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

34 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 4.7 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 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.6 out of 5
4 out of 5

Irritatingly irreplaceable

31 August 2017 by Sniffingswede

4.5 would be a better rating as it ain't perfect (what is?), and it's not the best at anything. Glorious, elastic, flexible engine.Even after 10k miles (I bought it at 19k about 18 months ago) I never get tired of that hard knuckle of midrange that starts around 6k and only tails off just before the rev limiter. And the sound? Oh my. With full stainless system with carbon end can, it starts as a lovely lumpy tickover, to a general burbly loveliness when doddering about, to a hard, even, purposeful moan. Just wish it had the adjustability and quality of my old CBR600F's suspension, and was a bit less lardy, and a bit less serious. The CBR was a rock at any speed, despite being lighter. You can tour on it, but I haven't, and it hasn't made me want to. I'm 41, and after 60-70 miles my legs are complaining to the point where I'm taking my feet off the pegs and stretching them out, but that's probably just me. Main problem with it is that it's nigh on 20 years old, and after so much searching I can't find anything to replace it. I think it's exceedingly handsome from any angle, and even with the miles and the age, its detail is a testament to the the fact that when Honda built it, they were not trying to balance the books to a tiny price. I still I ride it every day in all weathers and all seasons, and there is no visible corrosion anywhere, save for a bit of aluminium whitening on some barely visible areas.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes have never needed more than two fingers, and I've never locked up either end since I've had it, even when the roads are icy. Linked brakes are on loads of modern bikes now. They were a good idea then and still are. Suspension is fine, but bumps are not as controlled as they could be. 20 year old suspension though, so it's going to be tired.
Engine
5 out of 5
Perfect for the road. Just enough power to feel exciting, with vibes that are never annoying, just a pleasant reminder of having something working underneath you.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Loses marks on the reg/rec. Replaced with a MOSFET unit and never had a problem since.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Little more expensive as I've done two oil changes, and replaced the chain and spark plugs.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Fuel gauge, dual trips, clear dials. Almost docked it a mark because there is no gear indicator, but it felt unfair to punish it for inability to count gears.
5 out of 5

Hard bike to beat for overall value

23 April 2017 by GinVFRman

While tending more to sport than touring per se, this bike does a wonderful job of both. Raised the bars slightly to achieve a more upright position. Helps alot on longer hauls. Why Honda chose to adopt VTEC and drop gear driven cams is frankly incomprehensible. The 2001 was the last of their fifth Gen VFR'S, and is the best bike they've ever made in this man's opinion.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Some riders don't care for the linked brakes but I don't even notice them. Braking is great. Ride might be a touch soft, but on longer hauls it helps.
Engine
5 out of 5
Bike engines don't get appreciably better than this one. Smooth power delivery across the band. Revs freely and breathes well. Little in the way of vibration. A great motor.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Exceedingly well designed and well executed machine.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
You can pick up a fairly low mileage Fifth Gen for a few thousand bucks, and it represents one of the great bargains in the world of motorcycling.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Equipping the bike with hard bags would have been nice. It IS supposed to be a sport-tourer after all.
Buying experience

Purchased privately. Was originally bought by a Navy man who passed it on to his son, who sold it to me. Had 6,000 miles on it when I bought it from him in 2016.

4 out of 5

Better than average.

20 February 2017 by Shane

The sound.Lovely off beat burble. Scorpion end can fitted, OE was a bit flat. Downside is those linked brakes,work perfectly but in long term ownership they require the dedication of an amphetamine fed cat to change fluid and bleed properly. Just far too complicated a system for long term/high mile use.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
My arse needs a break before i run out of fuel on a long run. Once did 650 miles in one day. Never again without a better seat.
Engine
4 out of 5
Not as torquey as i thought but you get used to it. Eats my sons CBR6 and gets eaten by a real sports bike.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Exhaust eventually rots away, mine now sounds like a dumper truck on methanol. Stainless replacement sitting in the shed to be fitted this spring. Gulp! Fork legs past their best and the wheels have that white surface corrosion that needs a powder coating firms attention. Always been reliable and put up with my half arsed cleaning and maintenance,though i change oil regularly.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Higher if serviced at a dealer. My costs were the rough sum of service items, tyres,chain and sprockets etc worked out over a three year period. Average 11000 miles a year.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Michelin pilot road 4's have me scraping pegs in the summer, not sliding or dodgy in the winter. Love them. Double bubble screen was a waste of money, Honda had it right (6ft2 me). Scottoiler does save money but makes a hell of a mess.
Buying experience

Private sale,paid £1700 and it was a fair sale. The bike was near mint when i bought it with 30k, now 77k and cough cough, well used.

