– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

MD Microtest: Honda Interceptor


Photo by: Kevin Wing


Photo by: Kevin Wing

The story—or is it Saga?—of Honda’s V-4 GT bike, the VFR, is now in its fourth decade. It’s the tale of a massive corporation trying to build the perfect motorcycle for its perennially picky customers. It’s a story of irresistible force and immoveable object, acted out by massive R&D funding colliding with obstinate, impossible-to-please middle-class suburbanites.

Anyway, here’s the current last word in viffer-osity. It has a lot going for it, if you ask me. It’s simple, compared to its European competition, light—compared to the Incredible Hulk it’s replacing—yet very refined and sophisticated. Build quality is indistinguishable from other Hondas you’ll see in this price range, despite the bike’s Thai origins (yes, that’s right, the first character of the VIN is M, not J—a first for a VFR?). And I like the styling—it’s sleek, trim and so compact I had to check if I was wearing high heels (I wasn’t).

The seat is very low, the tank is almost comically bulbous, yet the ergonomics are more than tolerable. The footpegs are high and the bars are low (but close to the rider), giving the bike a retro ’90s feel I dug. Pour me a Zima and play some Vanilla Ice, Ice, baby. The position did get tiring after a long day on the road, but I could have kept riding. Our tester had non-adjustable suspension and lacked grip heaters, traction control and ABS, all available on the $13,499 DLX model.


Photo by: Angelica Rubalcaba

My mission was to ride down I-5 to Mordor so I could get another test bike. You may shudder, but not to worry—I have a routine that makes the trip bearable, even in triple-digit heat. But darn that sleek red bullet I was riding—for the first time in a long while, my bladder filled up before the tank ran dry. I was at almost 230 miles before the fuel level LED got to its last bar—that’s spitting distance to 48 mpg, and I was averaging 80 mph. That tank looks like a pregnant woman’s belly, but it’ll carry you further than a Goldwing or a VFR1200, which both get worse mileage than my Ford C-Max hybrid. That’s a car.

But we’re not geeky nerds obsessed with fuel economy, are we? We like riding fast on twisty roads, and fortunately, so does the Interceptor. I was impressed by the damping quality and spring rates as well as the solid chassis. It steered nicely (if a bit slow in that Seinfeld-era kind of way) and felt much lighter than the claimed 529 pounds. The brakes are good (and praise God, not linked), although they don’t really stand out.

I didn’t like a few things. You can keep the high pegs and the low screen sends a lot of noise and turbulence at your chest and helmet. The motor, though charming, has a sort of flat spot before the VTEC kicks in and feels surprisingly rough and buzzy past that, even if the entertaining intake noise makes up for it.

This bike, I think, can do it all—B-group at a trackday, tour cross country or commute—meeting what may be your minimal requirements for a proper motorbike. Is it a good value? Sure, if you ride it enough. It’s a serious, all-around sportybike for somebody who demands this kind of seamless refinement, and you can bet you’ll get at least a decade’s worth of use. And then you can see what’s in the next chapter of the VFR story.

The base model Interceptor is available for $12,499, while the DLX version retails for $13,499. Visit Honda’s web site for additional details and specifications.


Photo by: Angelica Rubalcaba


  1. DaveA says:

    :grunch: (this means I didn’t read every comment before posting in case you don’t know)

    Try as I might, I don’t understand who would buy this bike when the Ninja 1000 is available as an alternative. The Ninja is _way_ more powerful, less expensive, a lot more comfortable, includes an adjustable windscreen, and comes with fully adjustable suspension without having to pony up extra cash (which would make it even more expensive than the N1K). What is the VFR better at?

    It has more range.

    That’s the whole list.

    The good news is that there should be plenty of VFRs available as heavily discounted leftovers next year. They still won’t be as good in pretty much any area as the N1K, but at least they’ll cost a little less.

    On a side note, I’m no hater; I’ve owned and loved several Honda V4’s over the years including 1st generation Interceptors, a VF1000R that was good at pretty much nothing but was _really_ cool, and a 3rd gen VFR that was one of the best bikes of its time. As far as I can tell, this new one isn’t as good as that one was, let alone its modern competition.

    • mickey says:

      The Ninja 1K would be a much better bike if it had 3 things…

      a more subdued paint job
      a center stand
      a different name

      I hear they can be vibey too, but overall very nice motorcycle

    • Dave says:

      re: “What is the VFR better at?”

