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HONDA VFR1200F (2012-on) Review

Published: 01 June 2012

Updated: 21 November 2014

A good bike; but it's not a great one. And after all the hype that is not good enough

HONDA VFR1200F  (2012-on)

A good bike; but it's not a great one. And after all the hype that is not good enough

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The VFR1200F remains a good, bordering on great bike. Its quality and finish is peerless; its refinement, ergonomics and ease-of-use impeccable. And the cherry on the top is that unique-sounding and fabulously grunty, flexible and, yes, fast V4. But it's not stunning, hasn't 'moved the game on' like an all-new Honda V4 probably should have done and it does have a few niggly faults. For 2012 the VFR gets updated styling, traction control, more torque, improved comfort and improved fuel range.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Steering is slow, as you'd expect from a bike weighing 267kg, but it tracks smoothly in the turns and feels stable. The sow seat is comfy and the riding position fairly neutral. You could easily ride for a full day without succumbing to sore wrists or arse.

Engine 5 out of 5

THe V4 engine is the centrepiece of the VFR. It has masses of grunt - more than the previous version and retains the characterful V4 bark from the exhaust. You barely need to take the engine above 4000rpm, but when you do its takes off, howling just like an RC30. The gearbox is among the slickest out there.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The finish on the VFR1200 is excellent - exactly what you'd expect from Honda. It comes with the usual, solid Honda reliability.

Insurance, running costs & value 2 out of 5

At over £12,000 the VFR1200F is hardly cheap and has been universally criticised. At this price it needs something which sets it quite apart from the rest of the competition, which the Honda lacks. More capable tourers can be had for a similar price.

Equipment 4 out of 5

For 2012 the big VFR gets Honda's Traction Control System, which is reassuring in tricky conditions with the grunty motor. Comes with ABS which gives a bit more confidence on the brakes and is a welcome safety net. For some strange reason Honda decided to switch the indicator toggle and horn round.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued -
New price £12,999
Used price £5,500 to £8,300
Warranty term Three year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £190
Performance
Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 95 ft-lb
Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 1237cc
Engine type 16v V4, six gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 267kg
Front suspension 43mm with preload adjustment
Rear suspension Pro-Link, adjustable preload and rebound
Front brake 320mm twin disc C-ABS
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70/17
Rear tyre size 190/55/17

History & Versions

Model history

2010 - model introduced

Other versions

Honda VFR1200F DCT

Owners' Reviews

13 owners have reviewed their HONDA VFR1200F (2012-on) 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 VFR1200F (2012-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.9 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great value super smooth comfortable beautifully made mile muncher -Honda VFR1200F

15 September 2018 by Jak

Beautifully engineered finish of paint work and that fantastically smooth v4 make this a gem. Glaringly obvious ommission of cruise control and Hondas unnecessary hype and the expense of the bike new have killed resale values.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Excellent brakes the best I’ve owned sharp good feel and have never faded. It’s a lovely bike to ride and gets lots of admiring looks and comments. Have done 500+ mile days and been relarively ok at the end. Doesn’t particularly like bumpy roads but good A roads etc it just devours distance.
Engine
5 out of 5
If I could score 6 I would as it’s marvellous and effortless. The centre piece of a very good bike.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Beautifully built and ease of keeping clean as no exposed oil pipes and casings, compared to 800 vtec, make corrosion problems with simple cleaning schedule a thing of the past. Rear shaft drive replaced under factory recall. Otherwise faultless.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
After three year warranty I serviced myself. So costs excluding replacing tyres £80 however the 16000 service is looming and although I will not use Honda (silly money) a good independent will still be expensive. Fuel costs not unreasonable as long as not ridden hard. Due to the sheer power and sumptuous delivery of that power I have never seen the need to thrash it as it’s very fast.
Equipment
4 out of 5
I bought mine with less than 600 miles for £3500 off what the first owner paid and it had full luggage heated grips and centre stand. Clocks are very well shielded I never get glare but omission of cruise control and traction control only being an after thought two years into production was a big own goal for what was an expensive bike. I changed the small 31litre top box for a 45litre added Honda wind deflectors for my hands and a better screen. Tyres the Dunlop’s it came with were done 3500, the metzler z8 nearly five but Michelin Pilot 4s are at at 4000 and look fantastic plus feel more confident inspiring in the wet. The Dunlop’s definitely didn’t.
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer and basically knew it was falling 8n value like a stone. This is Hondas own fault as developed a beautiful bike made it very expensive but with none of the toys a BMW K1300s came with for the same money. Therefor £3500 off and a straight conversation with the dealer about the fact sell or sit there. He kindly bit also allowing me 900 pound less for my trade in than I paid for it knew 5years earlier. Says a lot for the depreciation of the vfr.

