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The Honda VFR 750 has, in its later forms, been rated as the best all rounder of the two wheel world. How does a used example stack up against the seductive charms of newer flashier models.?
I've had mine for 18 months now , it being a late model 750, made just before the fuel injected 800 was produced. It's the bike I got back into biking for, a combination of restrained styling and swiss watch like engineering. The heart of the bike, the wonderful v four engine, idles a bit lumpily unlike in-line fours but produces a wave of torque from as little as 2500 revs. You can ride it by just walloping up from 3 to 8 thousand in any gear and the feeling is addictive. Above 8 k the engine note drops, the exhaust starts to wail and you can hear the carbs sucking air in through the intakes mounted under the front indicators. In a world of clone like fours from the other manufacturers (and Honda) the v four really stands out.
As to looks, I'm getting too old for flash race replica graphics, so the restrained mono colours of the 750 appeal. The late ones have a split headlight (which like that on the Blackbird, is superb) and seriously good looking NACA ducts and Testarossa like strakes in the fairing. This combined with the absence of graphics (other than the "VFR" and gold Honda badge) makes it a particularly sporty, sleek and classy looking machine. The single sided rear swing arm and black alloys leave the look clean.
The bike is physically quite big, and might be a problem in town for the rider of shorter height. At just under 6' I find it very comfortable and the pedals in an ideal relationship to the seat. Also as I can't bend my ankle too far (transit van-ankle-BMW bike sandwich---don't ask) the fact that the brake is straight in front of the footpeg is a boon. My 5'2 wife finds the pillion seat comfortable, but preferred the view from the higher saddle of the Beemer. The grab rails are ideally placed.
I'm no racer, and so I find that the bike's limits exceed mine by far. On Battlax BT 54 tyres, the bike can take a firm push of counter steer to drop it into a corner, but it is stable when leaned over. A warning though, it is very susceptible to rear suspension height, so if you dont raise the preload when carrying a passenger you can find it wants to go straight rather than turn in.
In passing, I don't find any real dip in performance with my wee wife on board, but braking is a bit heavier.
The gearbox can be a bit clunky, but is always positive and I've only had one false neutral in 12000 miles so it can't be bad.
The clutch is hydraulic and can get a tad heavy in town but you can leave the bike in second when filtering and accelerate from walking pace to motorway speed without changing gear!, so it's not too much of a problem
The brakes are powerful but with standard pads are a bit dead feeling. I might try softer pads.
The dash is clear, a black speedo, white tacho, black temp and fuel gauge with warning light, the usual idiot lights and a clock.
As with all Honda's the finish of bodywork and mechanics is superb so no worries there.
Running costs, not as high as more sporty bikes-- 35ish mpg in commuting, no oil used (of course). Tyres last with my type of riding about 6000 miles back and about the same front and cost about £200 for a decent pair.
Servicing a bit complicated if valve clearances involved, a couple of hundred for a big service, about half for routine. I've needed no other parts, not even a fuse.
All in all I love it and plan to hold on to this one for as long as I can!
toying with the idea of a VFR or a CBR600 from this i think i'll go for the VFR. The insurance was slightly less on the VFR also.
Nina85 10.04.2003 00:47
Excellent review for an excellent bike. I've seen these on the road and they look and sound lovely! Nice to see a decent, honest, and helpful review about a bike. Well done, Nina x
KneeDown 24.01.2003 13:03
Great op for a great bike. I have a 10 year old FL which followed my written off FJ (interface with storm drain at 60 plus mph) which I love. The guys I ride with have sporty bikes and I'd like to change mine but to what ? I'm scared the engine won't be half as good.
The new VFR is crap - chain driven cams - come ooooooon - that isn't a VFR !