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Solo Moto Thinks More Upright VFR1200F May Replace ST1300 This Fall

These patent drawings have been published on the Internet several times since MCN first displayed them in July, 2009. There was some thought that the bike depicted, a more upright, touring oriented version of the VFR1200F, would debut in late 2009 as a 2010 model.  Of course, this never happened.

The Spanish magazine Solo Moto has just published a story in which they contend this bike will debut this Fall at one of the European shows and replace the ST1300 in Honda’s line-up. According to Solo Moto, the bike could be available in multiple versions, including with or without the dual clutch automatic transmission featured on the VFR, as well as versions with or without saddle bags.

Since the current ST1300 is getting a bit long-in-the-tooth, this story makes sense, and the new model would address the concerns we expressed in our VFR1200F review regarding the somewhat confused nature of the current bike’s ergonomics. Of course, all of the current electronic assist mechanisms available in this class of motorcycle (such as traction control, cruise control, ABS, combined braking, adjustable fuel maps, and adjustable windshield) would be no surprise if found on this new Honda.

32 Comments

  1. Cooper says:

    I recently went to my local dealer and saw a new VFR1200 in person. I’ve read about it for the last couple months in magazines and on the net. To be honest, I didn’t give it a second glance. It doesn’t look like fun. My favorite bike was my 2001 VFR800. And now I’m on an 04 Concours. I am currently dreaming about an FJR. The new Connie is way to big when I sit on it. The FJR just fits better with more leg room and less stuff in my view. In fact, there was a VFR800 sitting next to the new VFR and I was more drawn to it. maybe if the new VFR had hard bags or looked meaner? something to really peak a desire?

    Honda has always watered down their bikes. I assume it is to make them more desirable to a larger audience. I don’t see the real advantage of so much technology. All I see are dollar signs for the dealerships when these things break. Give me a motorcycle with no valve adjustments, shaft drive, an adjustable windsheild(manual is fine), tires that last more than 4,000 miles, and most of all a COMFORTABLE seat! Why the heck can’t they put a comfortable seat on anything? Corbin, Sargeant, and others love this I’m sure. But when I buy a 12,000 dollar motorcycle, it better massage my rear end! haha. I might have to go to Triumph or BMW now… Sorry Honda.

  2. smokey says:

    One thing that concerns me when looking at the VFR1200 is the cost and difficulty of doing valve adjustments. All that bodywork plus the cramped quarters around the rear cylinder head mean valve adjustments will probably cost hundreds of dollars. At least on the ST1300 the cylinder heads were out where you could get to them. I don’t remember for sure but it seems to me that one of the magazines said the adjustment interval was 15,000 miles. That’s one year’s riding for me. When this is factored in with the cost of those high dollar sport touring tires the VFR will be expensive transportation.

  3. Skipper says:

    The BMW R1200RT is possibly the only true full on sport touring bike on the market. The rest are just a sport bike with added side cases and heated grips. The VFR is too heavy and who wants a auto trans on a sport touring bike. Honda should keep the auto trans for the lead Wing.

  4. Dave says:

    After a lot of research, I ended up with a pre-owned 2007 BMW F800ST. Good upright ergonomics, 60 mpg, light weight. The ST1300 and VFR are priced too high for me. I came from a 1996 CBR 1000F to my BMW.

  5. yaya says:

    I’d say the more touring VFR1200t idea makes “automatic sense” ;).

  6. Easy1958 says:

    I agree with a couple of the readers who believe that Honda no longer cares about motorcycles. They have came up with very few innovative, yet reasonably priced bikes. A wanna-be chopper and a over-techna-sized VFR just don’t thrill me.

    I own an ST1300 with 55k and consider it a fine motorcycle. The biggest problem with itis the front end gets very light in high winds and buffetted by tractor-trailers.

    The new VFR will not be my next bike – it doesn’t really fit any need I have and don’t really see it as an upgrade to the ST1300.

    • Tom says:

      Now let’s be fair. Regardless of how much you (or I) are unimpressed with Honda’s recent endeavors, it would be silly to conclude that Honda “no longer cares about motorcycles”. This criticism is especially incongruous when offered in the context of the VFR1200, which is innovative enough to make even BMW jealous. There is no telling how much R&D money went into the development of the VFR1200, and Honda would not have spent that money if they no longer cared about motorcycles.

      The VFR1200 is compelling evidence that Honda still cares very much about motorcycles, regardless of whether you happen not to like it much. Either the engine or the transmission considered by itself would be reason enough to regard this bike as one of the most novel bikes to have come along in decades. There is also a novel approach to shaft drive, and a novel approach to the muffler, and a novel approach to the fairing, and no doubt any number of other novel ideas of lesser impact.

