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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2010 Honda VFR1200F: MD Ride Review

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If Honda has been uncharacteristically slow to introduce new motorcycle models over the past few years, it seemed to make up for it all at once with the announcement last year of the VFR1200F, available with both a traditional manual transmission as well as a dual clutch automatic (which the press is just now beginning to test). This bike is clearly a gem that Honda has polished very carefully. When the big VFR was first introduced to the press corps in the U.S., we covered it with our story on October 8, 2009, and described all the technology found in this flagship motorcycle. We won’t bore you with those details, again, because the focus here is the riding experience. Nevertheless, for purposes of context, the VFR1200F, aside from its transmission choices, features a 1237cc, 76 degree, v-four engine feeding power to the rear wheel through a shaft drive encased in the single-sided swingarm. Throttle-by-wire, slipper clutch and Honda’s sophisticated combined braking system with ABS are all standard equipment. Honda even went so far as to design the engine with a unique firing order, and place the rear cylinders closer together in order to improve rider ergonomics. They swung for the fences, and damn the MSRP. The end result is the VFR1200F- retailing here in the United States for a suggested $15,999 base price.

With a curb weight approaching 600lbs (for the manual transmission version we tested) and a wheelbase of nearly 61 inches, this is a very big motorcycle. For comparison purposes, although lighter, the VFR1200F has a wheelbase one inch longer than that of a Kawasaki Concourse 14, and nearly 2.5 inches longer than the BMW R1200RT. It is also roughly 30 pounds heavier than the R1200RT. Despite this comparison with more dedicated tourers, Honda lists the VFR1200F in the “sport” category (with its CBRs) on its website. if the VFR1200F has an identity crisis, of sorts, it relates to its size and weight combined with ergonomics tilted heavily towards the sport end of the sport touring spectrum.

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Identity crisis or not, the 2010 VFR1200F functions flawlessly. We do not state this cavalierly. In our experience, everything on this motorcycle works smoothly and with a precision and feel approaching that of a fine Swiss timepiece. Engine vibration is low, but pleasant, throttle response (for a fuel injected motorcycle) is nearly seamless with very little off/on transition abruptness, and the rider controls, including clutch, brakes and throttle, all have that smooth, damped feeling one gets when interfacing with an expensive automobile.

Given the huge engine displacement, power comes on smoothly but somewhat less urgently than one would expect in the mid-range. While the mid-range is still more than adequate for normal street riding, this bike likes to rev and pull harder as the tach moves beyond the mid-range. Unfortunately, while the engine still feels smooth and unstressed and power still seems to be holding steady, redline and a related ignition cut abruptly put a halt to things at just 10,500RPM.

The combined braking system works about as well as any we have experienced. Even for an experienced rider that likes to control the front and rear brake independently, there is virtually no artificial feeling and no perceived significant reduction in fine control over the braking forces. To the contrary, Honda seems to have figured out how to allocate braking forces optimally for both beginners and experienced riders. Not and easy task given our experience with other manufacturers efforts in this regard. The brakes are powerful and provide good feedback, as well.

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Instrumentation is clear and legible even in bright sunlight. The large, centrally placed analog tachometer is appreciated, and the stark contrast on the LED screens is the best we have seen. Virtually all of the information you would want from your motorcycle is available, including a fuel gauge, trip meters, clock and even an ambient air temperature readout, among many others.  The usual warning lights reside just over the tachometer, and are strongly backlit and also easy to see during the daytime.

The “fit and finish” on our test unit was hard to fault. From the routing of hydraulic lines to the quality of the paint and the fit of the fairing panels, the bike appears very well put together. Seamless, even… sort of like the way it works.

We never missed a shift, and the six transmission ratios are well spaced with top gear providing relaxed freeway speeds. The low vibration combines with good mirrors that are certainly a step up in usability from those found on the typical sport machine.

Acceleration is deceptive. The bike is so smooth that you might not know how quickly you are being catapulted forward… until that car that was several hundred yards up ahead requires rather urgent use of the brakes. Despite the soft mid-range, the VFR1200F moves out with authority, and will not disappoint the adrenaline junkies.

The only problems I had with Honda’s new flagship related to its purpose, or its mission, if you will. The ergonomics are much too aggressive for a baby boomer looking for a comfortable, sport touring experience. Certainly not as radical as a pure sport bike, but the bars are lower and the footpegs higher than just about everything we have tested in the Sport Tourer category, of late.

At the same time, although the VFR1200F handles smoothly, and the suspension is refined and well damped, its defining characteristic is straight line stability. Freight train stability. This is great on the freeway, or when your mind wanders, but that extra long wheelbase and high curb weight work against direction changes. You can certainly hustle the VFR1200F through the twisties, but you won’t “flick” this bike in the process. You pull it up from one side and push it down on the other when you aggressively change directions. The tighter the road, and the higher the pace, the more pronounced this effort becomes. This is not a “sport” machine, far from it. Those big sport tourers mentioned earlier, with their shorter wheelbases and wider handle bars (providing greater leverage), might change direction more readily than the VFR1200F.

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We don’t usually care about “categories”. If a bike works well, and we think it’s a fun ride, to hell with the category it fits in. As we said, the VFR1200F functions exceptionally well, and probably just as Honda intended it to function. Leaving the trick new dual-clutch transmission aside, we are just having trouble deciding when we would prefer to throw a leg over the VFR1200F versus the alternatives. It is not a Sunday carve-the-twisties choice, nor is it the first machine we think of when a 500 mile freeway trip calls. Smooth and refined to the Nth degree, girth and a distinct lack of nimbleness limit its appeal on the sport end, while ergonomics limit its appeal on the touring side. And where is that “in between”? For additional details regarding Honda’s VFR1200F, visit Honda’s website.

