Grand Designs part two - Project VFR

Scott Redmond

Since parting with my £1,750 I’ve been getting to know my ‘new’ bike.

Within a few decent rides I usually get a feel for what I’m riding, some bikes fail to light my fire, others cast memories that will last forever. That’s why I’m rubbish at talking about new bikes, on the surface they are all good, each better than the model they’ve just replaced - really!? Then why does my 19-year-old Honda VFR800 feel so damn fresh. There’s been countless model updates since 1998 and there’s even still two VFR800 based bikes in the current Honda range.

I got the chance to ride them both last year, one left me feeling a bit flat, the other left a very good impression on me. The updated VFR800 and me never really gelled, despite a 400-mile round trip to Stonehenge for the summer solstice. It’s not like the sun is setting on the model, I just found it a little too sports biased for my day to day needs. When I returned it to Honda I mentioned this, they informed me that many people buy the Honda aftermarket handlebars that offer some extra comfort in return for extra profits. The Crossrunner 800 really impressed me, I took it on a 500-mile day trip to Poole Quay, it was everything that the VFR800 wasn’t.

The only thing that I still disliked was the V-Tec system. I found it noisy and after checking the stats between an original VFR750FL and the latest model there wasn’t even much in the way of any added performance. I don’t mean to sound negative, far from it, but jumping on this old Honda of mine confirms that I’m happier with a used bike that I own as opposed to a motorcycle on a long term basis that I need to tip toe around getting my point across.

Scott Redmond swaps out the stubby levers on his new Honda VFR800

Despite loving my purchase there are a few issues that will need my attention, some are just personal preference and others routine maintenance. The first thing I wanted to change were the shorty brake and clutch levers, they look tacky and also mean I have to scrunch up my fingers to use them, not ideal.

From my £250 remaining budget I withdrew £18 and bought a pair of pattern levers. They arrived in a few days and took seconds to fit. I might try and recoup some funds from selling the old ones? If you like anodised tat and have little hands get in touch via the usual BikeSocial channels…

Scott Redmond

My personal tastes have no room for wavy brake discs, though I am slightly torn because the ones fitted to the VFR look like they are new, it’s not bugging me too much but I will keep an eye out for some less stylish rotors. Beyond these niggles it’s all good. The VFR800 rides perfectly, it’s dead comfy and ready to do some miles. I’ve taken the seat cowl off, in its place sits my faithful tail pack, my dream is to fit a rack and a top box, that’s what I’ll be tracking down next.

Like Columbo used to say, “There’s just one more thing” and that’s the silencer. I ride everyday, I can’t use earplugs so noisy exhausts get on my nerves, this Scorpion silencer isn’t overly loud but I have already been and bought a used standard can. With my £250 kitty taking a pounding I kept my cool and avoided the many stock silencers on eBay that go for around £50, instead I found one on an auction, picture my delight at waking up to discover I’d won the auction with my bid of £10! Even with the £9 postage it’s still a very cheap solution to my headache.

Scott Redmond swaps out the stubby levers on his new Honda VFR800
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