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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

38400 miles

£3,499

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

33000 miles

£4,500

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

10500 miles

£2,991

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

28473 miles

£4,250

Honda
VFR800 VTEC

49500 miles

£2,600

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(50 reviews)

  • I love it... Really i do

    muzz

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Had my vfr about 2 months now after tradeing my 600rr and i love it.I'm 6'2" so it is a lot better for me, power delivery is good enough and handles really well.Had to harden up the rear abit as it was way to soft ,but now throw into islands scraping the old knee on the deck,must be honest I was very surprised how well it did go.Next year track day.Buy one you,ll love it..........

    13 October 2008

  • Beautiful bike

    tkalfaoglu

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Rides like a dream, built like a tank (yes I did drop it), if you are docile, it uses 4.0 liters of petrol per 100km. If you are not docile, it's a lot of fun to ride solo, or can go to distance with a pillon. We travelled all over Turkey last summer with my wife as pillon, not a peep from the bike despite 100+F temperatures.

    02 September 2008

  • does what it says on the tin!!!!

    tintinjsy

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    ive had my new 07 vfr 800 for 3 months now,got the bike for £6800 from a dealer in jersey where i live,had a nightmare running it in,as you can imagine living on a island 12 miles by 9 miles,i did more circuits than lewis hamilton,overall i think the bike does exaclty what it say`s on the tin,its a typical mile muncher,which is what i got it for,only 1 hour on the ferry from jersey to st malo,the proof will be in the pudding when i take it away in sept for a 18 day tour of europe,i got the panniers for £500 from the dealer in jersey,so not bad for a touring set up,i will submit another review when i get back,reading all the other reviews it could be intresting.

    31 August 2008

  • Disapointed

    cookimonster

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Engine

    All the hype of the VFR, I own a 06 model and its only good for motorways, which is a shame as I try to stay off them. Very poor fuel cunsumption only 150 miles to a tank and thats if I ride it like a nun! owend a ZX6R 01 plate before, smaler tank, same range before I turned the reserve and hamered it all day. Will not be getting another one, thats for sure

    29 June 2008

  • If you like sewing machines......

    rgv666

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I bought mine with 400 miles showing. Noisey gearchange, drinks petrol, heavy and way too over complicated. Early corrosion signs set in within a month despite very regular cleaning. Looks of a Goddess but starting to date a touch now. Generally underwhelmed for a bike that is so expensive and overhyped.Power delivery is nothing special - VTEC is annoying after a while. Will not be having another.

    16 April 2008

  • mpg better than expected

    dubhe

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Bought an ex-demo for motorway commuting, have done around 2,000 miles in the past six weeks. Have averaged 44 mpg, with 70% motorway and 30% nipping around the city. Have had 57 when the motorway was quiet and I sat at the speed limit, but this can drop as low as 33 if you use full luggage, carry a pillion or drive it like you stole it... Comfy for 2 or 3 hours between fuel stops, which could be well over 200 miles on a well topped up tank, but usually get bored before then! Fairing good, but then I'm only 5'7". Bike feels well built and like it is going to last and last. VTEC 'kick' is very smooth on my 2007 model and not a concern at all. Besides, on the motorway in sixth you'd have to be doing a ton to engage all 16 valves. This to me is good as cruising sensibly you get the better economy. I'd say I'd buy another but I believe Honda are going to replace the VFR and Blackbird with a new V5 sports tourer, I just hope they don't take as long to get it right as they did with the VFR.

    24 February 2008

  • mpg better than expected

    dubhe

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    Bought an ex-demo for motorway commuting, have done around 2,000 miles in the past six weeks. Have averaged 44 mpg, with 70% motorway and 30% nipping around the city. Have had 57 when the motorway was quiet and I sat at the speed limit, but this can drop as low as 33 if you use full luggage, carry a pillion or drive it like you stole it... Comfy for 2 or 3 hours between fuel stops, which could be well over 200 miles on a well topped up tank, but usually get bored before then! Fairing good, but then I'm only 5'7". Bike feels well built and like it is going to last and last. VTEC 'kick' is very smooth on my 2007 model and not a concern at all. Besides, on the motorway in sixth you'd have to be doing a ton to engage all 16 valves. This to me is good as cruising sensibly you get the better economy. I'd say I'd buy another but I believe Honda are going to replace the VFR and Blackbird with a new V5 sports tourer, I just hope they don't take as long to get it right as they did with the VFR.

    24 February 2008

  • great

    steveofar

    Average rating rating is 4

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    love it, eats miles and does everything

    21 December 2007

  • Perfection

    boroboy

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Had a Pan European 1300 for two years that was near perfect, but for the damn size of the thing at a standstill ( i am only 5"5 )I would have kept it much longer.Bought my VFR in June and not stopped smiling since.Why people moan about the V-Tech i dont know, i think the power kick is fantastic and is unbelievablely stable at high speed, even two up.I ride 150 miles a day at least 4 days a week and think i have found the perfect machine, even the sports riders give me a wave when i blast past!!!!!If i had to moan about anything it will be the price, i waited a long time for one to come up and i bought a 07/56 plate and got an excellent deal against new price, but £8500 new is a bit pricey. I suppose you pay for the build quality, that is superb.Go out and get one.

    02 October 2007

  • It must be ok because...

    meccano

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Engine

    ....I've had mine for 4 years/24000 miles and it still looks brand new. AND there's nothing come onto the market within that time that I'd want to PX it for. Reliability has been 100%, build quality good (paint a little on the thin side, though). Vtec is an unneccessary gimmick but not intrusive. It gets ridden "spiritedly", does at least 3 weeks abroad each year when it never gets cleaned or garaged, lives on very basic servicing (just oil, filter & air filter) and still comes back for more. There are better sports bikes, there are better tourers, but this is without doubt the ultimate UJM.

    09 September 2007

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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