Two Grand Designs – hello VFR


Having waved a fond farewell to last year’s Grand Design Kawasaki ZZ-R600E (I had recouped my initial outlay and made an extra £50 along the way!) I wasted no time looking for a replacement. This year I want to explore the world of the used bikes that live in the sub two-thousand-pound price bracket. So let Two Grand Designs begin!

Deep down I know what I want; it’s one of three models with the Honda wing on the tank. For over a month I’ve trawled the internet, kept an eye on part exchange offerings at my local shop and joined several selling pages on Facebook. Those three models were a CBR1100XX Blackbird, CBR1000F and a VFR. I’ve owned all three in the past, and I have happy memories of the Honda trio. Realistically the Blackbird wasn’t going to be the right bike for my needs. The ones that popped up for sale in my sub £2,000 were pretty tired and stunk of being a money pit, don’t forget this will be a bike that I’d ride every day.

The CBR1000F works in the opposite way, £2,000 is more than enough to get you a stunner. The ones I saw for sale were all too far away, I don’t have the time or inclination to travel around the country to find a used motorcycle. There was a clean one that wasn’t too far away, but it featured an extra that I avoid at all costs, an alarm. I hate the things, sure I could get it removed and that thought did cross my mind, but then I saw it! There was a guy in Kings Lynn selling not one VFR but two!




His little advert on eBay got my full attention. He had a late model VFR750FV and a 1998 VFR800. They both looked good in the pics but we all know how a digital photo can flatter the subject. After a few messages, I worked out it was the 800 that ticked more of my virtual tyre kicking boxes. Public transport isn’t something I rush to embrace, so getting myself to Kings Lynn was my next issue, trying to pin down a suitable time that suited us both was also draining my interest. Buying a used bike should be fun, this was all getting a bit painful. Then a breakthrough, the seller was confident that I wouldn’t be disappointed with the VFR800 and he offered to chuck it in his van and bring it over to me, game on!

He wasn’t wrong, for a 19 year old bike it was pretty tidy, sure the bits he’d tarted up stuck out a mile but it displayed some affection, that’s never a bad thing when buying a used bike. I could smell the polish it was that clean as it rolled down the ramp and into my life. I circled it one way and then the other. It looked pretty honest.

We cracked a deal, always tricky when a bloke as just driven 40 miles to do you a favour. We’d haggled a £100 off his £1,850 asking price during our phone call. After he’d pointed out the new chain and sprockets, pads and talked me through how he’d recently serviced it I just shook his hand without further negotiations. Yes, I couldn’t believe that either, but after spending over a month searching for a bike I was happy to reach a conclusion. Filling in the logbook revealed that my new bike also came with a full service history and every old MOT! I love stuff like that. There was even a spare key.

I never bothered with a test ride. Why would I, it’s a Honda.

Having now got a bike within my £2,000 limit I now have £250 change to get it just how I want it. I need a rack and top box, and I’m not overly struck on the race can that’s fitted. The search for a bike might have ended, but my story is only just beginning.



Latest News from BikeSocial

Latest News

  • Removable motorcycle safety structure gives BMW design the best of both worlds
    BMW rewrites the rules on motorcycle safety
  • Potential Africa Twin and Gold Wing customers won’t need to leave their living rooms to learn all about Honda’s two flagship models live on YouTube
    Honda to host interactive ‘LIVEstream’ event for Gold Wing and Africa Twin
  • A Chinese-made Harley-Davidson? Just 353cc? You better believe it.
    Revealed: Harley-Davidson’s 353cc parallel twin
  • New colours and revised details for carry-over 2021 BMW models
    BMW unveils 2021 model tweaks