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Honda VFR1200F Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

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Honda VFR1200F
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

The new VFR is a good bike – but it’s 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.
Logically, to justify its almost £12K 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.

> Video: Honda VFR1200F launch diary

Engine

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda VFR1200F’s all-new 1237cc V4 is immensely grunty and flexible and retains characteristic V4 exhaust bark. You never need approach 10,000rpm limiter/redline but if you do it (almost) howls like an RC30. On the downside there’s a slight buzz in the crotch around 4-5000rpm cruising speed there’s little Blackbird/ZZR/K13-style top-end rush and the gearbox is sometimes vulnerable to false neutrals or is reluctant to perform 1st-3rd shortshifts.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda VFR1200F’s cast twin spar frame, shaft-drive and combination of decent but not outstanding 43mm preload adjustable USD forks and Prolink monoshock rear offer excellent stability and ride comfort but, at a big ???kg, the VFR12 is no sports bike. Despite the low and nicely waisted seat, you never lose the impression that this is one big, heavy bike. Steering is slow and laboured, ABS brakes are decent but lack the finesse and precision of latest Blade system.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

On face value the Honda VFR1200F is decently equipped – but the damning’s in the details. ‘Transformers’-style instrument display boasts LCD gear indicator, fuel gauge, clock etc, but lacks ambient air temp, mpg etc of latest range-topping rivals. There’s no traction control, electric screen or electronic suspension adjustment, a centre stand is an optional extra and, worst of all, Honda in its wisdom has decided to reinvent the wheel with its new switchgear design by enfuriatingly repositioning the indicator toggle under the horn. Compare and buy parts for the VFR1200 in the MCN Shop.

Honda VFR1200F (2010-2011)

Detail Value
New price £12,325
Dealer used prices
£7,420 (2010) - £13,210 (2014)
Private used prices
£6,750 (2010) - £11,890 (2014)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1237 cc
Power 160 bhp
Top speed mph
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4
Engine rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda VFR1200F’s finish is impeccable, in typical Honda fashion and, in truth, Honda has moved the game on with both the VFR’s superb paint finish (the result of some clever new technology, apparently) and novel ‘layered’ fairing design, which does an excellent job of both cutting through the wind and venting engine heat away from rider. Must be terrifyingly expensive if it falls off its sidestand, though….

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The Honda VFR1200F’s £11,596 list price has been universally criticised as being too steep which leaves us wondering who’s going to buy it. At £12K a bike’s got to have major league appeal to win customers and I just don’t think the new VFR has it. If you want a mile-eating sports-tourer BMW’s K1300S and GT both offer at least as much ability and fewer niggles for the price; Kawasaki’s ZZR or GTR 14 more performance and technology while a Ducati or Triumph more character and sporting ability. Find a Honda VFR1200F for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: n/a

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Model History

New model.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 95 ft-lb
Weight 276 kg
Seat height 815 mm
Fuel capacity 18.5 litres
Average fuel consumption 43.7 mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group of 17
Engine size 1237 cc
Engine specification 16v V4, six gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment 43mm with preload adjustment
Rear suspension adjustment Pro-Link, adjustable preload and rebound
Front brakes 320mm twin disc C-ABS
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70/17
Rear tyre size 190/55/17

See all Honda VFR1200F motorcycles for sale

Honda
VFR1200F

8900 miles

£8,595

Honda
VFR1200F

8700 miles

£8,495

Honda
VFR1200F

11281 miles

£8,295

Honda
VFR1200F

15500 miles

£8,195

Honda
VFR1200F

3365 miles

£8,495

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(12 reviews)

  • Missed Opportunity

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Sorry to all you who like this bike, but this is my honest opinion after a 4 hour test ride on a 2010 model with 5800 miles clocked. I wanted to like this bike having had a pre-vetec 800, but it didn't make me want one. I found the fly by wire throttle very snatchy when in town; almost switchlike when opened from a closed position after using engine braking. When the momentum of the bike was added on the open road, this snatching disappeared and the bike came into its own; very enjoyable. It felt smooth, torquey and planted, carrying its weight well on A roads. The brakes were strong and progressive and the suspension coped with my 12stone admirably. The instruments were adequate but fell short of what you would expect on a flagship model of this money. The build quality of the bike was very Honda and hard to fault with paint that looked amazing (wouldn't want the bill if it got damaged though) It's the detail for the money that lets it down. The luggage should be at least able to take 2 helmets, but the top box was the only place to take one. The locks and handles on the luggage do feel top drawer though. The tank range is unacceptable for a tourer, sports or not, and would mean careful consideration given to petrol station locations when touring. For a 12K bike, I think charging a centre stand as an extra is taking the p--s a bit. I didn't get the vibration from the tank others have mentioned and found the bike very comfortable for my 5'8" frame. I could also get both feet down, which felt safe and secure when stopped. I would also be interested to know what the servicing costs would be on such a high tec motor. Hopefully Honda will listen to feeback and address some of these issues. If they do, this bike could be brilliant. The fact that the 18 month old model I tested is looking for its 3rd owner tells you something I think.

    29 September 2011

  • Don't read about it, test ride it!

    Benjijackson

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I have owned lots of bikes over 20yrs of riding. I wanted a powerful bike with a quality feel & ideally shaft drive - this bike is the AMG Mercedes of the bike world. Super high quality fit & finish. A nice modern design and very high performance should you need it. I tried all the BMW's thinking I wanted one (incl k1300) but this bike made a big impression on me when I took it for a test ride. I used to own a VFR VTEC which I didn't like because of its weedy mid range. The VFR1200 is the opposite - it has absolutely loads of low and mid range grunt which translates into very rapid (and smooth) progress. It may not have a crazy top end rush but I don't ride like that anyway so I wont miss it. Take my advice and test ride this fantastic, top quality bike! You can read all the reports and tests in the world but there's no substitute for a test ride.