4 out of 5

Honest and unbiased review

15 May 2018 by Mark Williams

Ignore all reviews like i did, take the bike out for a mixed blast of carriageways and B roads, whatever you will be mainly riding. I've done 2k miles on mine, rode like crap when i got it at 29k miles and noticed it needed new tyres and head bearings, changed fork fluid to 15W and took time adjusting the suspension and voila! Handling is great for a bike of this size and weight. Most of the so-called professional reviews are from people who have just got off a 170kg supersport bike so obviously this VFR is going to seem like a bloody tank! I have a Z1000SX and a 2000 Hayabusa and this VFR will out handle both once set up right. The riding position on this bike is more sporty than a Z1000SX and more inline with my Hayabusa.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The dual-linked ABS Brakes on this beast are phenomenal! have had over 50 bikes and this is better than the brilliant blue spot calliper brakes from Yamaha! The rear is just as good as the front grab wise and very little fade no matter what your speed.
Engine
5 out of 5
Takes some getting used to coming from an inline 4, but what a peach! Smooth and 'grunty' torque throughout the rev range, all of these people I read about wanting to do the timing retard mod in 1st and 2nd, and also derestrict the top end??? You have to be a track queen to want more from this bike day-to-day unless it is for bragging rights. You get to triple digits on the speedo with a simple twist of the wrist from 50mph and comments from guys behind me (on an H2 Kawasaki, Fazer 1000 and a K1300S): "Bloody hell, the VFR goes well mate!!!" enough said!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
lovely quality Honda finish, 29k miles on the clock and the bike (in red) looks as clean as it did 6 years ago.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I do my own servicing so get your manual out and get to know your bike, even if it is oil and filter you will save yourself £100 each time.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Mine came with touring kit from PO, luggage quality and fitting is fantastic but a tad small for real touring as top box is 31 litres and panniers 29 litres, so you have to get creative for a 2 week run. Heated grips are really good and the seat is really nice and comfy too, the screen is a vario and works well, but at 29k miles is looking tired (and boring) so ordered a Puig jet stream in black.
4 out of 5

The definitive Touring Sportsbike

29 April 2018 by Joe Average

The last and possibly best of its kind. A true sports tourer, with the popularity of adventure bikes (with the exception of the H2 SX) will we ever see the kind again?

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Suspension may be a little soft for some, steering a tad heavy & slow if your used to a sportsbike. The upside to this is a plush ride that soaks up all the bumps - effortless high speed mile munching. Brakes 9 tenths as good as any current Brembos. Leg position slightly cramped, but hours in the saddle a lush experience overall.
Engine
5 out of 5
Lovely low down torque with an addictive to end rush, a licence loser in the right hands. Tank range is sport bike territory. Gearbox is slightly geared high for the tight twisties , upside relaxed ride & carries speed remarkably well - akin to the ZZR1400. Gearchange is like a well oiled rifle bolt.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Quality is almost up to the standard of Honda's of old, a few year old bike can still look new. No problems to date after 8000 miles.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
With current electronics & gadgets comes the price tag, the VFR is largely old school engineering & could well outlast modern bikes in terms of durability. Would be 5 stars but best to buy 2/3 year old low miler to avoid the worst depreciation.
Equipment
3 out of 5
This bike didn't break new ground in terms of active suspension, gadgets & gizmos but the fact is when the package works this well - do you really need them?
Buying experience

Purchased from main dealer, experience good. DCT version is a masterpiece of engineering but hard to sell at resale time.