      Short list, the VFR faithful could certainly come up with more.
      1. Being a Honda
      2. SS swing-arm/paint/bodywork/looks
      3. V4 & sound
      4. Available center-stand

      I agree that the N1k is a fantastic bike and has lots of spec-sheet goodies that make sense but the very act of choosing to ride a motorcycle doesn’t make sense for many people. I bet this bike does reasonably well in the market. There just aren’t that many “grown-up” GT’s out there anymore.

      • DaveA says:

        I’m all about the subjective ‘I just like it’ line item being the most important criterion for choosing a bike, so don’t get me wrong…wasn’t trying to say that anyone who would want a VFR is wrong. I’m just surprised that the bike is so underwhelming compared to other alternatives. When the list only has one objective item, and it’s a center stand, you’re suckin’ hind…well you know.

        I do agree that it looks better, but that’s because I’m old.

        • mickey says:

          A centerstand is a pretty important item. At least it should be available as an option. That a manufacturer would make any bike intended for the street, particularly one with chain drive, without a centerstand is just crazy. But IMO ALL street motorcycles should have one standard. I had one motorcycle without a centerstand, and will never have another. How important is that feature to me? NO matter how excellent a bike is, no centerstand, no sale.

  2. atomic frog says:

    Thanks, but no, I’ll just keep my 86 VFR750…………..

  3. Artem says:

    Strangely, I would like Ducati for their slim powerfull engine.

  4. Wayne says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how Honda’s bring the largest number of critical responses, particularly the VFR. I previously owned 2000, 2002, and 2006 800’s, and presently have a 1200 DCT in the garage. Arguably, I am the target customer.

    On the 2000, I did love the sound of the gear drive cams, but would have liked the option of slightly higher bars/lower pegs, and at 6′-1″ 230lbs, 900-1000cc would have been icing on the cake. Fabulous motorcycle.

    On the 2002, I came to appreciate mechanical silence of the tech engine, which is now, from idle to redline, the best sounding motorcycle I have ever ridden. My comments about ergonomics still apply. As well, it felt significantly lighter on it’s feet than the 2000. All the negative internet blather regarding the vtec is nonsense. Idle to midrange operation was flawless, unlike other recently introduced bikes that the press has canonized. Was it perfect? No but the ’06 was a very nice improvement. And since the vtech was rpm controlled, you could easily drive around it. Loved the updated looks and under tail exhausts, again a charismatic, versatile motorcycle.

    With the 1200, I got the extra displacement I desired, along with unexpected but appreciated shaft drive. Still would have liked some ergonomic adjustment, but it still felt exactly like a VFR. And contrary to all the Marquez’s trolling the column, this is a STREET bike! This is a lightweight, compact sporting machine especially compared to some of the bloated cruisers, sport touring sedans, and Adventure SUV’s. And BTW, other than a bit more gear change noise in lower gears than I prefer (apparently improved on later models) I love the DCT. I’ve got other bikes to do wheelies and burnouts. Would like a bit more fuel capacity (again, apparently increased on newer versions), and isn’t quite as aurally satisfying, but a great bike overall. Knowing the market in North America has rejected this unique bike, I won’t be selling mine.
    Without riding the new one, I expect the 2014 will have that incredible sound of the vtec engine. Add to that the available bar riser kit, quick shifter, heated grips, and even further refined vtec and improved low rpm performance, I believe another VFR800 will soon grace my garage.

    And if anyone from Honda reads this, please keep building bikes for those of us who actually buy your bikes, and ASK US what we want/like/dislike about our purchases, especially your flagship road going models like the VFR.

    VFR – Until you own one, you probably won’t understand.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “from idle to redline, the best sounding motorcycle I have ever ridden.”

      motoIQ engaged, V4 valuer IDENTIFIED…!!!

    • John says:

      To me, it seems like Honda did a New Coke/Classic Coke thing.

      What they should have done is applied some of the VFR1200 ideas to a VFR1000 and would have one bike that is better than the two they have now.

      I want to see a naked ST1300. That would be so….sweet.

    • Neil says:

      Test ridden. VERY noisy windscreen at only 60 mph (Not paying more for anything when I already would pay $12k). Flat spot before VTEC kicks on, verified by a magazine test rider. VTEC is VERY annoying on a backroad. My 96 just honked all the way from 3000 rpms thank you very much. I test rode the 1200 as well and because it is so L O N G , it soon made my arms tired. The motor was ok but it still, to me, did not compare to the gear driven 96 motor.

