When Honda announced a new VFR800F was on the cards for 2014, it got the attention of the motorcycle media as it had been 12 years since the model had received a major update. The heart of the 2014 model remained the frame and engine from the previous model, but Honda paid plenty attention to all the trimmings. Weight was down by 7kg (mostly achieved by using an alloy subframe over the steel item of the previous model) and the under seat exhaust was also ditched, which saved a further wad of weight.
The VFR maintained its classy position within the Honda range, although the rise in popularity of adventure bikes (such as the Triumph Tiger 800 and BMW F800GS) had already pushed sports tourers to the motorcycling periphery – a far cry from the VFR’s heyday in the 1990s.
It’s a good looking bike, especially in the blood red colour option. The 2014 bike retained the sometimes controversial V-Tec system, with the rough edges being smoothed out according to Honda. Peak power remained at a quoted 105bhp.
The VFR800F is still a current model and remains a steady seller, so you wouldn’t rule out another makeover before its days are over.
What’s it like to ride?
For a sports tourer the VFR800F, for many, falls a bit too much in the sports category. The riding position isn’t overly comfy but it’s certainly no race replica. Once underway you can’t ignore that V4 engine, which delivers its 105bhp in an engaging nature. The latest incarnation of the previously snatchy V-Tec motor is much more user friendly. The idea is use two camshaft profiles to offer the best of both worlds, with good fuel economy and tractability at low rpm, combined with higher performance higher up the rev range. It still kicks in at 7,000 revs and will happily rev hard into the red zone, although ultimately the question is does it even need it?
Brakes are a major improvement over the outgoing model and more interestingly, the linked brake system is no long used, ABS adds to the impressive power of the radial calipers. Honda quote a tank range of 217 miles, although the chances of guzzling that in one non stop ride are limited by those low bars. The clocks are very well laid out and another modern technology addition is the LED headlights.
What to look for?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, Sales Manager at Wheels Motorcycles, a Honda dealership in Peterborough. He said: “It’s still one of our popular sellers; owners tend to stay loyal to this model and not too many end up having a hard life, so there’s not too much to be wary about. Extras are often fitted. These usually consist of luggage systems, additional lights and different bars. Honda actually fit higher handlebars to bikes used by the emergency services. You can also just buy riser blocks that are easy and cheap to fit. The finish is top notch, so any repainted panels are usually easy to spot. The engine is a proven mile muncher, there are no known issues with the VFR800F motor”.
What goes wrong with them?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson from Grumpy 1260, they service motorcycles and break them for parts. He added: “We’ve not seen too many of these newer models, though we do get plenty of older models through the doors for servicing. Owners look after their bikes, though there isn’t that much to keep us busy beyond servicing work. Aftermarket parts are usually sensible ones. Some luggage racks require you to rewire the rear indicators and that involves taking the rear bodywork off. The only real issue is the charging system, it can fail at either end of the circuit. Burnt out generators are more expensive to fix than the regulator, that’s pretty cheap to rectify!”
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