HONDA VFR800 VTEC (2014 - on) Review
- Stable, neutral handling
- Legendary Honda build quality
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
In delivering refined versatility, class and understated quality and entertainment, this new Honda VFR800 VTEC sports tourer is a success.
- Related: Honda VFR used buying guide
My only slight regrets are two-fold: this newcomer doesn’t (quite) have the clean sheet, no expense-spared ethos of the originals, it’s a tiny bit ‘parts-bin’. And, two, it’d have been better still if it’d been a VFR900F, say, with a full colour TFT instrument screen – both of which Honda could have easily delivered if it was as committed to the concept as it likes to make out. As it stands, though, I don’t mind. This new VFR is classy, uniquely able, invigorating and truly rekindles the pleasure of the old.
Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to continue the discussion and join an owners' review like the Honda VFR owners' club on Facebook.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
'Neutral’ has always been the best way to describe the VFR’s manner: steady, stable and reassuring yet with enough dice and slice in the twisties to truly entertain. I had a ball in the endlessly sinewy switchbacks in the mountains above Alicante.
Never once finding fault with its limitations or suspension nor even wishing I was on a more full-on adventure sports bike. It just works. Maybe that’s my age. Or maybe it just shows how good this new lighter (by a full 7kg over the old), more lithe VFR 800 is.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Power delivery-wise, there are no dramas anywhere, just characterful, fuel injected V4 engine effectiveness. From virtually nothing up to seven thou the VFR just gets on with it, no messing. Then the V-Tec variable valve timing chimes in, but instead of a sudden step of jump, it’s more an aural experience these days: the ridge is smoothed out, instead the V4 opens its lungs stretches forward and starts howling a clattery, wooden bark above 9000rpm that only a Honda V4 VTEC can.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Decent mirrors incorporate new, clever self-cancelling indicators, the classy top yoke is anodised subdued bronze, the fork tops subtley expose their twin adjusters, there are five-way heated grips as standard and the switchgear (bar, it has to be said, the slightly ‘tacked on’ TCS switch) is the usual, top-notch Honda fare.
We've got 11 Honda VFR800 V-Tec owners' reviews on the site, with an overall score of 4.6 stars out of 5. That's an excellent score. Problems reported include the lack of cruise control and lack of power.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There are cheaper sport touring bikes out there, good ones, too, with Kawasaki’s Z1000SX and Triumph’s albeit aging Sprint immediately springing to mind, but none have quite the VFR’s class, spirit or V4 character, that’s what makes it worth ther premium. It could have been better, yes, but it’s a worthy successor.
There are more than enough true VFR details and quality touches to satisfy. Front, piercingly-bright LED headlight and rear tail remind of the VFR12. The two-piece seat is now height adjustable; brakes are full-on radials with ABS (though, intriguigingly, NOT now linked); the wheels are a new, striking, lightweight 10-spoke design; there’s a mainstand as standard.
|Engine type||16v DOHC V4, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Twin spar aluminium|
|Fuel capacity||21.5 litres|
|Front suspension||Preload and rebound|
|Rear suspension||Preload and rebound|
|Front brake||2 x 310mm discs with radial four-piston calipers, ABS|
|Rear brake||256mm disc with twin piston caliper and ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||46 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£200|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||105 bhp|
|Max torque||55.4 ft-lb|
|Top speed||150 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||217 miles|
Model history & versions
2014: Model introduced
Owners' reviews for the HONDA VFR800 VTEC (2014 - on)
11 owners have reviewed their HONDA VFR800 VTEC (2014 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Annual servicing cost: £100
It's neutral, forgiving and really fast enough. Low end grunt has improved.
It's a V4
It's a Honda
Would have liked cruise control
Buying experience: Dealer was 100%
The VFR800F VTEC is an iconic bike, that just works. It does everything well, and the more you ride it, the more you will love it. If Honda upgrade the bike they have to include ride modes, and cruise control.
The seat is very comfortable, and gives hours of comfort. The bars would benefit from being slightly higher, and I recommend fitting bar risers and a double bubble screen. The bike handles well in the twisties and around town. This bike can do it all well.
You cannot beat the V4 and VTEC bark as the revs pass 7000 is excellent.
Typical Honda, fantastic build quality.
The heated grips are great, the traction control is functional, albeit basic, and seems an after thought. The ABS is reassuring and works. The lack of0000 ride modes, and cruise control let the bike down. The VFR is a sports Tourer, so why Honda did not fit cruise control is beyond me, and a missed opportunity.
Buying experience: I bought my bike from Kent Motorcycles, near Barham. The sale and customer service was second to none, and highly recommended!