      Now, I’m not arguing that Honda doesn’t even do stupid stuff. I thought that the Rune was just plain stupid, and as stupid as it was, the DN-01 is about ten times that stupid.

  7. Michael H says:

    An R1200GS weighs 448 pounds, with empty gas tank. It is perhaps the best touring bike made.

    • jimbo says:

      My 2000 R1150GS was over 580 lbs curb weight with full tank. 1g fuel is about 8 lbs…5g about 40. For your R1200GS weight figure to be correct the bike needs a lot more than every drop of fuel drained. With all due respect, it also requires the fuel tank removed and items equaling the weight of…oh, maybe the entire front end.

      When the R1200GS arrived BMW quoted a 65 lb savings. This is utter trash. The true weight savings was closer to 40 lbs. A ready to ride R1200GS with full tank (I know its tank is a bit smaller than my 1150) is probably over 540 lbs. Your 448 number is way way off, even sans fuel.

      The R1200GS is indeed a fantastic touring bike. On that you are very correct.

    • Tom says:

      I would have been inclined to agree, prior to Ducati having introduced the new Multistrada. It is chain drive, and many people won’t like that, but it has an eccentric adjuster, and the chain drive means that it is a good deal lighter. Because its peak power is so much greater than the peak power of the R1200GS, it will practically run circles around the R1200GS on the street. And you could probably make it comparable off pavement merely by putting the right tires on it.

      • jimbo says:

        I’ve owned about 70 motorcycles of all types, sizes, brands. IMO there is no such thing as a chain drive touring bike. Obviously some disagree.

        I do very much admire the new Multistrada. Very, very much.

  8. Denny says:

    On first glance it looks like knockoff from RT but this does not have to be a bad thing. Still substantial bike but looks somehow more integrated. For sure looks better than old ST. Good luck Honda!

  9. John says:

    Interesting, but what of the ST1300? Too young to be put out to pasture. OTOH, Shamu needs a purpose besides being overweight and underperforming.

    One thing they could do is build a naked street prowler out of it. The ST1300 engine is freaking gorgeous, maybe the coolest looking engine on the market, and it’s all covered up with tupperware.

    I’d love to find a rashed ST to make a naked bike………….

    • ROXX says:

      Interesting idea John.
      I like it!
      Put a small carbon fiber fly screen on it and a cool paint job, sort of like a ducati monster.

    • Mike D. says:

      Im down with such a hysterical proposal…lol. Don’t forget to chop the Purposeful but FUGLY stock subframe for else.

    • jimbo says:

      Yeah! Style it like the 2008 BMW concept Lo-Rider based on R1200R. A V1300R with switchable cosmetic options, flat track style, cafe racer, etc. Yes! (Honda will NEVER do it…depressing…please don’t suggest such cool bikes any more.)

  10. ROXX says:

    Photographs of this bike already exist on the web.
    Why isn’t motorcycle daily posting them instead of these lame drawings?
    They do the bike much better justice than the line art.

  11. RENDELL says:

    I don’t get it. Why can’t Honda just make a sport touring version of the CBR 1000RR? It would be 200 pounds + lighter than the VFR, handle like a dream, and be a lot more fun. Heavy slow handling bikes approaching 700 pounds are boring.
    I don’t care how much technology is in them.

  12. Tom says:

    I don’t think that there was much question that Honda had this in mind all along for replacing the ST1300. The reason that it was not announced earlier is probably because they had excess inventory of ST1300 components that needed to be assembled into whole bikes and sold.

    I never rode an ST1300, but one of the obvious criticisms was weight. This taller version of the VFR1200 might weigh less than the ST1300, but the difference probably will not be much more than perhaps 50 lbs.

    If you look at the curb weight numbers that Honda quotes for the ST1300 and the VFR1200F DCT, and correct for the difference in the fuel capacity (both numbers are for full tank), the VFR1200F DCT weighs right about 90 lbs less than the ST1300 (the DCT adds 22 lbs). The hard side luggage is standard on the ST1300 but optional on the VFR1200, and this difference accounts for perhaps 15 lbs. That is, the VFR1200F DCT equipped with just the side luggage weighs only about 75 lbs less than the ST13000.

    It will be interesting to see whether this taller version weighs less than the Concours-14.

