Wrist: Marty Estes
Msrp (2010): $15,999
Mods: Honda accessory trunk, windscreen, centerstand, heated handgrips
Two months in with nearly 3700 miles on the clock, I’m pleased to report that the big VFR1200F is growing on me. First impressions were a little iffy as this bike is overkill in the tight canyons I ride to work every day. It’s a big motorcycle that asks you to get into a rhythm with it. Done right, it’s a very satisfying experience. Otherwise, those pesky 591 lbs., relatively soft suspension and shaft drive can put up a good fight. All is well with the world once you point her toward faster roads where that magic motor and rock-steady chassis shine.
I felt some of that old V4 personality may have been lost in this newest iteration, but with time under my belt I’ve changed my mind. There is 1237cc of sophisticated whoop-ass behind that oversized muffler. Mileage-wise, 40 mpg and 170-plus miles per tank are possible on the open road. In the city, I’ve averaged about 35 mpg and 140 miles before the gauge starts flashing. Strangely, Honda reversed the positions of the horn and turnsignals so VFR owners everywhere can accidentally beep instead of blink. After a month of this, your subconscious will likely adjust as mine did. The stock Dunlop Roadsmarts will make it to 4000 miles, but not much farther. Even a purpose-built sport-touring tire is challenged to survive under the VFR’s power and weight.
I requested a number of Honda Genuine Accessories (www.powersports.honda.com), which were installed at American Honda prior to delivery. For those of us in California where lane-splitting is legal, top cases are the way to go for commuting. Honda’s 33-liter trunk ($599.95, plus $399.95 for the carrier) is on the smaller end of the scale, capacity-wise. There’s just enough room for one helmet. Waterproofing is solid, and that accessory trunk pad ($99.95) is a nice touch if you regularly carry a passenger. The “liner” ($94.95) is a quality-looking removable bag specifically made to fit within the confines of the trunk. While the matching paint looks the part, and having a single key for both ignition and luggage is convenient, it’s a spendy setup considering there are other options in the $350 range.
The heated handgrips ($349.95) and centerstand ($249.95) are also priced on the high side, but likewise work well. The grips are very warm, even on the lowest setting. I felt the optional Windscreen Deflector ($249.95) would be a welcome addition for both commuting and touring. Three-position-adjustable using the provided Allen wrench, the upper position works best for me. Without the benefit of riding the bike back-to-back with the stock windscreen, the deflector seems to work as it should, and the airflow around my helmet is pretty clean without excessive buffeting. While there’s not much more this bike really needs, higher, more rearward bars are at the top of my list. The sporty stock riding position becomes tiring on day trips, and also pins me toward the front of what would otherwise be a pretty agreeable seat!
The Honda Genuine Accessory rear trunk will hold one helmet, but not much more. Fit, finis
The Windscreen Deflector does an admirable job of directing air up and over the rider. Hel