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Honda CROSSTOURER 1200 Adventure Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The surprise with the Crosstourer is two-fold: first that the 1200 V4 powertrain works so well in an adventure bike package (it already seems so familiar and ‘right’ to me it seems like it’s been around for years) and second that it genuinely brings a new and tempting dimension – namely V4 performance and sophisticated automatic transmission – to the burgeoning ‘adventure bike’ category. In short: this isn’t necessarily ‘better’ than a GS – it’s different to a GS, a ‘super’ adventure bike if you like.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

V4 shaftie is essentially the same powertrain as that of the VFR1200F but has been retuned to boost midrange and low down grunt (at the expense of top end) with new cam profiles to give reduced lift, longer inlet tracts  and smaller diameter (by 10mm) exhausts. The result is a stupendously broad spread of sheer, smooth urge yet all flavoured with the charcateristically V4 rumbly drone. The slightest touch of throttle is enough to pull smoothly away and the progress thereafter completely linear and meaty yet enough, at the top end, to remind of true superbikes.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Handling-wise the Crosstourer scores over the donor VFR1200, too. While the two bikes’ frames are virtually identical and the Crosstourer should suffer by having mushier, longer-travel suspension, larger wheels and compromising dual purpose tyres, in reality it meets its class expectations even better than the VFR.
On M-ways and fast A-roads the Crosstourer is impressively planted, steady and predictable and only when the roads start to get silly-twisty do its shortcomings of slight top-heavyness, needing a real wrench around some turns, a vague-front end not helped by dull Bridgstone Battle Wing tyres, and slightly ‘boingey, basic forks (although being both preload and rebound adjustable, I’m confident they could be improved) become obvious.
But, especially given it’s size and weight and the expectation of the class the Crosstourer does handle well enough.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Virtually everywhere you look on the Crosstourer there’s quality, sophistication or pleasing attention to detail. Apart from the DCT which is probably enough in itself to keep the gizmo geeks happy, the Crosstourer also boasts switchable traction control (which works by successively cutting the fuel injection AND closing the throttle butterflies), a slipper clutch plus Honda’s unique and sophisticated Combined ABS (C-ABS) brake system which both spreads braking forces between front and rear wheels and incorporates one of the most sophisticated anti-lock braking systems currently in motorcycling.

Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer (2012-current)

Detail Value
New price £12,399
Dealer used prices
£9,020 (2012) - £13,210 (2014)
Private used prices
£8,120 (2012) - £11,890 (2014)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1237 cc
Power 127 bhp
Top speed 131 mph
Insurance group 17 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Honda seems to have learnt the lessons of the ‘under-specced’ VFR1200 and as a result the Crosstourer wants for little. Console is all-new and bristling with features and information: large central digital speedo is flanked by gauges for fuel and engine temp; a bar type tacho goes across top of display plus there’s an odometer, twin trips, fuel consump (both actual and average), gear indicator and clock.
Then there’s the trick-lloking LED indicators (the first on a large capacity Honda); integrated luggage rack and grab rail, hand guards as standard and more. Meanwhile, the paint is gorgeous and deep, the black-anodised alloy rims beautiful and the textured seat class – a true flagship machine.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The Crosstourer is much more than just a VFR with knobblies – it’s a distinctive bike in its own right. It also has pretty much all the right bits in all the right places: slim but meaty proportions, single-sided shaft drive, GS Adventure-style wire wheels, decent looks and BMW-rivalling quality and refinement. All that makes it’s price seem fair in the context of its rivals. No bargain, maybe, but it’s worth its flagship price.

Insurance

Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

2012: Model launched

Other Versions

None

Specifications

Top speed 131 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 127 bhp
Max torque 92.9 ft-lb
Weight 275 kg
Seat height 850 mm
Fuel capacity 21.5 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 1237 cc
Engine specification Liquid-cooled, 6v DOHC, four stroke, 76º V4, fuel injection, 6 gears
Frame Cast aluminium twin beam
Front suspension adjustment Preload and rebound
Rear suspension adjustment Preload and rebound
Front brakes 2 x 310mm discs, four piston calipers, C-ABS
Rear brake 276mm disc with twin piston caliper, C-ABS
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(9 reviews)

  • Automatically better?

    indyturner612

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Tried one of these when looking at a dct VFR1200 as I had a manual version for a year. I was so impressed I bought one. I'm getting on a bit now and doing a lot of commuting I was getting bored of changing gear and this works brilliantly. They could have made this bike for me and I don't miss the gears one bit. I appreciate its not everyones cup of tea but thats another bonus - there arn't many about. Its expensive to buy but a 3 year warranty and a great trade in deal makes it reasonable value. I now find myself enjoying my rides more and the scenery, you see so much more at lower speeds. I am sure I will miss the sharpness and focussed nature of the vfr but for now there is not another bike I would rather have, at any money.

