HONDA VTR1000 FIRESTORM (1997 - 2005) Review
- A superb used buy
- Very popular with owners
- Spectacular V-twin engine
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£100|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The humble Honda VTR1000 Firestorm has become a superb used bet for those wanting a 100bhp thumper for getting their weekend thrills. Arguably less desirable than the Suzuki TL1000S and other late 90s booming V-Twins, the VTR is still worth considering.
Look past the lack of top-end and questionable fuel economy and it could well be the one for you. The first bikes rolled off the production line over 20-years-ago and now we're revisiting the Honda to see how it behaves today.
The original MCN Firestorm test
"There’s many a CBR600 owner who has stepped up to the VTR in full knowledge that those ignoring the Storm are over-wedged-up fools. Unless you fancy yourself in Colin Edwards' seat, the Storm really does offer more than enough." MCN, 2002.
What's the Honda VTR1000 Firestorm like now?
With a grunty power delivery that makes it a joy on the road, a VTR1000 is still a compelling conveyance. The 1997 bike below is in typical good used condition and has a strong engine and slick gearbox matched with brakes that could do with a rebuild and fuelling that could be improved with some dyno time to match the booming race cans.
Riding a Firestorm is all about surfing that glorious mid-range. With about 100bhp at the back wheel, it isn’t fast in the modern context and it grumbles and rumbles at low rpm. But when an engine makes such satisfying shunt between 4000 and 8000rpm you can forgive it anything.
It makes for an effective bike too – letting you bellow past lines of cars without changing gear, exhaust echoing as it passes. It may look conservative, but the Firestorm is anything but conventional.
It uses 90s-spec carbs (at 48mm the biggest ever fitted to a production bike) and has side-mounted radiators to help keep the wheelbase short to negate the inherent length of a V-twin. To help with this, the swingarm is mounted on the back of the engine rather than the frame.
The result is a bike that rolls from side-to-side, with little input needed to get it to change line. The problems start when it comes to holding that line. Like most 20-year-old bikes this Firestorm could do with, at minimum, a suspension service and, if you’re an enthusiastic rider, a rebuild.
The riding position is neutral, with enough weight on your wrists to help with feel, but not enough to stop you enjoying a day in the saddle. Early bikes were all-analogue and all the better for it, but later machines have a digital segment and a fuel gauge.
You can pick up a Firestorm in this condition for about £1900 on MCN Bikes For Sale, though you would need to put in some work/spend some money to get it working like it should. It’s worth putting the effort in though – it is an enjoyable bike, one that feels more special than most.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Some Honda VTR1000F Firestorm owners complain of the forks diving too much under heavy braking but, apart from that, it works a treat.
Handling is sharp yet forgiving, the brakes do a good enough job, it’s pretty comfortable (somewhere between sporty and relaxed) and the grunt provides huge fun. The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm is very stable at higher speeds yet easy to manoeuvre nearer a standstill, too.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Firestorm's engine is well tried and tested in a number of 1000cc Honda v-twins (such as the SP-2), it thunders out mountains of low to midrange grunt, powering through traffic or around corners. There’s less up top than a full-on sportsbike but the Honda VTR1000F Firestorm’s more of an all rounder and the engine does the job beautifully. The fuelling is absolutely seamless, even two decades later.
However, watch out for bikes with aftermarket exhausts and the baffles removed. This can cause 'pinking' or pre-detonation, and ultimately could kill your engine.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Ask the mechanic: Shaun Lock, After Sales Manager at Bridge Motorcycles
"They are becoming quite a collector’s item and for that reason they are generally very well looked after. They are strong bikes, but they are prone to a blown gasket where the rear downpipe joins to the rest of the exhaust.
"You need to take the exhaust system completely off and if the bolts are seized then it can be a big job. We are starting to see a lot of older bikes having a lot of money spent on them, as their values are starting to rise. I can’t remember the last one I saw that wasn’t well looked after.
"We do get a few of these bikes in, but not many. The Firestorm, SP-1 and SP-2 all have a similar engine, so you could almost categorise all of them into the same types of engine problems. However, the ones that we see are normally in for service, rather than a repair.
"The modification that people tend to spend a lot of money on for the Firestorm is the exhaust. I think the main brand I have seen is Micron, as when these bikes were new, they were all the rage.
"People also put belly pans on and, much like many other bikes, also modify the back ends to make the tail section a little bit smaller. Some will actually hacksaw the under-tray off and bolt the number plate directly to the remaining part.
"These bikes don’t tend to drink very much oil and have a reliable engine. I personally felt that the Storm wasn’t a very quick bike. They always handled well and were good coming out of corners, but were just a bit slow.