  5. azi says:

    All they had to do was take a 1999 VFR800, remove 15-20kg, give it better suspension, and leave everything else alone. Sigh. 15 years.

    • Dave says:

      They were probably not willing to sell that as a zero margin product (ala’ 600ss bikes). Because of this, we’d be looking at a very expensive 20kg to remove in 21st century dollars.

      Does anybody else think the extra $1k for the DLX version (adj. suspension, heated grips, TX, and ABS) is about the best bargain in moto today? Kinda wondering why they’re even offering the STD model..

  6. dan says:

    Owned a 1999 and 2002 version. Did not like and could not get used to VTEC.
    Seat-of-the-pants impressions between the 2 left no discernible difference, as far
    as the power output was concerned. VTEC not so subtle when leaned over mid-corner.

    I would have been in line for a 1000 (no VTEC), however we know what came out instead.
    Too bad. Makes you wonder if this new version is an admission that Honda got the 1200
    wrong. The 1200 had too much gimmick tech and is too expensive.

    I’ve since moved to a C14 Concours and the power has spoiled me. The ’02 VFR had a great
    sound though, especially with dual Staintune pipes.

  7. Grover says:

    I sat on a new FJ-09 today and let me tell you, these two bikes are COMPLETELY different. The FJ-09 is an adventure bike without the off-road tires. Period. I don’t think you are going to find many cross-shoppers when it comes to these two machines once a rider sees both bikes in person. The VFR is definitely in a class above the FJ-09 and my guess is you’ll like one and despise the other if you have any motorcycle bias at all.

  8. ? says:

    Not sure what VFR you all tested, but the ones that I’ve seen have all had a J as the fist Character in the VIN and not an M. Meaning it is a Japanese production bike. That is all.

  9. marloweluke says:

    Now that the Yamaha FJ-09 is coming out I think the VFR will be a tough sell. The FJ-09 is lighter, more powerful, more torque, better ergonomics and cheaper. I used to be a Honda guy and I owned a 1986 VFR that was awesome, but nothing they sell these days excites me. The new VFR does look better than the Yamaha. I will probably replace my 2002 Triumph Sprint RS for the Yamaha in a few years provided they have updated the suspension and fueling from the FZ-09. If Triumph made something similar I would buy it. I just sold my 2011 Triumph 800 Tiger because it wasn’t sporty enough. The old Triumph Sprint RS fits the bill. I do love triples.

    • Eric says:

      Was thinking similarly. Today’s market is value focused and in the face of sub $10K bikes with similar performance and mission the VFR will indeed be a hard sell. Too soft for the hard core sport bike set, too extreme for the tourers and too expensive for commuters. Like the review states it’s a good all-around bike but I’m not sure that market niche will pay the asking price.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Today’s market is value focused”

        yesterday’s market.

        right now the Progressive show is touring the country ALSO displaying kit like the Ninja H2, the Multistrada VVT, the R1M, the S1RR, the Slingshot, the Spyder F3, etc.

        go, have fun.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I think the Ninja 1000 is really the bike that makes the VFR seem like a tough sell. It has the same design-style (as opposed to the Yamaha’s quasi-adventure look), offers more comfortable ergos (according to most anyway) while at the same time being lighter, considerably more powerful and cheaper.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “The FJ-09 is lighter, more powerful, more torque, better ergonomics and cheaper.”

      but NOT a V4 (for those with mind to value that sort of thing).

      re: “I will probably replace my 2002 Triumph Sprint RS for the Yamaha in a few years provided they have updated the suspension and fueling from the FZ-09.”

      sounds like a dealbreaker. by the powers vested in me, I hereby join you and the Sprint in “Holy Matrimony”.

      • marloweluke says:

        Both can be fixed. The Sprint has race-tech front, Nitron rear shock and I’m heading to the dyno shop on Monday for a custom fuel map. TuneEcu, no power commander required.

      • marloweluke says:

        I’ve had a V4, (and single, and twin and I-4) and although lovely I prefer a triple over all else.

      • John says:

        I do love V4s, but the triples are just as good IMO, and lighter. If the VFR had shaft and more upright ergos, I’d be very interested even at that price. But if I’m going to spent THAT much money, it would be a Tiger 800, no question.

        • Neil says:

          A former 99 VFR riding friend did just that and bought a Triumph Tiger 800 and he is very happy with it.

  10. mechanicuss says:

    My knees went numb just looking at the pics. Sucky ergos.

