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Honda VFR800 Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

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Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

The Honda VFR800i is the best version of the best motorcycle ever built according to some. Honda VFR800i is a consumate all-rounder that looks great and goes better whether you’re on a track day, commuting or heading on a two week holiday with pillion and luggage. Honda VFR800i is an evolution of the VFR750, which started life as a sports bike but ended as a super sports tourer.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

V-four layout is unusual – it’s more costly and no more powerful than the all-conquering in-line four. But the Honda VFR800i feels and sounds far more exciting and produces more grunt low in the rev range. Competitors like Triumph’s Sprint beat the Honda VFR800i for power and torque, though.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda VFR800i is capable and stable in any situation. Nimble enough for the road no matter how fast your mates are. One step more towards the touring camp than say, a CBR600F. 90% of the time that’s great but if the fast group on track days is your aim, a Honda VFR800i is probably not the best machine for you.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Honda VFR800i carries rider and pillion better than most machines except dedicated tourers and some big trailies. Superb headlights and decent mirrors. Honda VFR800i centre stand is nice in these weight conscious days. Clocks include fuel gauge and ambient temperature – impressive for the time the Honda VFR800i was made.

Honda VFR800i (1998-2001)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£2,370 (1998) - £3,100 (2001)
Private used prices
£1,760 (1998) - £2,340 (2001)
  View full used price info
Engine size 781 cc
Power 108 bhp
Top speed 155 mph
Insurance group 14 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 3 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Not as good as people would have you believe – but still well above average. Rectifier issue (Honda’s Achillies heel) can cause the Honda VFR800i to stop, potentially with a boiling battery. Non-Honda units are cheap and solve the problem before it occurs – later Honda units also work well on the Honda VFR800i.

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

As it’s the pick of the Honda VFR750/800s used values are high. The later Honda VFR800 V-Tec model was heavier and needlessly complex. People know Honda VFR800is last and are happy paying top money for clean bikes, even with average or above mileages. At least you shouldn’t lose much when you sell. Find a Honda VFR800i for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 14 of 17

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Model History

1998: Original Honda VFR800i introduced.
2000: Honda VFR800i gets minor update; slight frame changes, modified clutch, refined fuel injection, more durable electrics, improved mirrors, HISS security system.

Other Versions

Honda VFR800i Anniversary: Sold in 1999 – identical to the regular Honda VFR800i except for special colour scheme.

Specifications

Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.3 secs
Max power 108 bhp
Max torque 61 ft-lb
Weight 208 kg
Seat height 800 mm
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 14 of 17
Engine size 781 cc
Engine specification 16v V-four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminum 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 170/60 x 17

See all Honda VFR800 motorcycles for sale

Honda
VFR800

62000 miles

£1,500

Honda
VFR800

3400 miles

£7,350

Honda
VFR800

41000 miles

£1,895

Honda
VFR800

45000 miles

£1,700

Honda
VFR800

26690 miles

£2,750

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(11 reviews)

  • Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

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    Engine

    This bike epitomises what bikes should be like. No nonsense, pure fan in any road (or track), either solo or two up with full travelig paraphernalia. Great engine, great brakes, great chassis, buit quality out of this world, could do with a better shock. Mine is 14 Y.O. and still looks like new.

    14 December 2013

  • don't make sense

    pinkerton2964

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Engine

    I had a 2001 model I did 39,000k on it. The exhaust rotted away at 30k and was one of the most difficult jobs I have ever had to do. The valve clearances were hard to do. As for the riding the fuel economy was poor and the range limited the rear shock needs uprating if you carry a passenger and luggage. The regulator rectifier let me down on a country lane at 1am on the isle of man. I de linked the brakes but it did not really work well after that the calipers need changing if you do. After 39k I failed to see the point it was not as well built as it should be, the chain needs carefull adjustment if it is to last mine had a scott oiler. I brought a 2003 fazer 600 and that did everything the VFR800 could but was cheaper to run easier to maintain had better brakes more comfortable and the performance is not far behind. As for the VTECH VFR800 that's a ridiculous waste of cash. My advice buy a Blackbird or a z750

