In eight build-up videos plus a bike-porn strip of our video channel, the cheaply shot Honda VFR from the year 2002 was the main actress. What have we made effort to bring them up to the last of the two technically and visually! Now it's time: Can the 18-year-old bike convince in the test?
We have to praise ourselves: it is beautiful. Newly painted in this not too bright metallic red and the golden rims, which stands well. New color alone, however, wouldn't overshadow design flaws, but ours is already the chic facelift model. In contrast to its restrained predecessor, Honda gave gas here: the formative V is ubiquitous as a design element. For example, in the form of headlights, taillight or air intakes in the full cladding. That fits!
She's a sports tourer, that was fashionable back then. Not quite as hard and uncomfortable as a super athlete, but good for the fast lap and suitable for travel. Today, these models are almost completely extinct – and if they exist like the Ducati Super Sport,they don't make it into the top 50 approval statistics. The ubiquitous adventure bikes have long since overtaken them.
But, as I said, we spontaneously chose her when we saw her in Kaltenkirchen near Hamburg. At first glance, she stood there sadly, in silver with red trims that were subsequently unattractively grown. She had nearly 70,000 kilometers on the clock, not much for a Honda. We suspected a good core under the sad shell, and we were right. 1,600 euros changed hands. There was no major mechanical damage, technically we didn't have to do much that would have gone beyond a major annual inspection. Most of the time went into disassembly for painting and subsequent construction. In total, the construction would have cost 4,695 euros (see cost statement at the end).
But why the V, and why choose a VFR? There are a number of reasons for this, including the noble lineage of our bike. It is technically closely related to the RVF 750, and this bike is nothing more than the (then) homologation model for the Superbike World Championship. The abbreviation RVF is broken down into R for Racing, V for the V-engine and F for four (four). And our VFR also has the V4 engine with 109 hp under the cladding. It has a technical detail, which first causes surprise and enthusiasm during the test drives: The Honda has a hydraulic valve control. Up to about 7,000 tours, the engine works as a two-valve, above it as a four-valve ("V4-VTEC-System").
Enough talk, what counts is on the road.
These were still times: in the middle, the analog rev counter is unmistakably emblazoned. Porsche drivers know this arrangement from their 911. Anything other than the speed seems unimportant and is therefore outsourced to small but easy-to-read TFT displays: speedometer and temperature display on the left, tank and time clock as well as two daily and one total kilometer counter to the right of the rev counter.
The ascent is easy, the sitting position quite sporty. This is surprising because our VFR has not only a wider but also a higher-mounted handlebar. If it were the standard stumps, the whole thing would increase. So clearly more sport than tourers in terms of sitting position, but that could have been imagined with the genes.
The sound is fierce, but not prolide. This is due to the engine producing many mechanical noises, but also, of course, to the laser accessory exhaust system. It sounds great, and the four tubes under the seat look murderous. If we had a pre-model of the VFR (from 1998 to 2001), the gears of the camshaft drive would be heard with a loud whistle, but ours has the chain drive (which is cheaper to repair). Now go before the neighbors announce our friendship. Here you can compare the sound of the series system with our exhaust.
It's good if the VFR can go straight away. It's bad when it needs to be ranked. Not only is the turning circle very large, she is not an easy girl at 249 kilos.
But easy to use. Hand power for the clutch? Manageable. Transmissions? Smooth and precise, even after 70,000 kilometers. Honda. The light is also very good. Now we are pushing into the street, which is for two reasons: firstly, it is fun, and secondly, you don't see anything at the back anyway, so get away here. We have installed two accessory mirrors instead of the standard mirrors, but the result is only marginally better: the consideration is and remains bad.
There is a clear risk of addiction when driving – better: when turning out. With 7,000 tours, there is not only the limit between two-valve and four-valve operation, but also between good and evil. The dark side of power is reflected in a sudden burst of performance. For example, early turbo engines reacted: nothing at the bottom, the Luzie going off at the top. With the difference that the VFR below is by no means lame. Small drop of wistfulness: The V4-VTEC system not only provides performance, but also noticeable vibrations in the otherwise comfortable bench.
Experiencing the sudden increase in performance is fun and, by the way, is significantly reduced with a new model maintenance in 2006 – we prefer ours, simply because of the fun factor. This should be enjoyed preferably in good road conditions, because the Honda has no traction control. In general, there are no electronic helpers apart from a simple ABS.
This is no surprise with such old motorcycles. The driving comfort of the heavy Honda is good, it is always well located on the road. If early Japanese power bikes had a reputation for having good engines but lax chassis, this is not the case with the VFR. She drives herself precisely, so she can easily keep up today. This also applies to the really good braking system. Good to dose, powerfully biting, that's perfectly fine.
What remains? Without sponsors, this would have been a rather expensive affair, as there are cheaper offers on the net. And yet we are glad to have dared this experiment: the Honda is too good not to try it. Our advice to all those who can make friends with a sports tourer: Definitely shortlist!
This was the emotional section of our brain, but the truth is that these costs cannot be recovered from a sale. But no matter what we do with the VFR, we have not yet decided. We just enjoy :)
That cost the fun, all the numbers in Euros:
Brake pads and air filters: 230
Oil and oil filters: 40
Front blinkers: 62
Spark plugs: 146
Halogen lamp 40
Tank ceilings: 20
In total, that's 2,318 euros. To this end, we have received services from sponsors. For new Michelin tyres, LSL levers and mirrors as well as the paintwork a further 2,377 euros would have been due, so summasumarum 4,695 euros.