Honda VFR800 Fi Review 97-01

andrew Bike Reviews, Motorcycles, VFR

Buying a Shed

The first fuel injected VFR was released around the time of the end of the 918cc FireBlade, and the styling department saw fit to add racy design touches to the VFR released at the same time. A substantial fairing, massive headlight (which is fantastic by the way) nice and neat integrated indicators. It is a handsome, if slightly too long bike (because of the length of the V-4 motor). But I happen to think it still looks the business today, especially with ‘executive luggage’ fitted. Purposeful and solid design which is timeless.

The bike had lived most of its life in London, so was a bit choked up, but over that last 10k miles, I’ve been gradually thrashing the bike back into a nice smooth engine (adjusting the valve clearances helped too). It was a bit scuffed up, a bit neglected, but service history receipts were substantial so off we went together into the sunset.

As you might expect, the feedback from the forks is not nearly as obvious as the GSX-R, but the softer suspension makes for more easy progress on the road. The forks are soft for a sports bike, but actually quite nice too when you’re just pootling along. You can take liberties with this bike and it won’t bite you, but you’ll be doing it on faith to start, with as the feedback from the softish forks is pretty low.

The V4 engine is a fantastic motor with usable smooth drive above 4,000 revs (somewhat lumpy below 2500). I would say it is reason enough to test ride one of these bikes. It is by no means as smooth as an in-line 4, but nowhere near as lumpy as a v-twin. It combines the best attributes of both. So flexible is the motor that you can make excellent progress on the road without even trying.

Overtaking is best done in fourth, and the front wheel goes light rolling on the throttle in first. I would imagine a sudden twist of the wrist would easily bing the front up, if that’s your cup of tea. Because the engine has the effortless drive of a V-twin low down, it is easy to forget that you can rev the nuts off the engine (redline is around 12,000) and end up going really fast.