    30 August 2013

  • 10k

    plumber01

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ive had this for a year now, its a bit heavy, but Im not small so its not an issue, engine fantastic, I was two up with a 14 stone friend, and didnt even notice him.The suspension is far too soft and you need to wind it up to max, and with Michelin pilot 3 you can ride jsut as fast in the wet, I usually ride on the brisk side, it is stable lent over and I can keep up with super sports bikes fine 95% of the time , and I dont need to stop and stretch every half hour. I have taken it up a gravel road, traction makes it safe but I wouldnt want to chase a KTM in a hurry, its a big cuddly tourer that can shift if you feel like it, just wind up the front suspension first. I dont love it but it does the job well enough, I will probably get the KTM adventure next, but thats for the holigan in me rather than the crosstourer being bad at anything.

    16 May 2013

  • Great bike

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4

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    2000 miles now in all weathers, I have read all the good points and negative ones about the Crosstourer some of which may have a relevance. I sold my Gs Adventure for this bike and am not unhappy with my choice. Complaints about tank size are unfounded cos 21 litres ish is reasonable. yes I might miss 33 litres as per GSA but how far are you really going to ride before a break? the crosstourer engine is brilliant like many say tuned perfectly for the task, I rode the doner engine VFR1200 the other day for comparison and crosstourer again gets my vote for comfort acceleration and complete versatility. anywhere I might have taken my GS I would take the crosstourer very little off road probably. Fuel consumption can be quite good 50+ with some restraint but with such an amazing V4 engine I can see why initial reports said it was very thirsty, in my opinion that is unfounded. because the engine is so good it is easy to see why you could use more fuel, it is amazingly smooth very very quick if you want it to be triple figure speeds only a glimmer after 2nd gear I have heard!Oh yes you will use more fuel if you do this? but if you are riding fast on any big bike you will Use more fuel. Ridden fast and through the gears I still obtained over 190 miles to the tank. So to conclude the consumption section it is the right hand that determines, how hard you accelerate how fast you go. crosstourer weight 275kg also criticised but is weighed wet unlike other bikes. compared to GSA the crosstourer is still a heavy bike but the balance thankyou MR Honda is much better especialy when your paddling around. I dont particuarly like the top box and think Honda could have done better here as if extended with material lacks security, panniers are close fitting and good. original screen is abit of a joke I now have a Givi 19cm higher than original, some wind buffetting but then its not an RT or Trophy is it. Givi spotlights are great. My wife says it is more comfortable than than the GSA and easier to get on. If anybody actually reads all this hope it helps you make decison, and there is never any harm in taking different bikes out for a test ride, happy biking.

    19 April 2013

  • All Year Round

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I've clocked up 3500 miles with daily use getting to work. Haven't been this confident in the wet since I rode the VFR750. Reckon I've made a wise choice ignoring the BMW biased press and got myself a quality built ride. Only gripe is seat geometry which would benefit from an extra inch adjacent to the tank, and the traction control has caught me out a few times when I've given it a handful ( learning curve ) . Test ride one it's worth a look : )

    24 November 2012

  • You'll want one

    CaptainSlow

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have just taken a Crosstourer our for a weekend, two up for about 300 miles on a variety of roads from tight single tracks to fast winding A roads. It is just awesome reasr suspension needed to be 4 of full. It just does everything so well You cant compare this with a BM as they are so very different but having ridden both for us two up with luggage all day comfort there is not much to beat it. It puts a smile on your face everytime which is why we ride - just have to sort out how to fund but it will be mine soon

    24 August 2012

  • Confused

    rugbybiker

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Why buy a monster bike which can only manage 131mph when you can buy a usable bike like the Crossrunner for about £5k less which can do 145mph.Or are you just too lazy to amend yor mistakes?

    21 August 2012

  • its great

    R1KSU

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I test rode this bike last week, and have to say its amazing ! My last bike was a FZ1 and I lowered the front sprocket by 2 teeth so it pulled really well, the crosstourer pulled better and accelerated faster I couldnt believe it.It pulls really well in top 70-100mph in about 4 seconds. It also goes round corners well, the seating position is perfect for me, sit up and beg, the screen stopped some wind as I took it upto an indicated 145 mph without being blown off it.So MCN got it wring when they said 131 mph. The seat is quite high, and it has a very nice exhaust noise, louder than I thought it would be. I would describe it as a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    14 June 2012

  • Just do it

    sportsboyuk

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    This is a much better bike than the BMW GS in many different ways try one you will see how good it is, forget the press get the feel of the bike yourself go to DOBLES HONDA CROYDON ASK FOR MIKE GET A DEAL ASAP.

    11 June 2012

  • crosstourer

    plumber01

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I had a VFR1200, its a bit small if you have 34inch legs. If you want to go off road dont buy it, Its a leggy tourer, and in that context very good, engine is the best I have ever ridden, it leans over easily enough, has a good tank range, and is as comfortable as an armchair. Very stable at european motorway speeds, better after tightening up suspension. Test ride one, better, taller, smoother than VFR1200

    15 May 2012

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