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Honda VFR1200F first road test verdict

By Phil West -

First rides & tests

 30 November 2009 16:50

The long-awaited Honda VFR1200F has been just undergoing its first road test in the hands of MCN Executive Editor Phil West, this is what he has to say:

“After riding Honda’s new VFR1200F over 300kms in southern Spain I have to say it’s a good bike – but not a great one.

And after all the hype and expectation (Honda themselves are pumping it up as “the Ultimate Road Sports Motorcycle” and it’s simply not) that is not good enough.

“To justify that tag, the new VFR should offer abilities and specification head and shoulders above all others. It doesn’t.

"Although the basic powertrain, complete with V4 character, stability and build quality impress, there are simply too many niggly faults or omissions to be ignored.

"The tank is too small, the switchgear baffling, the instrumentation too basic, the touring accessories not good enough. It shouldn’t be that easy to find fault with a flagship machine.

“But nor does the new VFR grab you emotionally as much as it should. Though the V4 drone and torquey drive is present and correct and the glossy finish alluring, in most other respects Honda’s new 1200 leaves me cold and that certainly can’t be said of rivals from BMW, Ducati (the forthcoming Multistrada) and Triumph.

“As it stands, I’m reasonably impressed by, and have a good deal of respect for Honda’s new VFR, but I’m truly struggling to think of any compelling reason to want one or generate any true lust for it and that’s, surely, a tragic place for a flagship motorcycle to be.”

For the full test see this week’s MCN