  11. Sandor Larsson says:

    i have the new vfr800 with quickshift – really Love My new machine. Have the oldie behind the garage now (2002 var 800).
    Really recommend this Bike

  12. Not sure why it matters that it is made in Thailand, my ’08 dos fitty ninja was made there and has hauled my 300 lb. self for 50K miles and have yet to change a valve shim. Considering a 390 KTM that is made in India.

  13. SausageCreature says:

    “This bike, I think, can do it all”

    Except convince me to crack open my wallet.

    I already found the new VFR to be relatively overpriced given its (lack of) performance and features…and that was when I naively assumed it was made in Japan. Now that I’ve discovered it’s actually made in Thailand (which is fine for the entry level 300’s and 500’s, I guess, but kind of sketchy for flagship-ier models), I have no interest whatsoever.

    One wonders how much a Japanese built VFR would cost. $14k? $15k?

  14. Neil says:

    Gabe: I test rode it and thought the same thing – “the low screen sends a lot of noise and turbulence at your chest and helmet. The motor, though charming, has a sort of flat spot before the VTEC kicks in” – I did not want to go past 60 mph. The wind was right in my face and ears. (5’10 height) Unlike my 97 VFR750, the new bike indeed has a flat stop before the VTEC kicks in and then the VTEC just feels odd. I liked the way my 750 just honked thru the four valves all the way thru the rev range. The gear driven VFR spoils the heck out of you!

  15. Martin B says:

    I once rode a red V45 Sabre, and loved the engine. The chassis, not so much, with the then in vogue 16″ front wheel.

    I’ve had a CB400 with VTEC and hated it. Nothing much down low, and the VTEC always turned on halfway through a corner, making it unpredictable and unenjoyable. I have a small VVTC car, and I hate the engine on this one too. Nothing nothing, nothing, then 4k revs and suddenly there is a feeble power band. I’m keeping it until someone persuades the oil companies to stop raping us.

  16. Norm G. says:

    re: “It’s the tale of a massive corporation trying to build the perfect motorcycle for its perennially picky customers…”

    …who’ve now said, screw you jerks you’ll get NOTHING and LIKE IT.

  17. Rick says:

    I have a 95 VFR 750 with 127,000 that I still ride occasionally. I see very little practical improvement over my 1995. It has about 90 BHP at the rear wheel and weighs around 530 pounds. Over the years I have replaced the suspension and added steel brake lines. So why would anyone spend over $12,000 for this new VFR without gear driven cams but with VTEC that seems to be only a gimmick. I think VFRs reached their zenith in 1998 with the first VFR800 which had fuel injection and gear driven cams. Links brakes being the only negative. Good low mileage VFR’s from the 1995 to 2001 model years frequently are available for less than $2,500.

    In short I see no real progress from Honda on this or any of their new bikes. The local Honda dealer recently told me they sell more CAN-AM 3 wheelers than Honda’s today. Sad times for Honda!!

  18. Bill says:

    12 and a half to 13 and a half bones….for a not so comfortable flat spotted buzzy bike….hmmmm. I get all that with my three thousand dollar dirt bike

  19. Bob T says:

    I have a 97 VFR,59K miles. Have ridden 787 miles home on the final day of a 3 day return on 2 lane roads from west coast. Corbin seat and Helibars. Best bike I have ever owned. Honda can keep the VTEC and chain drive cams.

    • Marc T says:

      Amen, brother. My 95 VFR is the best bike I’ve ever owned, as well. The motor is bullet-proof and I don’t baby it. I’ve looked at all the new editions and none have had anything to make me want to trade up.

  20. todder says:

    Cruise control? Sport touring these days should have it.

  21. billy says:

    I knew this would turn into a complete Honda beatdown. 🙂

  22. Tom T says:

    I’m not trading my 99 Viffer in anytime soon…

    • Norm G. says:

      wow, that thing is “minty fresh”, but you might wanna ride it some time…!? LOL

      no seriously, looks good. in fact looking at your bike makes me think Honda took a page from the Ducati 1098 playbook and deliberately went BACK to pick up styling cues from what was likely their must successful Viffer…? this new kit looks like your ’99 albeit with some nip/tuck.

      • Yoyodyne says:

        Interesting…you are the only person I’ve ever seen use the word “kit” when referring to a motorcycle itself. The British typically use the word to describe the clothes and equipment associated with the operation of a motorcycle (e.g., helmets, riding suits, paddock stands, etc.).

