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Honda VFR800 VTEC Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

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Honda VFR800 V-Tec motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

In the late 90s the old VFR800 was a great bike but needed updating. Its replacement, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec, is a beautiful thing and rides, goes and handles superbly too, but the Honda VFR800 V-Tec's variable valve timing caused some controversy - it's clever, but is it really necessary?  

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

A wonderfully even spread of power is the hallmark of the VFR and the Honda VFR800 V-Tec doesn't disappoint, making a claimed 107bhp at 10K. Along the way you might notice the V-Tec gizmo making a little step up around 7000 revs, but it's hardly a Kawasaki ZX-10R style lunge for the horizon. Like VFRs of old, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec motor simply gets on with the job, but is deceptively quick while it does it.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Honda VFR800 V-Tec steers a little slower than some rivals, like the Sprint ST, or ST4S, and offers a plusher ride than average. But the slightly soft suspension doesn't dive at the front too much under braking, as the CBS system puts some braking force to the rear disc to balance things up a bit. In a word, the Honda VFR800 V-Tecs handling is neutral. 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

There's a big problem with going touring on the Honda VFR800 V-Tec - there's no luggage space whatsoever. It costs about a grand extra to buy the hard luggage set from Honda, then add on more cash for heated grips, perhaps a replacement screen too as the stock screen is a bit low. On the upside, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec has a 22 litre gas tank, comfy saddle, a grabrail and a centrestand.

Honda VFR800 V-Tec (2001-2012)

Detail Value
New price £9,950
Dealer used prices
£3,330 (2002) - £7,330 (2011)
Private used prices
£2,670 (2002) - £6,600 (2011)
  View full used price info
Engine size 781 cc
Power 107 bhp
Top speed 155 mph
Insurance group 14 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Anyone who has owned a gear driven cam VFR will wonder why Honda went back to camchains on this V-4 cylinder engined Honda VFR800 V-Tec. Sadly, they're in danger of being able to say `told you so' to owners who have had the Honda VFR800 V-Tec recalled for camchain associated work under warranty. Apart from that, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec looks built to last 100,000 miles, but does need some expensive servicing along the way.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Available new in ABS and non-ABS braked versions, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec is a bike that impresses you from the moment you see it `in the metal.' It oozes class and sharp-edged purpose from every fairing panel. Honda VFR800 V-Tec resale values are pretty good too. Find a Honda VFR800 V-Tec for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 14 of 17

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Model History

2001: Honda VFR800 V-Tec launched.
2003: ABS option for Honda VFR800 V-Tec appears.
2006: Honda VFR800 V-Tec's Reworked V-Tec system now kicks in 200rpm lower down range, Honda claims it works smoother too. Clear indicator lenses, fairing panel tweaks and new colour schemes too. 

Other Versions

Honda VFR800 V-Tec ABS: Same as standard model but with ABS braking.

Specifications

Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12 secs
Max power 107 bhp
Max torque 59 ft-lb
Weight 218 kg
Seat height 805 mm
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 14 of 17
Engine size 781 cc
Engine specification 16v V-four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound
Front brakes Twin 296mm discs
Rear brake 256mm disc
Front tyre size 120//70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

See all Honda VFR800 VTEC motorcycles for sale

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VFR800 VTEC

29659 miles

£3,295

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

19626 miles

£5,499

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

512 miles

£8,799

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

27388 miles

£3,495

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

13045 miles

£5,882

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(50 reviews)

  • Not a bike you'll love

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Engine

    Had my '03 VFR for just over a year now and covered over 7000 miles. I do an 80 mile ride four times a week, the trip has a bit of everything so I can safely say I've covered all types of riding on it. At first I really enjoyed the bike having had an XJ6 before, it was a totally different experience. The VTEC is nowhere near as bad as people make out it is more of an irritation than anything and you can just adapt the way you ride to deal with it. Over the past year I've slowly realised that this bike isn't anything you can really enjoy, it's too heavy to flick around, the servicings are expensive and after an hour the riding the position just starts to make me ache (6'1" 16 stone maybe I'm just too big). I'll keep it for about six more months then getting rid of it and getting something that's fun, doesn't weigh the same as a morbidly obese american, got plenty of torque and will remind me of why I loved biking in the first place.

    05 July 2011

  • So Much Fun

    punksnotdead

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Long haul bike and simply easy to command. The engine growls at me! New Cross South London to Bromyard Herefordshire M40,A44,with this bike is a frill. 205 plus miles from a full tank with the VTEC on for rocket fun. Love this bike !

