HONDA VTR1000 FIRESTORM (1997-2005) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"A brilliant all-rounder with few foibles"

Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Riding

"A brilliant all-rounder with few foibles"

  • At a glance
  • 996cc  -  97 bhp
  • 35 mpg  -  146 miles range
  • Medium seat height (810mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm is a brilliant all-rounder with few foibles: you’d be hard pushed not to have a ball on it. Regular refuelling’s a drag but better on post-01 Honda VTR1000F Firestorms, when capacity went from 16 to 19 litres, but it’s still thirsty. The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm has wonderful pull when you open it up in the midrange and sweet handling in town and on the twisties.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Some Honda VTR1000F Firestorm owners complain of the forks diving too much under heavy braking but, apart from that, it works a treat. Handling is sharp yet forgiving, the brakes are great, it’s pretty comfortable (somewhere between sporty and relaxed) and the grunt provides huge fun. The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm is very stable at higher speeds yet easy to manoeuvre nearer a standstill, too.

Engine 4 out of 5

Honda VTR1000F Firestorm's engine is well tried and tested in a number of 1000cc Honda v-twins (most recently the SP-2), it thunders out mountains of low to midrange grunt, powering through traffic or around corners. There’s less “up top” than a full-on sportsbike but the Honda VTR1000F Firestorm’s more of an all rounder and the engine does the job beautifully. Very smooth delivery.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Great but not perfect. Honda VTR1000F Firestorm is well built and sturdy but problems have been reported with cam chain tensioners, failing water pumps and corroding downpipes. In the main, however, keeping it clean and serviced should ensure years of trouble-free service and most Honda VTR1000F Firestorms are in pretty good nick.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

Honda VTR1000F Firestorms are great value and there are plenty of bargains to be found. Perhaps because they were never really regarded as “sexy”, they were largely overlooked, hence some bargain machinery being available. Suzuki’s SV1000 could be a major distraction if you’re think of buyinga Honda VTR1000F Firestorm, though, and at a pretty good price, too. Find a Honda Firestorm for sale.

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm seat’s a little bit hard, but fairly comfy, whilst the fairing provides some good protection against the elements. The clocks are dominated by a huge, analogue rev counter plus there’s an analogue speedo and digital screen with fuel reserve, clock etc. Extras on the Honda VTR1000F Firestorm included heated grips, luggage and a rear hugger.

Owners' Reviews

23 owners have reviewed their HONDA VTR1000 FIRESTORM (1997-2005) 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 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Storm!

29 June 2014 by Hillar

I guess I liked it when I first saw but fell in love when it heared it running(with Leo Vince Exhausts!).Looks awesome for 1998 year bike, good handling for newbie biker like me. Fairing and windshield(bulk or double bulk) protect you from... Read more wind/elements. Riding at rain or heavy wind is no problem also, side radiators keep your legs nice and warm. Powerful but a bit thirsty V-twin with only 16L tank is the only minus I would add.

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 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Grunt!

28 February 2014 by CiaranSherry

I bought one of these Honda V-twins five years ago on a bit of a whim, it was yellow with full fairings, and impressed me with the savage low down grunt. All of these years later, it still brings a smile to my face. I put it up for sale two days ago... Read more due to the recent acquisition of a twin axle caravan for family holidays, and the small detail of owing the radiant Mrs. Sherry a not insignificant few pounds she lent me towards the cost of same purchase. I jumped it two days hence, as the battery was flattened by the HISS since I last took it out six months ago, and drove it back to town where we live from my farm buildings where it is permanently garaged. Boy, does the VTR1000 bring a smile to your face. It has enormous low down grunt, coupled with fantastic engine braking, and is hugely responsive to all minimal inputs by the rider. I'm sorry to see it go, but wifey is secretly thrilled, because she knows it could be a serious 'widow maker' given the speed it is capable of, and because of course it doesn't have airbags like her Vauxhall Insignia SRI which has greater than 50% more horsepower. :) Some posters have commented on the front end 'diving' under hard braking, but my experience is that intelligent reading of the road ahead nullifies this, in the same sense that a pilot will never fly through airspace his brain hasn't visited previously. The feedback this twin gives is hugely rewarding, in large part due to its responsiveness, and also the soundtrack it gives under both acceleration, and perhaps even more under fuel starvation when slowing down for a bend. The Firestorm is pure 'grunt', and prefers country, to city or town.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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
4 out of 5

stormin success

27 February 2014 by harrierk

read these reviews and they all seem pretty spot on. What a superb bike for getting from corner to corner. It goes round corners pretty well but boy does it pull out of them so well and the engine braking and general brakes (same as a fireblade but... Read more thicker discs) means entering corners ain't to bad either. The comments re range are very true anything much over 100 miles and I am looking out for a petrol station. The cam chain tensioners are a weak point as is the rectifier (see other reviews) but the grunt of the engine means acceleration and overtaking are world class and comparable with even the latest superbikes. Getting a bit older now but for a true performance bike you would get a awful lot for your money from a firestorm. ps. the hard acceleration can be a bit wearing on rear tyres but modern sports/touring compounds mean that milages are reasonable.

