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MD Best Buy: 1998-2001 Honda VFR800i

 

I’ll admit it, I’ve had a few laughs poking fun at the tightly wound and highly vocal owners of Honda’s VFR series of motorcycles. You know the type. They are a little older, neatly attired, not quite at BMW-owner levels of prissiness, but clean- cut and serious. I’d ridden a few VFRs—mostly the older, 1980s versions or the V-Tech-equipped 2002-2009 Interceptor,  and they never impressed me as being that good.

Then I went riding with my friend John Joss. I had a Triumph Sprint GT I was testing, and I wanted his impressions of that bike, so after filling our tanks near Santa Cruz, California, we swapped rides, chasing each other along the winding roads of the Santa Cruz mountains.

I rode John’s well-traveled 1999 VFR800i. I had never ridden the “Fifth Gen,” as the VFR cognoscenti call the ’98-’01. It was introduced in 1997 as a replacement for the fourth-generation 94-97 VFR750. An all-new motorcycle—not just an update—the 800 got a more-torquey (but not much more powerful) fuel-injected engine, a “pivotless” frame that mounted the motor as a stressed member (the tasty single-sided swingarm pivots in the engine case, a la the VTR1000F SuperHawk), 41mm cartridge fork, lighter wheels and curvy new bodywork that still looks fresh 13 years later. Wet weight is a little over 500 pounds,  horsepower is around 100 at the wheel, and the new bike would set you back $9899.

In a lot of ways, the fifth-gen is the oldest modern sportbike you can get. It’s got all the stuff a modern moto-pilot needs: fuel injection, cartridge fork, modern styling, comprehensive digital instrumentation (with easy-to-read displays for time, fuel remaining and ambient temperature) and modern tire sizes. In fact, many Viffer-heads argue that the two following bikes—the V-Tech-laden 800 Interceptor and dual-clutch, mega-powered VFR1200 — add nothing useful to the game, just more weight, expense and complexity to an already perfect product. 

C’mon: perfect? Only God is perfect, right? That’s how I felt hopping on John’s aged mount, but after a few miles any cynicism about the VFR had melted away. The steering felt a little slow and old-fashioned at first, as if it had old 19-inch bias-plies, but I quickly got used to it. The red bike felt effortlessly fast, stable, easy-to-turn and man is that thing smooth for a four-cylinder. The fueling was exceptionally precise (although I’m guessing John had it carefully tuned for his sweet-looking—and even sweeter-sounding—Staintune exhaust), displaying little of the herky-jerkiness I’d expect from late-’90s fuel-injection. I didn’t even mind the linked brakes. In fact, I didn’t even know it had linked brakes until I started researching the bike. I asked John if he had removed the linking system—but no, aside from the pipe, a higher screen, an Öhlins shock, a custom Sargent’s saddle and white powder-coat on the wheels (they look great but are a “bugger” to clean, says John), his bike is pretty stock. And aside from a couple of valve checks and some electronic-component failures that will not surprise any 90s-era Honda owner, he’s had to do very little to the bike in the 10 years and 87,000 miles he’s been riding it. 

“It’ll do 1000-mile days and it’ll do 1:45s at Laguna Seca,” says John. “It’s sporting enough, it’s touring enough, it does everything nicely.” The VFR is a Honda in all the right ways—supremely engineered, comfortable, good performing, easy to ride and reliable as your Uncle Phil’s Dewar’s “sleep aid.” So they probably hold their value pretty well, right? 

Well, no. A quick California-wide Craig’s List search turned up a dozen very nice examples, all priced under $4000, with some good ones under the $3000 mark. Kelly Blue Book retail value is $2950 for a ’98. You’re getting a 12-year-old bike, true, but it’s a Honda, and if it was well-maintained—it’s hard not to use the phrase “anal retentive” when you write about VFR owners—you can bet it will probably outlast most  bikes on the road, if not you. 

That’s why I was surprised when John liked the Triumph Sprint GT so much, saying if he was looking to retire his Viffer, the Trumpet was a bike he’d consider trading to. 

John, all due respect, but you’re nuts. Buy another low-mile fifth-gen for $3000, swap out all your bolt-on goodies and sell the high-miler for $2500. Another 80,000 miles of smooth, fast sport-touring for $500? The Triumph is a great value at $13,199, but you can’t even buy a decent bicycle these days for $500. The latest, greatest technology and owning a new bike is swell, but riding that VFR is a fine experience that can’t be bested by a lot of new bikes on the market today.

