The Honda VFR800 VTEC steers a little slower than some rivals, like the Sprint ST, or ST4S, and offers a plusher ride than average. But the slightly soft suspension doesn't dive at the front too much under braking, as the CBS system puts some braking force to the rear disc to balance things up a bit. In a word, the Honda VFR800 VTEC's handling is neutral.
The V4 is legendary; its 107bhp is tractable and flexible, and perfectly suited to the bike. Although the VTEC is described as Variable Valve Timing, this is something of a misnomer. In fact, there is no variation at all. It works simply by shutting off an inlet and exhaust valve on each of the four valve heads at low revs. So below 6800rpm the VFR runs an eight-valve head, and above that it runs on 16 valves. Subsequent models did have changes to the way it worked. But nevertheless the V4 is still engaging, providing great flexibility.
Anyone who has owned a gear driven cam VFR will wonder why Honda went back to camchains on this V4 cylinder engined Honda VFR800 VTEC. Sadly, they're in danger of being able to say `told you so' to owners who have had the Honda VFR800 VTEC recalled for camchain associated work under warranty. Apart from that, the Honda VFR800 VTEC is built to last 100,000 miles, but does need some expensive servicing along the way.
Used prices can vary from as little as £2500 for a private sale upto £5500 for a later model in a dealer's. They were popular bikes so there are always plenty of used examples about.
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There's a big problem with going touring on the Honda VFR800 VTEC - there's no luggage space whatsoever - the underseat exhausts, while looking good, mean there's nowhere to put soft luggage so factor in the price of hard luggage if you're planning on going touring. You'll also want to think about adding a larger screen as the stock item is a bit low. On the upside, the Honda VFR800 VTEC has a 22 litre fuel tank, comfy saddle, a grabrail and a centrestand.