Honda's 2010 VFR1200F vs. The Pump

Dyno Might

Few people have had a look around inside the Palatial Motorcyclist Dyno Room, mostly because it's not much to look at. The guys in the shop where it lives don't have time for guided tours even if it was. We like the loyal Superflow. It gets the job done, and the monthly procession of new motorcycles gives the boys at the body and fender works next door an excuse to weigh in on the latest and sometimes greatest.

They weren't sure when I rolled up on the Honda's new VFR1200. Sort of a hung jury, really. Open minded members of the spray booth style council giving high points for originality and old school graduates wishing for a street-legal version of Wayne Rainey's 1987 VFR Superbike. Nobody is ambivalent, including my friend Gene.

As keeper of the dyno room keys, he's tortured hundreds of motorcycles on that big steel drum to provide the data for those tidy little charts you see every month. Some give up the numbers easily. Others do not. Seconds after we strap it into place, the VFR tips into that latter category. Before the Superflow can do its magic, we need a good rpm signal. That means sliding the inductive sensor over a coil wire or something similar. On a Triumph Bonneville, that's easy, but the VFR's electronic nervous system is infinitely more complex, and defended by layers of seemingly seamless plastic. Plastic for which there are no replacement parts in the country. Imagine breaking into a 594-lb. Japanese puzzle that's also your ride home. Nobody at the other end of my cell phone has a wiring diagram quite yet either. Welcome to the downside of testing the first example of anything built a few time zones away.

Word to the wise future VFR1200 owner: make sure the technician preparing to service your pride/joy has peeled one before signing turning him loose on anything more than an oil change. After innumerable phone calls, all seven of the words you can't say on television and one instructional web video, we've peeled away just enough plastic to lift the fuel tank and attach our sensor to an obliging wire. Relatively speaking, it's all downhill from there. Fire up the fans. Slip on some ear protection, take a few trips to the rev limiter and let the erstwhile desktop PC crunch those numbers. So? The 1237cc V4 lays evenly escalating traces of power and torque from 2250 rpm that crest at 142.1 horses at 10,000 rpm and 81.4 lb.-ft. at 8750.

On the way home, I'm more impressed with the sneaky-fast way this engine makes power than with the numbers themselves. But I can't decide whether the engineer who came up with a way to make all those body panels come together deserves a raise or solitary confinement. Either way, even money says he stays sane by wrenching on his Bonneville every weekend.