Wise old Bird
What really surprises me is that a T-Reg bike can perform so well 15 years later. This bike will pull easily to 120mph. It is a true testament to Honda’s build quality. If you find one of these bikes with a careful owner who has pampered it, you will have in your hands a bike which will last.
The VFR800 feels cheeky, it feels willing to pull and pull, and that gloriously characterful V4 is such fun that you wonder why more manufacturers don’t make them (of course Yamaha’s successful cross plane crank motor is an in-line 4 copy of a V4, so in a way they are)
It feels more fun than usual to ride a bike like the VFR fast, because a 15 year old motorcycle shouldn’t be as good as this at dispatching roads. It is a more experienced, less shouty performance than a full on sportsbike, but nonetheless very capable. It’s not difficult to recognise that supersport bikes go fast; looking at a supremely fit supersport bike, you just know that she’ll be good fun.
By contrast, the VFR is a slightly older model, a bit softer, and a bit curvier and carrying a bit more weight, and she’s not as desirable as she once was, but still a looker. But with these lowered expectation comes the joy of discovering that she’s an absolute hoot (that’s enough owl analogies!), really playful and fun to ride. There’s no song and dance, just the quiet efficiency of many years’ experience. You know that you’re in capable hands.
As I was riding along earlier today, I felt completely assured in the bike and the tyres. It is unseasonably warm today at 17°, but the roads are a mixture of dry, damp, and tractor mud, yet I can’t think I’d be any faster on a sports bike than I was on the VFR with its Angel GT tyres.
The brakes are combined (linked) and still perform immensely well 15 years later. Bleeding the brakes was trying, the Pirelli Angel GT tyres are everything that is good about modern tyre technology; they are quick to warm up, good in the wet, and corner with confidence. Sport-touring motorcycle tyres have to be the tyre of choice for the UK rider who rides all-year round.