5 out of 5

Perfect for me; why would I want any other bike?

29 January 2017 by g

Finest Sport-Touring bike ever conceived. It's V45 based motor is excellent. Would I recommend? A friend reported finding a low mileage, excellent condition example for sale at an astounding price; I told him run-not-walk to buy it.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Smooth confident rides on twisty back roads at reasonable speeds are what it does best; neither me or the bike are track stars, so warp speed is not my thing. I did hold it at 120 MPH for 2 minutes once on a safe rural road and was surprised at how absurdly smooth and absolutely NOT scary it was.
Engine
5 out of 5
Outstanding motor; the FI is managed very well giving smooth response at every speed and in every gear. The cooling fan often makes itself known in slow traffic but i tend to avoid such situations; I run Evans coolant so it will never boil.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Everything on my bike has fared well; however my previous Honda Sabre V45 suffered the infamous regulator/rectifier failure a long way from home. I was saddened to find that problem had not been resolved on the VFR800. It is possible to upgrade the R/R to a unit similar to that used by Yamaha. I did that a few years back and now ride further with greater confidence.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
I do all service myself; major expenses are tires, oil & filters. A Scott oiler greatly reduces chain wear/adjustment.
Equipment
5 out of 5
It is all good. I have heli-bars for a bit less of a crouched riding postion. The 2000 year mirrors on riser blocks allow one to see more than ones elbows. Upgrading the headlight bulbs to 55W H4 was easy and worthwhile. I had a gel pad added to the stock seat. A K&N cleanable air filter has worked well. Evans coolant gives confidence in longevity and minimizes coolant checking. A Givi wing rack with side and top box is superb for long distance touring. A Givi windscreen flips the air blast away better than the stocker. I settled on Metzeler tires after trying others: I will be going to their BC-01 series this year (2017)
Buying experience

It was a leftover in 2000; the price was good. Sad that more riders could not recognize the value of this terrific machine.

5 out of 5

After owning 40+ bikes i have found the one!

05 December 2016 by Mark Williams

comfortable, powerfull enough, excellent sound with aftermarket can, brilliant brakes when bled correctly, good vision at night and decent tank range also handling very good.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
my dual linked brakes are spot on as i regularly bleed them and clean the pistons when i change the pads, no brainer really.
Engine
5 out of 5
Excellent ;-)
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
only flaw as with most Honda's is the regulator rectifier, get a relay fitted for heated grips/sat nav etc and your'e all good to go.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
only consumables as with any other bike, depends on how much mileage you do....
Equipment
3 out of 5
Limited underseat storage but as you will never break down with this bike you dont need tools...
5 out of 5

One of Hondas best

20 August 2016 by Michael

I've had all types of bikes ranging from sports, big sports touring, modern retro etc but keep coming back to the old faithful 5th generation and best model Honda VFR made.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Linked brakes are good but down on outright stopping power.
Engine
5 out of 5
These rack up high kms with simple maintenance. On my 4th VFR800fi and although they could do with another 30hp and 40nm of torque nowadays there's just something special about this 5th gen gear driven camshaft engine. Fit a staintune highrise pipe and you have one of the best sounding bikes still today.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Runs like a swiss watch. Simple mods make the charging system reliable
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Valves rarely go out of adjustment
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

