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Honda VFR400 Sports Motorbike Review

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Honda VFR400R
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The Honda VFR400R, or NC30 as it’s commonly known, is effectively a 400cc version of the iconic VFR750R (RC30) and as such is a cheaper alternative to the RVF400R which succeeded it in 1994. It has excellent handling, still looks good and a usable engine for road and track, although it’s not as quick flat out as some of the other 400 imports.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Honda VFR400R’s water-cooled DOHC V-four produces just short of 60bhp, but its usability comes from its very flat torque curve, compared to other racy 400cc imports. However this gives the feeling the bike is lazy which it certainly isn’t, deceptively quick and still revs to 14,500rpm. 

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Honda VFR400R is lightweight,  small, agile, and carries scary amounts of corner speed. Brakes are impressive, however most have their suspension set up on the soft side and require some adjustment. The 18-inch rear tyre also limits choices, but can still cut it on the road and track. 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Honda VFR400R  comes with 41mm conventional adjustable forks compared to the inverted items you find on the later RVF400/NC35. The single rear shock onto a single sided swing-arm is adjustable for pre-load and rebound only. There’s just enough room under the seat for storing waterproofs. Compare and buy parts for the VFR400R in the MCN Shop.

Honda VFR400R (NC30) (1988-1994)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£2,310 (1989) - £2,520 (1989)
Private used prices
£2,080 (1989) - £2,270 (1989)
  View full used price info
Engine size 399 cc
Power 60 bhp
Top speed 128 mph
Insurance group 10 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 5
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 4
Value rating is 5 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Honda VFR400R/NC30 has a high level of finish and typical Honda build quality. At the time it was considered advanced with is tiny V- four, single-sided swingarm and huge aluminium twin beam frame. Engines have proven reliable as long as they remain standard and serviced, however tuned engines can have crank problems.

Value

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda VFR400R/NC30 always held its prices high due to desirability and ease of use. However if you shop wisely you can grab a bargain. It’s an arguably iconic bike for around £2000 and in many ways it makes much more sense than its pricier brother the RVF. Find a Honda VFR400R for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 10 of 17

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Model History

1988: Honda VFR400R/NC30 launched

Other Versions

None

Specifications

Top speed 128 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 60 bhp
Max torque 27.7 ft-lb
Weight 175 kg
Seat height 705 mm
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 10 of 17
Engine size 399 cc
Engine specification Liquid-cooled, 16v V4, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin beam
Front suspension adjustment 41mm telescopic forks, preload and rebound adjust
Rear suspension adjustment Single rear shock preload and rebound adjust
Front brakes 2 x 296mm discs, 4-piston calipers
Rear brake 220mm disc, single piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 18

See all Honda VFR400 motorcycles for sale

Honda
VFR400

25400 miles

£850

Honda
VFR400

41000 miles

£1,750

Honda
VFR400

41000 miles

£1,750

Honda
VFR400

6400 miles

£1,990

Honda
VFR400

19553 miles

£4,495

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(5 reviews)

  • Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    The VFR400 was my first road bike. Its forgiving nature attracted me to it, not just its stylish looks high red line. I still have it now even though i dont ride it much, i still refuse to sell it. it has so much character and the ride feels like something special. Its Low powered engine damands very skillfull riding to get the best out of it. but once you've finally mastered the engine it can easily keep up with bigger bikes on the tight twisties. Its stiff chassis and low center of gravity coupled with a short wheelbase and sharp brakes make the VFR an immense back road scratcher. with the ability to out corner most bikes. The gear box is very smooth and well spaced to make the most out of the high power band (11,000 - 12,000 RPM)and quick shifiting helps in keeping them revs high. if you let the revs drop corner exits become soggy and slitghtly boring, but if your not screaming the VFR you simply missed the point of the bike. Brakes are very impressive for their age and have the right amount of feel to be used well as variable braking rather than on/off. The VFR is the perfect bike to hone your skills and could be compared to that of a 250 two stroke. The simple back to basics of the bike make the rider work to get the most of it, which is most rewarding. Reliability wise the engine on my bike has never faulted and is still running very sweet with regular oil changes. The only fualts have been a slipped clutch (due to an unwitting father putting fully synth in), a blown rectifier and a sticky front brake piston. The bike is now due a new rear suspension unit and re-worked forks as its 21 years old. The engine is totally standard and runs great. the carbs are due synchronizing as the rev range has a few flat spots across it. the only problem people may have with the bike is the small riding postion and the hard to get hold of tyres when you do find some there is only a small selection to choose from. Great bike, highly recommended

