Honda VF1000R

6 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Honda VF1000R
Honda VF 1000 R
Honda VF 1000 R

Honda’s enthusiasm for the V4 engine I layout in the early 1980s was such that by 1984 the VF range comprised six models with capacities ranging from 400 to 1000cc. The fastest and most glamorous was the VF1000R: a limited-edition super-sports machine that was created, with little expense spared, to dominate production racing in the way that the straight-four CB1100R had done three years earlier.

With its full fairing and racy red. white and blue paintwork, the VF1000R looked every bit the street-legal competition machine. Its specification list was mouth-watering, based on a liquid-cooled, 90-degree V4 engine that incorporated gear-driven overhead camshafts and produced no less than 122 hp @ l0000 rpm.

That peak power output was 6bhp up on that of the VF1000F, the standard 998cc, 16-valve V4 from which the R model was derived. The I000F, also released in 1984. was an impressively fast and sophisticated bike. Its styling was similar to that of the original VF750F sportster, which had promised much before suffering widely publicized engine reliability problems. The VF1000F handled well and its engine was flexible, powerful and reliable.

The exotic VF1000R cost roughly 50 per cent more than the F. and oozed quality from every pore. Its fairing was reinforced with carbon-fibre, its adjustable handlebars were made from polished alloy, its streamlined seat hump fitted perfectly. Its engine’s gear-driven cams allowed more precise valve timing at high revs, which accounted for some of the extra power.

Like the other VFs. the R had a frame of square-section steel tubes, but its chassis specification was decidedly upmarket. Big 41mm front forks incorporated air assistance, adjustable damping and TRAC anti-dive. Hinged fork bottoms allowed easy front wheel removal.

The Pro-Link rear shock was easily adjustable: the impressive front brakes comprised sturdy four-piston calipers and large, floating discs.

Stability and power

For road riding the VF1000R was a seductively fast and comfortable companion. Its fairing combined with the racy riding position to give excellent wind protection. High-speed stability was absolute, and the engine was superbly powerful and torquey.

The I000R cruised effortlessly at well over 100mph (161km/h). and surged smoothly to a top speed of 150mph(241km/h).

Honda VF 1000 R
Honda VF 1000 R

The Honda’s refined feel was marred by a snatchy transmission that became annoying in town, where the engine also had a tendency to heat up its carburettors, resulting in a misfire. But such problems were forgotten when the rider found the open road, and wound back the throttle to send the 1000R storming forward with a free-flowing feel from 5000rpm or below.

Handling was good at high speed, where the VF’s stability counted for much. But at lower speeds the Honda suffered from a weight problem. At 5241b (238kg) dry it was more than 501b (23kg) heavier than Kawasaki’s GPz900R, and its handling was ponderous despite its 16-inch front wheel.

That was a problem on the racetrack, in particular. Even Honda star Wayne Gardner just failed to take a bike that he described as a marshmallow to victory in the prestigious Castrol Six-Hour production race in his native Australia.

Unlike its all-conquering CB1100R predecessor, the VF1000R was rarely seen on a circuit, let alone in the winner’s circle. That hit sales, especially as the V4s price put it on a level with race-bred exotica from firms such as Bimota and Harris. It was fortunate for Honda that ill intended to produce only a small number.

The VF1000R was fast, sophisticated and easy on the eye. but underneath that sleek bodywork it hid too much weight to be a success.

Source of review: Fast Bikes by Roland Brown

Honda VF 1000 R
Honda VF 1000 R
Honda VF 1000 R

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