5 out of 5

Excellent sport-tourer

12 March 2018 by JANOS SZEDERJESI

Excellent bike, a little heavy, good finishing, fast.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Neutral position for 178 cm/90 kg, long rides are suitable for it. Good ride stability, not very nimble on twisty roads, some effort is needed. Exceptional combined brakes, far much better than many other sport-bikes. Both front and rear brake should be used for heavy breaking (watch carefully for others behind you).
Engine
5 out of 5
Flawless! High low grunt, fast enough, combined with traction control you have everything you need on tarmac, outside the track.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Over 55000 km, no faults so far.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Little thirsty for dynamic riders (about 7 l/100 km).
Equipment
4 out of 5
ABS, traction control, good instrumentation. However the suspensions are a little at the soft end, without electronic control. Traction control and throttle response are not configurable (not a must, but other sport-tourers offers nowadays).
5 out of 5

30 January 2018 by mark sudlow

I have had my 2013 VFR just over a year and bought it used (2300) miles, but a minter. Full GT pack (panniers etc). First litre plus bike and love it. I use it for commuting (60 miles round trip) and 2 up days out - perfect. I have DCT version which is basically the same as a quickshifter/autoblipper but unstallable and no clutch lever. It is heavy but on the move agile. Usually fill up around 150 miles and get just under 10 miles per litre (40 ish mpg) - but doing 80 + on motorway would be better (45 - 50 MPG).

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

Don't believe everything printed, so underrated

29 October 2017 by Ex bmw k1300 s owner

Doesn't spend an inordinate amount of time in the workshop, like the previous bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Those radial brakes are awesome. They do need a annual clean though. But don't they all.
Engine
5 out of 5
Power is higher up the rev range than BMW, but that typical of many Japanese engines, but that bark is addictive when the top section of the exhaust flap opens
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Having swapped from a k1300s to the VFR the weight difference was immediately noticeable. Whilst this has benefits in its stability, it's hard work doing the car park/garage shuffle
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
So far, other than the shafts recall it has been totally reliable. I have done a couple of jobs on it and once you watch the you tube video on how to remove the fairing it's all been fairly straight forward .. ?.😘
Equipment
4 out of 5
Self canceling indicators would have been nice. The shock and forks need winding up, but good when set up right. I have also had a replacement rear shock fitted under warranty. Turn the adjuster knob regularly or it seizes. I fitted a charger plug into the inner fairing this powers the sat navigation and gives me a charging point. Changed the OEM tyres to Michelin Pilot Road 4s, what a difference.
Buying experience

Got a good deal on a 11 month old hardly used example with heated grips and centre stand with full factory luggage

5 out of 5

28 April 2017 by william gonzo

A joy to ride, very easy, very fast, very comfortable bike. A little heavy for this type of bike, but still a great confidence builder.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Rode from San Diego to Seattle and never ever felt uncomfortable or tired. No back pain either.
Engine
5 out of 5
smooth shifting DCT and Fast when you need it
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
could use an adjustable higher windshield
5 out of 5

VFR1200F better than expected - and reviewed

16 July 2016 by TheHOS

I like to try out the new bikes every year and keep finding that I love my VFR1200F more than any I have ridden. This includes a wide range of BMW, Ducati, and other major brands and types of motorcycles. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but it consistently keeps me coming back and saying wow - this is just a great all round bike. Sporty, yet refined.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Braking is hardcore compared to most other bikes I have ridden.
Engine
5 out of 5
Strength of the platform - smooth at lower end and hardcore at higher end - it can go...
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No issues outside of the recall... and that was smooth.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Costs are very reasonable - outside of some of the additions like Honda OEM accessories.
Equipment
3 out of 5
It is just average in this area - missing keyless, missing cruse control and other niceties - you can add most of these items - but standard could have been better (the 2013 was much better than the pre 2012 items)
Buying experience

Bought from the dealer - good experience

4 out of 5

28 April 2016 by Ezuomowei Feboke

Its a dependable bike. I wish it had a bigger tank

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

not happy

02 November 2015 by tonyjoe

nice bike except for after comments below

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
had bike now for 3 years,no problem with bike,but after small scrape in garage left hand pannier lid needed replacing. Haitain blue cost £100 . o e m item on honda site. after three years honda don't do a replacement lid .every other bit of bike is done. they don't even do a replacement pannier in the colour, i find this unacceptable in a three year old model,been with honda over forty years,whats up with their after sales spares?
Buying experience

dealer

4 out of 5

I'll be buying another one!