    04 December 2011

  • Do you need anything else?

    mervatbournemouth

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I bought a 1998 model in 2009. It was not my first choice of bike to return me to biking after a very long break. It was bought at a bar-b-q at a friends and I fell in love with the look of it. After renewing the exhaust system, getting hold of a Fuel end can off e-bay, putting some bar risers and an MRA touring screen on it, I cannot think of any reason why I would want to go out and buy any other bike. I would not want to go any faster, would not want to accelerate any quicker and I think you would be hard pushed to find anything more reliable. I have not rode the latest R1 or GTR 1400 because this bike does everything and more I could possible want from it. I love the way it looks, love the sound, great headlights, beautiful at motorway speeds and easy around town. I still look in showrooms and other bikes at bike meets due to my passion for all bikes but I am so glad that I get on my VFR to ride back home. Perhaps one I ill get something newer but I know the VFR wil always be my favourite.

    12 October 2011

  • Best bike on the Planet

    John451

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    We'll thats what it said in a Mag review I read back in 2000 which sold me on my '99 50th Anniversary which I purchased in '05 with 2000miles after totalling my previous '03 VFR Vtec. 32000 mainly fun Sport touring miles on must say besides replacing the original SH579A11 R/R with Honda Upgraded SH689DA R/R in '08 has been 100% reliable. Good points brilliant Sound both from GDCs and Arrow end can enjoyed both through twisties and city commuting, great tank range, comfort for up to 750mile days, competent handling everywhere enough to stay with sainly ridden Superbikes especially good on iffy surfaced unknown back roads. Absolute contentment after 6 years with the expectation I'll remain contented for another Six. Negatives only the thought it may not last me forever which only surfaces in my minds background whenever a mate trades their Gixer/blade in on yet another new model.

    16 August 2011

  • Perfect do it all bike

    Steve Gardiner

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    As the review says, this is the best version of the VFR and the RC45 derived V4 gives this bike some soul! And lovely strong strong torque through the rev-range. Handling is very decent for a heavy(ish) bike and the linked brakes are up to the job. I bought mine 99' model earlier in 2010 and have already added 8'000 miles having toured through Ireland, the UK and Europe, the bike has been a complete joy. All-day comfort, good instruments and not such a stretch to the bars making a good first sportsbike as well as a decent tourer. The only problem i've experienced with the bike is a blown rectifier which ruined the battery. Luckily i was close to home as the bike completely died! So make sure you check this if looking at a pre-2000 model as the rectifiers are made of chocolate. These bikes are becoming pretty cheap now and parts are not a problem. High miles aren't an issue with these bikes either. Buy a clean one, fit a decent exhaust and look after it. You won't regret it! :)

    27 November 2010

  • Utterly Brilliant

    MarcusMarsh

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Of all the bikes I have owned this stands out as a brilliant machine. I own a '98 VFR800 and it still gets regular use even though I also have an '05 FZS1000 in my garage. The V4 engine is like no other and an absolute joy to ride. The fact that the bike carries a bit of extra weight compared to a full-on sportsbike gives it an advantage both in terms of road holding and comfort. Despite being 11 years old mine is still used for touring and this year covered over 2000 miles in two weeks of riding around Spain. A lot of bikes get a lot of hype and this is one of the few machines about which it is all true! Other bikes will come and go but this will always have a place in my garage.

    04 December 2009

  • Great first big bike

    RIchCL

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    A fantastic bike for long distance commuting on motorways and cross country for a bit of fun. This is my first big bike and I am really happy with it.