71 Comments

  1. Mark Clow says:

    I totally agree that the VFR is a nice bike but I gimme a 1st gen FZ1 for the same kind of money (or a ZRX).

  2. Have a ’98 with 124,000 miles on the clocks. Have never even taken it out of the state. Love the viffer but ride my Pegaso around town now.

  3. vegasvfr says:

    When I was getting back into riding after my MSF course I rented everything I could get my hands on. You can read all you want but you never know a bike until you ride it. When I rented the 2001 VFR it just felt like i rode it forever. That was in 2003 when I bought it when they were closing out the rentals. I still have it as my only bike. I road test a lot of motorcycles as I am a feature editor, but for the type of riding I do and for the money it is a sweet ride especially when setup with Ohlins, GIVIs, and HIDs. For a starter bike that you may never get rid of, you would be a fool not to buy one.

  4. jimbo says:

    Had a VFR750 w/ OEM white wheels: Yes, awful to keep clean. The black wheels look better anyway (contradicting the owner above).

    I had a ’00 VFR800i whilst also owning a ’98 Ducati SS900i, and overall preferred the 900 for greater torque and lighter weight/better flickability. But the 800 absolutely screamed on top end, almost shocking to me. The 900 had two mechanical issues within about 11k miles (Luigi forgot to thread the valve inspection hole so it leaked soon after purchase, Munroe Motor’s co-owner and race team owner Matt Prentiss fixed it on the sidewalk in a few minutes, likely the best motorcycle wrench I’ve ever met…fuel leak, source forgotten, maybe the tank petcock, fixed myself).

    I agree, 98-01 VFRs are likely the best overall vintage. Gabe’s advice to get another makes sense.

  5. Norm G. says:

    i like the 5th gen, but having thought the matter through, got a low mileage 4th gen in the stable. personally, i consider the ’94-’97 VFR’s to be the sweet spot and the last of the V4’s for a few reasons. if i may… #1, all the same gear driven cam goodness, but a TRUE 750cc displacement same as the racebikes. if you recall, in-line with soichiro ethos, V4’s started out RACING predominantly then only later MORPHED into touring. :( #2, the 4th gen is the only iteration deliberately modeled after the legendary oval pistoned NR750 (all red & naca duct). the only other mass produced bike that can claim inspiration from the NR is also a legend… ie. the ducati 916 (the polar opposite of a VFR800). #3, in combination with style of the frame and the double headlight, just add the 8-spoke “HRC style” rear wheel from an even older 3rd gen, and you’ve got much of the style from the RC30/RC45 homologations sans the high price of admission. #4, though the 5th gens were called 800’s (a misnomer this), they were in fact only 781’s. :( for all the added girth/bulk the VFR received with the 1998 redesign (final swan-dive off the cliff that is sport-touring), it never really got the increase in displacement or power to offset this increase in size. advantage: 1995 VFR750… lean and mean with no added caffeine.

    • Norm G. says:

      PS: for those with a touring slant, corbin makes/made a sweet set of those color matched beetle hard bags for the gen 4’s SAME as they did for the gen 5’s…

  6. Alain says:

    I would say the VFR 1998-2001 (fith generation) were very special with gear driven cams…

    I’ve owned four Honda V-four (84 & 85 Interceptor 750, 90 VFR750, 03 VFR800 and presently have a 09 VFR800), but never had the fith generation and I guess I missed something!

    I still think the sith generation has a better frame, better suspension/brakes but are missing the gear driven cams!

  7. Rob McKinnon says:

    Nice piece. And yes, the VFR’s are keepers.

    I’m on my third Honda V-4 in a row now. 1983 VF750, 1986 VFR750, and 1999 VFR800.

    Totalled the 800 in 2009, hit by a cager violating my right of way.

    Rebuilt it that winter and rode it to Oregon the summer of 2010.

    Here’s a couple of pics for anyone who’s interested. Mind you, the wheels are the wrong colour, but I’m working on that. :)

    I really wanted to ride, so they were mismatched for a year. Oh well.