    My perceptions about sport touring have changed of late. As recently as five years ago, bikes of this sort stuck me as the ideal sort of bike for covering distances or even for going out for just a hour or two. But my perceptions have changed. The new Ducati Multistrada 1200 strikes me as one very nice motorcycle. Still haven’t ridden it, mind you, but I almost certainly will. It weighs about 150 lbs less than the VFR1200. The dual-sport ergos are much more comfortable than the ergos on a bike such as the VFR1200. Ducati claims 150 peak hp, which is plenty enough for my needs, before even factoring in the advantage of the lower weight. It has chain drive of course, but the only issue I ever had with chain drive is the need to keep adjusting the chain slop, but even that was only ever an issue with it required loosening the axle, because that meant carrying a bug huge wrench around on trips longer than a day or two, and that’s a hassle. But with that convenient eccentric adjuster, you don’t need nearly as big a wrench to do the adjustment, and it is not much more of a hassle than putting air in the tires. I was going to mention that the single-sided swingarm makes it easier to put the wheel off and on, but then I realized that the VFR1200 also has a single-sided swingarm.

    This will be a nice bike without question, and the present VFR1200 is no doubt a very nice bike, but all bikes of this ilk are just a lot heavier than I prefer. And if you stay with the same formula but go to smaller displacement, you give up a lot in terms of engine performance, but don’t really gain much in terms of weight savings. To get any appreciable weight savings, you have to go with a different formula, and the new Multistrada seems a better formula.

  13. Ex-Honda owner says:

    Forget it guys. Honda has lost all interest in the needs of motorcyclists.
    They are a car company and could care less about us.
    They use motorcycles as a development tool for their car lines. You even get to pay them to do their R&D!
    If Honda was interested in motorcycles, other than crotch rockets and cruisers, the twin clutch would have been in the Goldwing years ago. This transmission is what wing riders have been screaming for for years.
    I can’t wait for the GLT 1600. I’ve got my money ready to buy one as soon as they hit the showroom floor.
    Bye-bye Honda.

    • jimbo says:

      IMO BMW’s coming GT and LT 1600’s will turn the bike world around. I have no money for either. But the GT1600 may be so irresistible that that may not stop me from getting one.

      BMW can only under or overproduce those two very costly models. One tends to presume they will under-produce. Wouldn’t be surprised if both sell out early in the model year.

      Probably be a good time for used Lead Wing shoppers.

  14. Rick says:

    I think that’s the case with most bikes today. I have a Moto Guzzi Norge and it too feels quite lively when riding. Not to the point where I’d call it “flickable” but feeling easier to control and steer when underway.

  15. Fuzzyson says:

    I really hope that this bike becomes a reality, that Honda builds it to suit real riders, not magazine flash and that it looks like a real motorcyle, not a big scooter like the previous ST model!

  16. Rob Blais says:

    Having ridden the VFR, and the owner of an ST1100, I can say that the new VFR is breathtaking. It does everything so well that it’s almost bland. The many comments posted by people who haven’t ridden it can be summed up in a single word….bull****. To pontificate about something you really don’t know anything about qualifies you as a poser. Until you’ve been on it, shut the hell up.

  17. Old town hick says:

    The handwriting is on the wall. The VFR1200F is the first salvo of several variants of this platform. The thing was way too expensive to design and produce to be just one model….and you can expect that dual clutch-automatic to show up on the next version of the Gold Wing. This will probably be a two-liter engined response to BMW’s new GLT 1600 six.

  18. Andy Tuttle says:

    I think this will be a much more successful version of the bike. -Tutt

  19. sherob says:

    Can’t wait to see how much $$$$ this thing will run considering how much they wanted for the initial VFR.

    • warprints says:

      Yes, my concern, too. I own a 1999 VFR800, and was really looking forward to the new VFR1200 … then got hit with the price !! Whoa. No bags, no centerstand, to touring ammenities? The Sprint GT, Concours 14, and rumored new FJR were sounding pretty good, considering you could save thousands of dollars once the VFR1200 is priced with minimal touring accesories. Now rumors of a touring VFR1200. Yeah, for $20,000 ??? I’ve been very loyal to Honda, with several motorcycles, ATVs, cars, vans, SUVs, even generators, but Honda is starting to go way overboard on the gadgets and on price with their cycles.

  20. jimbo says:

    It makes a lot more sense to me than the current VFR1200, almost 600 lbs. On the other hand, I got to ride the 2011 HD XR1200. It too weighs close to 600 lbs curb weight (575 lbs), yet it felt more like under 500 lbs once under way. I can only presume the VFR1200 also feels well under it’s true weight.