Honda VFR 750 — review and opinion — The best bike ever made

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Honda VFR 750 F

The best bike ever

How did Honda do it? Back in 1986 the VFR750 was first introduced was on the slippery slope to motorcycle

They had proved to one and all that couldn’t make a reliable V4 The early eighties V4 engined the VF500 and VF750, both up if ridden hard, and wore cam out at an alarming rate regardless in line four cylinder were failing in comparison to rivals from Suzuki, and reliable bikes from The smaller bikes in the range … a … too, and new Italian manufacturers taking Honda’s bread and butter with aplomb.

In short the big motorcycle arm was in big trouble.

Then came the VFR 750 and everything changed. The models were C registered 86 and featured a more powerful engine, 16 front wheel, the faults fixed through gear driven cams, a looking four into two and powerful (for the time) pot disc brakes all round.

The time I ever saw one was on BBC TV, in fact the old sports program on a Saturday Racing legend Ron Haslam was part in the old Europe vs. America race series called the Challenge, and his race bike had AWOL.

The legend has it that unpacked a brand new (dark VFR 750 for him to ride in the race. You could spot it on TV, no bright paint not even any stickers. He hadn’t and as a consequence he started from the of the grid.

Against full race this standard road starting from the back have had absolutely no chance, no than someone driving a Mondeo at the back of a Formula 1 car

In this fairy tale Ron didn’t come from the and win, but his standard road passed all but three bikes in the and was gaining on them at the end. It was riding talent, but everyone right then that the was a serious machine. For Rocket Ron to the best riders of the day was amazing, to do it on a bike straight from the was unbelievable.

The queues at Honda started on the Monday after the and Honda are effectively still the bike now nearly 20 years in modified 800cc form.

So made it so good?

Simply Honda bet the house on it. They over engineered every at huge expense, … one great motorcycle would the company’s

Pictures of Honda VFR 750

An old — more miles starship enterprise

failing For example, the engine is very to produce, the gear driven cost many times a simple chain driven would to manufacture, it is the only bike that uses as a result. The same logic was to frame and chassis. The beam frame on the first FG 86 models like a work of art and compared to the steel efforts from at the time was lighter, more and much nicer to look at.

The welds are perfect. A hydraulic was fitted, smoother compared to on rival machines. This engineering exercise meant the development costs of the VFR were and in order to recover some of the the VFR had to be expensive in comparison to its peers of the

The gamble worked though, numbers of the VFR sold worldwide in The sales success was so strong Honda did not modify the bike at all for the FH 87 year, the first modifications in 1988 when 17 wheels and rear were brought in, with updated colours white, or black) and some changes to the plastics. Again model sold for two years, the major revamp taking in 1990.

The early VFR was so successful Honda themselevs made a The NSR125 mimicked the styling and schemes of the original VFRs so aspiring learners restricted to could get in on the VFR act.

During the VFR became the basis for the most race bike of all time, the internally designated the RC30. closely on the VFR’s engine, the was an out and out race bike that was legal for homologation purposes. On a uncrowded road the RC30 is magical, on a crowded one it’s It is geared for a somewhat ridiculous at the redline in 1st gear.

Standard fetch a mint and are collector’s most went straight to the track, where they won major production race series for the next three including Fred Merkel the inaugural World Superbike

In 1990 the VFR got a major facelift, a sided swing arm was added, the was revised in line with gained from the RC30 order was now 360 degrees instead of and the bikes was made larger and This model (the FL in continued with mainly changes until the end of model at the FV model in 1997. Cosmetic in this time almost added to the weight, without extra horsepower.

The FV model twin headlights is probably the looking of the VFRs, its style is current even now 9 years

Some (me included) say the VFR lost its way a in 1990, and that the best to own were the full powered weight FJ (1988) and FK (1989) with the 17 wheels and close to the body styling.

The FJ and FK are identical in discernible way, so are effectively the motorcycle. They have a 105bhp output compared to the FV claimed 97.5bhp. Combined a dry weight of 440lbs this a power to weight ratio of per tonne, pretty impressive now. The FJ and FK models are also the to run, they manage the fuel economy at around and have the lowest service too.

The smallish but grippy also help to keep in the real world. Having most brands on a VFR at some I would recommend Michelin radials, the standard sizes are 110 and 140 rear. The rear can be taken up to 150 any hassle; these are easier to in current tyre ranges. I to manage around 8,000 for a rear and 10,000 miles for a on Michelins.

Bridgestone now get rave reviews in but I haven’t tried them on a VFR


Top speed is around from FJ / FK, and about 145 mph from bikes. Rapid and torquey from the V4 engine makes not something to worry about. The VFR is not up current sports bikes in of out and out performance, but if the VFR is ridden well it be at least able to keep up tackle 15 years younger.

can be great fun. if a little for the rider on the newer machine. The are not in Yamaha R1 territory on a track but A-B on real world roads are quicker.

The engine has a flat curve up to 8000 revs, at point it remembers its a multi and off like scalded cat. split personality can make very rapid, or very depending on your mood, a compromise between fast and


Relaxed rather razor, but secure even in the wet The VFR is soft enough for comfort but enough for spirited riding the mood takes you. it strikes a perfect balance the two opposing requirements.

What wrong?

Honda VFR 750 F
Honda VFR 750 F

Not much is the answer to one. The VFRs tend to more due to abuse that Falling off is expensive as the plastic and cheapskates tend not to get the bikes repaired. Mechanically as long as is oil and water in the engine the VFR will going.

I know of several older that have passed miles without major

The exhaust collector box is a weak through rust, as are the downpipes also rot. The electric pump occasionally fails and is to replace, and I have heard of CDI and alternator failure but this is rare. The last common is the discs which are prone to when worn. Pattern are available but wear much than the standard ones, and warp much more as a consequence.

And that’s it. the VFR is exceptionally if well maintained.

Buying one

about, ranging from nails (I’ve got one in the garage if interested!) to minters that done less than miles and have been in a heated garage. A reasonable model should cost Ј600-1000 and FL/FM a little at between Ј1400 and Ј1700. models can still fetch up to Ј4k at a and absolute mint low mileage can still fetch even

The best option for me would be to a very good condition FK model at around Ј1000-Ј1200. bikes simply do not depreciate at keep it tidy and it will be what you paid for it or more in years time! Try that a Mondeo!


Maintenance is 10W40 oil, cartridge oil air filter under the tank, the coolant levels, and once 20,000 miles take it to a to have the valve clearances and the carburettors balanced.

Technical Data

Sorry, do a web Technical data can be found and I don’t see what’s to be gained from the items included If the bore and … makes a to you then you’re from a mould to me.


Simply the road bike ever If you haven’t had one yet, go and buy one now. love it.

Post Script

bought another one off ebay. I Ј750 for it (a pound a cc). a red FK model and came with a new exhaust!

The bike’s in ok condition, but to have a fuelling fault makes it run unevenly. I guess just addicted to these the intention is to sort it out to do a European sometime in the summer.

NOTE This article has over reads at the moment. If you’ve got far (and hopefully liked it) take the time to register Ciao and rate it.

Honda VFR 750 F
Honda VFR 750 F
Honda VFR 750 F
Honda VFR 750 F


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