    Anybody who needs any more VFR info, head on over to VFRdiscussion.com!

    http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/uploads/1279414874/gallery_554_5200_359885.jpg

    http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/uploads/1279414874/gallery_554_5200_1807988.jpg

    • jimbo says:

      That’s one of if not the best looking VFs ever. Great job! I have no problem with the mismatched wheel colors, may even prefer it. Adds a little drama, excitement for the eye to digest.

  8. Superbikemike says:

    this gen vfr… sounds AWESOME… love the gear wine… certainly that is mechanical sounding nirvana

  9. warprints says:

    Bought a new 1999 5th gen and love it. Just a few weeks ago, during a warm spell, I was out riding, and had two different people ask if it was brand new. Love the ride. My only add-on is bar risers — I’m getting old.

  10. Bill Wolk says:

    Great review. Bought an ’03 6th-gen Interceptor after riding a friend’s ’98 5th-gen and it was incredibly disappointing by comparison: twitchy low-speed fuel injection and an unsettling rush of power when the v-tech kicked in that would break the rear wheel loose at exactly the wrong time — usually when you were deep in a corner. The bike looked great – especially with color matched factory hardbags – but I soon sold it. Really regret not getting a used 5th gen, especially after reading this article.

  11. simon says:

    …nicest people ride Honda.

  12. bo_nos says:

    Nice article on a great bike that’s aging nicely. For me, the Gen4’s are looking a little dated and the 6’s never looked good at all…Nothing like the sound of a V4 with pipes!

  13. ScottL says:

    I’m on my 2nd VFR and third Honda V4, starting with an ’84 Sabre. I ran 83K on my ’91 750 then purchased a barely used 2001. The only weak spot on the 800 (and most of the VFRs) is the suspension which is easily remedied with aftermarket shock and springs. I’ve gone one step further by replacing the front end with a Honda F4i forks (43mm) and eliminating the LBS F&R. Completely tunable suspension, and it handles stunningly, and tours effortlessly. It only has 48K miles, good for another 10 years!

    Oh. And everyone knows that a proper VFR has Gear Driven Cams. period.

    :-)

  14. mark says:

    I wish I didn’t sell my ’98. :(

  15. sam says:

    I’ve owned 17 BMW’s, a Triumph Sprint ST and one very fine (yellow) 2000 VFR. Definately one one the best “sport-touring” mounts (with RKA soft bags) I’ve owned. Essentially trouble-free with over 70,000 mi. when I sold it for a BMW R1150 Roadster. However, after riding a friend’s 2007 25th Anniversary V-Tech VFR, I tnink Honda improved on an already superb machine..flawless 2 valve-to-4 valve transition @ 7,000 rpm plus better suspension..an all-around (slightly) better VFR than the 98-2001 models..add Staintune pipes and you’ve found a “keeper.”

  16. MikeD says:

    I remenber when it came out, the thing looked like a PUG, still does but after some time it grew on me. I would get either this one or the Gen before it. Still simple machines, simple enough for any JoeSchmoe to work on it. No FANCY V-Tec crap AND it’s $30 a shim(really the whole bucket) for the V-TEC Valves and chain driven Cams and tensioners to fail.

    Honda should have kept the VFR Ergos and Marry it to the BOMB-DIGGITY RC51 SP2 Engine. Just my pipe dream. (^_^ )

    • MikeD says:

      P.S: After watching the video i have to say, the Owner seems like a good sport, cool guy.
      His bike is flawless, the thing looks great…and sounds great too.

      A bit off topic: Gabe if u read this, could u review the New Sprint GT like the one behind u guys on the video ? Please ? lol.

  17. ABQ says:

    I just happened to be looking at a used 2003 VFR.
    http://www.sandiabmwmotorcycles.com/new_vehicle_detail.asp?sid=08410761X2K17K2011J4I50I35JPMQ6501R0&veh=6064&pov=1986755

    I was comparing it to a 2006 Sprint for the same price w/6500 miles
    I think I will end up with the Sprint. But, now I will always wonder about the VFR.

  18. Redbird says:

    I loved my old 750 VFR but once I discovered the CBR1100XX I never looked back. To me the Blackbird was everthing the VFR was and more. I’ve still got it as I haven’t found anything to replace it. The new VFR is not a Blackbird replacement.