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  1. Randy says:

    I ride a lot of bikes… a lot of DIFFERENT types of bikes. I took a test ride on the new Honda VFR 1200F. I have to say that I really liked it. Smooth, fast, and lots of torque coming out of that narrow V-4. The styling, although not traditional, is functional and a bit futuristic. I rode the standard manual shift model. I am still waiting to ride the dual-clutch model. I am not a Honda zealot or an advocate of any one particular brand, but must say that I admire Honda for their pioneering and risk-taking engineering. How are we to move motorcycling forward if we don’t try new things. Some people may look at the new dual-clutch and call it automatic – far from it! As much as I like standard manual motorcycle shifts, I’m sure there were some riders back in the day that never wanted to move off the old-fashioned suicide clutch and tank shifter. My only knock on the new Honda VFR 1200F is the lofty price. For thousands less I can get about as much performance with a Bandit, a Concours 14, or an FJ1200. But I wouldn’t get all the new whiz-bank technology. I like new technology. I invite change. Change is what moves us all forward. My advice is to get on a new VFR and ride it before you pass judgement.

  2. Ron says:

    The industry has lost one the essence of a motorcycle. The simplicity of design and function.

  3. Sands says:

    My wife and I went and took a look at the new VFR the other day and I have to say there is nothing appealing to me about the VFR and I really don’t see the point…Sure you’re not as far forward as a CBR but you’re still leaned over pretty far on it, plus the small tank…I see folks blowing right past the VFR and getting a ZX14 or Busa…Those bikes are just a handlebar away from being as or more comfortable…The V4 offers nothing more than the intrigue of having something “different”…

  4. Aunus Tappi says:

    This is not VFR. VFR is beautiful, futuristic bike. This is spunky, heavy, ugly, uninspiring, expensive, boring bike. Definitely not worth the name VFR.

    Honda kept hypeing this bike at least, say 5 years..and this is the result. This is lightyears behind CBR XX, which people admired and wanted to have. This ugly bike is just as interesting as a dead stone.

    Kawasaki is the new Honda. Good riddance Honda. The last one in your factory shut off the lights!

    • Sands says:

      I agree…Honda would’ve done much better updating the blackbird which was a really neat bike…

  5. Carlos Pinto says:

    Ok Fangit I think the 1250 is completely hideously ugly and VERY old thing……

  6. MGNorge says:

    Perhaps the VFR isn’t meant for “most riders”? Again, looks aside, if you don’t ride one you have little to say about how it operates. Since bikes are, especially in the states, toys, they are often used as eye candy to anyone who will notice. I don’t consider the VFR ugly at all but obviously very polerizing. I think that’s good. It gives people something to talk about and to not look like the guy’s bike next to you. I consider that b-o-r-i-n-g. One of my bikes is an Italian brand known for “rolling their own”. Not everybody likes them visually. For their displacement they are underpowered and expensive. But you know, they provide one of the most relaxing amd pleasant rides I have ever experienced and I’ve experienced many. Yes, the VFR is expensive, looks..not everyone’s cup o’ tea, but the proof is in the ride.

  7. nick says:

    didn’t honda have a website up for this bike for a few years and people could input what they wanted to see from honda, so after a few years, and all kind of teaser ads and hype, this is what honda came up with, it is too heavy and bike to be a sport bike, with a 4. something gal gas tank and zero storage space, with out buying the veryexpensive honda bags that are still not available, it is not a touring bike. So what is it? with a 15999 price tag, the only thing I can think of is a joke. honda should stop spending all of this marketing and media advertizing, and let there motorcycles sell them selves and take some money off the msrp. I am sure it is a good motorcycle, but if honda is going to ask that much for it, it is not. honda has been really turning there backs on people, and looks like people are starting to turn from them too. I will wait 2 years when honda still has them in their warehouse with some rebates.

  8. Stinky says:

    The VFR was always a little too techy for me save for the first version. The gear drive sounded so sweet that I had to love it, but never bought it, no hard bags, high price. The features kept coming, weight kept climbing, still no hardbags. The later versions have had features noone ever asked for and really didn’t wanna pay for. It was such a nice bike folks still bought them and the features were invisible except for the price and weight, hard bags finally arrived, optional of course. Honda just seems to look for ways to take the hard way of doing things and the VFRs were always the recipient. Sorry, they did it again.

  9. Dan Esau says:

    Hmmm, shaft drive and weight mean it’s not a pure sport bike. Small tank and aggresive riding position means it’s not a touring bike. I think I had one of these in 1984. It had shaft drive, hydraulic valve adjusters, TRAC anti-dive and a small tank and you could tour on it and yet it was somewhat sporty. It wasn’t really a touring bike nor was it a sport bike. I believe what we have here is the new Nighthawk S. I’ll take one in blue.

  10. Jay Mack says:

    I’d have to disagree with James. Suzuki does not offer the 1250S. At least not in the U.S.

  11. Alain says:

    I’ve had many sport bikes & sport tourers (over 35) and among those, I had a 1985 Interceptor750, a 1990 VFR750, a 2003 CBR1100XX and a 2003 VFR800. I was hoping for a mix of CBR1100XX & a VFR800 with a larger displacement engine. When I first saw it (photos) I liked it! Not flashy… Then I saw it in person, sat on it and I must say, I like it even better!. My next step is to try it.
    The VFR1200 is the kind of bike I’ve been waiting for, nice looking without being too flashy, sounds like a good engine/good tranny/excellent brakes according to the testers.
    My only complaint, just a bit pricy $$$… In Canada, almost the same price as the ST1300 (I have a 2009).

