Honda Interceptor | UP TO SPEED

The Much-Missed VFR800 Returns

Honda’s legendary Interceptor is back and better than ever, now with traction control and numerous other features that sport-touring riders especially will appreciate. Although phased out in the United States after the 2009 model year to make room for the bigger, more-sophisticated VFR1200F, the smaller, sportier—and, it must be said, more popular—VFR800 remained available in international markets through 2013. That bike has now been completely redesigned for 2014 with the above-mentioned upgrades plus redesigned bodywork. V-4 enthusiasts are excited to learn that the new model—again carrying the famous Interceptor name—is coming stateside, too.

The Interceptor’s traditional (and tuneful) 782cc, 90-degree V-4 powerplant returns essentially unchanged, still featuring the VTEC valvetrain that runs on two valves per cylinder at lower engine speeds to provide strong low-end torque, then switches to four valves per cylinder at high rpm for more horsepower. The old, side-mounted dual radiators are gone, replaced with a single, central unit, and the single, low-mount exhaust is also new this year, replacing the old underseat system to save weight, centralize mass, and make more space for optional, color-matched saddlebags.

The chassis has received a more meaningful upgrade, now hung with an updated, 43mm fork fit with radial-mounted, four-piston Tokico calipers that are plumbed for optional ABS. The Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm remains, now carrying trick, 10-spoke wheel that recalls the Interceptors of the mid-’90s. The triple-box-section, twin-spar aluminum frame is still a pivotless design—the swingarm bears on the transmission housing—and the redesigned seat is two-position-adjustable to let you tailor the seat height from 31 to 31.8 inches. The rider ergonomics have also been revised to be more upright, for better long-distance comfort.

Honda will offer the Interceptor in two versions: a standard model that will sell for $12,499 and a Deluxe version that adds ABS, traction control, preload- and rebound-adjustable fork, self-cancelling turn signals, heated grips, and a centerstand for $13,499. Expect it in your nearest Honda dealer by May.

[Returning to a single central radiator makes the Interceptor narrower.  ****[Redesigned bodywork houses a new and super-bright LED headlight and taillight.****