  19. PorscheBob says:

    Old codger here. I’ve owned seven Honda V4 bikes, including the beautiful ’86 VFR750F,
    gorgeous RC30 (great bike but really designed for the track) presently have a ’98.
    I’ve owned about 50 motorcycles and my present ’98 is at the top of the list.
    This one has been in my garage for the last five years and has had only one major
    problem and that is the electrical gremlins that hang out around the regulator and harness.
    The gremlins were booted out and now the bike sings like a seasoned Stradivarius violin.

    My favorite 5th Generation years are 1998 and 1999.
    The main reason is that in 2000 Honda had to install a catalytic converter exhaust system. My bike doesn’t have that and so the header pipe is a little larger and lighter.
    The gear-driven cams, no vtec, lower exhaust pipe, better looks (IMHO) are reasons
    to buy the “5th Gen.” This bike has two headlights instead of four like the 6th generation. My only complaint is, it would have been nice if we could have had
    the color options like they had in Europe.
    Honda made a major mistake on the 7th Gen. 1200 on it’s looks and price. All they
    should have done was to make another 5th Gen. type of bike with a 1,000 cc motor
    and a little friendlier ergos. That bike would be selling like hotcakes right now!

  20. Sean Browne says:

    I’ve had a couple VFRs the 87 and the 98. The 98 is an awesome bike! Did track days on it and rode it everywhere.

    Also, I couldn’t keep up with John Joss in the Santa Cruz mountains when he was riding a BMW K75!

  21. Dave says:

    Thanks for the great article (no, I don’t own a VFR). As a man of modest means, I am a fan of (as someone else mentioned) ‘attainable’ bikes, and I have been a fan of the non-vtec VFR’s for quite a while. I hope I’ll get a chance to try one out someday.

  22. steveinsandiego says:

    i’ll say! my former boss has a primo yellow 1999. i’ve ridden it a few times and even made an offer to buy it. seamless power delivery, quick, comfy (helibar risers) and fun, fun, fun.

  23. Jay Mack says:

    I think they made a yellow one, too. I think it was a 2000.

  24. Vrooom says:

    Had an ’93 750 for awhile. For the time it handled well and was fast enough, but the ergos weren’t great, and luggage non-existent. Givi might make something for it now. The problem became it only made about 90 hp at the rear wheel, weighed a good 530 lbs (at least) and back during the tech boom money flowed like water. I now have a Ducati ST4s that’s faster, lighter, handles a bit better, but ergos are the same and maintenance is a (*%$*) that fills this niche in my garage. Not much gain for 15+ years!

  25. riley says:

    I used to ride a friends a fair amount. Sweet bike, I was always amazed at the smoothness of the motor. like buttah. it had cv carbs (97) but they were perfectly tuned and it was just a smooth ride.

    No way would I want to do a 1000 mile day on anything short of a real touring bike. People who say stuff like that need to get a grip.. “it’ll do a 1000 mile day”. so will an 883 sportster, but I don’t want to be on either.

  26. Agent55 says:

    I recall being about 17 when my dad and I went to pick up his brand new ’98 VFR, there’s nothing like that V4 at full-song. He later put on a Penske shock, Racetech fork internals and a Wolf underseat exhaust. It sounded beyond-awesome with that exhaust, like some sort of racing V8 with a distinct gear-whine in the background. I really wish there were more V4 options in the sportbike world… particularly in the Supersport middleweight category :)

  27. FredW says:

    @PN – The ’04 VFR800 is not the same as the one reviewed here. It is a 6th gen, which means no more gear driven cam, and added Vtec, as well as several other differences. It really is a very different bike.

    @ziggy – The aspect ratio on these images displays correctly. The last picture is the only one I can see you thinking might be incorrect, and it is a stock photo (most likely from Honda), so it isn’t likely to be off. It just looks taller due to the angle the bike is being viewed at. Or maybe your browser has screwed it up.

    @Gabe – Nice job with the article. I’d much rather read reviews like this one about obtainable classic bikes than the standard hype that concentrates only on what’s new. A bike that has stood the test of time is more appealing to me than some new bike with all sorts of electronic wizz bang stuff of unknown reliability.