  12. oldtwinsracer says:

    Sorry, I don’t care if it’s the most functional machine Honda has ever built. It’s hideous, reminds me more of a Helix than any motorcycle and certainly isn’t as handsome as any of the Interceptors I have owned in the past. Then again all of those chain driven machines have been replaced by The 1200 RT which is boring but works. No Honda, I’ll be keeping my cash in my account again this year. Still waiting for something new that makes me want to actually come off the cash and buy it.

  13. ryan says:

    This bike rocks!I rode it amd the Kawasaki is a toad..Some people put a price on a toy i dont..Looks are a matter of opinion just like peple didnt like the GTS 1000 but it sure was a cool bike..Sorry Concours when i see u ur gettin spanked..

  14. Lynchenstein says:

    I really want to ride this bike. I own and love my 98 VFR but would very much like to try this new one out. The people complaining that Honda have lost the plot to the ongoing VFR story should perhaps choose to ride this new bike before passing judgement. If photos and the written word can convince you to love or hate a motorcycle, consider what you love about riding: is it the idea of riding or is it the emotion and experience that fulfils you?

  15. Gregg Cetnar says:

    I dont like it and I have owned two, it looks like a BMW. And no traction control, and the price!! you got to be kidding look for a clean older one save the cash, and get a real VFR. for that kind of money look for a RC 30!

  16. Artem says:

    The bike strangely reminds about GPZ 900 in “Top Gun”.

  17. Zach S says:

    I have seen the bike up close, photographed it for an ad, and I have ridden it. As a designer and lifelong motorcyclist I think the bike is stunning. In person it looks even better. It also seemed much smaller in person than in photos. While photographing it I noticed that Honda really paid attention to the details and the fit and finish was really well thought out. Then I was able to ride the bike and was just as impressed. At $15,999 it might be more expensive than some are used to but face it the price of everything is going up and those who say that they would buy a BMW for that price, try it. You’ll spend 20k+ before you leave the BMW dealer and the maintenance and repairs will be about ten times that of the Honda.

  18. MDB says:

    Another current Blackbird owner here.

    Let’s see… 600 lbs, ugly as sin, and $16,000 (and doesn’t even come with bags)…

    That settles it. My next Honda is going to be a Kawasaki.

  19. richard grumbine says:

    I saw this bike for the first time about a year ago at the Fukuoka Motor Show. From a distance it looked strange but not unpleasant. But the closer I got the less I liked it. And once on board it felt decidedly plasticy. The ergos weren’t bad, and the price seems consistent with the tech… but in the end I would proably spend a bit more and buy a BMW just because I like the styling better. Nice try but no cigar Honda… sorry… I think they should have kept the bike closer to its bloodline…

    Now if we could get Triumph back into the sport touring game with a new 1200 Daytona or some such… we might really have something…

  20. LBF says:

    Rather expensive, especially once you add a few accessories. Still looks like a valid choice for a traditional rider.

  21. Wendy says:

    99 VFR owner/lover checking in here. For years we ranted on for a newer, larger displacement VFR. Unfortunately, this isn’t one to answer our pleas. Bigger, heavier, and longer, I realize that Honda has always seen the VFR as a “halo” bike. BUt with all of the “Gee-whiz” tech ladled on this biek, Honda forgot the first rule of engineering. first, add lightness.

    I still wanna Multistrada 1200ST

  22. kpaul says:

    Before I condemn this bike I want to see how it does in shootouts with other bikes in this category. When you add the hard bags, it may be a great bike to tour the country with. Not via the interstates but on secondary highways which feature sweeping curves as opposed to tight twisties. Visually it looks well put together like an expensive Rolex. Nice review. thanks

  23. SouthSoundRider says:

    I have a 2004 VFR and was bummed to see Honda market this bike. I do not like the looks, the price, the ergonomics and the complexity. Honda had a hardcore following with the VFR and one heck of a lot of history of a mid-range, sporty, affordable and award winning bike. With this particular rendition, they seemed to have lost the essence of VFR and the mindshare of those who rode VFRs. This thing takes a huge jump in price and weight, not to mention the appearance instills no passion whatsoever. Their previous versions were always evolutionary and focused on refining the previous version, while still maintaining affordability and the best VFR qualities. Now with this revolutionary step it feels like “game over” as the bike is so different it could have simply been marketed under a different name. Did Honda expect their loyal VFR fans to follow, especially in this economy? I do not understand their thinking. This bike is no VFR.

  24. brianmacza says:

    I waited 6 years for Honda to come up with an updated version of my CBRXX. I was hoping for decent suspension front and rear, decently mapped fuel injection and a couple hundred more cc’s to let it compete with the Eyeabuser and ZX-GeorgeForemanGrill head-on-head. Instead, we get a true work of art. And as a work of art its fine… fit&finish is world class. As a motorcycle, to take over from a bike that was pretty much unchanged in 13 years, its a FAIL. Too much smartass hi-tech pointless arrogant ‘i know better’ self aggrandisement, and not enough of an ear to what their CUSTOMERS have been begging for.

    Hell… if Kawasaki and Suzuki can sell in a market segment that ‘doesn’t exist’, why can’t Honda?

  25. 2equis says:

    Although I’m a fan, I’ve never owned a VFR. I’ve owned CBR1000’s, ZX11’s and a CBR1100 Blackbird. When the VFR1200 “spy photos” started being posted last year I was hoping that the bodywork was some type of generic test mule skins because IMO the VFR1200 is one ugly, confused, identity crisis of a bike. When the bike was officially unveiled it dawned on me. The front of the bike looks like a big red wall urinal. After reading the reviews and prelim performance numbers I found the bike incredibly underwhelming. Too many gadgets and widgets and not enough of what makes a great motorcycle… performance and simplicity. I finally saw a new Viffer at the dealer a couple of weeks ago. Seeing it in person really confirmed the red wall urinal thing (btw – a $16000 bike that only comes in one color? Really?!). Honda, your motorcycle division is lost and confused. With all the “technology” incorporated in this bike, we would have to assume that you have Honda Jet and/or auto designers involved in this project. Please send those folks back to their respective divisions. First it was airbags on a Gold Wing and now this “thing”. Poor Soichiro Honda is rolling over in his grave right now.

