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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
£3,140 (2002) - £7,360 (2011)
Private used prices
£2,670 (2002) - £6,620 (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

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

36000 miles

£3,100

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

28473 miles

£4,250

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

49500 miles

£2,600

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

6126 miles

£7,795

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

23456 miles

£4,195

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(50 reviews)

  • 2009 VFR800

    Tooshay

    UK

    Average rating rating is 2

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
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    Engine

    I Bought it over a month and a half ago. What a mistake to make! I have owned other japanese & fuel injected bikes ranging between 650 & 1300cc with no problems. But this is just awful. Unfortunately i'm 19 & not allowed to test ride bikes before i purchase them, which is lucky for honda in the short-term as i've bought what i must admit is potentially a fantastic bike, but honda have made a real mess of it, I'm sure it should have "not for road use" stamped in the frame or bodywork somewhere - i still haven't found where yet. Had i have been allowed a test ride, i would never have bought it. I have since been told (by the dealer itself) they're not made for using in town's or cities - then what the hell are they made for, i know they're sports tourers & my commute does involve open roads as well as the city, but they're not much of a bike if i can't actually use the thing for commuting!? But in the long-term Honda have now lost a young customer for life for not just the awful bike, but for how i have since been treated, as Honda obviously doesn't like it when people complain! They may well all be like it, but that doesn't make them right. I challenge Honda to start making bikes with square wheels & then tell their customers it's fine because they're all like it!

    06 May 2009

  • 02 V-TEC

    thomas240871

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Just bought my 2nd vfr after a few years off bikes and i must say it's a great improvement from my 89 fj model. I've only done about 1700 miles so far but getting more confident in removing that last 1/2 inch of shiny rubber still around the rear bridgstone! Just removed the genuine rear luggage box and carrier that came with it and fitted a single seat cowl. Does anyone know what the best type of cans to put on as the standard ones are too quiet for my liking. Heated grips (oxford) work well as long as you only put them to half way, if not it'l grill ya fingers like a gorge forman grill. Anyone out there recomend a good set or tyres ? Currently on BT020'S Cheers and enjoy the summer. Keep it fun, keep alive !

    22 April 2009

  • VFR - Yawn!!

    Dazzy321

    ROMFORD , UK

    Average rating rating is 1.5

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    Engine

    Recently purchased a black VFR, not a bad bike quite boring, had a few problems buying it badly let down by Honda HQ and also dealership where I bought it. Petrol consumption is high but haven't run it in yet, 3 things have gone wrong with it the 2 weeks I have owned it. Needless to say well disappointed and can't wait to bin it and get a decent bike..

    16 April 2009

  • VTEC zzzzzz

    mag46

    Average rating rating is 1

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    Engine

    One of the dullest & overpriced bikes ever built! They corrode like sparrow shit! I think most of these reviews are written by Honda marketing people!

    08 April 2009

  • Best All Rounder.

    xv1100uk

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Engine

    Got my '03 new and have only needed to replace the tyres. I am sure that if you could fit knobblies it would have been a Dakar winner. ;-)

    30 March 2009

  • Excellent All-round

    MacVfr

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Having had to make the difficult choice of giving up my much be-loved cbr600 i had to look for something that could eat up the miles yet still be fun on the back roads. Ive had my Vfr 08 for about 9months now and loved every mile on it,the v-tec is alittle strange at first but once you get used to it the extra power is a welcome boost. Fuel wise ive managed over 200miles from a tank on the motorway but ive been ready to stop before the fuel has ran out. Its been fantastic so far and easy to live with,you can still throw it about once you get used to the weight and has a smooth throttle to blast out of corners. And on the flip side if you just want to cruise along on that nice sunday lunch it'll take you where ever you need to go without the fuss or drama.

    19 March 2009

  • excellent tourer

    jdavies123

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    Great honda quality...Wheelieable too! Great range and fuel consumption. Excellent!

    15 February 2009

  • 58 plate vfr800 abs

    sportsboyuk

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    This bike is so much fun why cos you can do anything on it and it just gets on with it. I now plan to now fit airflow screen, power commander 3, air filter, and some nice cans but i can not wait for summer !!!!!!!! ride safe guys be happy live to ride

    11 February 2009

  • new VFR800V tech fantastic bike still

    sportsboyuk

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Ive had a lot I mean a lot of race rep bike touring sports supersports bikes and this bike after all these years is still FANTASTIC no throttle glitch, smooth quick enough for the uk roads with european drivers,lol its a little thirsty but its tight running in after the rubbish paneuropean 1300 this bike handles and it looks good too

    06 December 2008

  • 58 plate vfr800

    sportsboyuk

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    After the new paneuro which was crap a bad handling disaster im glad its gone. I now have a great vfr800 which is down on power but what a great bike beautiful to look at and ride no handling faults unlike the Pan euro, AND NO poor throttle control at all its smooth revs nice. More wind blast but hey its a sports tourer not an over sized scooter like the Pan euro. I really look forward to some nice weather lol if only and to ride this bike more i cant wait for the VFR1000 four its not going to be a v5 honda say. After years on bikes and mostly race rep bike this bike is a stunning all rounder so welll made too awsome ill give it 9/10

    30 November 2008

Discuss this

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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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