    26 June 2011

  • The Ford Focus Bike

    sma11fry

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Engine

    A once superb bike, but just stayed around too long. The engine sounds horrid, prefer a straight 4 or triple even. Lacks torque low down, but once stirred it handles, sure footed and safe, not comfortable, bars are too low, and it feels top heavy and has the turning circle of an oil tanker. As a toy, yes it will do for touring, the chain adjustment and lubing is a pain, wish I'd stuck with my K1200RS or got a GT, which suffer none of the above. It is what it is, a bike for those that set their expectations low, and don't know how good it can be. The Ford Focus, an ST model maybe, but no M3.

    12 June 2011

  • Gets better all the time

    5xmAdzam

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    It took a while to grow on me but after a year of ownership I can't see a better all round bike. I regularly go out with groups of riders and the VTEC is never left wanting, in fact, more often than not it is the fastest into corners and the quickest through. It can't compete in a straight line with the big boys but you are never left behind. Add this to the build quality and reliability and you have got one cracking motorcycle. One minus though - the VTEC is a waste of time in terms of the very small boost at 7000 revs against the additional cost of servicing.

    26 May 2010

  • Maybe it'll grow on me

    rumbler

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    I've had my 06 VFR for 4 months and only done a couple of thousand miles on it. So far the stand-out features are build quality and ... hmmm ok, ride is superb. The engine's great but low speed fuelling is poor. No excuse Honda, if a little company like Triumph can get it so right on the Tiger. Handling is OK, ish. Somehow the riding position is too static to allow me to easily shift about on it so not able to get the best out of it. The front end just does not seem quite right, maybe new tyres will sort it. Ages ago I felt the same about a Z650 but |I grw to love it's all round ability and reliability. Maybe I'll feel the same about the VFR some day.

    20 February 2010

  • Great Bike

    jdm8109

    Average rating rating is 4

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    On my third VFR - 2 VTEC and one Non VTEC. Latest is an 08 in Sword Silver. Invested in a pair of Staintunes. I never liked the stock VTEC exhausts. Staintunes are perfect - not too loud but deffo improve the looks. The bike is a dream to ride and despite the design being about 9 years old, still looks modern. The build quality is exceptional, the exhaust note sensational and it brings a smile to my face, even opening the garage door to look at it. The VTEC "kick" is more sound than actual kick and adds personality. I love it.

    02 February 2010

  • mpg

    PaulDutch

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Done a weekend trip,about 800miles in all,2 up,to Lands end a few months ago on 2002 800 vtec, average 45mpg, one stage between fill ups was 49mpg, speed around 80mph most of the way with an 8 stone pillion,12 stone me and a bag each. not bad I thought...

    18 September 2009

  • being very honest

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I have owned my 2003 VFR-Vtec ABS for more than a year and have done 5,000 miles on it. When bought it all recall work had been done on it and it had full service history with 3 previous owners and 8,500 miles on the clock. Still very tight, sharp, and clean. It is a beautiful bike (apart from the head lights), gorgeous end cans, single sided swingarm (that has added unnecessary weight ), sharp lines and because of its size it certainly has presence on the road and mine is in fire engine Red colour that has added more presence to it. Handling Compared to my other bikes (Hayabusa & ZZR600) handling was a big disappointment, because other two are much lower than VFR. VFR is higher and heavier, so centre of gravity is higher and changing direction is not very sharp, so it is not very sporty. Ride is very comfortable but handling, Disappointed. Vtec and MPG Whole point of Vtec engine was lower petrol consumption when you don’t need the full power, it does 38 to 41 MPG in town. Not great but not bad either, but when you don’t have the full power why petrol consumption is high like a 750 supersport bike? When the Vtec kicks in, it is a different bike. Very fast and beautiful sounding, but I would prefer full power to be available in lower revs too. They have made it safe I guess. Engine Torque is spread out through revs, enough torque. EXTREMELLY reliable engine, absolutely bullet proof. Last winter Dec 2008-Jan 2009 temperature dropped to Minus -12 Centigrade, bike started by first touch of the button on every single day. I test rode a vfr vtec with 46,000 miles on the clock and it felt very tight and healthy. Goods: Good mirrors, very very stable bike in high speeds I have done top speed run on it reaching 157 MPH, very stable, combined breaking system is a plus and with ABS you don’t need to worry about locking the back wheel but breaking will not be as sharp as none-ABS ones. Good screen, panel has nearly everything displaying on it, like ambient temperature, 2 trip metres, fuel gauge, option of KilometrePH or MilePH, coolant temperature. Very comfy bike, it is a true tourer and the last breed of under 1000cc sportstourers in UK. Fully adjustable suspension (ABS version only). Very good all rounder, Jack of all trades really. This bike has sold in millions. Most reliable bike I have ever owned and I have owned quiet a few bikes. Bads: Heavy bike, Handling that if combined tires you on the twisty roads, Vtec (which I am not fan of it) kicks in too late (6800/ 11000 RPM), tricky to strap a cargo net, a bit boring on the sporty side, Jack of all trades but master of none. Honda’s hard luggage set is very expensive.