      • Dave says:

        Re: “and deliberately went BACK to pick up styling cues from what was likely their must successful Viffer”

        Interesting to me is that the commenters here consider the last gen VFR to be a failure but Honda offered it in that guise for 10+ years? That tells me they were happy with it..

    • Neil says:


  23. SmokinRZ says:

    Is the motor size a secret?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Is the motor size a secret?”

      nope, just a known quantity since the dawn of man… 800cc’s.

      though the anoraks among us (ie. ME) will tell you it’s technically only a 782, so not even.

  24. Jeremy in TX says:

    I personally think the bike is beautiful, even more so in person. I have never ridden a VFR, so I can’t comment on the VTEC-effect or the ergos (though I tend to find 3/4 sportbike-like ergos to be pretty comfortable.)

    I suppose that there are only a handful of options if you want a fully-faired sport tourer in this price / weight range: the VFR, the Ninja and the F800GT, each bike offering a slightly different twist on the genre. The VFR is the most visually striking to me, but I am not sure it is the one I would buy.

  25. Philip says:

    Is Honda dropping the 1200 model? I like them both but the price of the 1200 has prevented me from being able to sneak it into the garage.

    • mickey says:

      Phillip, there are leftover 1200 around at amazingly discounted prices.

      • Norm G. says:

        shame, as it’s brilliant. much of the value was lost on Yank sensibilities/lack of motoIQ. the kit was/is really quite popular in the U.K. in the American defense, Honda (imo) made some serious missteps in the US introduction. a lotta that’s ’cause they don’t have guys like me working for them who understand both sides of the pond…

        i mean they got the same sh!t over there that we got over here, but here it’s just “a little different”. (Vinnie Vega voice)

        • Starmag says:

          “Yank sensibilities/lack of motoIQ”. Because you/U.K. know better right? It couldn’t have been the 600lb wet weight or the not-touring/not-supersport compromised riding position? Funny, because that’s what I remember the American and Euro mags and websites said about it after road testing it.

          You might want to put down the mirror of admiration once in a while.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “You might want to put down the mirror of admiration once in a while.”

            hate for something else, NOT because I’m accurate.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “600lb wet weight or the not-touring/not-supersport compromised riding position”

            re: “Funny, because that’s what I remember the American and Euro mags and websites said about it”

            HILARIOUS, for I believe the gent in the video link below is Norwegian (of all things) and likely doesn’t spend much time reading English sourced info…? so it all works out. 🙂

          • Hot Dog says:

            Maybe it wasn’t a mirror but a reflection in the toilet water? (Sorry, but it was teed up for me).

          • Dave says:

            Re: “It couldn’t have been the 600lb wet weight or the not-touring/not-supersport compromised riding position?”

            Those figures & attributes are competitive in it’s segment (it’s 589lb wet, though I disagree about the ergos, it’s a couch compared to a sportbike). It’s competing with BIG bikes, like the ZX-14, not GSXR’s.

      • Philip says:

        If the 1200 is going then I may have to make a run on one of those. Thanks

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “if the 1200 is going”

          don’t think it’s going persay…? ‘Merican merchants prolly won’t have the luxury of seeing a new model year till the OLD kit moves. and it’s not really “old” is it…?

          it’s just one number different in the VIN that consumer’s use to make a Federal case, like nobody can figure out their end game is “free lunch”…? LOL

          re: “then I may have to make a run”

          treat yourself.

          mind you, they only forgot to TELL YOU this, but it’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a modern RVF like the RC30/RC45 from the history books (note, not the same as VFR). I mean who knew…?

          oh that’s right, HONDA.

          • Philip says:

            I rode a 1200 demo when it came out. It hauls! But feels the same handling wise as earlier VFR’s (I’m on my second, an ’04). At the time (4 years ago?) I couldn’t justify the price and the style seemed almost too refined, but I was impressed with the bike.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “At the time (4 years ago?) I couldn’t justify the price and the style seemed almost too refined, but I was impressed with the bike.”

            well Philip my friend it sounds like you’re all out of excuses. as a bonus, you qualify for free holiday gift wrapping (that’s right FREE) and we can have deliver it in time for Christmas.

            cash or charge…?

          • Philip says:

            great! I’ll just tell her “Norm told me to buy it”, might actually work. “Never mind the old S4 I just bought last month honey.”

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “great! I’ll just tell her “Norm told me to buy it”, might actually work.”

            Norm G. triggering more divorces in the 21st Century than Facebook.

          • Philip says:


  26. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Looks like it’s only a matter of time before they’re all built in China/Thailand/Cheaperlaborland.

