiny flat spot at 7000rpm, just before the additional valves open.”
Anthony Fitzgerald doesn’t have VFR experience — he’d owned his previous Triumph Sprint ST for ten years before trading it in for his 2014 VFR800. “I rode a lot of bikes before making a decision and in the end it came down to the K1300S and the VFR — the Honda won on price. It looks great: slim, compact and nicely proportioned. The paint finish on the fairing panels is lovely — mine is a metallic black. It seems very well put together, Honda living up to its reputation for build quality.
“It sounds great: the V-four has real character and a lovely noise, enhanced on mine by a Motad can. Banging up through the gears on the quickshifter with the throttle wide open creates a marvellous soundtrack. And it rides well: decent suspension, light and nimble in
the corners with great riding ergonomics — at the sporty end of sport-touring perhaps but still very comfortable. 800cc/100bhp might seem lacking but it’s more than enough for real-world riding and it’s an engaging, enjoyable ride. It’s behind in terms of rider aids but less techno-wizardry means less to go wrong.”
John Everett agrees, and sums up the appeal of the VFR’S relative simplicity: “Rider modes? I don’t want them. I prefer to let my head and heart tell me how to ride in different conditions. Give me an all-rounder with a 200mile range, heated grips, a centre-stand, comfy seat, a grunty V-four and ABS and traction control just in case…”
Tony Green fell for the VFR800 as soon as he saw it
Anthony Fitzgerald loves his 2014 bike
Alan How is on his third VFR800
John Everett is happy with the lack of hi-tech electronics