HONDA VFR1200F (2010-2011) Review

Published: 30 October 2009

"A good, bordering on great bike but it hasn't 'moved the game on' like an all-new Honda V4 probably should have "

Honda VFR1200F

"A good, bordering on great bike but it hasn't 'moved the game on' like an all-new Honda V4 probably should have "

  • At a glance
  • 1237cc  -  160 bhp
  • 43.7 mpg  -  180 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The new VFR is a good bike – but it’s not a great one. And after all the hype and expectation (Honda themselves are pumping it up as “the Ultimate Road Sports Motorcycle” and it’s simply not) that is not good enough.
Logically, to justify its almost £12K tag, the new VFR should offer abilities and specification head and shoulders above all others. It doesn’t. Although the basic powertrain, complete with V4 character, stability and build quality impress, there are simply too many niggly faults or omissions to be ignored. The tank is too small, the switchgear baffling, the instrumentation too basic, the touring accessories not good enough. It shouldn’t be that easy to find fault with a flagship machine.

> Video: Honda VFR1200F launch diary

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

The Honda VFR1200F’s cast twin spar frame, shaft-drive and combination of decent but not outstanding 43mm preload adjustable USD forks and Prolink monoshock rear offer excellent stability and ride comfort but, at a big ???kg, the VFR12 is no sports bike. Despite the low and nicely waisted seat, you never lose the impression that this is one big, heavy bike. Steering is slow and laboured, ABS brakes are decent but lack the finesse and precision of latest Blade system.

Engine 5 out of 5

The Honda VFR1200F’s all-new 1237cc V4 is immensely grunty and flexible and retains characteristic V4 exhaust bark. You never need approach 10,000rpm limiter/redline but if you do it (almost) howls like an RC30. On the downside there’s a slight buzz in the crotch around 4-5000rpm cruising speed there’s little Blackbird/ZZR/K13-style top-end rush and the gearbox is sometimes vulnerable to false neutrals or is reluctant to perform 1st-3rd shortshifts.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The Honda VFR1200F’s finish is impeccable, in typical Honda fashion and, in truth, Honda has moved the game on with both the VFR’s superb paint finish (the result of some clever new technology, apparently) and novel ‘layered’ fairing design, which does an excellent job of both cutting through the wind and venting engine heat away from rider. Must be terrifyingly expensive if it falls off its sidestand, though….

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The Honda VFR1200F’s £11,596 list price has been universally criticised as being too steep which leaves us wondering who’s going to buy it. At £12K a bike’s got to have major league appeal to win customers and I just don’t think the new VFR has it. If you want a mile-eating sports-tourer BMW’s K1300S and GT both offer at least as much ability and fewer niggles for the price; Kawasaki’s ZZR or GTR 14 more performance and technology while a Ducati or Triumph more character and sporting ability. Find a Honda VFR1200F for sale.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

On face value the Honda VFR1200F is decently equipped – but the damning’s in the details. ‘Transformers’-style instrument display boasts LCD gear indicator, fuel gauge, clock etc, but lacks ambient air temp, mpg etc of latest range-topping rivals. There’s no traction control, electric screen or electronic suspension adjustment, a centre stand is an optional extra and, worst of all, Honda in its wisdom has decided to reinvent the wheel with its new switchgear design by enfuriatingly repositioning the indicator toggle under the horn. Compare and buy parts for the VFR1200 in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

12 owners have reviewed their HONDA VFR1200F (2010-2011) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.6 out of 5
Equipment 4.1 out of 5
3 out of 5

Missed Opportunity

29 September 2011 by Anonymous

Sorry to all you who like this bike, but this is my honest opinion after a 4 hour test ride on a 2010 model with 5800 miles clocked. I wanted to like this bike having had a pre-vetec 800, but it didn't make me want one. I found the fly by wire... Read more throttle very snatchy when in town; almost switchlike when opened from a closed position after using engine braking. When the momentum of the bike was added on the open road, this snatching disappeared and the bike came into its own; very enjoyable. It felt smooth, torquey and planted, carrying its weight well on A roads. The brakes were strong and progressive and the suspension coped with my 12stone admirably. The instruments were adequate but fell short of what you would expect on a flagship model of this money. The build quality of the bike was very Honda and hard to fault with paint that looked amazing (wouldn't want the bill if it got damaged though) It's the detail for the money that lets it down. The luggage should be at least able to take 2 helmets, but the top box was the only place to take one. The locks and handles on the luggage do feel top drawer though. The tank range is unacceptable for a tourer, sports or not, and would mean careful consideration given to petrol station locations when touring. For a 12K bike, I think charging a centre stand as an extra is taking the p--s a bit. I didn't get the vibration from the tank others have mentioned and found the bike very comfortable for my 5'8" frame. I could also get both feet down, which felt safe and secure when stopped. I would also be interested to know what the servicing costs would be on such a high tec motor. Hopefully Honda will listen to feeback and address some of these issues. If they do, this bike could be brilliant. The fact that the 18 month old model I tested is looking for its 3rd owner tells you something I think.

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Don't read about it, test ride it!

