1999 Honda VFR800 | The Bike That Changed My Life

RIDER: Rob McKinnon
HOME: Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada
OCCUPATION: Gas Plant Operator


“I’ve had a fascination with Honda V-4s since the V45 Interceptor appeared in 1983. That was the birth of modern sportbikes for me. In the spring of 1984, I bought a used VF750F, then in 1986 I traded up to the lighter, faster, aluminum-framed VFR750F.

That bike served me faithfully until 2000, when I found a barely used VFR800 for sale locally. I bought it in the dead of winter and didn’t even bother with a test ride. The bark from the Micron exhaust and the whir from the gear-driven cams was all it took. SOLD!

I can’t leave well enough alone, so the bike has morphed into what I call a “GL800RR-SP2,” bastardizing Honda’s own nomenclature. The eight-spoke rear wheel is from a 1993 VFR750. Electronic cruise control, a Sargent seat and Helibars make it almost as comfortable as a Gold Wing. An entire upside-down front end was pirated off an RC51, and I built my own underseat exhaust using two Devil cans. I’ve ridden the bike everywhere, making pilgrimages to MotoGP and WSBK at Laguna, the Dakotas and most of the Western states. In 2009, on the way home from a gathering of VFR faithful in Dillon, Colorado, a cager pulled out in front of me. Five surgeries later, and after 22 weeks on crutches, I set about rebuilding the old girl. You can see she’s come back together pretty well! I plan on keeping this bike a long time. We’ve been through thick and thin together, and she’s looking to break 100,000 kilometers soon!”

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