Posted: 11 Oct 2012
In 2010, Honda’s arsenal of sport-touring machinery was lacking at the top end of the capacity scale. A replacement for the brilliant, but long gone, CBR1100XX Super Blackbird was urgently needed; and the VFR1200F looked to be that bike.
The 1237cc V4 engine has a tremendous rush of high rpm power that makes straight lines melt away in the clear, rear view mirrors. But the drive sub 5000rpm is lacklustre for a V4. Subsequent revisions for the 2012 model have improved this to the point where the engine is certainly stronger with the first feed of the throttle.
With the use of fuss-free shaft drive, the Honda powerplant makes sense for perfect high mileage runs to foreign climes. Except for one issue – the fuel tank is only 18.5-litre capacity and requires the same amount of fuel stops needed for sports bikes.
Another area where the VFR lacks in making it a genuine sports tourer is the addition of long reach handlebars and footpegs, placed to mimic the sporting gene instilled within the VFR. If your body shape can handle this, then all well and good; if not, there’s a raft of aftermarket accessories available to tailor the VFR to suit.
On the plus side, for a large capacity Honda, even with pillion and the optional panniers on board, the VFR can make short work of twisting Alpine roads and flowing A-roads. And all in a safe manner thanks to a proven dual-beamed frame and suspension that can be adjusted to accommodate the extra weight load.
All negative comments aside, the VFR is typical Honda in the way it is put together. Covering paint is thick and shiny and every panel is neatly put together with the solidity that should last the life of the bike.
Anyone looking to buy a VFR1200F as a quality-made motorcycle that is perfectly capable of doing what it was designed to do – but not as well as expected – would be happy with the VFR1200F. Many buyers of Honda VFR1200 have actually fallen for the fully automatic dual clutch VFR1200FD version. But as many other folk have discovered after test rides on the standard Honda VFR1200F, Kawasaki and BMW have genuine viable alternatives in the shape of the ZZR1400 and K1300S respectively.
+ points – Exudes quality, shaft final drive
- points – poor riding range, rider ergonomics
Power: 172bhp, 95.1ft lbs
Kerb weight: 267kg
Seat height: 815mm
Colours: Red, blue, grey, black
Get Honda Bike Insurance with Bennetts