    Yeah, I do happen to own a 5th gen VFR, so I’m biased. Mine’s a ’98, red (of course). And outfit almost identically to this one, minus the Ohlins. Sargent seat, Staintune high mount exhaust, Givi touring shield. It really is a great bike. Much better than an old Triumph Sprint. (I know, I’ve owned Triumphs before)

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Thanks for the comments. I wanted to point out that there was a problem with the aspect ratio of the photos displayed in Internet Explorer 8. We normally check our new articles in at least two browsers, including Google Chrome and IE8. The photos were displaying correctly in Google Chrome, but for some reason were not displaying the correct aspect ratio in IE8. This has since been fixed. We know that a number of you use Firefox, or other browsers. Typically, we do not have a problem with how an article is displayed in Firefox, or other browsers, if it displays correctly in both IE8 and Chrome. We appreciate a heads-up, however, if you have a problem viewing MD with your browser.

    • Old town hick says:

      Indeed the aspect ratio of the pictures WERE messed up as I viewed this article on the first day or so that it was up, but this has now been “fixed”. I too thought at first that it might be my browser, but I have not touched it in weeks.

  28. james says:

    the VFR has always been high on my list, although I never bought one articles like this make me think that one day I still might.

    It does still look damn good to me.

  29. John McD says:

    As an “Old Man” who has many miles under his belt, the VFR has got to be the best bike there is. My ride is an original 1992 VFR, and I think that the fifth gen should have been the last. Customized for the real world, they are the best compromise for time and distance. I have done many track days, and can agree with John, great fun, long or short. Hom many other bikes can go all day, at 150 mph, for at least 10 years?

  30. Stinky says:

    I hope to get to ride one of these before they’re all worn out. Honda dropped the ball on this one. But most bikers fall into the retro or new shiny classes. Honda made/ improved these bikes into complex expensive messes. All this bike needed was detachable hardbags and it’d have been in my garage when it was new. Sounds like I dropped the ball as well. Givi would’ve been willing to help me out.

  31. PN says:

    I drove an ’04 for a couple of hours. I couldn’t see what al the shouting was about. Cycle World once had a 10 bike shoot out and the VFR won. It just was not that involving. The Honda V-Fours always sound a little slow-revving to me. It was smooth but it ran hot. Uncomfortably hot. And the lines have never flowed on any iteration either. To me, it’s a bike you ride because it’s better than other similar bikes, not because you love it.

  32. Wendy says:

    Yeppers, the 1998-2001 VFRs have the gear driven cams. Along with the “wuffle wuffle” idle, the sound of the gears signing is one of the great sounds.

  33. GP says:

    I enjoyed this piece. I would reaaly like to see an artical on a comprehensive list of older “Best Buy” bikes. It might include the older Sprint, as mentioned here, the Bandit 11/1200, maybe an F4i, the EX500, and whatever other bikes the author might feel deserving. Over the years, there are really only a few that stand out, and stand the test of time – as “Great Streetbikes”. I would also like to see a dirt version, or better yet, a “Trailbike” version of this artical.
    Nice work!

  34. Dave says:

    I’ve owned 4 VFRs (1993, 1996, 2000, & 2002) they are some great bikes, for sure.

    @ Kagato: The older VFRs did have gear driven cams 2nd gen (1990-1993) thru the fifth gen (1997-2001). In 2002 they went to chain driven cams and VTEC.

    Interested in VFRs?? Check out http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.php?

    The gear whine you heard on the Honda ST1300 was the counter balancer gears…had one of those too.

    The only thing I like more about the VFR than my current Yamaha FZ1 is the fuel capacity.
    If I could just get 180 miles from a tank of fuel…

  35. Kagato says:

    Question for the VFR guys, does this one reviewed have the gear drive for the cams? I understand that is one of the differences in old and newer VFR’s–I would like the gear whine if I were picking one up. Changing topic a bit but still on Honda–I heard a ST1100 or 1300 a while back as it went by, and it was a sweet sounding scoot–sound is a big deal to me as I greatly miss my Kawie 400 triple

    • Tommy says:

      Yes, 2001 was the last year for the gear drive cams. My 2000 has them; when I bought a VFR, that was a requirement.

      If you watch the video embedded int he article, you can clearly hear the whine of the gears.

    • GMan38 says:

      I believe they were gear driven cams until the 800cc version of 2002. One of the things I like about my RC51 is the rumble of the big v-twin and the whine of the gear driven cams. Miss that on the VFR’s.

  36. rodent says:

    Great bike! But I still prefer the styling of the 94-97.