  26. rapier says:

    Well not as odd as the DN or the Rune. Have they sold one of those DN’s yet? You have to hand it to Honda trying to advance motorcycle design. I’m not saying they are advancing bikes but they are not shy about trying to lead. Given that HD has made the same bike, essentially, for 70 years I respect Honda more for their misses than HD for their conservatism.

    As for this VFR. I am sure it’s a great ride but it misses any practical spot. Which might be fine in better economic times but I suspect practicality, even the Busa or ZX14 practicality of bragging rights for nut, is going to doom this thing on the sales floor.

  27. Xantia says:

    The critics of the VFR keep saying, i’ll buy a Kawa C14 or a Kbike, but you just don’t get it.

    The new VFR, like al previous VFR, are the best all-around motorcyle money can buy. Period.

    VFR can be used for everything, there’s simply no bike that can master all trades like de VFR, not Kawa, not Yamaha, not BMW manufactures nothing similar.

    As for the weight, it is heavy, but as a long time biker, weight does not scare me, otherwise you were also scared of all the big displacement bikes of the 80 and 90s. Think about it, for the price, no bike serves all purposes as the VFR. The Kawa C14 is a nice bike, no doubt, but has an awfull rear end styling, or lack of. BMW RT or K, nice, but again, do not have the all around versatility of the VFR.

    The technology of a bike, i really don’t care, if it works, then go riding. But for one thing i care, is the new performance in Anti lock brakes Honda has achieved for motorcyles, the first manufacturer to make it 100% right. Hopefully the rest will follow.

    I agree with ex CBR XX owners, the XX is a very special bike, in my opinion the best Honda produced in a long time. But those amazing bikes don’t come out every year. Keep your XX, it’s a hell of a bike, even 13 years later.

  28. Steve P says:

    It seems that Honda has abdicated the mid-size sport touring market to anyone who wants it. It seems the BMW F800ST is the one in this category. I was hoping Honda would produced a worthy alternative at a better price. A VFR 900 or 1000 that weighed under 500 lbs with all of options included( hard luggage, heated grips, ,adjustable seat height and bars, center stand and ABS) at at a more reasonable price would have been a much better and more appealing bike. Thinking the Deauville will replace the void left by loss of the VFR 800 is ridiculous. Perhaps they could use the Superhawk motor, improve the suspension and make it look less like an overgrown scooter if they wanted a wanted to replace the VFR .

  29. E-Ticket says:

    I am so … bummed.
    If the VFR 1200 engine is physically smaller than the 800 FI in the current VFR – why not just drop it in? Add decent forks and shocks from the 1000RR – keep the 5.5 gallon gas tank, and update the linked brake system.

    AND YOU’RE DONE, HONDA. The VFR faithful would snap it up in droves.
    And it would win the next sport tourer shootout. Again. Just like the old days.

    {… Insert big sigh here …} Guess I’ll be hanging onto my ’99 VFR 800 FI until the wheels fall off.

  30. al banta says:

    Why does everyone want to complain about something new. I bet 95% of the responders haven’t ridden the bike, or even sat on one for that matter.

  31. iRex says:

    I like the bike.

    The V-4 is entertainingly different. There’s an annoying flat spot aroung 3500-4000 rpm. Annoying, but livable. Above 5K it revs quick and pulls hard. The exhaust opens up around 4K and even more around 6K, each time with a satisfyingly deeper tone. I have yet to experience drive-line lash, a “feature” of some other bikes I’ve ridden.

    The handling is sporty enough for the street. As has been pointed out, it’s long and heavy. It’s still capable of carrying impressive speed in the curves. The transitions take a little more work, and it will never handle like a CBR, but it’s WAY more bike than I am rider.

    For touring, the weight and wheelbase are not necessarily bad things. The longer wheelbase makes it more stable, especially over poorer surfaces. The weight helps in crosswinds and dirty air (e.g. around semi’s). I think it’s more stable than the BMW K1200GT (a great bike IMO). Interestingly, I think the VFR turns slower than the BMW K1200RSport, a bike about the same weight but with a longer wheelbase.

    I’m 53, 6’1″, and reasonably out of shape. I find the seat very comfortable, love the higher bars, and the peg height is appropriate. I added some Tech-Spec tank pads for grip. The waist of the bike is thin, a good thing, and there’s plenty of room in the cockpit to move around on a long trip. I did 480 miles of back roads in one day and felt the normal beat-to-hell goodness after nine-ish hours on the bike.

    As for looks, I’ll demur to beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder opinions. I am drawn to the design consistency and creativity. Layered bodywork, folded tank lines, clean yet highly functional dash, fine paint. You can’t get a credit card between the body panels. I dig it. My .02

    It’s a small thing, but I changed the oil and was impressed with how easy it was, even with all that bodywork.

    Finally, I’ll offer that there is an overall “feel” to a motorcycle that is subjective to all of us. I find the Ducati Streetfight twitchy and unstable. I think the Concourse is uncomfortably hot and cumbersome. Obviously these are great motorcycles and that’s just my personal summary of them. Despite all the cool components and analytics, I just didn’t enjoy those motorcycles.

    I like the VFR because it feels just so solid; straight line, leaned over, in the parking lot, everywhere. Yeah, it hauls butt. Let’s face it, they all do. But I like the VFR because of the subjective “feel”. It is rock solid. It’s intuitive to ride. I’m comfortable on it. It makes me smile. I hope your bikes do the same for you.