    16 September 2009

  • all weather

    PaulDutch

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Great bike,I`ve not been riding long(2 yrs)3rd bike,reckon I`ll keep it for a while,great for distance.Got a 2001 v-tec model done almost 10000miles on it,had it a year now,OK I dont ride it hard(my licence is quite important to me!)also on same tyres still,metzeler roadtec z6,rear still has about 1000miles left.Got big service coming up so better start saving aint I...!!

    28 August 2009

  • v4steve

    v4steve

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Great bike does everything i want of a bike bought it new 2005 no problems no more to be said.

    25 May 2009

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carbonni

User's Badge

carbonnisays

Perfect 2nd hand buy

Ive had my '02 VFR for about 4 months now and love it. I'm a bit bigger than the normal rider at 6' & 15.5 stone and have no interest in road racing. I want a bike I can cruise about on but that will also pick up speed easily when needed or cruise at up to 100 ish without issue and the VFR seems to do this very well. I live in the Midlands and bought the bike from great Yarmouth - 180 miles away! I hadn't been on a bike since my previous Hornet and the VFR felt overwhelmingly heavy to push at first but once you jump on and go, you'd never guess it was so heavy. It handles superbly for me and feels rock solid on all but the worst of corners, even when I'm riding a bit beyond my own levels. After the ride home, I wanted to jump back on to get round my mates. How many other bikes make you do that without crippling you?!? I'm sure there are better bikes out there (especially for new or nearly new money) and all have their faults but for the money I paid, I seriously doubt you can do any better than this. The VTEC kick can be a bit harsh and the set-up's not the most comfortable I've ridden but for sub-200 mile rides, it's great. In summary, if you want a race rocket or want to be the leader of every pack, look elsewhere but if you want a budget used bike that does almost everything really well and looks & sounds great to boot, then take a chance and get a VFR. P.s, make sure the cam chain tensioners are ok or have been replaced over approx 40k - that's the only expensive job you need to really worry about.

23 June 2012 10:08

wendlewulf

wendlewulfsays

TEST RIDE

Yesterday I took my Triumph Daytona 675 in for a service & the shop loaned me a 2002 Honda VFR 800 for the day.

Having read & heard so many comlimentary comments on the bike I looked forward to the experience.

Firstly I had to do some buiness in hamilton, which was city riding & then I had business in Huntlly, which gave me twisty country road experience. All up I would have done around 140km on the bike.My opinions are as follows:

Not as smooth as a Triumph 3 cylinder.
The engine was hesitant until at a good working tempreture.
The handling was 'lumpy' round town but ok on the open road, though there was a bit too much 'feel' from the front forks on bumpy bends. My pillion liked teh soft rear suspension but suffered rfom wind turbulance.
The main problem for me was the saddle (numb left buttock by Ngaruwahia 40 km only) and my right hand started to get pins and needles by Huntly(65 km). The daytona never gives me a numb bum and the right hand is fine till Manukau (160 km)
The foot rest kept pulling off the restraints at the bottom of my overtrousers thus allowing them to creep upwards and the body armour that covers my knees to end up protecting my lower thighs.
So: all in all - I wouldn't buy one!
 

Both I and my pillion were relieved to get back on my 2006 bright yellow Daytons: The Canary!

09 November 2010 20:09

kiwikeith

User's Badge

kiwikeithsays

2005 VFR 800

I traded my 04 Speed 3 on a new vfr800vtec, As my lifestyle had changed, due to getting hitched. I found the Honda a superb bike to ride, Comfortable, powerful through the mid range, drop dead looks, loved the brakes, loved the colour (Italian Red) a superb build. Great engine don't think the VTec does much for it though IMO but super reliable, Good quality hard luggage. Really the ultimate Solo Sports tourer. But two up with 3 bags of luggage found the engine wanting, the gearbox is silky smooth but it wanted to be as your your big toe is going like a fiddlers elbow trying to keep up the revs for a smooth ride. My wife found the pillion seat to be uncomfortable. Also she copped all the turbulence. In a few words it is not a very good two up bike. I kept it for a year. Test rode the Blackbird as a possible replacement. To heavy uncomfortable. Same wind issues as the VFR for the pillion. So Traded up to a Triumph 1050 Tiger. Great all round bike, and oh that triple engine wow!!! I give the VFR a 7/10

02 November 2007 18:10

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