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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)

  • A bit boring

    dfsdfd

    fdfd

    Average rating rating is 2.5

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    I like it but its a bit boring

    02 March 2007

  • Marketed as a two up tourer, well, it aint either. Honda, go back and start again and dump the Vtec

    rearwheel

    Average rating rating is 2

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    I like the colour and thats about it. Power - none. Acceleration - none. Brakes - are any fitted? VTec - I HATE IT. Oh dear why such a bad crit? Coz this bike deserves one! I bought it after an hours test ride. Serves me right? Possibly. And I'd heard AND read it was the dogs for touring 2 up and after an hour it seemed a good bike but after 1 week with it, it obviously wasn't. Well, Honda must be giving backhanders to the world press to get them to bum it up, coz this bike is rubbish. Everything is a calculation on it, overtakes, braking distances etc. Talking of brakes, does it have any? And get rid of the CBS crap. When I pull the lever I want to stop not worry IF! VTec? Who the hell designed that. Round a corner in 3rd revs up constant throttle, squeeze some more just a little and OOMMPH blasted vtec kicks in so you're accelerating B4 U want to. I want to be in control, NOT the bike. Its 9 months old done 4k miles and is being sold now. I HATE THIS BIKE. My pillion hates it. CRAP! Strengths: It doesnt have any strengths. Weaknesses: Brakes, Brakes, Brakes, VTEC, VTEC, VTEC, VTEC I dare you to publish this!

    24 July 2006

  • No bottom end poke and engine hunts all the time

    kericho

    Average rating rating is 3

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    New 2006 vtec, bought to replace 1999 FiX. Looks great, handling and brakes excellent, but the 06 vtec (can't compare against earlier models) has really poor fuelling and hunts all the time, regardless of revs. It has hardly any bottom end grunt, and doesn't start to pull until 5000 rpm (vtec at 6600). It struggles to get past 140 mph on the flat, but will eventually creep up to 150. Build quality good, but the paint scratches if you look at it. MPG not any better than 16 valver - can't see the point in the vtec system. Disappointed, won't buy another, should have kept the FiX. Strengths: Handling and looks. Weaknesses: Engine and paint.

    23 June 2006

  • I exchanged my 2001 Bandit 600 that was restricted to 33bhp for a silver VFR Vtech.

    undertakerdave

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Not been able to ride it yet properly but I'm so far very impressed with the build qaulity. I've replaced my bandit 600 as it was restricted and I'm going to be traveling up and dow the country, and the bandits build quality isn't too good when out in all weather! The illustrious KICK from the Vtech is not evident on mine, I've found the power smooth, progressive, effective, the brakes too extremely sharp, not ABS but the Combined braking does a smashing job, it's not intrusive. The Honda hard luggage very good design. Strengths: Build qaulity,engine, Generally a fantasic bike. Weaknesses: The coolant bottle been behind fairing so to refill involves removing plastics???

    28 May 2006

  • An excellent all rounder, with the bias towards "sports", rather than "touring"!

    markea

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I bought my '02 VTEC after seeing it launched at the NEC in November 2001. Registered on an 02 plate and now having down around 16,000 miles, I rate this bike very highly. I've had it on long haul trips to Germany, and short haul trips to the local shopps, and on every ride I have a smile on my face. The bike is smoothe to ride and crisp to handle, with my only gripe being that when "touring" the VTEC kicks in almost exactly on the 95mph mark. I've also had a complaint that the passenger seat could be better, although this from a mate missus who pillions a Trophy! Strengths: * The comfortable riding position * Performance * Usability! Weaknesses: * Passenger comfort.

    06 March 2006

  • My second bike

    DeFab

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    When my first bike (kawa gpz600r)gave in, I was looking for a sporty bike with good sitting conditions because of a whip-lash. I drove a Yamaha TDM, a Blackbird with an aftermarket steer and a VFR800FIY (yes green).I've driven around 10000 miles now and I have never regretted my choice. Strengths: Reliability. Weaknesses: Cost of oem-parts.

    22 February 2006

  • VFR 800 ABS with alarm and hugger

    Rik1

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Had a VFR before but decided to go for the new Vtec with ABS. This one I have used every day for work wind,rain, snow and sun. Never let me down. Stable at speed and easy to ride. Excellent all rounder whether short journey or long commute. Paid the extra for ABS which was definately worth the price with great stopping ability in the rain. Have carried all kind of luggage with ease. Strengths: Stopping ability and all round work horse. Weaknesses: You get the VTEC power blip at 7000rpm but so what!

    21 February 2006

  • VFR800

    fambone

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Smooth & powerfull. Great for long all day rides. Recently done a long tour with some serious canyon carving across South Africa - moutains plus some LONG lonely "horizon" stretches near the Kruger Park...200kph...for 45 minute stretches..a truely awesome bike. Strengths: Open Road comfort & power,incl "drop dead" good looks. Weaknesses: No dirt...but what the hell!!

    13 January 2006

  • honda VFR800 V-TEC

    newforestman1

    Average rating rating is 2.5

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    As I have sold my V-tec ,I can be honest with my opinion.Build quality is the best I have seen on any bike.riding position is comfortable for long distances.however after having VFR's for years ,I believe the V-Tec system doesnt work on a bike.there is very little low /mid range power which is a pain when in town .the brakes are poor by todays standards. the rear shock is too soft for high speed conering. the worst thing was the servicing costs .beware they are massive.Re-sale value not as high compared to older VFR's as V-Tecs are not as popular. Strengths: Build quality. comfort.long distance work. Weaknesses: V-Tec-No low power range grunt-poor brakes- re-sale value. high servicing costs.

    02 March 2005

  • Great bike 2up(most of the time for me/us?), good range, and plenty of power

    scottied

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Having had a fair few bikes in my 25yrs on bikes, I finally lived my childhood dream of a V4 Honda.And I now wish I'd got 1 sooner.The bike is in virtually standard trim apart from a doulble bubble screen,after market exhaust,and a Givi rack/topbox.Its used mainly 2 up on a weekend out for jaunts with mates on bigger bikes, but the only time its a problem is when the going gets steep.Had 1 long trip down to the Goodwood festival, arrived fresh as a daisy, but was tired on the ride back. Strengths: Plenty of torque, comfort, goodish fuel comsumption looks. Weaknesses: Could do with another 200cc to give it that extra power(the V5 should sort that, saving the pennies now!!!)

    16 September 2004

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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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