  32. James says:

    Lots of comments from Black Bird, VFR ( lots of leftovers in the warehouse if you want one) , and various other Honda bikes that really haven’t sold well in the U.S.. I own one as well; SuperHawk, an excellent all-rounder that flopped, even after NT650 riders, and the press had been screaming for just the bike. Can’t image why Honda is confused by the U.S. market; cruisers,dirt bikes, and Super Sports are what sell here. Concerning the VFR1200, I would love to ride one. I found the VFR800 engine anemic compared to my VTR1000 and was hoping for an engine with more torque and horsepower. But there is the price, if they are going after the BMW market I guess maintenance cost should be considered also. Has anyone commenting here actually sent time on the bike, or are we basing comments on looks and press reports?

  33. wario says:


    As a former XX Blackbird owner, and the owner of many sport and sport touring bikes I was anxiously awaiting the next defining moment in Honda history – a replacement/upgrade for the Bird and the VFR. But, the very moment I sat on one at the bike show last year I almost threw up in my mouth. Spendy, Heavy, Ugly, and Low Tech/Cheap… I’m in the market for a new bike right now, and the VFR1200 is so far from my list it’s not even funny. I’d buy a FJR, a Conc 14, or a KBike in a heartbeat before I’d spend a nickel on the Bozo Bike. Hell, I’d rather have a GoldWing! Too bad momma Honda… you REALLY MISSED THE MARK on this one!

  34. Bubbaslye says:

    I agree with the mostly negative comments above. HONDA, unlike Kawasaki and Yamaha ( to a lesser degree ) rivals only BMW in its refusal to listen to anything its purchasers might have to say. Over the years, the only manufacturers I’ve notice actually sit up & take notice of what the people who buy their machines are saying are Yamaha & Kawasaki — look at the improvements the last few years to the CONCOURS and the FJR; by contrast all the complaints voiced about Honda and BMW touring bikes were wholly ignored. While I’ve owned bikes from all the manufacturers I’ve mentioned, the only one I would consider buying from again is KAWASAKI — I’d very much like to have a 2010 CONCOURS, but as I’m presently riding a VICTORY VISION which is hands down the most comfortable & least expensive to maintain m’cycle I’ve ever owned, I doubt that I ever will. In any event, I think the new VFR will go the way of the RUNE — a collector’s item, pleasing to a few but ignored by most.

  35. Pablo says:

    Wow, there certainly is a lot of haters of this bike! Maybe Yanks dont get it?
    Take a close look at this bike in the flesh and you will notice build quality and finish that is second to none. Add a unique 1238cc V4, (that is physicaly smaller than a VFR800 motor) packed full of technology like a DCT that will be a benchmark for many motorcycle makers, and you have one brilliant motorcyle.
    The VFR1200 has a distinct European design that is aimed squarley at BMW’s buyers and is outselling BMW in the UK since its release! So maybe it just isn’t suited to US buyers? A quick google search also reveals that there is a Touring Version to replace the ST1300 that will be released at the start of 2011 for all those that want a strait out touring bike. While Im obviously in the minority on this forum, I must say well done Honda on building such a beautiful unique machine.

  36. John Mac says:

    As the currant owner of a Vtec VFR 800,I’m warming up to the new VFR.Don’t worry about the anti baby boomer ergonomics as Honda will follow with an ST version and a Varedero replacement with the new 1200 running gear .So Higher handlebars are on the way.I’m 52 and don’t mind the ergonomics of the currant or past VFR’s. They are on the sporty side of sport tour for sure and never had the weather coverage as some others ,but on a warm summer day the lack of heat compared to a Concours or FJR are a blessing. Smaller luggage on the 1200 is hard to figure and I’m not convinced on the durability of hanging the saddlebags off the rear plastic fender! One more thing. I can’t get my ears around that 76% degree V4.Just does not have that V8 rumble of the 90% especially with staintunes.I know I know it takes up less space.So they stick it in a 60 inch wheelbase!

  37. ROXX says:

    As an owner of three VFR’s and current Black Bird CBR1100XX owner, All I can say is;

    ( 1 ) It’s too heavy
    ( 2 ) It’s too long
    ( 3 ) It’s too complex
    ( 4 ) It’s too expensive

    Other than that, it’s great.

  38. Rab says:

    I loved my blackbird for 8 years and 60000ks and hung onto it past it’s suspension use by date far too long. I once was accosted here in Melbourne by a Japanese man who claimed to be one of the designers of the Blackbird and we talked at length about it’s design and what could be improved … I never dreamed they would produce this gargoyled V4 as the market replacement for my beautifully flowing XX. Now I own a ZX14 with wet dream response, smoothness, and sure-footedness, yet every time a Blackbird goes by my eye is still drawn to their wind tunneled lines.

  39. UFO says:

    After waiting years for the 7th gen VFR…the new Multistrada got my money. At the end of the day, after you add all the extras to the VFR you end up at about the same price for an MTS1200S, but you get SO many more features on the Multistrada, and about 100 lbs less.

  40. BoxerFanatic says:

    Odd that the article compares this to the R1200RT… Seems like this would be the bike to compare to the K-bike line from BMW. the left-side shaft drive even LOOKS like Paralever EVO on a K-bike, with 1200ccs and 4 liquid cooled cylinders… I think Honda was trying to take aim at the K1200S or GT or something. Both are big, long, and not so light.

    I like my Honda Hawk GT… even though it is too small for me, really. But I haven’t been impressed by a Honda since. they have fumbled or flat out ignored every opportunity since for any bike aside from a CBR-RRRRR, or a GoldWing, or other weird cruiser-esque bike.

    The dropped the ball on Superhawk, they let SV650 and SV1000 steal the Hawk/Superhawk legacy. The VFR has gotten more and more watered down, with a slight up-tick for the VFR800 when the current generation was first introduced.