    12 May 2009

  • What a superb machine

    KimLondon

    UK

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I had an evening swap from my Yamaha FZ6 fazer to a VFR800. Riding position takes a bit of getting used to after the wide handlebars on my FZ, and it's a while since I've leaned on the bars as well so that was a bit odd. Also, that one's done 34k, not too much for a VFR but I think they've been hard miles so it feels a bit tired, but still rampant. So, what are the plusses? Well, it goes like a scalded cat. My god, the torque is fabulous. It snaps away from lights, really, like it's trying to get away from me. It is super comfortable, especially for a "sports" riding position. The noise, well, what can I say about the harmonising of the gear cams and the V4 burble. Do you know what? It reminds me of the V8 cars I've driven - Rover V8, BMW X5, Bentley Arnage - it sounds like them and, strangely, it feels like them too. It's so smooth. The instrument panel is very good, scary how high the numbers go on the MPH bit. Maneuvrability is surpisingly good for such a big, heavy machine, but then Honda's have always impressed me with their ergonomics. What are the minuses? Well, the main ones have to be that it is a smidge high. I didn't have any problems with it, but if it were mine I'd fit a new rear shock and lower it by 15 or 20mm. The engine braking is REALLY noticable. After an inline-4 it is shocking how it snaps you forward when you let off the throttle. I do miss the big whack of power that comes in on my FZ6 around 6k though. All the oomph lives up the dusty end of the rev counter and I did think that the VFR had all of it's party tricks at the lower end of the rev counter. I have to confess (and I know you'll not be too harsh on me when I say this) that the VFR did make me behave a bit like a hooligan. I found my self gunning for gaps I'd not attempt in the FZ as that whack of low-end torque really makes you feel nimble and I rode in a much more positive way. There was no need for the constant dancing on the gears. I really, really want to try one of the newer VFR800s now to see what they are like with variable valves. I'd also like to see what a fresh one feels like. What's more I can really see my self moving up to one of these towards the end of the summer.

    23 April 2009

  • Stunning!

    Projectevo

    Average rating rating is 5

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    This is my first bike and so I can't speak yet with years of experience, however, if you're looking for a bike (like I was) that handles like a dream, eats motorway miles, has a great level of performance, is comfortable and is good on insurance too - then the VFR800i is the one for you! ..I read tons of reviews about the VFR800i before buying and after finding the 'one' I made the leap of faith.. no regrets! If you have found 'the one', then don't hesitate. Have fun and be safe!

    09 June 2008

  • Love it

    Red S

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    35,000 miles and the only non wear and tear problem was a broken LCD circuit board, which cost about £200 to fix. The linked brakes were a bit crap, but braided hoses sorted this out. It does 180 miles to the tank, and is comfy for the pillion as well. The wife has done over 10000 miles. What can I say - It's more reliable than any car I've owned, and sounds better too. The only other thing it really neeeds is a remote adjustable pre-load for the rear suspension if you plan to tour with luggage and/or pillion.

    20 October 2007

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ten4ore

ten4oresays

the best

this is a easy bike to ride. ive ridden my brothers r1 and the power on that was just awesome. on the vfr the power is very controllable and smooth. doesnt give you that feeling that its going to spit you off. it just loves to sit on motorways at any speed and you dont know your doing a ton. just eats it up. when travelling at 70mph or 80mph its so relaxed in 6th gear. comfy seat aswell. one thing i must say i have a 1999 low miler and the engine sound is just pure heaven on your ears. engine driven cams. luv it.. i have a high level can and that to makes a great sound. v4 engine pulls well. for a old bike its in tip top condition that only honda could produce. the instruments are great. the clock is well handy and the anbient temp is a good idea for the all year biker. nice touch with the fuel gauge too. if your looking for a tourer which i will be doing this year then i reckon you cant go wrong with a vfr 800 fi. just going back and forth to work will brighten your day.  plenty out there going for a good affordable price. plenty of spares on ebay. long run on the model. go for it. buy steal one now. but not mine. 1999 50th anniversay model red and silver. looks great.

23 January 2009 18:40

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