13 year test on 2001 VFR

20 July 2016 by VegasVFR

does everything well enough. smooth, quiet, yet great V4 hum as the rpms rides. i have three givi bags and a custom windscreen. two HIDs, and two HPLEDs. Handles very well in wet and windy weather. Styling is still appealing. i have had it since 2003. i road test bikes, but this is still the only one in my garage. I do get 49 mpg on regular. AMSOIL makes it run smooth. Worst feature: center stand hard to get on when you have givi bags with stuff in them.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
rides very well even on bad roads. had others wanting to ride mine back on a trip. brakes are upgraded to EBC HH+ pads. Front and rear shocks have been upgraded. Front with heavier fluid, and rear Ohlins, all set up at the race track.
Engine
5 out of 5
love the quiet at start, and mid-range V4 hum at rpms. engine horsepower and torque curve is linear like an electric motor. Good torque from 2500 up. 4000 is a good rpm for cruise, and hot weather. i live in the desert and larger radiator option would be nice but i have not had it overheat yet. they say keep it below 240 degrees F. The cam driven engine is much better than the VTEC.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
i only had a needle bearing changed at 45K. no rectifier problems even in this heat. i did put a 10$ computer cooling fan on it.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Overall it is a start and go bike. i don't do any repairs per say. Once in a while something needs attending to but it is every other, or every third or fourth year. I have 45000 miles on it so far. Runs better than the day i bought it. No plans to change.
Equipment
4 out of 5
great all around bike. i modified mine. HIDs, HPLEDs, custom touring windscreen, 3 givi bags, tail lights that go on during deceleration, and flashing lights when i apply the brakes. i put on six extra lights, and lots of reflectors. They see me at night and at day. i put a fan on the rectifier. i have a light telling me what my voltage is. i run pilot road 3s, came from pilot powers. loved them both. only 5k on the 3s, look brand new. great in wet weather, good stopping power, always in control, no drama. Easy to add accessories as no CAN-BUS.
Buying experience

i was renting bikes, and this was one of the rentals they were selling. i rode this one and a VTEC and chose this one, 13 years ago. still the only bike in my garage.

5 out of 5

Not the newest but the best

30 April 2016 by Dutillieux J

Never had a problem, performs well in every category

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
A real all rounder, a 200 miles trip is easy, suspension is comfy
Engine
4 out of 5
Perfect except in low rpm (under 3000) not so much torque
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
100% reliable
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

I found it the best VFR

5 out of 5

2001 Honda VFR800Fi

20 April 2016 by fasTTer

Been riding 40+ years, the 5th Gen VFR is the best all-around motorcycle I've ever owned or ridden. I've nothing negative to say about it.

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
Oil, Oil Filter, Air Filter, Coolant, Brake/Clutch fluids, Chain cleaner
Equipment
5 out of 5
All I've added is a power outlet, a throttle lock, and a truck.
Buying experience

Bought my first VFR in 2001, sold it to a friend after 26K miles. Bought my second 2001 VFR in 2012 with 1245 miles on it. Currently about 6K miles.

5 out of 5

Awesome all round moto

29 February 2016 by jeffyjeff

Where else can you find a bike capable of 140 mph, 50 mpg, and a 250 mile range? There is a reason for all the five star ratings, the 5th gen VFRs are that good. I put 70,000 miles on two 5th gens in 66 months. My 98 had 117,000 miles on the odo when I sold it last year, and was running strong. I sold it to get a low mile Y2K bike for $2,400. These bikes run great, don't burn oil even at high mileage, and are solid, all around motorcycles. I am 6' tall with a 32 inch inseam, and have logged several 13 hour/500 mile days on the stock seat. Leg position gets a little cramped after 3 or 4 hours in the saddle, but by that time I'm ready for a pit stop anyway. If the ergonomics fit you, the 5th gen VFR is hard to beat.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Used my bike for commuting and weekend rides (some of them 12 hours plus). Suspension is a little on the soft side. Forks have adjustable preload, Showa mono shock has adjustable preload and dampening.
Engine
5 out of 5
Bullet proof engine. Power really comes on above 7000 rpm. Gear driven cams sound fantastic. I have had Vance & Hines and D&D aftermarket exhaust, but the bike runs best with the stock can. Oil change requires removal of the front left fairing. Valve checks require removal of both radiators and the throttle body. Camshafts must come out to adjust the valves (shim under bucket).
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The electrical issues are overblown. The regulator-rectifier is a well documented weak point on these bikes. The stator on my 98 lasted 68,139 miles before failure. Aftermarket wiring harness conversion is a popular upgrade: totally unnecessary in my opinion. However, a functional voltage monitor is recommended.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cost for oil and filters, and a few parts here and there. I service the bike myself.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Pretty basic instrumentation: Tach and speedo. Idiot lights for high beam, oil pressure, neutral, and check engine light (FI light). LCD display has total miles odometer, two trip meters, and engine temperature.
Buying experience

Purchased used from a private party. 1998: 58,000 miles, paid $2,400 for it in 2010 2000: 24,900 miles, paid $2.400 for it in 2015

5 out of 5

Excellent bike, would buy another (and keep my current one!)