    The Hornet was WAY over-priced as the 599 and 919. Decent bikes that were priced directly out of salability.

    There isn’t a new Honda that I would buy. With the demise of the SV1000S, there isn’t a Suzuki, either. Triumph, BMW, Ducati, or even maybe a Moto Guzzi Griso (which is still at least unique and somewhat traditional)… European companies still somewhat “get it”, while the Japanese companies seem to have lost their perspective after too many years of focusing SO hard on super-sport bikes, and nearly ignoring most else, and America never even tried, outside of HD/Buell, and their clones.

    All that being said, I hope BMW sees the dual-clutch, and the universal-joint shaft-drive as improvements to compete with.

    I’d love to see a BMW R-bike with 4-valve DOHC heads, in-line dual-clutch gearbox, an updated Paralever swingarm with CV rather than u-joints, and a Duolever front suspension and half-fairing like the K1200R-Sport. With decent rider and pillion seats (optional pillion cowl cover), and the option to fit bags, like the R1100S did… That would be the sort of sport-touring bike I would love to look forward to owning. Not 600lbs, and not as big and heavy, but still a rational application of advanced technology, on a proven traditional BMW layout. I’d call it an R1250RS.

    I’d buy something like that from Honda, if they would build it… but I don’t figure they ever will. Not with the reputation they’ve earned in the last 20 years of punting motorcycle products other than their very favorite racers or full-dress tourers.

  41. Johnne Lee says:

    I’ve owned 5 Interceptor/VFR models over the past 20+ years. The new VFR1200F is exactly the same all-round-er as the prior models except with more displacement and more technology. It is a 21st century motorcycle.

    It is not a (insert niche defining adjective here) bike.

    I’ve also owned several other sport-touring models from BMW, Kawasaki and, yes, Honda.

    I’ve always preferred the VFRs.

  42. Jay Mack says:

    How does the V4 make for a good choice? Personally, I like the V4 idea, but I’d like to hear Motorcycle Daily’s opinion on that one.

    For me, it is a little too much for what it is. More engine than I can ever use, more engine heat, and more weight than I really want. I am thinking Triumph might have it right with their new Sprint GT 1050.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      V4s are actually very cool. They are more expensive to manufacture, but narrower for the rider and offer a nice “feel”, with lots of character. The v4 engine in the VFR1200F has its special, unique character that I liked, but it doesn’t have the raw appeal of the v4 found in the Aprilia RSV4 Factory, which is sensational. You can argue about the rest of the package, but Honda has a fantastic engine here.

  43. warprints says:

    Looking back through the various responses, I see a fair number of former/current VFR800 owners (some also own V-stroms – interesting) that feel the same as I do, that this bike is nice display of technology, but just does’t cut it for the VFR faithful. It looks like the consensus is among VFRers that the C14 sales will be getting a boost.

  44. Gary P says:

    I get it it is a great bike, very refined. I had an ST 1100 and it was very refined for its time, I loved it. Replaced it with a BMW R1200 RT (power brakes are an answer to a question no one asked) as the ST 1300 wasn’t lighter or much better. The new VFR would be a home run if it had a bigger tank, were lighter, bags, heated grips, and center stand were standard, seating position was a little more upright like the ST (for us boomers), and was a little less expensive. Although if the above items were included the current price would be acceptable. Also they could have left it at 800 cc’s or not exceed 1000 cc’s.

  45. Keith G says:

    I titally agree. Its NOT a canyon carver-its NOT a sport touring bike-its not a touring bike. SO WHAT IS HONDA THINKING???? I owned a CX650T and now own a VTR100 and Tuono and WANT to buy a SPORT TOURING bike BUT it looks like a CONCOURS is in my future because HONDA DID BLOW IT!

    • warprints says:

      Yup. I currently have a VFR800 and a Wee-strom. Looking to get back into touring, and was really waiting for the new VFR. Honda just didn’t do it for me. Too big, too expensive (compared to competition), and although it’s wowee-zoweee, I’d rather just have a comptetant motorcycle. I think I’ll be buying my first Kawasaki.

      • Nicholas Weaver says:

        The WeeStrom with 3-bags is an amazingly good solo tourer already.

        Although admittedly, the Connie 14 does have MASSIVE OBSCENE POWAH!!!! which does feel awfully nice, and it is much better for a passenger.

  46. Joe says:

    I’m not ready to have the dealer do all the service maintenance this bike require down the line. The Bandit 1250 sport touring is simple and smart, keep it simple.
    This Honda VFR reminds me of a BMW 750 automobile, nice but overkill.

  47. nick says:

    is honda trying to fail, really, what is going on. it is almost 2011 and most of their quads are still carburated as are some of their street bikes, look at your local honda dealer all they sell is left over 2007’s and 08’s when the honda warehouses are out of them, the dealers will not be able to sell anything, the msrps are so, well it is a joke. dn01’s pcx 125’s, runes, choppers, 13000 dollar vt 1300 made of plastic, and now this. 99% of all the comments on here are negitive on this honda stuff, pay attention honda, nobody was asking for any of these motorcycles you have made it the last decade, and certanly not at those msrp’s

  48. David M says:

    I was really hoping that they line up the new VFR along the lines of the Triumph Sprint ST. A nice middle weight sport-TOURing bike with luggage and with a bit more fuel range. As a dedicated sport touring rider (Concours and FJR), we didn’t need another 1200-1300cc sized bike. A long distance 1000 would have fit my garage perfectly.

    • John B says:

      David M, perhaps the Triumph Sprint GT? Just needs a muffler swap to let the triple sing out!

  49. Bill S says:

    I was excited when I first heard of this bike. But at $16,000 and 600 pounds, I’ll keep my CBR1100XX for a few more years, and trade for a Kawasaki when it’s time.