    The 1983 VF750F wasn’t put across as a sport-tourer like the VFRs of today, but as a full-on 750 supersport, the basis of the AMA Superbike machine.
    It wasn’t until about 1990 that the VF advertising turned toward sport-touring and the in-line 4-cylinder seemed here to stay after all – when the Honda V4s came out in 1982 (VF750S Sabre and VF750C Magna), all the mags were claiming you’d be riding V4s in the near future and that’s about it.

  27. Jim says:

    My 1999 VFR800 made more power and weighed less. Other than some new electronics I don’t see anything that resembles progress.

    • MGNorge says:

      I wonder what that same ’99 VFR would cost to produce today?

      • Mike says:


        I wonder why you are wondering “what that same ’99 VFR would cost to produce today.”

        Now you got me wondering

        1. What would Honda’s new V-4 GT bike, the VFR, cost if it were made in 1999?

        2. Is this just another Honda that really does not fit or excel in any specific motorcycle market segment?

        • MGNorge says:

          Well, in straight US inflationary dollars that 1999 $10k asking price would be pushing over $14k today. That’s not taking into account the relative valuation of different currencies. My point being that here we go again, give me all the bling and farkles but I want a bargain basement price for it.

          Then too we have individuals who compare advancement through the years solely on BHP developed. That’s their yardstick. I haven’t ridden one, as I doubt most here have either, but then I’m very tall and big. I may not be the right fit? But so what? I imagine there are any number who are the right fit and a bike like this would tickle them to own it.

          • Mike says:

            Thanks for the explanation, but in the end this Interceptor will be sitting in dealerships for a long time in my view at the current prices esp when compared to other bikes riders might consider.

          • Mike says:


            Belated response

            Another possibility on the new VFR pricing would take into consideration the possibility that retail pricing from 15 years ago to today may not always directly relate to product costs or inflation

            Specifically, with the new Interceptor not being made in Japan……..product costs could be far, far lower than the 99 model even taking into consideration inflation.

            As such Honda had the option to price it where they thought it should be in the market with the result being much higher margin vs pricing it where it could be based on product costs.

            Added advantage, this would ensure the long standing policy at Honda Dealerships of no long buyer lines for bikes that consumers might view as priced low or even consider a bargains.


            New Topic: A short video you might like to an identical specs bike I came this close > < to buying decades ago. Another buyer beat me to it by an hour or so!!!


      • billy says:

        I guess a little less than the new one. ???

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Other than some new electronics I don’t see anything that resembles progress.”

      that’s ’cause there ISN’T any, but that’s the point.

      no free lunch. “progress” has price tag and when you you’re not willing to pay…? well you GET what you GOT.

      see entry for “DICKUS”.

  28. Starmag says:

    Almost SS ergos on a bike no one will ever accept as a SS. A motor “feature” with no discernible benefit everyone loves to hate. I don’t get Honda’s insistence on this. I suppose Honda’s answer is the not-available-in-America Crosstourer which fixes the ergos but keeps the hated VTEC and adds a fair dose of poser-level psuedo-ADV ugly. Yes, even the new one. Cut the comedy on the styling on that bike and I could probably live with the VTEC. It seems like a shame to have this sweet motor in a niche bike like the VFR.

  29. Alon Walker says:

    Had a 84, loved it and sport toured on it. Now, this model doesn’t have any of the original charms. Heavy, cramped and with bags priced with the FJR which trumps it in every category. WTH Honda? VFR-miss, ST-miss, only the Goldwing is class leader.

  30. Provologna says:

    My 1985 (?) Honda VF700S Sabre was a hoot, loved it. Sold it with 90+K miles. It ran like a top and still looked pretty darn good. One of my all time favorite bikes. All it really needed was a shock and fork re-valve. Bomb-proof. Sucked BMW K75s off the road and even gave the K100s a run for their money.

    Motor almost as smooth as the CBX I-6, and that’s a darn smooth motor. Absolutely nothing like revving the CBX with a Denco header at a stop light. Now THAT’s a heavyweight bike I’d still consider, except they’re 35 years old now.

    I wish Honda would release and a new GT/ST class CBX, with styling like the original, a little lighter would be nice, chain drive, maybe a naked with Honda dealer-installed S/T fairing. I would prefer such bike over the aforementioned 1L VFR. Having ridden just about every engine configuration, nothing is as hypnotic and alluring as the six. To hear one on song with the right exhaust system is almost dream like. Even the carbureted CBX jetted correctly had instant throttle response, no matter how fast one twisted the throttle. Imagine FI can only be better.

