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Motor bikes never appealed to me when I was younger. I was always far more interested in cars and after a few pathetic attempts to ride a bike in my teens I decided that was it. The time went past and I never really thought any more about it until I was in my early 30's when I moved jobs, and became friendly with a co-workers who was a confirmed biker. His enthusiasm for biking was infectious and soon I was starting to recognise different types of bikes and itching to get my leg over! So I did my CBT and pottered around on a Yamaha YB100 for a few months till I passed my test and then I bought a Suzuki GS500 to get some experience. This was about 1991 and what I really wanted was a Honda VFR400R (NC30) but they were too expensive and only affordable in my dreams.
I had my GS500 for a couple of years, then circumstances left me "bikeless" and still dreaming of that elusive NC30! Time moves on and chatting with a friend about 2 years ago the discussion turned to bikes. When I mentioned the NC30, his eyes lit up and he told me he knew someone who had one and that it might be for sale. Ok, I am not going to bore you any more with how I got it, sufficient to say that in May last year I became the proud owner of a 1991 VFR400R (NC30).
The VFR400R (NC30) was officially available in the UK for about 3 years between 1991 and 1994, and at that time it cost nearly £6000 so it was an expensive bike compared to some of the larger machines available at the time. The cost of the bike was always going to restrict sales, but there were enough sold to make tracking one down not too difficult, and in my opinion, well worth the effort.
The bike looks absolutely gorgeous, especially when viewed from the right hand side to get the full affect of the single sided swing arm. The proportions of the bike just seem right, and then there's the engine. Fire it up and listen to the engine burbling, then twist the throttle and listen to that V4 singing, music to my ears. The power output is 63bhp @ 12, 750 rpm and the engine produces 26 lb-ft of torque @ 9,700rpm. The dry weight of the bike is approximately 170 kgs and the wheels are 17" front and 18" rear, wearing 120/60VR-17 and 150/60VR-18 rubber respectively.
I bought the bike for pleasure and don’t have to worry about how it would stand up to day to day commuting or all year round weather, but being a Honda I don’t think that would be a problem. Most of the miles I have put on it have been on dry days and it always leaves me with a big grin when I have been out for a ride. The engine loves to be revved, and spins freely to the redline at 14,500rpm. The clutch and 6 speed gearbox encourages the use of the full rev band as gears seem to slot in even sweeter as the red line approaches, or is that just my excuse!
I have found the handling and brakes (twins discs at the front, single disc at the rear) to be excellent and they make the bike a joy to ride, the only limitation on how fast I can ride is my ability, and the speed limits of course! The engineering and reliability of the bike are faultless, well it's a Honda isn't it, and the design of the bike still looks fresh even after 13 years. I sometimes find myself thinking of excuses to go into the garage just to have a look at it, or is that just me being sad! Official UK bikes were only available in red, white and blue, but there are a lot of grey imports in the UK from Japan with other colour schemes such as silver and black, and red and black.
As with most sports bikes, it isn't built for comfort and any long journeys would need to include regular rest stops to relieve any numbness, and probably before the need to refill the 17 litre fuel tank.
Maintenance wise it can be a little bit trickier than an in-line 4 cylinder bike, the compact configuration of the V4 engine doesn’t leave a lot of room to work in but that’s a minor niggle. My bike has had 2 previous owners during it's life so far, and had 11, 000 miles on it when I bought it, with lots of history to accompany it. I have even become friendly with the previous owner and he has made it clear that he wants first option to buy it if I ever think about changing bikes! Hope he's not holding his breath because I have no thoughts about selling. I am enjoying the experience of owning and riding it, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a mid-range sports bike, it certainly keeps me grinning! I thought I would include a couple of pictures of my bike taken on a sunny day just so you can see it at its best, and now I am wishing it was dry today so I could take it out now and finish writing this review later!
I think that insurance is pretty reasonable for the value and performance of the bike (Can I use insurance and reasonable in the same sentence lol!) and road tax is currently £30 so that doesn’t cause too much pain annually.
I have enjoyed the time I have spent with my VFR400R and am glad I took the opportunity to return to biking, and to own I bike I had wanted for a long time. I hope you have enjoyed reading this review and I look forward to your comments.