  50. Bud says:

    Honda seems to be repeating the mistakes they’ve made in the past with bikes like the CBX and CX Turbo: sophisticated, uncompetitively priced bikes, that in the end get lots of attention from the industry press but few sales.

  51. Vroooom says:

    Let’s face it, at 600 lbs and a shaft drive, no matter how Honda wants to slice it, this isn’t a sport bike. With a longer wheelbase than a Concours 14 and a BMW RT, why the brutal ergos? Kind of like the old 750 VFR I used to own, more comfortable than my friend’s sport bikes but not as fast, and not suitable for long multi-day sport touring due to a lack of luggage and low comfort after 200 miles. You’d think the middle ground would be a perfect place to be, but this bike is more in the middle on averages, not in in the middle on actuals. At 600 lbs it’s the heavy side of the sport, but the middle of sport touring. At $16K it’s not suitable for the young, but those ergos are only suitable for the under 35 crowd. Kind of like the old 750 that isn’t in my garage for that reason. Why not go with an excellent seat to peg to bar ratio, slightly shorter wheelbase, less technology, 50 less lbs, a $12K price tag, and then sell it to everyone?

  52. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Ugg, this thing is totally pointless.

    Speaking as someone with the Last Great VFR (800fi) and the ultimate ST cruise missile (a Concours 14), I was hoping for something that combined the best of both: the comfort, power, and utility of the Connie, with the handling and soul of the 800fi…

    Instead we get the complete opposite: handling worse than the Connie, with the comfort and utility of the 800fi. So the net result is rather than the best of both worlds, we have the WORST of both worlds!?!

    If I want a touring sportbike, the new VFR offers less than the K1300S or (in europe) the ZX-14R ABS. If I want a sport tourer, the new VFR offers less than the Concours 14.

    Only in Honda’s dreams will this thing sell.

  53. Kbrick says:

    It sure is an interesting use of technology but where is the motorcycle inside. I say this as an owner of a VFR I guess more is not necessarily better. Honda where is that retro 1100.

  54. BBfan says:

    I agree with XXTC- this ain’t it.
    As a faithful Blackbirder, I’ve waited several years for Honda to come up with my next bike, whatever they foresaw that to be.
    I’m ten years older than when I bought the Blackbird, my “perfect bike”, and it has served me spectacularly well.
    I own a Honda Pilot, the Bird, the Honda jetski, even their lawnmower, so looking elsewhere feels a bit traitorous, but the bike that most answers the call now is, dare I say, the new Multi-Strada- big power, low weight, very cool ride management, the relaxed ergos that I (read: baby-boomer) am looking for, and ps…just a hoot to ride!
    So sorry, Honda, …

  55. MGNorge says:

    As a (very) longtime Honda owner and more recently stepping into something a bit more off the beaten path (Moto Guzzi Norge) I have to say to all the nay-sayers, give the VF a chance. Who among us can honestly say it’s a lousy bike by simply standing back and casting stones at it? Swing a leg over it, take it for a ride. Then come back and give honest feedback. Looks aside, which by the way I find tasteful, I’m sure it’s a brilliant machine that will fit many people well. Sure it’s pricey, but what were you looking for? Something that equals the sum of all its polish and engineering for chump change? Get real!

    • vfr800 says:

      Interesting idea…to ride it. The only problem is there isn’t a dealer I know of who will let you test any of their bikes except H-D, Triumph and BMW. Certainly not Honda, at least none of the many Honda dealerships I’ve visited in the last 30 years or so.

      I am a former VFR800 owner and current V-Strom owner. If Honda would build a lighter VFR in the 900-1000cc range with fully adjustable, quality suspension and fit hard luggage on it, I’d buy one.

      • MGNorge says:

        When I went looking at the Guzzi I almost had to refuse a test ride. They were so adamant I take it for a spin, what could I say? That sealed the deal for me. I have heard of other local people here also getting test rides, something I thought was long gone too. I can’t speak for the local Honda dealers but I do know that several dealers are offering them. I can’t speak for Honda’s design direction or rationale but truly, why wouldn’t a prospective buyer insist on a test drive? I would, it’s my money.

  56. Dave says:

    Overweight, plain jane looks, and highly overpriced. Don’t think we need this bike. Sounds like it works very well, sort of like a Honda Accord or Toyota Camray. And it inspires me about as much.

  57. sherm says:

    This bike has been “Runed” from the start.

  58. Tim says:

    Once again Honda turns its back on motorcyclists. This is just another overpriced exercise in over tech dumped on us. I would much rather have a chance at buying the CB1000 than this piece of junk.
    Honda is focused on manufacturing cars. Motorcycles are a afterthought.
    I used to own Honda’s but have moved to others that seem to care about making motorcycles, not cars. If all they can give me is a DN800, overweight V-twins, crotch rockets, and a vastly over priced Goldwing, I’ll never buy another Honda.
    Ever since ‘Ol Man Honda died, Honda motorcycles have died too.

  59. Tom Barber says:

    We asked repeatedly for better ergonomics and less weight. What we got was inferior ergonomics and more weight.

    I’ve been a Honda fan for a long, long time, and I thought the CBR1100XX was one heck of a motorcycle. The engine in this new VFR1200F seems quite unique, but given the utter lack of vibration in the XX, with its excellent implementation of dual counter-balancers, I just don’t understand why they thought it necessary to design this new engine. Perhaps the narrowness in the area of the rider’s knees is a significant advantage. But any V4 engine has just about got to weigh a lot more than an in-line 4 with the same displacement, and as such, the well-balanced in-line 4 just seems a much better engine for motorcycle application. They seem to have done something very smart with that shaft drive, and I suspect that it feels very much the same as a chain-driven motorcycle. I would rather that they had produced a bike derived from the XX, but with better ergonomics and with this new shaft drive. It would weigh more than the XX, but probably not nearly as much as this. Perhaps there will be a more touring-oriented version of this bike in another year or two, a more suitable replacement for the ST1300. But if so, it will probably weigh about as much as the ST1300 and not be significantly distinguished from it. More and more I think that the most practical general-purpose motorcycles these days are the adventure-tourers.

