WRIST: Marty Estes
MSRP (2010): $15,999
MODS: Nothing lately
And so the sun sets on my one-year relationship with my long-term 2010 Honda VFR1200F. I’m sentimental about giving it back, as it’s a motorcycle that I liked more and more as I put miles on it.
It wasn’t always that way. The big Viffer was something of an enigma when we met. Sport-tourer or sportbike? As a tourer, amenities are somewhat Spartan. And it has a very aggressive riding position, with clip-ons that are too low and far forward. Yet compared to other sportbikes, it’s big and heavy. The turning point was the day I installed Helibars ($289; www.helibars.com), which transformed the ergonomics from semi-uncomfortable to completely dialed-in.
The big V4 definitely has personality. Nothing rides like it, and nothing sounds like it! I found it to be stonkin’ fast yet well-suited to sport-touring or commuting. The mirrors are built for splitting lanes—they flip in easily when the going gets tight yet flip back out into position with a positive “click.” I found myself at the gas station a bit too often, the 4.9-gallon fuel tank conspiring with an average 36 mpg to see the low-fuel warning light illuminate around 135 miles.
Requiring little more than regular oil/filter changes in the time I had it, there isn’t much on the horizon, maintenance-wise. Most owners will blow off checking the sparkplugs at 16,000 miles and wait to replace them at 32,000. New hydraulic fluid for the brakes and clutch is recommended at 12,000 miles and fresh coolant and final-drive oil at 24,000. Beyond that, your typical “inspect/adjust/lubricate or replace if necessary” is all that’s needed. Running Continental’s excellent Road Attack 2 tires ($365 per set; www.conti-online.com), I got around 3500 aggressive miles per set.
Would I do it again? Well, the VFR1200F isn’t cheap at $15,999 with a standard transmission, and it requires a particular type of rider. Honda ushered in some significant changes for 2012, including a slightly larger fuel tank, a more comfortable seat, an updated Dual Clutch Transmission for the “automatic” model and traction control. Those improvements can only enhance what is a solid candidate for those considering a big, fast and unique sporty-tourer.