MC Test: Honda VFR1200F

The Interceptor grows up

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

This kind of rheostatic power usually flows from brushes and magnets, not valves and pistons. The dip at 5000 rpm is EPA-induced leanness and goes largely unnoticed. The challenge is climbing to that 10,000-rpm power peak without tripping over the rev limiter that arrives all too quickly at 10,500.

Tech Spec

Engine type: l-c 76-deg. V-4
Valve train: SOHC, 16v
Displacement: 1237cc Bore x stroke: 81.0 x 60.0mm
Compression: 12.0:1
Fuel system: Keihin EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: 43mm Showa inverted cartridge fork
Rear suspension: Showa shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Nissin radial-mount six-piston calipers, 320mm discs with ABS/CBS
Rear brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 267mm disc with ABS/CBS
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart
Rear tire: 190/55ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart
Rake/trail: 25.5º/4.0 in.
Seat height: 32.1 in.
Wheelbase: 60.8 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.9 gal.
Weight: (tank full/empty): 594/565 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 142.1 bhp @ 10,000 rpm
Measured torque: 81.4 lb.-ft. @ 8750 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 10.23 sec. @ 136.82 mph
Top-gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 3.14 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 42/33/38 mpg
Colors: Candy Red
Availability: Now
Warranty: 1 yr., unlimited mi.
Contact: American Honda Motor Corp.
1919 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90501

The VFR gives up an inch of legroom to BMW's K1300S, but the best seat in sport-touring is more than 3 inches farther away from the bars. The net result offers admirable long-haul comfort without getting in the way of a good time when you're on the gas through the twisty bits.

Aaron Frank

Age: 35
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 145 lbs.
Inseam: 31 in.
The biggest problem with the VFR1200F is that Honda insisted on calling it a VFR. Aside from the vestigial V4 engine, there's little linking this to any Interceptor that came before-which is why the VFR faithful feel so alienated by this machine. Get over it. It's not a hard-core sportbike, but the Viffer hasn't been that since the late '80s when the RC30 (and the CBR Hurricanes) picked up the sporting torch. Just pretend the letters V-F-R don't exist and try to appreciate the 1200 for what it is: a fast, comfortable, gorgeously constructed, high-tech grand-tourer. Maybe Honda would have been better off calling it the Sabre. If you don't like the sound of that, we hear there are plenty of brand-new VFR800s in dealerships...

Tim Carrithers

Age: 51
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 228 lbs.
Inseam: 35 in.
As one ride on the new VFR will tell you, middle age is a mixed bag. Those racy duds the 1986 original wore didn't fit anymore, and it's gained a fair bit of weight. But inline CBRs have been the pointy end of Honda's performance spear for years now and nobody is comfortable in a 24-year-old tracksuit anyway.

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