    16 September 2011

  • my VFR 1200

    graham pc

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Engine

    I have owned my vfr 1200 for 6 months its comfy easy to ride very well made quality parts no gimmicks have put 3200 miles on it will never sell it I owned a P reg VFR 750 wished I still had it but my new VFR is better have owned a gtr 1400 2010 model vfr runs circles round it no contest ave miles per tank is 150 miles with 3.5liters to spare when low fuel light comes on I have no problem with indicator postion or horn button not caused me any problems this is the best bike I have ever owned I would strongly recommend it to all your readers well done Mr Honda !

    26 July 2011

  • Easy 2 ride

    bjet319

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Engine

    I have seen on many youtube reviews and all comment on how nimble this is for a 270kg bike. I agree 100%.I had a Sprint GT before my VFR and I can tell you this bike is much more fun and rideable.

    18 June 2011

  • great engine

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Had quick test ride on one.Having owned a 97 vfr750 and a pre v-tec vfr800 in the past I was just curious about the engine. The bike only felt heavy parking up.It was more of a sporty riding position than expected.Dealer said a customer had bar risers fitted.Once you get going though the engines great,Smooth fast with lots of torque.I didnt notice the brakes, clutch or gear changes because they all worked well without complaint.Unlike the indicator switch under the horn.Poor mpg/range?.For the engine its worth it.The dream bike would be 750 with 800 clocks and 1200 engine,but in reality a used one in silver with mra screen,top box,centre stand,bar risers,and a slip on exhaust short enough to show that great looking rear wheel.

    28 April 2011

  • Reviewers miss point

    piratelion

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I ride an '03 vfr800, a bike widely reviled for its VTEC. But the bike is hugely tractable, built and engineered to the highest standards (FAR beyond a contemporary BMW) and rides like a Rolls-Royce on the interstate. Open up the motor and you have a MOTOGP engine. This new VFR120 has one huge flaw: poor MPG/no range. Honda could have upped the range and MPG with VTEC valve shutoff but no one wanted it. If you want 1200CC and 170HP and limitless torque, the bike will have no range. The VTEC critics undermined this engineering marvel.

    09 June 2010

  • Reviewers miss point

    piratelion

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I ride an '03 vfr800, a bike widely reviled for its VTEC. But the bike is hugely tractable, built and engineered to the highest standards (FAR beyond a contemporary BMW) and rides like a Rolls-Royce on the interstate. Open up the motor and you have a MOTOGP engine. This new VFR120 has one huge flaw: poor MPG/no range. Honda could have upped the range and MPG with VTEC valve shutoff but no one wanted it. If you want 1200CC and 170HP and limitless torque, the bike will have no range. The VTEC critics undermined this engineering marvel.

    09 June 2010

  • VFR Tourer????

    daveajj

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Just come back from a 4 hour test ride(was given to me whilst my 09 Blade was in for a service. Positive's - Very surprised, engine was awsome with masses of torque from 4500 onwards, oh and the sound of that exhaust once it 5000rpm no chance of not hearing it coming. Weight?? supposed to be 20/30 kg's more than the previous VFR which i had an 08 version of, this bike felt much lighter, handled fantastic, obviously not a frieblade but hey it was still well handling, could even do a track day really!!!. Very comfortable for the rider, nice positoning. Looks, well i'm pros on eof the few who liked it when it was first launched. Negatives - Tank range, i had a pillion for the first 3 hours, stopped once after 60 miles, pillion not best impressed, said older VFR was much more comfortable...Wind blast from screen, i may be 6'2" but didn't expect it to be that bad, touring screen a definate purchase. Tank range, i only did 120 miles but when i went to fill up i had used 15.5 litres....mot goood for touring at all. Price, looking at the oposition you would think tey have the price spot on, but if you take into account purchasing panniers, top box, heated grips, centre stand etc this takes it up to £13500 with not anywhere near the standard equipment the new Multistrad Touring is offering, 'and' ny newer VFR's bought after current stock has gone you can expect to pay another £500 or so i've been told...long winded but honest opinion, would i buy one....definateyl yes, if they sorted the price and tank range....

    06 April 2010

  • its a vfr but different

    sportsboyuk

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    dont listen to crap reviews ride it and see for yourself very very good bike. remember when you go ride it most people wanted it to be a beast why? this is a move forward in design and technology and a new way to ride go ride it with an open mind. It will suprise you from here things can noly get better

    23 March 2010

  • VFR1200F

    ronnieblue

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    WHAT A BIKE, DON T LISTEN TO THE MEDIA, Its crazy fast and stable, It sounds like a spitfire on acid above 6000rpm. This hits so many buttons, Busa Boyz can keep up with on our roads, ZZR Lads also. IT ROCKS! Ride one and I guarantee you will think what the f%$k are they on about! I have bought one and I have owned ZX10R 06 SP2 05, Ducati 749R AND BELIEVE ME IT BEATS EM ALL HANDS DOWN. Riding for 15 years. I ain t paid to say this by Honda either. You will see VFR's everywhere once people jump on them for themselves! Hayabusa nearly bought prior to riding VFR in comparison Busa is so one track minded.

    02 March 2010

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