They look good and do everything. We did 14,000 miles touring North West USA and it was awesome. So many people commented on the two red bikes. Are they Ducatis, are they BMW's where common questions.... We pined for cruise control.... So thankful for a centre stand when I picked up a nail (that went through the side wall) 60 miles from a town in Montana... Side stands are much good to you with a flat rear hoop... Side boxes seal well and lock on the bike, simply unlock (keyed alike to the bike) and carry into your motel room.
Stable, comfortable, and pretty sporty - Its a bike that is all bikes, the swiss army knife of bikes.
More HP's would be nice and if it had 120-130 I'm sure it would sell more. Economy is excellent - over 250 miles on a tank. VTEC Bark gives character in spades
Feels built to last, faultless
14,000 miles valve inspection costly and could possibly be recommended at a higher mileage . Dealer said they rarely need shimming... But thats the only negative. Apart from that self-servicing is easy, centre stand and single sided swing are makes chain maintenance easy.... Decent room under the seat for a motion-pro tool kit, circle chain brush and Motul chain paste.
5 out of 5 if it had cruise control
Buying experience: Dealer - yes they could always offer some service..... Suspension setup?
Annual servicing cost: £150
After owning nothing but BMWs for 25 years, I rented a previous-gen VFR for a tour of WWI battlefields in France last year. Was so taken by the bike (and trip), I wound up buying a 2015. (They were practically giving them away: CDN $10k). I may return to an RT or GS in a few years, but I am having a blast on this thing now. Smooth, easy to ride, nicely finished, and more than enough poke to have fun.
Not the most supple suspension, but quick adjustments when my wife is riding pillion are a big plus.
Feels almost as torquey off-idle as my old R1150GS. Super smooth and linear to redline, with that amazing V4 growl and howl.
At CDN $15k, there are some serious competitors. But at the price I paid ($10k), a flat-out steal.
All the electronic doodads you could ask for, but cruise control. $1500 for side cases is a bit rich.
Annual servicing cost: £150
Excellent handling, nice motor, great build quality
Once set up, which is easy to do with all the adjustment available the bike hugs the road like its on rails, factory set up was a bit bouncy at the front and hard at the rear Brakes are superb, ABS is the best I've tried and is smooth in action As a trail braker I find the rear to be just how I like it
Beautifully designed and built the engine is a gem, nice a docile, with bags of torque up to 6,500 after which the VTEC delivers a boost of power that makes the intake roar drown out the exhaust and the bike just takes off It's not sudden or likely to take you by surprise but when you need it there's some real acceleration there
Typical Honda build quality, everything works as it should, impressive fairing mouldings As long as it gets regular attention the bike is faultless, I do a lot of mileage and this is always ready for more
I have mine dealer serviced so not the cheapest, plus loan bike for the day Tyres lasted until 5k then I changed the OEM Dunlops for Bridgestone B23s, the Dunlops were fine, can't understand why "Ian" I confines his whole report to them Cost per mile is less than the CBR or BMW its replaced
Only extras I've fitted was a hugger and double bubble screen, I had a power outlet fitted when I bought the bike Other than that there's nothing I want or need The 5 stage heated grips are a real upgrade from the crude BMW on/off grips, I now use them most of the time through the year on different settings Paintwork is first class, I've got the Darkness Black model and the tank looks like a custom job, stunning
Buying experience: Bought from Fowlers, who service it Great deal on my BMW px and great servicing
Version: Vfr 800 F
Annual servicing cost: £400
Excellent bike and typical Honda quality, the highlights of this model are: Superb and engaging engine Incredible headlights Lovely styling Fantastic handling and suspension Versatility and for me great comfort
For those that think it needs more power then take a good look in the mirror and watch out for your license. (This is real world performance and for UK roads is more than enough). After owning many different bikes over a period of over 35 years this has to be one of the most engaging engines I have ever ridden, yes its Honda boring in terms of character! (I think NOT).
Overall it is typical Honda quality which I firmly believe is still better than most else out there but is still not what it used to be in our throw away world. This was demonstrated within 3 months of ownership through paint flaking on engine casing and mirrors showing early signs of wear! Both were sorted by Honda under warranty but demonstrates that things aren't what they used to be.
Yes that V4 is expensive to service when you start to love that engine its worth every penny. The initial purchase is indeed expensive when compared to other brands but ownership will help convince you the true reasons why that is and in a word it is QUALITY or another would be ABILITY.
Take a close look at the standard spec and try to find another bike that gives you this much at initial purchase. The panniers are however expensive at £500 a pair but are very good despite being a little small they are very waterproof and extremely easy to live with in terms of removal and adding to the bike.
Buying experience: The Honda dealership I purchased from is well established and sometimes gains a poor reputation for bad customer service. Whilst I agree with some of those comments I was none the less pleased with the negotiation but have little confidence in long term ownership support or quality in that particular dealership so use another for servicing.
