THE NEW LEGEND: Honda has added several upgrades to its new VFR800F. Now available in SA too. Image: Honda
• New, sharp contemporary looks.
• Standard traction control system.
• Lighter than the previous model
• Engine re-tuned for greater torque
Honda says its V4 engine is special, going back nearly 40 years. A complex, yet compact, unit with a unique power delivery and a soul all of its own,
Honda's current RC213V MotoGP machine uses a V4, as does the flagship sport-touring VFR1200F.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Honda VFR800F
Nowhere has the V4 engine been more at home than in the legendary VFR series, a truly all-round motorcycle that does sport as well as it tours, with or without a pillion, says Honda.
The bikemaker says it has listened to customer feedback and consequently "delivered a high-quality motorcycle with strong low and mid-range torque, light and slim yet capable and adaptable, with a return to the evocative look and feel of VFRs of the past”.
THE WAIT IS OVER
Starting with the 782cc V4 Vtec engine, bottom and mid-range power have been boosted to strike a balance of enjoyable sports riding and easy commuting, says Honda. "The Vtec transition has been softened and the resulting power delivery is smooth, strong and linear. Honda's traction control system has also been added."
This new VFR800F is seven kilograms lighter than its predecessor. A single exhaust muffler has replaced the dual underseat design; further improvements were realised through a number of changes engineered to contribute to weight reduction.
A new Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm, 43mm telescopic fork, radial-mount four-piston front brake callipers and redesigned wheels hang from the quintessentially VFR twin-spar aluminium beam frame. Seat height is adjustable through 20mm, anti-lock brakes are standard and a shift assist system is available as a bolt-on.
Then there is the styling, the bikemaker adds. "Considerably slimmer in the middle than the previous model," Honda says, "the 2014 VFR800F mixes a sleek silhouette with crisp, contemporary angles and more than an echo of classic VFR design."
The VFR800F's 782cc, liquid-cooled, quad-valve DOHC 90° V4-Vtec engine has received significant development, Honda says, mainly focusing on cam timing and valve duration/overlap to deliver the required increase in low to mid-range power and torque. Peak power of 77.9kW is delivered at 10 250rpm, peak torque of 75.1Nm at 8500.
The Vtec valve train still operates one pair of inlet/exhaust valves per cylinder at low rpm and then switches to four as revs rise but the transition is now seamless. "Combining this with the uprated torque," Honda says, "the effect is linear power delivery and effortless overtaking at highway speeds."
Bore and stroke are 72mm x 48mm with a compression ratio of 11.8:1. Fuel consumption is listed as 19.4km/litre, making the 21.5-litre fuel tank good for close to 400km cruising range.
Honda claims to have a unique self-cancelling indicator system. Rather than using a simple timer - such as on a BMW - it compares front and rear wheel rotation and calculates when to cancel the indicator. Presumably, when they once again become the same.
A new instrument panel houses a digital speedometer/tachometer plus gear indicator, ambient temperature, fuel consumption and clock. There's also an indicator for the five-stage heatable grips - they're standard. A compact 'wave' design key, with internal grooving, reduces the chance of breaking.
A range of Honda approved accessories is available from local Honda dealers but the VFR800 comes with:
• Rider instruction through the Honda Academy
• 12 months' free roadside assistance
• 24-month unlimited distance warranty
Honda VFR800F - R141 990