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.