Why don't Honda know better?!
I like your alternative design sketch, better than the new VFR. What annoys me most about the new VFR is how supposed industry leaders (ie. Honda technos) present us with something and tell us blatantly that it's something else. In their promo fluff, Honda assure us they 'have delivered a combination of sports and touring capabilities using the latest technologies' and 'a clean-sheet interpretation of the ultimate road-sport machine – a concept driven by extensive understanding of customer needs and the adoption of state-of-the-art technologies'.
Sports? Perhaps, from the reviews I've read, it kind of ticks the box. Touring? - nope. The most basic features of an effective tourer are lost with the small tank capacity, then add the weight factor and the range problem becomes even worse.
Hmmm. Well, why the hell does it weigh so much? I know someone can offer me a list of techno gizmo wotists, but my Blackbird weighs 223KG, my old VFR was 200KG. How can Honda justify that extra 40KGs on the Bird which, let's face it, is no lightweight. Maybe Honda have secretly been harnessing Harley technology! And is this 40KGs of techno the reason why some sucker is going to pay 11,500 - 12,000 pounds? I wonder if this technology is just excess, you know, from the 'just because we can' school of thinking.
Extensive understanding of customer needs?
From reading various Blackbird / VFR forums, the popular concensus points towards the negative. Blackbird owners looking forward to a replacement (and have endured several false dawns re. promise of a new model) place their faith in the creators of their beloved, and suddenly feel very let down. Many speak of realy looking after their Birds so they last forever, or worse still (for Honda), looking elsewhere.
Is the VFR trying too hard to be a jack of all trades and master of none, or to quote Honda, 'many things to many riders' Is there a danger that once the dazzling fireworks of the big launch have faded the new machine will sit there like a white elephant, and efforts to entice us with price reductions and offers of various free accesories / kit inevitably follow?
Whatever, there was something very flawed at the very root, the conception of this bike which sits before us today. Heavy, expensive, short tank range; visually ugly in my opinion, although some will like its front heavy look-likeness to some past BMWs .
Who will buy it? The deep pocketed type who can't resist the latest 'thing'? Perhaps. The die-hard Honda rider whose loyalty, let's face it, is going to be tested. He may have raised an eyebrow at the sight of that oddity the DN-01, but with the new VFR his concerns for the brand's welfare may linger for longer.
So why don't Honda know any better? These are the same people who brought us the stunning VFR Fi (97-01) which I rode fully loaded with my wife down to France. Or the Blackbird, my present bike whch hurtles like a black shooting star along the wide, empty lanes of rural Western Australia. And they present us with this.THIS! All wrapped up in pretty words and marketing razzamatazz. They have stolen the Honda sports tourers loved by so many over the years and turned it into something unrecogniseable, something in which form and function have collided and shattered into fragments. And with that so many peoples' affection for the Honda may be lost.
A fundamental re-think and redirection needed by Honda? What do you think?