    16 March 2010

  • Gem

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    The VFR400 was my first road bike. Its forgiving nature attracted me to it, not just its stylish looks high red line. I still have it now even though i dont ride it much, i still refuse to sell it. it has so much character and the ride feels like something special. Its Low powered engine damands very skillfull riding to get the best out of it. but once you've finally mastered the engine it can easily keep up with bigger bikes on the tight twisties. Its stiff chassis and low center of gravity coupled with a short wheelbase and sharp brakes make the VFR an immense back road scratcher. with the ability to out corner most bikes. The gear box is very smooth and well spaced to make the most out of the high power band (11,000 - 12,000 RPM)and quick shifiting helps in keeping them revs high. if you let the revs drop corner exits become soggy and slitghtly boring, but if your not screaming the VFR you simply missed the point of the bike. Brakes are very impressive for their age and have the right amount of feel to be used well as variable braking rather than on/off. The VFR is the perfect bike to hone your skills and could be compared to that of a 250 two stroke. The simple back to basics of the bike make the rider work to get the most of it, which is most rewarding. Reliability wise the engine on my bike has never faulted and is still running very sweet with regular oil changes. The only fualts have been a slipped clutch (due to an unwitting father putting fully synth in), a blown rectifier and a sticky front brake piston. The bike is now due a new rear suspension unit and re-worked forks as its 21 years old. The engine is totally standard and runs great. the carbs are due synchronizing as the rev range has a few flat spots across it. the only problem people may have with the bike is the small riding postion and the hard to get hold of tyres when you do find some there is only a small selection to choose from. Great bike, highly recommended

    16 March 2010

  • Gorgeous bike

    raginggerbil

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    My NC30 is my first 'big bike' after passing my test. Cheap, superb handling, beautiful engine, and in my opinion one of the best looking bikes I've ever seen. Don't be misled by the 400cc engine. It still has plenty of power, and you'll be hard pushed to find a better bike on the twistys. Aswell as the beautiful V4 engine sound. Only downside is parts, which can ocassionally be difficult to acquire due to its age, but thats probably not helped by mine being a Jap import with different electrics to the UK models.

    25 February 2010

  • a jewel

    simoncbr900rr

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    i had an nc30 in 1997 to 1999 it was and still is tne best handling bike i`ve owned these bikes are seriously quick down twisty roads and would not not get left behind by anything despite having 60bhp as the corner entry and speed is without peer.i can remember chasing a guy on a ZZR1100 he was braking like hell getting all out of shape for a corner and i went past him without even braking such is the confidence these bikes instill in the rider.if you`ve passed your test and a want a sportsbike look no further it`s faultless

    14 February 2010

  • Great Bike

    wildchildbikes69

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    After about 6 years away from owning a road bike, through a very good mate of mine, I bought one of these for not a lot of money, basically to get my confidence and awareness to road riding back and believe me you will not be disappointed. Like the article says, go for mechanical rather than cosmetic, ie some sort of service history. There is shed loads of info on the web for this bike, great owners clubs, advice, etc, etc. The bike I was fortunate enough to own was, in my opinion, one of the best bikes I have ever ridden, the engine was strong, brakes were very good and it handled like a dream. I can only remember getting out of shape once, which was probably down to me anyway. Its only draw back and again it is down to myself is that it is a bit of a small bike! Yes, I have eaten too many pies!

    10 February 2010

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allyearrider

allyearridersays

i agree with other comment and rather lazy of mcn not to test the bike also for MPG

19 August 2013 04:09

allyearrider

allyearridersays

i agree with other comment and rather lazy of mcn not to test the bike also for MPG

19 August 2013 04:09

wadude

wadudesays

"Others"

I really wish the MCN reviewers would say what motorcycles they're comparing it to, rather than simply waving their hands and saying it's better or worse than "other 400 imports".

13 August 2012 20:10

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