The Honda VFR800i is capable and stable in any situation. Nimble enough for the road no matter how fast your mates are. One step more towards the touring camp than say, a CBR600F. 90% of the time that’s great but if the fast group on track days is your aim, a Honda VFR800i is probably not the best machine for you.
V-four layout is unusual – it’s more costly and no more powerful than the all-conquering in-line four. But the Honda VFR800i feels and sounds far more exciting and produces more grunt low in the rev range. Competitors like Triumph’s Sprint beat the Honda VFR800i for power and torque, though.
From the MCN forums...
Q. I have a Honda VFR800FI, a 1998 model. The front header pipe has snapped right at the point it joins to the cylinder head so I've had to invest in the whole downpipe collector unit.
I've never had my bike apart but I have a workshop full of tools and six mechanics to help me out so I should be all right, I've looked through Honda’s workshop manual and I can't find anything about the studs anywhere in it but I’ve heard I may need to replace them, how many do I need and what sizes?
Any other tips and advice on this would be great.
Jake, MCN forums.
A. It comes to all VFR800s sooner or later. If you buy a VFR without a stainless replacement chances are you'll be fitting one. It would be a good idea to replace the studs/nuts while you have the bike apart as they are not expensive, but the studs are only 6mm thick and snap oh so easily. If it was a rear cylinder one that snapped you would have the devil of a job replacing it.
The best bet is to carefully remove the exhaust nuts and leave the studs where they are if they are still serviceable, giving them a good clean. The old VFR400 NC21 had very tall stainless 10mm hex head cap nuts fitted to the front two downpipes as standard. Unlike a standard open-headed nut they don’t corrode as much.
See if you can pick them up from a grey import dealer or David Silver spares, and Copaslip them to avoid future seizures. We would also use new clamps and gaskets.
After all, it's a big job and if you fit a stainless system it will last forever, so you'll have peace of mind knowing you (hopefully) will never have to touch it again.
MarcusMarsh: I have a 1998 VFR800 with 38,000 miles on the clock and the suspension (and rear shock in particular) is past its best, so this winter it's time for refurbishment. I would like to take your opinion on a replacement rear shock. The choices I am looking at are either a new OE Honda shock, which I can source for just over £200 or a Hagon item at nearer £300. Is the Hagon worth the extra? I will be re-building the forks as well and will probably use Hagon springs for that.
kcmc: It really does depend on how you ride the bike. If you ride it at a sensible speed or a bit quicker, then the suspension is adequate. But as soon as you start push on, you have to set the rear shock up wrong to get it to work. The rear spring is too light (I think an extra kg would help here) so needs to be set at its hardest, which doesn't allow for any sag. If it's set one notch down it's too soft and will wallow like a pig (even with a new original shock). So if you ride hard, I would go for the best rear shock you can afford without breaking the bank. A Hagon shock is better than stock, but for another 100 quid or so I would fit a Maxton shock (www.maxton.netspinners.co.uk/). The forks are surprisingly good, but you can improve these also by fitting straight rate springs to replace the progressive type fitted. If you buy these and the shock off Maxton (and probably other manufacturers as well) they will match the springs to your fully clothed weight, so it all works a lot better.
MarcusMarsh: Thanks for the advice. Yes, I suppose I should have mentioned riding style. I'm 13.5 stone and use the bike for all things, including an annual tour of Spain (isn't that what VFRs are for?). I hardly ever carry a passenger and would describe my riding as brisk rather than full-on. I'll check out the Maxton site.
knightmoves: You may want to investigate fitting a Blade shock from a 929 or 954. You can pick up a second-hand one quite cheap and they have more adjustment then a stock VFR shock with only a bit of fabricating to do. (Try
vfr.html) When you have clicked on this link, click the first link on the question page. A 929 shock fits best as you don't have to modify the airbox
Not as good as people would have you believe – but still well above average. Rectifier issue (Honda’s Achillies heel) can cause the Honda VFR800i to stop, potentially with a boiling battery. Non-Honda units are cheap and solve the problem before it occurs – later Honda units also work well on the Honda VFR800i.
As it’s the pick of the Honda VFR750/800s used values are high. The later Honda VFR800 V-Tec model was heavier and needlessly complex. People know Honda VFR800is last and are happy paying top money for clean bikes, even with average or above mileages. At least you shouldn’t lose much when you sell. Find a Honda VFR800i for sale.
Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
Honda VFR800i carries rider and pillion better than most machines except dedicated tourers and some big trailies. Superb headlights and decent mirrors. Honda VFR800i centre stand is nice in these weight conscious days. Clocks include fuel gauge and ambient temperature – impressive for the time the Honda VFR800i was made.