16 September 2011 by Benjijackson

I have owned lots of bikes over 20yrs of riding. I wanted a powerful bike with a quality feel & ideally shaft drive - this bike is the AMG Mercedes of the bike world. Super high quality fit & finish. A nice modern design and very high performance... Read more should you need it. I tried all the BMW's thinking I wanted one (incl k1300) but this bike made a big impression on me when I took it for a test ride. I used to own a VFR VTEC which I didn't like because of its weedy mid range. The VFR1200 is the opposite - it has absolutely loads of low and mid range grunt which translates into very rapid (and smooth) progress. It may not have a crazy top end rush but I don't ride like that anyway so I wont miss it. Take my advice and test ride this fantastic, top quality bike! You can read all the reports and tests in the world but there's no substitute for a test ride.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

my VFR 1200

26 July 2011 by graham pc

I have owned my vfr 1200 for 6 months its comfy easy to ride very well made quality parts no gimmicks have put 3200 miles on it will never sell it I owned a P reg VFR 750 wished I still had it but my new VFR is better have owned a gtr 1400 2010... Read more model vfr runs circles round it no contest ave miles per tank is 150 miles with 3.5liters to spare when low fuel light comes on I have no problem with indicator postion or horn button not caused me any problems this is the best bike I have ever owned I would strongly recommend it to all your readers well done Mr Honda !

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Easy 2 ride

18 June 2011 by bjet319

I have seen on many youtube reviews and all comment on how nimble this is for a 270kg bike. I agree 100%.I had a Sprint GT before my VFR and I can tell you this bike is much more fun and rideable. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

great engine

28 April 2011 by Anonymous

Had quick test ride on one.Having owned a 97 vfr750 and a pre v-tec vfr800 in the past I was just curious about the engine. The bike only felt heavy parking up.It was more of a sporty riding position than expected.Dealer said a customer had bar... Read more risers fitted.Once you get going though the engines great,Smooth fast with lots of torque.I didnt notice the brakes, clutch or gear changes because they all worked well without complaint.Unlike the indicator switch under the horn.Poor mpg/range?.For the engine its worth it.The dream bike would be 750 with 800 clocks and 1200 engine,but in reality a used one in silver with mra screen,top box,centre stand,bar risers,and a slip on exhaust short enough to show that great looking rear wheel.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Reviewers miss point

09 June 2010 by piratelion

I ride an '03 vfr800, a bike widely reviled for its VTEC. But the bike is hugely tractable, built and engineered to the highest standards (FAR beyond a contemporary BMW) and rides like a Rolls-Royce on the interstate. Open up the motor and you have a... Read more MOTOGP engine. This new VFR120 has one huge flaw: poor MPG/no range. Honda could have upped the range and MPG with VTEC valve shutoff but no one wanted it. If you want 1200CC and 170HP and limitless torque, the bike will have no range. The VTEC critics undermined this engineering marvel.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Reviewers miss point

09 June 2010 by piratelion

I ride an '03 vfr800, a bike widely reviled for its VTEC. But the bike is hugely tractable, built and engineered to the highest standards (FAR beyond a contemporary BMW) and rides like a Rolls-Royce on the interstate. Open up the motor and you have a... Read more MOTOGP engine. This new VFR120 has one huge flaw: poor MPG/no range. Honda could have upped the range and MPG with VTEC valve shutoff but no one wanted it. If you want 1200CC and 170HP and limitless torque, the bike will have no range. The VTEC critics undermined this engineering marvel.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

VFR Tourer????

06 April 2010 by daveajj

Just come back from a 4 hour test ride(was given to me whilst my 09 Blade was in for a service. Positive's - Very surprised, engine was awsome with masses of torque from 4500 onwards, oh and the sound of that exhaust once it 5000rpm no chance of... Read more not hearing it coming. Weight?? supposed to be 20/30 kg's more than the previous VFR which i had an 08 version of, this bike felt much lighter, handled fantastic, obviously not a frieblade but hey it was still well handling, could even do a track day really!!!. Very comfortable for the rider, nice positoning. Looks, well i'm pros on eof the few who liked it when it was first launched. Negatives - Tank range, i had a pillion for the first 3 hours, stopped once after 60 miles, pillion not best impressed, said older VFR was much more comfortable...Wind blast from screen, i may be 6'2" but didn't expect it to be that bad, touring screen a definate purchase. Tank range, i only did 120 miles but when i went to fill up i had used 15.5 litres....mot goood for touring at all. Price, looking at the oposition you would think tey have the price spot on, but if you take into account purchasing panniers, top box, heated grips, centre stand etc this takes it up to £13500 with not anywhere near the standard equipment the new Multistrad Touring is offering, 'and' ny newer VFR's bought after current stock has gone you can expect to pay another £500 or so i've been told...long winded but honest opinion, would i buy one....definateyl yes, if they sorted the price and tank range....

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

its a vfr but different

23 March 2010 by sportsboyuk

dont listen to crap reviews ride it and see for yourself very very good bike. remember when you go ride it most people wanted it to be a beast why? this is a move forward in design and technology and a new way to ride go ride it with an open... Read more mind. It will suprise you from here things can noly get better

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

VFR1200F

02 March 2010 by ronnieblue

WHAT A BIKE, DON T LISTEN TO THE MEDIA, Its crazy fast and stable, It sounds like a spitfire on acid above 6000rpm. This hits so many buttons, Busa Boyz can keep up with on our roads, ZZR Lads also. IT ROCKS! Ride one and I guarantee you will think... Read more what the f%$k are they on about! I have bought one and I have owned ZX10R 06 SP2 05, Ducati 749R AND BELIEVE ME IT BEATS EM ALL HANDS DOWN. Riding for 15 years. I ain t paid to say this by Honda either. You will see VFR's everywhere once people jump on them for themselves! Hayabusa nearly bought prior to riding VFR in comparison Busa is so one track minded.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 12 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2010
Year discontinued 2011
Original price £12,325
Warranty term (when new) Three year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 95 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 43.7 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 1237cc
Engine type 16v V4, six gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18.5 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 276kg
Front suspension 43mm with preload adjustment
Rear suspension Pro-Link, adjustable preload and rebound
Front brake 320mm twin disc C-ABS
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70/17
Rear tyre size 190/55/17

History & Versions

Model history

New model.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

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