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 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

100% grin factor

11 May 2013 by draclee

ive always loved big v twins ive had my tl 1000s for 14 years now and at the moment its going through a café racer build. thing is its taking ages to do and I needed another twin. luckily a lad at work had 1998 vtr for sale it was a snap at £1325 I... Read more took it for a blatt around the moores and was very happy with its performance. this baby is staying with me. theres more than enough power for road use and it delivers it quickly. for an old bike its still mountains of fun.you can keep your R1s and the like i'm sticking with v twins. :o)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very Impressed

09 December 2012 by craigyvince

I have been on the lookout for a decent budget priced V Twin for a while and was most impressed with the Firestorm out of all the bikes I tried. The one I settled on is a 2003 model and has a very smooth delivery and I was very taken at how well it... Read more handled in traffic and when cornering. I have been previously riding CBR600's and I must say the Firestorm just feels and handles better. I am only a short ass but the bike does not feel large at all, in fact it feels easier than my last CBR600. The only hang ups I can find is that it can be a little thirsty and also it is not fuel injected but the carbs are enormous anyway so these are only minor issues as far as I am concerned. Excellent value for money, would highly recommend.

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

2nd storm

21 September 2012 by HHornet600

I swapped my first Storm for a cruiser as I am quite a shorty, but found myself wanting another, so once I had a Harley sitting in my garage it was time for a second bike for work, I bought a Speed 4 but found that Triumph yet again wanted £600 to... Read more service the bike, so I swapped it for my storm, and I'm glad to have another. The Storm isn't perfect, you need to change the Cam chain tensioners ASAP, sometimes the original last years, sometimes not, but when they do go, the pistons meet valves and its an expensive fix, the cure is manual cam chain tensioners, which take a couple of hours and with the instructions from Vtr1000.org you can permnantley fix this potential engine in bin experience. Also the regulator should be changed if it isnt a finned version as Smooth Honda version burn out and leave you stranded by the road. What can i say about this bike, well it handles good, the engine is really nice, and unlike other Honda motorcycles has character, I love the look of the bike and for the money its a lot of bike. My only moan is the storm can be heavy around town in low speed. So if you on a budget and want a big bike then the storms a good contender, just get those cam chain tensioners done or find one already done.

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Better sport tourer than a VFR!

15 August 2012 by Anonymous

Ive had 3 pre Vtec VFRs, 2 800s and a 750. I bought a 2005 VTR1000 a few months ago and I'm so glad I didn't go another VFR. As great as the VFRs are this VTR is so much more nimble and fun to ride. The noticeably lighter weight, stiffer frame and... Read more more grunt make it a much better sport tourer as apposed to the VFR tourer sport. It's comfortable and that V2 engine is a grunt factory. It's a little thirsty around town but it's sounds so good with the staintune pipes on it I don't care. Keep the air filter standard or tuned to suit or suffer a rough engine. Overall a fantastic, fun and capable sport tourer, highly recommended.

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

vtr wat a storm

19 October 2011 by davethebuilder

just got my firestorm from ebay ,sold my bmw r80 rt for £880 a 1986. 56k on the clock and got the storm for £900 , it has a few cracks on the fairing with 25k on the clock a 1997. only been over hart side the motor just keeps pulling , engin breaking... Read more is so good you hardley need to use the breaks hard. well worth a trip to ebay.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 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

Will make you smile

29 March 2011 by Ovski

Ive only had mine a week so its a very early on review but here goes...ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I picked up a '97 plate in the best colour (Red)and have enjoyed every second on it so far. Coming from an Gixxer 750 the engine is phenomenal, it has so much... Read more grunt from idle and sounds lovely even on the original exhausts. Brakes are top notch (although mine has braided hoses fitted) and it doesnt feel anywhere near as heavy as it feels. Girlfriend absolutely loves riding pillion and with the grabrail fitted Ive got loads of room even with her on the back. Its got the lower fairing fitted which makes it a lot more sporty looking. Fuel economy is dire but then maybe I should slow down a touch. In all, great bike for very little money!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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

Absolute bargain

04 December 2010 by Anonymous

I have ridden for 18 years and do highish mileages (12k a year) and everyone said I needed a VFR. Bollocks. I went out and brought a 'Storm from e-bay of all places. Even now equivalent VFRs cost twice the price and have double the mileage. For what?... Read more Crapy linked brakes and a dangerous VTEC thing. And they're slower. And heavier. Mine goes like stink and does all you could reasonably expect of any bike. Problems in all year riding? It coughs, it needs cunning to start on a cold morning (use less choke..) and the tank range is truly shit. Plus points? Is there any bike with more character and all day / all year usability? I doubt it. And, at 5'8" I can get on it! ART exhausts are stunning, lower fairing a must. Bar risers work well (add about 2cm but well worth it) Last but not least - starter motor connections corrode. Early CBR600 one fits (I think it is the same) and is £25 on fleabay (£125+ for 'Storm ones). Stiffer fork springs are my next project. What next? A newer one of course. I LOVE THIS BIKE.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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 3 out of 5
Read all 23 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 97 bhp
Max torque 64 ft-lb
Top speed 144 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 146 miles
Specification
Engine size 996cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 193kg
Front suspension Preload and rebound
Rear suspension Preload and rebound
Front brake Twin 296mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1997: Honda VTR1000F Firestorm launched.
1999: Honda VTR1000F Firestorm gets new, silver wheels.
2001: An overhaul increased Honda VTR1000F Firestorm's fuel capacity to 19 litres, raised the bars for a more upright riding position and installed a new HISS security system. There were also minor tweaks with both suspension and carb/ignition settings plus the dash was redesigned and new, smaller indicators installed. Black wheels.
2005: Honda VTR1000F Firestorm discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VTR1000F Firestorm motorcycle review - Side view