20 February 2016 by LL

Excellent all rounder that is top quality and engineered to last. If the VFR800 were a fine wine the 5th gen from 98 to 02 would be the vintage years. Look at the quality and standard of engineering. Get a good unmolested, well cared for bike and get better rate of return than you will get in a bank account.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Excellent do-it-all-bike
Engine
5 out of 5
Check out how many hits are on Youtube of engine/exhaust compilations and decide for yourself! Engineered like a Swiss watch
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Probably better quality that most bikes made since. After a period of some poorer quality bikes in the 80's, Honda completely over engineered the pre V-TEC VFR's.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
With gear driven cam V4, this was Honda's showcase model
Equipment
5 out of 5
Everything you need with no silly gimmicks
5 out of 5

08 December 2015 by harry

fantastic bike which sums up this bike altogether

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 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
-
5 out of 5

Still the best..........

27 November 2015 by Happy Jack

Best sports tourer ever........

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
-
Buying experience

Purchased new in July 2000 from local Honda dealer. Only modification to extend the mirrors. Replacement tyres, chain and cogs are the only costs incurred apart from service costs. It is in showroom condition and when parked up draws attention from other bikers. In 2000 it was viewed as the best sports tourer, in 2015 nothing has changed, in my opinion.

4 out of 5

The best sports tourer you can buy

14 October 2015 by Rod Griffin

Used all year round but does have a few gremlins such as the electrics can let you down on high mileage bikes.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
very sure footed, brakes are great, handling perfect and plenty of power when you need it.
Engine
5 out of 5
solid and faultless
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
mechanically perfect
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I do my own servicing which is very easy, but have spare set of fairing fasteners handy.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

bought in 2008 with 18000 miles for £2600 at the asking price

5 out of 5

Holy Grail of VFR800s

05 October 2015 by Atlas

Phenomenal overall bike. I doubt I will part with her easily.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 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
-
Buying experience

Purchased privately from original owner with only 1800 miles on the clock and 8 oil changes over the lifetime of the motorcycle. Yes 8 changes in 8 years and only 1800 miles.

5 out of 5

Perfect!!! :-)

23 September 2015 by Isaac

Perfect!!! :-)

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Perfect!!! :-)
Engine
5 out of 5
Perfect!!! :-)
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Perfect!!! :-)
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
Perfect!!! :-)
Buying experience

Perfect !!! :-)

5 out of 5

Superb economy motorcycling ... on a qiuck bike!

14 September 2015 by Scottie

Never had less than 52mpg! So have no idea what they did to get 38 mpg....must have had a fuel leak.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Only bike I can ride for 220 miles between tank refills without having to get off for a break. Just a brilliant design.
Engine
5 out of 5
The best thing about this bike. Power and torque in abundance from 3000 rpm, but do use high octane quality fuel if you want it to run ultra smoothly.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Rectifier went so tried a cheap Ebay item which lasted 165 miles! Purchased a proper Honda update rectifier and never missed a beat since.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Honda parts work and are well priced. Even at 17 years old it never needs corrective maintenance, save one rectifier
Equipment
5 out of 5
Has everything you need and I get on very well with the combined braking system.
Buying experience

Buy one that has just been serviced and had the valve clearances checked as doing properly costs a packet.

4 out of 5

26 July 2015 by Louis Leblanc

It's still a good bike.

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!

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 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.

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

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 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 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 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
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Equipment
3 out of 5
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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 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
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
5 out of 5
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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 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
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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5 out of 5

Perfect do it all bike

27 November 2010 by stevieboyni

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! :)

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

Utterly Brilliant

04 December 2009 by MarcusMarsh

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.

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

Great first big bike

12 May 2009 by RIchCL

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.

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

What a superb machine

23 April 2009 by KimLondon

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.

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

Stunning!

09 June 2008 by Projectevo

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!

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

Love it

20 October 2007 by Red S

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.

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

Awesome Bike

08 May 2007 by mikefletcheruk

Wanna keep up with the Blades (only .2 sec slower to sixty if you can keep the front down...) Fancy a relaxed semi-touring riding position which isnn't cranking your neck all day? Don't want to spend half your life refuelling? (180-200 mile tank range). Fancy a forgiving ride that won't try to chuck you off every time you overcook the breaking into corners? Desire something even the Mrs. doesn't mind riding pillion on for a few hundred miles? (Saves leaving your ear plugs in!) This is the Bike... It will do anything, good communter, scratching, touring, fun on the lanes, loves the big sweeping corners, anything... (OK I'll draw the line a MX!) Awesome Bike, older pre-Vtecs getting cheap now, find a low miler and your laughing... Enjoy :o)

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

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2001
Original price -
Used price £1,900 to £3,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £290
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
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