VFR still the best sports-tourer?
Pasted on the wall in my office is a picture taken two years ago on the Isle of Man.
It's of a Honda concept V4 motorcycle, designed to celebrate two important milestones for Japanese manufacturer.
Firstly, its 60th anniversary, and secondly - 50 years of really successful motorcycle racing (which all started at TT fortnight on the 'Island'), all those years past.
So, imagine my surprise when first espying the VFR1200F in a Cape Town Honda lifestyle showroom a few days ago — this bike is without doubt very, very similar. Concept bikes (and cars for that matter), have an extremely annoying habit of reaching production and full manufacture world’s apart from those spy shots that we all love.
The first VF750S saw the light of day back in 1982 and offered radically new V4 technology along with shaft drive transmission — chains and sprocket replacement were now surely a thing of the past.
Arguably, for a significant amount of motorcycle enthusiasts a little later the company’s superb four-in-line CBR1100XX Blackbird ticked all the right boxes. It was a massive, very accomplished all-rounder that stood tall for the brand — until now — enter the 2010 model-year VFR1200F.
Well, Honda would like you to buy one of their latest VFR1200’s — and for very good reason.
Chief among these are a state-of-the-art 76° V4 motor that develops 127kW and 129Nm of torque, the ‘coupled’ brake system and a very generous 18.5-litre fuel tank.
Don’t forget the bike has one of the smoothest shaft-drive setups so you can rack up the ‘clicks’ all day long, should you desire.
The bike may not be the lightest at 267 kg, but I’m really glad to report that the seat height of 815 mm allows guys on the short side (like me) to place both feet on the ground before starting off, or stopping.
Even with a full tank of fuel the all-important centre of gravity remains nice and low . . . where it should always be.
Build quality, as we’ve come to expect from Honda, is top-drawer — while there’s three colour schemes to choose from — red, silver and white. The recommended retail price is R159 999.