  37. Dan says:

    Thanks for looking back at one of the best bikes from Honda (or anyone else for that matter) that has ever been produced. I’ve owned my pearl yellow 2000 VFR800Fi for 10 years and is set up very similar to this one you test rode with a Staintune pipe, Corbin seat, taller windshield, etc. And myself, being one of those over the hill “Old Guys” you talk about in the article, I have owned and ridden many other brands and sizes of bikes (from CBX to Mustang)to compare it with over the years. But O’le Yeller just keeps winning me over and over. Every pass through the mountain back roads, up highway 1 or down the freeway, the VFR with it’s pipe growling and the cam gear drive singing it’s beautiful tune, no inline four could ever make such a wonderful symphony and make you feel so much at home in her saddle. The only other bike I feel has the soul or feeling, and the potential to ever unseat it is the Triumph 675 (with a few revisions of course). Most, but not all of today’s motorcycle manufactures (including Honda) seem to have lost focus on what really captures an experienced riders heart. My brother works for Honda and owns two VFR’s of this vintage and swears by them also. I can only hope that some of the right people read your article and it will point them “back to the future” in motorcycle design, engineering and conservative styling. Thanks for your time. Dan.

  38. ziggy says:

    This is the kind of article that gets pounded out when there’s nothign else going on. There was no effort made to even make the aspect ratio of the photos proportionate.

    Not much has been going on at MDHQ the past few days, which is always when they tap Gabe on the shoulder for a filler article.

    It’s all true, what a wonderful machine, etc. But I think I’ve read different iterations of selfsame article 25+ times in the past decade. It would have been more interesting to write on the Ohlins kit alone!

    • Gabe says:

      Ouch! I was kind of proud of that story.

      • Kagato says:

        I would much rather read this review than another Harley repaints the sportster again–lots of great older bikes that are dismissed or overlooked–never ridden a VFR but I would sure like to try one out.

      • Steve says:

        You should be proud Gabe… the article is great! …a legendary motorcycle with added video interview = bonus for any reader interested… count me in.

        When did MC Daily institute a “reader rating system” for articles?? Is that new?

        I thought this was a site about motorcycles? I must be mistaken. Is there some kind of author competition based on negative criticism by non-author readers? Do you “win” something if you get fewer thumbs down than the other authors? Is there some kinda contest rulebook??

        Could I be that far off the mark? I assumed all you guys @ MC Daily were posting these articles about MOTORCYCLES online for my reading enjoyment & not charging me a fee to read them. I get 6 print versions of motorcycle magazines very month & if you comment to the editors at these mags, you always get a smarta** response… & I have to pay to read them!

        I’m not the brightest bulb in the room but I have to admit, I had no idea you guys (MC Daily authors) wanted my 2 cents on whether I liked or disliked your article & subject matter. So I guess I’m a document peer reviewer, not just some guy interested in motorcycles reading an article on a FREE website.

        • Gabe says:

          Actually, I really value and appreciate feedback, good and bad, even if it’s not constructive. Otherwise I feel like I’m shouting into a windstorm.

          • VFR_Serenity says:

            This was a great article. It’s making its way around the internet.

            I”m glad to see that I’m not the only one who thinks the Gen5 VFR is the sweet spot of mid-displacement asian sport/tour motorcycles built in the last 20 years.

            I’ve ridden many bikes but nothing has made me turn my head enough to compete with this bike -especially at this price point.

      • ziggy says:

        Was well written and the photo is now fixed. But the topic is well-trod.

      • Bob says:

        I almost didn’t click on the topic because, it is true, this seemed like a “filler” article. But actually, it turned out to be well written and entertaining. Good job, Gabe.

    • Burt says:

      I like the deviation here. Instead of putting down the
      bike for some trivial reason, put down the existence of
      the article.

      If you read similar articles 25+ times, I would think
      you would not have even clicked the link to read another.
      Most of us stop at about 15 road tests of the same bike,
      but we don’t complain about the existence of the 15th,
      or the 16th.

      You sound like a sharp guy. I’d bet money that
      with just a little effort you could write
      interesting comments that were entirely positive,
      or at least humorous. You could have encouraged
      an article on the Ohlins kit without trashing this
      man’s work. Shame on you. I hope you try to make
      amends for this negative act.