  31. Tom H says:

    Don’t know anything about the new Interceptors except I think they look good.

    My riding partner purchased the first V45 Interceptor in town back in 1983. It was a gorgeous red and pearl white. I put a bunch of miles on it. An amazing bike for its time and the motor was super smooth clear past red line. Good times, neat bike and fond memories.

      • Hot Dog says:

        Gosh, I forgot how nice they looked.

        • Ian says:

          Yep, pretty trick for something that’s now over 30 years old.

        • Blackcayman says:

          I can’t…I was in love with it.

          Until I rode the FZ750 and took her home!

          • Mike says:

            I rode both of them back the ……..the FZR750 was clearly the better bike.

            I bought a new 80 CBX back then and did get it to handle with some econo fixes…….my friend also the 700cc white/silver Interceptor and all I remember about all this now is he constantly wanted to ride the CBX!

            As far as v4s…….throw some side cases on the this Interceptor and the new Aprilia Tuono…….no contest!!

            Honda has done it again………new Interceptor that is not that much different than the old Interceptor 10-15 years ago, but maybe a few of these owners will buy the new one……maybe

          • Dave says:

            Re: “new Interceptor that is not that much different than the old Interceptor 10-15 years ago”

            And THAT is what VFR owners have been asking for.

            I sat on one, still think I’d prefer the 98′-01′ model but definitely prefer this to the last gen bike.

      • Tim says:

        The Interceptor came out soon after I purchased a GPZ 550, and looking at it made me think motorcycling had entered an entirely new era. I was absolutely infatuated with the Interceptor. What a gorgeous bike. As Hot Dog points out, it still is a great looking bike. The lines are much better than those of most modern Hondas.

        The new Interceptor is decent enough looking, but many of the newer Hondas just look plain wierd. They really need to spend some money and hire more creative designers. They make rock solid products, but many (if not most) people buy on looks. Most people won’t overlook ugly for utility. Adventure bike people will, but Honda doesn’t even sell one of those in the US.

  32. Norm G. says:

    re: “despite the bike’s Thai origins (yes, that’s right, the first character of the VIN is M, not J—a first for a VFR?).”

    sonofab@#%h, I knew it…!!!

  33. 2ndderivative says:

    I lost my interest in the VFR ever since it went slower than a R1200GS in a track test by a Brit bike magazine.

  34. Yoyodyne says:

    The VFR has historically been the flag bearer for Honda build quality, so it is very interesting indeed that it is made in Thailand.

    • jim says:

      Interesting in a deal-breaking kind of way.

    • John says:

      Especially considering the very high price tag.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      I’d be surprised if it really is.Or at least much of it. Don’t know all the intricacies of Vin numbers, but Honda Thailand just started building their first I4. This mega complexity V4 is extremely unlikely to hail from there. As is the purpose built alu frame. The Thai bikes are all steel. Moving over an alu welding operation that is So “amortized” at its Japanese facility, that they cannot modify it to fit an upside down fork to the bike… To sell a tiny number of bikes than noone outside old folks homes in the US, Europe and Japan even remember exists?

      With Abe deciding to render the Yen sufficiently worthless to make the Japanese the cheapest workers in the world, and most destitute retirees, the zeal with which the Japanese multinationals move abroad, will likely taper off quite a bit. If for no other reason, then simply because even a few trillion Yen soon can’t buy a dirt lot in some Thai jungle.

  35. pete Rasmussen says:

    All that tech and they cannot make it comfortable! What the hells wrong with Honda people, they have been making this for so long and its still uncomfortable! I had a 700 years ago and it was painful to ride any distance. Sack the lot of them.

  36. Sean says:

    Sounds like you would be much better off with a straight super sport 1000cc bike. Lighter, better everything. Now if someone would just put comfy egos on their 1000 SS we would have a winner. The closest thing is the detuned and porky kawi ninja 1000.

    • Yoyodyne says:

      The VFR is heavier than the Ninja 1000.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Sounds like you would be much better off with a straight super sport 1000cc bike.”

      priller RSV4 RR.

      re: “Lighter, better everything.”

      priller RSV4 RF.

