Skip to content

Honda VFR1200F Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

Find By Make/Model

1 of 19
Honda VFR1200F
Click to enlarge
Previous image Next image

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
£7,370 (2010) - £13,080 (2014)
Private used prices
£6,720 (2010) - £11,770 (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

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes now

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

18133 miles

£6,795

Honda
VFR1200F

10940 miles

£7,999

Honda
VFR1200F

8000 miles

£7,999

Honda
VFR1200F

15815 miles

£7,395

Honda
VFR1200F

miles

£7,295

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(12 reviews)

  • Almost perfect

    FORCE3D

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Well I got to spend an hour on the new VFR today. After literally jumping off my 5th gen VFR and onto the new one I felt surprisingly at home with the seating position, feeling a tad more upright with the pegs just slightly further back. But importantly over the hour I spent in the saddle no issues at all. Pulling out of the Honda dealership, grinning from ear to ear I didn't feel overly excited about the noise this thing makes, having been used to the growl and racy V4 whine of my 5th gen. Especially when pulling hard from 4k or so it doesn't pulsate and snarl at you as much. However, once you get her past that magic 5500rpm the bike changes character; very much like the VTEC coming on song (but without the jolt) and she just roars and howls just like a V4 engine should sounding 'beefier' than the 800. Of course the bike feels more powerful and torquey, which is most evident when cruising in 4 or 5th (even 6th) when she just pulls, very cleanly and with authority - very useful for pillion work. BUT I've got to say it didn't feel as strong as I thought it would. No Blackbird power rush here, it's all in the mid-range. Talking of pillion duties after my 1st 20 minutes I went to pick up my girlfriend so I could test how the bike felt. Sarah said the seat felt smaller and not quite as soft (same for me) but the grab handles were excellent and overall seating position felt the same - in fact she actually said, aside from the power difference, it felt very similar to the 800. When jumping from bike to bike I initially could feel the extra weight, particularly at the front oddly but this really doesn't translate to sloppy agility on the road. I picked some of my favourite twisty sections and with pillion, I could really flick the bike from side to side with relative ease - but for sporty sport touring duties I'd say the VFR800 will win hands down on a tight twisting road. Brakes are confident, strong and predictable. Wind protection for me, didn't feel as good (particularly my legs started to feel the cold). The bike is STABLE - and at silly speeds no issues at all, it's now too easy to go well over 100+ without realising it, and Sarah couldn't believe how quickly this thing can gain speed. Suspension felt incredibly stiff - to the point where it felt uncomfortable on certain roads my back started complaining slightly (probably for me one of the bikes negatives but with a quick tune up I’m sure it’s easily fixed) When riding home on my bike it's amazing how similar the engine characteristics are between my 5th gen and this new 1200. Very smooth, linear with hardly any vibration. But for me, at least - I shall certainly be in the market for one in a year or so - which brings me to my only main negative, it’s overpriced

    24 February 2010

  • A great bike but not perfect

    Graphitan

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    After a good hour on the bike this afternoon (launch day), I feel some of the reviews are a bit harsh, particularly the gearshifts which are the best I've experienced. It is incredibly well balanced and the engine is outstanding - plenty of torque and endless performance if you want to push it. The engineering is superb, and it certainly attracts attention (took 10 minutes to get out of the petrol station with all the gawping onlookers!). Main criticisms are lack of toys (BMW trip computer has significantly more information and functionality) and excessive pricing (including options - low seat is FOC with BMW). The biggest failing is the lack of pannier space - neither holds a helmet, which is a big failing for such a high priced option. I'll have to try the K1300S to see how it compares.

    13 February 2010

Page

Discuss this

Add your comment

There are currently no comments

Most popular

Rate my bike

Related News