30 July 2015 by Geoff Blackburn

3 years and 35,000 miles and I'm happy to say that this is probably the best bike I've ever owned. Yes, it could do with a little more tank range but who honestly travels for more than 150 miles between stops anyway? Besides, the K1300s has the same sort of range and this has never been criticised! The first thing to say is that the british bike press have an insistence on placing bikes in categories and true all rounders therefore suffer. This bike is not a tourer. It is not a sports bike. And if you place it in either of these categories it will suffer. However, I have very successfully used it for touring. And it has done pretty well on the track as well. It is also a very good commuter and despite being fairly heavy and long does pretty well in the twisties as well. Fuel economy can vary quite a lot. For commuting and short trips I tend to get around 35mpg whereas touring in Scotland or similar (few junctions and fast roads) I have seen 50mpg. Also the manual recommends using high octane (97-98) fuel and it does need it at Swiss Alp altitudes. 35,000 miles and it has proven to be ultra-reliable, never having a single issue other than wear and tear. Sorry, I lie; the headlight bulb blew at around 25k. As to be expected the suspension started to feel slightly soggy after about 30k and so I had decided to swap it for a new one. But then I changed my mind; I still love riding this bike, it does everything I want and more and why lose lots of money swapping it for the same bike? So instead I threw a grand at it in the way of Maxton suspension front and rear and now it's even better than it was before! The biggest issue this bike has had has been Honda's marketing before it was released. After all the send-up the world was expecting some form of huge evolution in motorcycle design and instead "all" we got was an extremely good motorcycle. I do a lot of miles and I've ridden / owned a lot of bikes and I'm going to keep this for another couple of years after which I'll probably swap it for a new VFR12. Are there better bikes for touring? Yes. Are there better bikes for skinny roads? Yes. Are there better bikes for quick B-road riding? Yes. But how many bikes are there that do it all as well as this one does whilst still remaining very reliable? MCN is correct, it isn't a great bike. It's a superb bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Superb brakes and very good ride quality from the off. After 30k starting to go a little soggy. £1,000 of Maxton suspension and it handles superbly.
Engine
5 out of 5
Awesome, awesome, awesome. Definitely the best bit about this bike. When it comes to overtaking I've developed a little catchphrase ... "There's always room on the VFR!"
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
35k, nothing has gone wrong and it still looks virtually new.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
£200 at up to 5k a year; more like £300 at the miles I do. A bit expensive to buy, but then again, quality costs!
Equipment
5 out of 5
Very good for what I want. Does it have tyre pressure sensors ... no, but I believe you should check them at least once a week anyway. Does it have "riding modes" ... no, but everyone I know who's bike does, doesn't use them anyway. I've got a perfectly good right hand thank you.
Buying experience

Excellent. Castle Motorcycles; known them a very long time and they always do their best to get me what I want.

5 out of 5

The fog has lifted

24 November 2012 by joebarton

Had a fjr1300 for the last 3 yrs,saw a fvr in carpark and was intrigued,booked a test drive,ordered a blue one and a week later delivered and out riding. Been riding for 40years and this bike is now top of my favourite list,goes where you point it(drops into corners nicely balanced etc),brakes progressive and ride comfortable short and long distance. As for fuel consumption,ive allways stopped aprox about every 150 miles,in experience driving many times from Plymouth to Dundee in a day(over22yrs) its the best way, The bikes not heavy,you should have tried kwaki 1300,felt like somebody had taken the wheels of the outriggers,the vfr is light,responsive answers all my riding habits(good and bad)without a grumble. I,m enjoying my riding again,after ten years of indeferent bikes Thanks Honda.

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

VFR1200F

21 June 2012 by Speighty

Only had the VFR12 for a few weeks and only covered about 800 miles so far so still early days, but absolutely loving the bike. The riding position is spot on (for me), the high speed stability is fantastic and I love the torque and sound of the engine. After reading many reviews abut the 'poor tank range' I'm not sure what the fuss is about. Fuel light comes on around 130 miles (depending on grin factor) and then there's still a 4.5 litres left, another 40 miles ? My bike came with the panniers/top box, h/grips and centre stand. If I had a moan, I did suffer numb bum the other day, but that was after a 240 mile day out. So at the moment it really does seem the best compromise bike I've ever owned and falls the sport side of it's sports/tourer tag. For the first time in many many years of biking, I believe this could be a 'keeper' for me.

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

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