HONDA VFR800 (1998-2001) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Consumate all-rounder that looks great and goes better"

Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding

"Consumate all-rounder that looks great and goes better"

Overall Rating 5 out of 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 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.

Engine 4 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 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 group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

17 owners have reviewed their HONDA VFR800 (1998-2001) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA VFR800 (1998-2001)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 4.4 out of 5
4 out of 5

26 July 2015 by Louis Leblanc

It's still a good bike. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Well built, very few corrosion. Good Honda reliability....... No regulator problems, yet. Had to replace the thermostat at 50,000kms. It was stuck down and motor overheated in hot weather. Spare and new parts are easy to find online. I was unsatisfied with the riding position and the seat quality. So i bought a new seat (it's hard as a rock), installed convertibars to raise the handlebar position and added an X-screen to protect from wind. Not perfect but much better...... For me! Overall, a pretty and good machine. I really recommend the 98-01, but I'm not so sure for the V-tech version.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

25 July 2015 by Sparks

Perfect! Read more

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
Duel brakes
5 out of 5

A loveable workhorse with the ability to really entertain when asked to do so.

14 July 2015 by Boybergs

A relatively light and compact sports tourer with a glorious v4 engine. The riding position is a oerfect compromise between long distance comfort and short blast sporty crouch. I admit that I've neglected maintenance on mine for two years as its... Read more getting long in the tooth, has a high milage and is getting a bit tatty to look at; the bike has coped perectly well and hasn't (yet) complained. (Reg/rec issues mentioned below have nothing to do with servicing).

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Excellent and excellent
Engine
5 out of 5
With a free flow exhaust, the growl and scream at high revs is fantastic. The whine from the gear driven cams at lower revs annoys some and does sound a bit like a milk float but its drowned out by the exhaust most of the time.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Perfect with the (big) exception of the bloody reg/rec; I've had to replace mine twice in 6000 miles, each time being left stranded a long way from home when the problem occured.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Refer to 'overall' comments above :)
Equipment
3 out of 5
No electronic aids or factory luggage options available. Not a problem for me (i prefer using rucksacks) but it does mean it falls a bit short compared to newer sports tourers.
4 out of 5

04 July 2015 by peter yates

Had a 750 vfr many years ago pleased with it.Now in my seventies and feel 800vfr a little crampted.Could do with lower footrests and higher bars. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Linked brakes a two man job to bleed,my arms not long enough!!
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Vfr 800 bought with 37k on the clock.Needed new fork seals and rectifier and stator.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Too early to say yet apart from the above costs.I do my own maintenance usually.Fuel injection added to a tank full and now getting 45 mpg easily and super smooth engine.
Equipment
4 out of 5
A taller screen would be a bonus
5 out of 5

BEST SPORT-TOURING BIKE ON THE PLANET !

14 May 2015 by Callifornia Bob

Read more

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
Higher handlebars, lower foot pegs, a Sargent seat and a taller Givi sport-touring windshield has made my '98 a comfortable sport-touring bike. Only problem has been the darn regulator that went out on me. I replaced it with a heavy-duty 50amp, larger wires and a fan. That was 7 years ago and no problems since. The best VFR800, in the states, is the '98 and '99 because in 2000 Honda changed the exhaust and put a catalytic converter and smaller exhaust pipes. I also had a 2002 6th generation VFR800 and didn't like the V-Tech and higher exhaust pipes. A clean '98 or '99 is becoming very collectible. Also, the 5th generation is far more better looking than the new silly looking sport bikes with their little tails up in the air.
5 out of 5

why buy new?

01 September 2014 by boybergs

After many years of only buying the latest machines,this bike has opened my eyes to the wonderfully rich world of older machines.the last two bikes i owned were a 2008 mt03 and a 2012 fz1n. The Vfr is way more practical than the fz1 and I genuinely... Read more don't notice the reduced displacement at all and nearly as much fun as the mt03 (itself a seriously underated machine which I still sometimes miss). The overriding impression on the Vfr is one of pure quality with a truly sublime engine.I had to replace the reg/rec after 1300 miles of ownership (no surprises there) but other than that (and 4000 miles later) it has run sweetly and trouble free. The sound is exquisite (fuel can and snorkel removed); the control are creamy smooth and the riding position is perfect. And I think it looks really stunning (red). Mines in good nick but as soon as I'm able I'm gna treat her to a full respray and bring her back to showroom condition. A truly magnificent motorcycle.

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

Iconic

14 December 2013 by PanagiotisKavala

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... Read more shock. Mine is 14 Y.O. and still looks like new.

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
-
3 out of 5

don't make sense

04 December 2011 by pinkerton2964

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... Read more 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

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

Do you need anything else?

12 October 2011 by mervatbournemouth

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... Read more 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.

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

Best bike on the Planet

16 August 2011 by John451

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... Read more 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.

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
4 out of 5
-
Read all 17 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2001
Original price -
Used price £1,500 to £3,300
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £59
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 108 bhp
Max torque 61 ft-lb
Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.3 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Specification
Engine size 781cc
Engine type 16v V-four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminum twin spar
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 208kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 296mm discs
Rear brake 256mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

History & Versions

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.

Photo Gallery

  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VFR800i motorcycle review - Side view
All related reviews
All related bikes for sale