      • ziggy says:

        Burt, there’s no need for you to take offense or express righteous indignation in place of Gabe. Let me make this real accessible for you:

        The bike is a fine bike.
        The topic has been flogged for a decade.
        MD hadn’t cranked out much in days, was slow on delivery of articles, and in general seemed to be “spinning its wheels” the past little while.
        The article was well written but in that context, it seemed like filler.
        The fit and finish was really poor—the photo wasn’t sized properly.
        It made the MD product and brand, for the day, look like a patch job / rush job.

        This site is a commercial enterprise that vies for our time. I feel no shame for my criticism of this article. I visit this site religiously–daily. But just as one can review the build and craftsmanship of a bike, one can also review the build and craftsmanship of the written word. Especially if it is MDs business to get and keep our valuable attention (!)

        In this case I hope that MD will bring us more fresh and original topics. We don’t need to read about another Harley paint job or review of an ancient sportbike.

        You sound like a sharp guy. I’d bet money that with just a little effort you could restrain yourself from ever reading a movie review, commenting on a song, film, book, article, or piece of art. I AM encouraging this man’s work: The photo has been fixed in regards to feedback, and the author has corresponded with his audience / target market. I have nothing to make amends for, the article has been fixed and reader’s time is now better spent. My guess is this discussion will be taken seriously by MD EDs, writers, and staffers. They’re pros and open to feedback so I am confident they will improve. If your time has any value, or you like to see a business respond to its customers complaints and feedback, I hope you thank me for this entirely constructive act.

    • Tom Barber says:

      This is a very peculiar comment. Gabe wrote a very good story. The most peculiar part of the comment is the part about the aspect ratio of the pictures. Maybe there was a problem initially that has since been corrected, but I don’t see any problem with the aspect ratio of the pictures. The width/height ratio is incorrect, it will show in circles appearing as ellipses, or squares appearing as non-square rectangles. I don’t see any of that. The gauges are round. The wheels have the right amount non-roundness given the viewpoint in relation to the plane of the wheel.

    • MGNorge says:

      Try clicking on the photos to bring up the correct aspect, did it for me. Maybe it’s a browser thing? I use IE8.

    • GaryF says:

      I disagree. It’s cool to compare an old workhorse like the VFR to modern sport touring iron. And it’s good to be reminded that you don’t have to spend a metric tonne to have loads of motorcycling fun.

      I’ve got a used ’06 Sprint that I bought for under $6k, and I’ll bet it is 95 percent as good as the new Triumph.

    • ROXX says:

      Thanks for running this article Gabe!
      I was the proud owner of a 99 with custom paint, forks done, PC installed, rear shock, and a Two bros carbon fiber exhaust.
      That bike had the best sound of any bike I’ve ever heard.
      Those cams and that exhaust note were pure heaven.

      Now I have a low mileage 99 Blackbird XX with similar mods, including the higher VFR bars, and although a couple pounds heavier, I sure love the added power.

      Miss that sound though!

      I hope you will do these “looking back” articles from time to time.
      I really like that.

      I’m in so cal if you ever want to take the XX for a spin.

  39. Jack says:

    Great bike and great article. I’ve had 2 VFR’s now and they both were terrific.

  40. Lynchenstein says:

    I’ve done the odd 1k day but never been to Laguna. I love my 98, but too many wet rides rusted out my tank. Otherwise it’s been and should continue to be a great all-round bike until Honda makes a worthy successor. Not holding my breath on that last part.

  41. sliphorn says:

    Decent bike I’m sure, but older Triumph Sprint ST’s can be had for a song too.

  42. Tom says:

    RE Video – Got to ride the mountains of Santa Cruz/San Jose 2 years ago on a rental BMW RT. I met a group of older guys (my age) at a local gas station that Sunday morning. We ended up at Alice’s later that afternoon. A great day of riding. You guys out there have it too good.

    BTW Had an 84 Interceptor. Go V4!

    • MGNorge says:

      I bought a new ’84 Interceptor and still ride it to this day. Not because it was the best necessarily at everything but because it’s been such a good all-arounder. Its engine being more exposed than today’s missiles also lets my eyes run over the lines of the engine. Very trouble free bike although the carbs are due for a thorough cleaning. Can’t complain after 27 years!

  43. kpaul says:

    “It’ll do 1000-mile days and it’ll do 1:45s at Laguna Seca,” Indeed sounds like the perfect bike. Nice read Gabe. Thanks