Honda VFR800X Crossrunner

Author: Roland Brown Posted: 03 Nov 2014

Honda's new VFR800X Crossrunner

The original Crossrunner has barely made a ripple in the sales charts since its launch in 2011. The good news for Honda is that the firm’s product planners are confident that they’ve identified two key flaws that held back the VFR800F-based crossover V4: its looks and cramped riding position. And now they reckon they’ve fixed it.

This second generation Crossrunner addresses those issues with a restyle that sharpens the bodywork and reveals more engine, plus an adjustable seat that adds 20mm of legroom. While they were at it, Honda’s engineers updated the “adventure sports tourer” with many of the changes and features introduced on this year’s VFR800F.

That restyle is effective, and obvious at a glance, with the new VFR-style LED headlight, cut-back fairing and larger screen combining to make the bike look less like a glorified scooter and more like Honda’s 1237cc Crosstourer. The separate pillion seat and built-in pillion grab-handles are also similar to the bigger V4’s components. And the seat is now adjustable for height, with the taller standard position increasing both seat height and seat-to-footrest distance by 20mm.

The seat is now adjustable for height

The 782cc, 16-valve V4 motor is taken straight from the latest VFR800F, so incorporates intake and exhaust changes that add 4bhp to bring maximum power output to 105bhp at 10,250rpm, and boost torque slightly while also shifting the 75N.m torque maximum down the rev range by 1250rpm. The Crossrunner also follows the VFR by getting a smoother-acting VTEC system plus two-way adjustable traction control.

Some chassis updates are also VFR inspired, notably the new aluminium (rather than steel) rear subframe, which saves 1.2kg of weight, and the two small radiators that sit ahead of the engine, instead of at the side. The Crossrunner also gets more suspension travel: an extra 25mm up front and 28mm at the rear, giving a substantial 131mm and 148mm respectively.

The one-piece handlebar is new: slightly higher and nearer the rider, and a substantial 88mm wider. That gives a notably different view from the rider’s seat, which in its standard position is now quite tall at 823mm, but which can be lowered by 20mm using an Allen key. Shorter riders will probably prefer the lower setting because with a kerb weight of 242kg, a couple of kilos up on the previous model, the ’Runner’s no lightweight. The instrument console is also new, with a white-on-black digital display.

The runner is no lightweight

What hasn’t changed much, but has been subtly sharpened and refined, is the 16-valve motor. As with the VFR it has a pleasing blend of grunty performance and smooth-revving V4 character. It also makes a great sound, being restrained at low revs then baring its fangs as the tacho bar reaches about 7000rpm and the VTEC system kicks in to open the second pair of valves in each cylinder, adding to the noise as well as to the acceleration.

There are plenty of faster sports-tourers and adventure bikes but the Crossrunner cruises effortlessly at 85mph, gets there quickly and has enough power for 140mph plus. It also gives more wind protection than the previous model, though the larger screen still has no adjustability. Short riders found it fine but being tall I had to put up with loud turbulence that would have been very annoying on a long ride. At least there’s now plenty of legroom.

Handling was pretty good: biased towards comfort rather than cornering control, given all that extra travel, but still taut enough to make hard riding on twisty Andalucian back roads enjoyable, especially after both ends had been firmed up. The shock has a remote preload adjuster to help, but Honda still doesn’t offer even the option of electronic assistance, so it was out with the spanner and screwdriver.

The rest of the chassis did a decent job, with adequately (if not especially) powerful ABS-equipped brakes, capable Pirelli Scorpion rubber and enough ground clearance to give them plenty of work. The seat was comfortable and has plenty of room for a pillion, who gets solid Crosstourer-style handles that are also useful for securing luggage.

Practicality should also be enhanced by a more generous fuel range, as Honda says economy is improved by ten per cent. I averaged 40mpg at a pretty brisk launch pace that would give a respectable 160-plus miles from the unchanged 20.8-litre tank. Heated grips and self-cancelling indicators come as standard, as with the VFR. Accessories include a quick-shifter and Akrapovic silencer as well as panniers, top-box and centre-stand.

Just as with the VFR, Honda’s refusal to match its rivals by offering windscreen and electronic suspension adjustment (never mind semi-active suspension) is disappointing. But the Crossrunner also follows the VFR by providing the appealing performance and character of that classy V4 powerplant, backed up by a chassis that, if nowhere near cutting edge, is comfortable and capable. With a likely price of about £10,300, the ’Runner looks like being a lot more competitive second time round.


There’s nothing fancy about this restyled and more comfortable Crossrunner but it’s a quick, characterful, respectably versatile sports-tourer — and a genuine alternative to the VFR800F




105bhp @ 10,250rpm

Wet weight

242kg (kerb)

Seat height



White; red; black