My first 'big' bike. It's a great machine but lacks a bit of character (like any other Honda I guess?) I bought it to do some Euro touring on, but I don't think i'd be comfortable doing 300 mile days on it now i've owned it for 2000 miles. Sadly i'll be looking to trade it in for something more comfortable at the end of the season.
Stonking engine. Sounds magical with the Akrapovic on. However, it's probably lacking 20-30bhp
Excellent build quality
A little too expensive for what it is compared to the competition
The competition have different rider modes, cruise control etc. Sort it out Honda
Amazing engine on this bike; nice, safe and predictable. Styling is simple but striking, LED headlights are amazingly bright and effective. Self cancelling indicators are useless. Nice feature on paper but they turn off after 7 flashes on my bike, unless I am at a stop. I can't even indicate all the way round a large roundabout without it turning off. This isn't a cheap bike but it is well worth it!
Super smooth when you want to cruise but easy to flick side to side when you want some fun. I can only sing the praises of the brakes. ABS works extremely well as I found out when a car drifted into my lane on the motorway. Grabbed the brakes and felt the bike 'vibrate' as the ABS done its thing. Bike quickly lost speed in a controlled but fast manner.
Awesome engine - once warmed up. All reviewers have commented how good the new VTEC is. I mostly agree, although my bike 'sticks' on the first time it activates after starting, causing a bit of a kick. After that first go it is as smooth as the reviewers say.
Aside from the niggle of the self-cancelling indicators no issues with the bike thus far.
Getting good MPG, 55 on average with my commute to work. That is sitting at 70mph on dual carrigeway.
Traction control, ABS, heated grips, LED headlights and tail lights, single swingarm (even if you cant see it behind the HUGE exhaust), self-cancelling indicators (not LED unfortunately).
Buying experience: Brought from a dealer, sale was really good and the dealer was very helpful during the sale. Good deal to!
This is the third vfr800 I have owned and the best one to date, lighter to tip in, nice finish, excellent lights. Fitted akropic exhaust (beautiful sound). Adjustable seat height, lovely bike (been riding 46 years) ridden a lot of bikes.
Good feel from the brakes, only use back break occasionally, fit for purpose.
Good update of engine, really smooth, in today's traffic, motorway, by lanes and town no problem.
Quality Finnish all round.
Bike came with touring panniers, fitted Honda 45litre top box data tool kit etc, quick shifter (great for effortless no clutch lever up changes) no problem with tyres, but Will change to Bridgestone when worn out (always liked them)
Buying experience: Good buying experience being using same dealer for years, part exchange with vfr1200 + extras above good price
Crap Dunlop 222 concrete tyres fitted
Again crap Dunlop 222 tyres
On - off throttle response at low rpm in towns.
Dunlop 222's are very uncomfortable. Going to swap to Bridgestone.
Buying experience: Dealer. £10,499
I would definitely recommend this motorcycle to a friend! Honestly, I can't really find a fault in it. It does everything you want it to do, when you want to, and how you want to. My last motorcycle was a 1999 VFR 800, and the 2014 is better in every way. The transmission is flawlessly smooth. Every shift is perfect and there is no problems whatsoever at any time. The motor is calmer at lower rpms than the old version with the gear driven cams, but it is so much smoother and does everything with perfection. When you hit the VTEC it is definitely a nice bump in power, and it feels a lot better at high rpm then the old version. As far as handling, it is a very good handling motorcycle. It feels like it is 100 lbs lighter. Turn in is very light, and very easy. It holds its line well, and does a very good job of letting you know what is underneath you on the road.
The ride quality is great, I have absolutely no complaints about it. I don't know if I would say it is all day comfortable, because I have only really gone about 4 hours without stopping. My passenger said it was comfortable, but was nice to have a break then too. The brakes are absolutely spectacular. The front brake is especially strong, but the rear is also good. You have good feel with both of them in every situation.
What more can you say about this engine besides that it is absolutely wonderful! I loved the old engine in the 1999 version, and I love the new engine even more. It is calmer and easier to ride at low revs but when you spin it up it is intoxicating! It is not the fastest engine by by far, but it has a lot of character and it is so smooth. Power delivery is wonderful.
Quality is top notch. Everything is very nicely done, all of the fairings fit together very nicely with perfect gaps between every one. All of the controls are of high quality, and the dashboard is absolutely wonderful. I cannot really comment on reliability, because mine only has 7500 kilometers on the odometer. I can say that I have had exactly zero problems.
I can only give 4 stars for this because I believe the value is great, but the services are very expensive. Be prepared to spend around €400 every 24,000 kilometers. That is what it cost for the older versions of the VFR.
For the price of this bike, the equipment is sufficient. I love the heated grips on cold days. The adjustable suspension is definitely nice to have. You could never complain about having traction control and anti lock brakes. I purchased the side cases from Honda, and they are very nice and easy to use but a little small. A helmet only fits in the left hand side and it is a very tight fit.