  37. John says:

    Picky customers?
    Come now. The VFR is a bike that succeeds despite itself. And Honda does it no favors.
    EVERY VFR lover I’ve ever seen has only a few very basic requests.
    1. KISS (no linked brakes or tons of electronics)
    2. No VTEC
    3. 1000cc
    4. More upright ergos/comfort
    They keep trying to fix what was never broken with more and more C R A P and higher and higher prices.
    The problem here isn’t picky customers, it’s a company that refuses to listen to its customers for over 25 years.
    Thank God for the Ninja 1000.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      I like your list. Honda’s available luggage was a bit pricey as well, wasn’t it?

    • Grover says:

      John, you are exactly right. Those are the things that kept me out of the saddle of a VFR and until they listen to actual VFR owners they will have a hard time moving these on the sales floor. I much prefer the Ninja 1000 as it has the power and comfort that this class of bike should have.

    • Kagato says:

      along with no VTEC can we have the gear drive back! ; – )~

    • stinkywheels says:

      My thoughts exactly. It would probably lose weight as a plain V4 1000, course I also like the underseat exhaust for fitting saddlebags, and the sound of gear drive. No problem though I have an 03 RC51 for sportin around.

    • jim says:

      Honda would find a way to add 50lbs. while bumping the displacement 200-some cc’s.

  38. John says:

    Really MD? You can’t say C R A P ? Are we adults here or infants?

    • Mike says:

      Col. Jessep: *You want answers?*

      Kaffee: *I want the truth!*

      Col. Jessep: *You can’t handle the truth!*

  39. John says:

    Picky customers?

    Come now. The VFR is a bike that succeeds despite itself. And Honda does it no favors.

    EVERY VFR lover I’ve ever seen has only a few very basic requests.

    1. KISS (no linked brakes or tons of electronics)
    2. No VTEC
    3. 1000cc
    4. More upright ergos/comfort

    They keep trying to fix what was never broken with more and more crap and higher and higher prices.

    The problem here isn’t picky customers, it’s a company that refuses to listen to its customers for over 25 years.

    Thank God for the Ninja 1000.

  40. TimC says:

    FINALLY a tester who admits the VTEC is still an issue (I’m looking at You, Cycle World!!).

    Honda, I have had one VTEC product (a Civic) and I can assure you it won’t happen again. Would it be so hard to yank this crap and get this motor right?

  41. GearDrivenCams says:

    Ummm…Honda bring back me (see my avatar). It’s what made the iteration from a few generations ago – extra special.

  42. Tom says:

    Oh good heavens let me break out my flack jack! No bike brings outs the lovers and haters like the mighty Viffer!

  43. Mike says:

    I meant to say CBR650F…sorry.

  44. Mike says:

    Too expensive. Buy Honda’s CBR650R.

  45. Craig says:

    yeah… Honda… for the love of God… simplify and bring back the gear driven cams or at least chains… My Acura TL with a V-Tec is flat until the VTEC kicks in, then it’s music, but for a V-6… I have to wait until 5600 rpm for fun… Any way to wire that open??? 🙂

    All said, they have the style back IMHO… it looks the business, now saddle that horse with 75 less pounds, simple adjustable suspension and non V-Tec and a winner you would have… I was ready to go on this one till the only rave was lost 22 lbs… now only weights 500+… really?

    I do like my 4x a year track days and after riding heavy bikes at the track and a little Street Triple R… no way I’m riding a buffalo again.

    come on Honda, it doesn’t have to beat the Aprilia in performance, but give us something to smile about… no one like 800’s that can’t beat their own 600’s.

  46. Kevin P says:

    I agree with the last comment from the guy who traded a VFR for an R1100GS. This new vfr is still very nice but not so improved. I had a 2004 VFR that was fast, fun, gorgeous but not quite comfy enough for me. I added a Sargent seat and Heli bars but my knees still ached. Admittedly I was also riding too damn fast and I traded for a V-Strom 650 which has many more inches of legroom and comfort plus it’s much better on bumpy road surfaces. So it’s like trading the hot model in for the homelier girl whose easier to live with. I’m now on my second V-Strom and I’m better off riding a slow bike fast. I also hated removing or better yet re-installing fairings.

    The idea of a perfect bike is pure fantasy. The VFR is awesome but us middle-class yuppies are hard to please. That’s why I have three bikes.

    • Blackcayman says:

      I have diagnosed you with Yamaha FJ “R”-09 desire disorder.

      At least now you know what would solve it!

  47. skybullet says:

    I had a real vfr, (before v-tec) I think it was a 1998. What a sweet bike… until I out grew it. Even with Heli Bars and a Corbin Seat it became too uncomfortable for touring and twisties. I replaced it with a R1100GS that solved the comfort issues but the memories linger.

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