Handling-wise the Crosstourer scores over the donor VFR1200, too. While the two bikes’ frames are virtually identical and the Crosstourer should suffer by having mushier, longer-travel suspension, larger wheels and compromising dual purpose tyres, in reality it meets its class expectations even better than the VFR.
On M-ways and fast A-roads the Crosstourer is impressively planted, steady and predictable and only when the roads start to get silly-twisty do its shortcomings of slight top-heavyness, needing a real wrench around some turns, a vague-front end not helped by dull Bridgstone Battle Wing tyres, and slightly ‘boingey, basic forks (although being both preload and rebound adjustable, I’m confident they could be improved) become obvious.
But, especially given it’s size and weight and the expectation of the class the Crosstourer does handle well enough.
V4 shaftie is essentially the same powertrain as that of the VFR1200F but has been retuned to boost midrange and low down grunt (at the expense of top end) with new cam profiles to give reduced lift, longer inlet tracts and smaller diameter (by 10mm) exhausts. The result is a stupendously broad spread of sheer, smooth urge yet all flavoured with the charcateristically V4 rumbly drone. The slightest touch of throttle is enough to pull smoothly away and the progress thereafter completely linear and meaty yet enough, at the top end, to remind of true superbikes.
Honda seems to have learnt the lessons of the ‘under-specced’ VFR1200 and as a result the Crosstourer wants for little. Console is all-new and bristling with features and information: large central digital speedo is flanked by gauges for fuel and engine temp; a bar type tacho goes across top of display plus there’s an odometer, twin trips, fuel consump (both actual and average), gear indicator and clock.
Then there’s the trick-lloking LED indicators (the first on a large capacity Honda); integrated luggage rack and grab rail, hand guards as standard and more. Meanwhile, the paint is gorgeous and deep, the black-anodised alloy rims beautiful and the textured seat class – a true flagship machine.
The Crosstourer is much more than just a VFR with knobblies – it’s a distinctive bike in its own right. It also has pretty much all the right bits in all the right places: slim but meaty proportions, single-sided shaft drive, GS Adventure-style wire wheels, decent looks and BMW-rivalling quality and refinement. All that makes it’s price seem fair in the context of its rivals. No bargain, maybe, but it’s worth its flagship price.
Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
Virtually everywhere you look on the Crosstourer there’s quality, sophistication or pleasing attention to detail. Apart from the DCT which is probably enough in itself to keep the gizmo geeks happy, the Crosstourer also boasts switchable traction control (which works by successively cutting the fuel injection AND closing the throttle butterflies), a slipper clutch plus Honda’s unique and sophisticated Combined ABS (C-ABS) brake system which both spreads braking forces between front and rear wheels and incorporates one of the most sophisticated anti-lock braking systems currently in motorcycling.