  60. Mike says:

    +1 XXTC.

    As a previous owner of a XX and a current VFR 800 owner, I too am very disappointed. All Honda needed to do was take a 98-01 VFR, give it 1000 cc’s, better suspension and update the styling a little bit and VOILA!! Could have easily kept the price @ $12000 doing just that IMHO. How many years did the VFR 750/800 win best sportbike?? Like 10?

  61. mick from Sydney Australia says:

    The Blackbird (CBX1100) was an awesome and relativley light machine. Why didn’t they just convert that to either shaft or belt drive. It had more than enough power, a fantastic delivery and sure footed handling and it would also have been considerably cheaper.

  62. ABQ says:

    I think it’s beautiful. There, it’s been said. It is an experiment in design for the real world of riding. Not just touring or canyon carving or racing on city streets. Nor is it strictly for commuting. It presses limits on what can be done on busy streets and truck filled highways. It is the perfect example of why America doesn’t get the good bikes that they only get in Europe and Asia. You guys don’t get it.

  63. Doug Miller says:

    This bike has to be all about the automatic. As a manual it falls short in many categories. Hopefully it will shine as an automatic (where the performance bar is set lower) Meanwhile, Honda, fix the durn ergonomics. The squids will not look beyond the crotch rockets so your market is us boomers and we don’t like being wadded up in a tight knot while we ride.

  64. Steve says:

    Yeah, I wasn’t exactly waiting on this. Was hoping for a sporty twin in the 800-900 cc range.

  65. Fangit says:

    Too fat and ugly. I will be astonished if it’s not a sales flop. VRF owners/fans must be infuriated. All they ever wanted was a bigger, more powerful engine! This bike doesn’t deserve the VFR moniker…

  66. Jb says:

    Just what the world needs, an overweight, average handling, mega-motored “sport” bike. It kills me to think that all their years of work went into making this smooth, high-tech barge with low bars and high pegs.
    Hey Honda, where’s the new 400/500/600 V-4 track missile with multi power modes, advanced ABS, traction and stability control? Or how about an updated 750/800/1000 size that totally rocks the canyon’s, tours, and with the push of a button, goes “Audi Allroad” style with a high-low suspension settings, increasing the travel and the fork rake, (and turning off the ABS and modifying the traction settings) to become a giant dual-sport? Or get real crazy and give us a V-4 600 supermoto with auto wheelie and stoppie “tilt” controls, now that’d be fresh. But no, instead you’ve spent years over-designing some unnatural three-way offspring of a metric cruiser, a Gold Wing and a Segway.
    Over the years we’ve all seen the VFR serve as Honda’s showcase of the skills of their engineers and designers, it’s often been on or near the technical cutting edge of consumer motorcycles, and, most amazingly of all, a damn nice motorcycle. But, sorry, not this time.

    • dennis says:

      What a great response Jb. Imaginative and correct. Couldn’t agree more. Give this person a blog!

  67. Big mistake: This bike should have been chain driven with a 57″ wb……..and a ST1300 replacement, built on this platform, should have used the driveshaft with a more protective fairing….as it is, it’s a disappointment …..

  68. Stephane says:

    Does’nt fall into ANY category per se… hmmm I guess I’ll keep my Triumph Sprint ST then. I once thought that the ideal “does everything well” bike was the Honda VFR 750 and later the 800’s and had one of those for over then years. Then I heard about the Sprint ST in 2005 and thought that its gotta be the best SPORT-tourer (as opposed to FJR’s and Connie14 being sport-TOURERS). While this bike seems great in many regards, I think you hit the nail in that it failed at being the king of a category OR being the “good at everything” bike. Well I guess they should’ve kept the VFR800 or better yet they should’ve made a 1000cc VFR without the vtech like most people asked for. AND then, they could’ve still come up with that V4 1250cc pig for touring.

    That being said I’ve kinda got used to the looks of that VFR1200 over time and still do think its a great bike, but its just too expensive for what I need about a bike.

    Thanks Mister Honda, but, no thanks.


  69. Jeff says:

    Another baffling bike from Honda, a company that lately seems to be hell bent on answering questions nobody asked.

    It’s also worth noting that the new VFR has a sport-bike small fuel tank and resulting (too) short fuel range.

  70. Austin ZZR1200 says:

    Expect this to be the second or third bike in the garage for most. Its this capabilities-based (as opposed to rider-focused) engineering that will render this new FVR a niche choice. A shame.

  71. Marc says:

    Still Ugly and once again NO amount of technology can offset Ugly….

  72. mechelaar says:

    Yeah, but how does it compare with the Busa and the ZX14 as well as the K1200S? I think that’s where this bike belongs best.

  73. XXTC says:

    Honda missed the boat on this one. As you stated, or at least hinted at, what is it?
    As a Blackbird owner, I was hoping for something that would take the place of the venerable old “Bird”, but this ain’t it! Non adjustable suspension, heavier, slower handling, way too expensive considering no bags or centerstand (even MORE weight) and shaft drive? Honda has baffled the VFR owners with this bike, has disappointed alot of Blackbird owners (ZX-14’s or C-14’s here we come) and has alienated Sport Touring riders who want a bike that actually handles. The one thing I really find interesting is that in not one review, has anybody called this a good looking bike! Sorry Honda, you blew it,and I don’t say that lightly as I have been a Honda owner for a long time.