"Most are used for leisure, which is one of the reasons they remain in nice condition. They aren’t used as commuters, as when a bike ceases production and parts become harder to get, they are less suitable for this role.
"If you are going to ride this bike through the winter, then the whole engine and front of the exhaust is open to abuse from the salt on the road. That’s not common and certainly not down to the bike – if you take any half-faired bike out on the road at this time of year, you’ll have to wash it every day to keep it clean.
"The big service on this bike is at 16,000 miles, with regular intervals of 4000 miles for smaller ones. The big service will cost between £500 and £600 and includes valve clearances, throttle-body balancing, replacement spark plugs and a filter change. But put the effort in and this is a rewarding machine."
Honda VTR1000 Firestorm owners' reviews on MCN
With 34 Honda VTR1000 Firestorm owners' reviews on the site right now and an overall score of 4.4 stars out of 5, the Firestorm has been a very popular bike with buyers.
As with many bikes of this sort of vintage, the main drawback appears to be in its level of equipment - but you have to balance that with the price of the bike you're buying.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Honda Firestorms are great value and there are plenty of bargains to be found. Perhaps because they were never really regarded as "sexy" they were largely overlooked, hence some bargain machinery being available.
If you're in the market for an old-school V-twin sportsbike, you should also consider the Aprilia RSV1000 Mille or, if you've got deeper pockets, a Ducati 916. But the most common comparison is the Suzuki TL1000S.
Honda VTR1000 vs Suzuki TL1000S
Twenty years ago the world had gone V-twin crazy, whipped up by World Superbikes, Carl Fogarty and Ducati. Each year, 100,000 people packed into Brands Hatch to watch these exotic, booming beautiful twins wipe the floor with the Japanese fours and it created a frenzy of desire for lolloping, torquey sportsbikes.
Ducati just couldn’t build bikes fast enough to satisfy demand – and such were the demands on their cash-flow that their success nearly bankrupted them.
All this meant it was the perfect time for a Japanese invasion into the V-twin world. We’d already seen Yamaha dip a toe in the water with its faux-twin TRX850 in 1996, but it was under-suspended and under-powered. But a year later Suzuki and Honda put their money where their mouth was to take on Ducati at their own game.
Meet the Suzuki TL1000S and the Honda VTR1000 Firestorm: road-going sportsbikes developed without racing in mind and a key design brief to just be grunty, loud and bloody fast on the road. With their half fairings and confident styling they look similar, but their stories and level of success couldn’t have been more different.
Both used new tech ideas to make up for the added length that a V-twin configuration gives, but while the Firestorm was a good seller, the TL1000S gained a reputation as a slap-happy widowmaker to earn it a place in motorcycling’s hall of infamy.
The VTR is a different proposition to the Suzuki – softer, squidgy and less aggressive. The view of your clocks isn’t framed by a fairing brace, the clip-ons sit above the top yoke rather than below and the soft seat promises miles of comfort. The forks aren’t fully adjustable inverted items like the TL, the front brake discs are smaller, and the footrests much lower.
So, despite the ally semi-trellis frame, despite the twin pipes poking up at a provocative angle, and despite the Italianate styling, the Honda has more than a whiff of VFR about it. For some, that would have been a great attraction – a VFR has never had a reputation for spearing off into the nearest hedge – and the build quality embarrasses the Suzuki too.
The engine is lumpier, and gruntier. Despite sharing identical bore and stroke figures to the TL, it revs slower and lower and it’s all over by 8000rpm. This one’s slightly less happy at low revs too, so while you have rev-range to play with, it delivers midrange grunt in the kind of satisfying accessible manner that despatches lines of cars at the merest twist of the throttle.
Then, as now, the Firestorm is the better bike for sensible road riding. The chassis has a more linear rate of turn, the engine works better in the middle, and the riding position would be good enough for 1000-mile day.
Even though those huge carbs sluice fuel into the cylinders and drain the 16-litre fuel tank at an alarming rate, for many it was the better, more usable choice.
The Honda is still a deceptively-fast, desirable motorcycle. Thrumming along in higher gears, it shows its true colours and is only a suspension rebuild away from being a brilliant road bike. It hasn’t got the soul of the Suzuki, but it also hasn’t got its eccentricities.
Both of these bikes have stood the test of time, but for different reasons. The TL1000S is an intoxicating, muscular bike that has the charisma and soul to be a modern classic.
It may be heavy and slow-steering, but you can’t help but marvel at how effective, handsome and important it feels 20 years on. Buying one now is a great idea – they are only going to go up in value.
As for the Firestorm, it a lovely bike, but just doesn’t have the excitement or cachet of the TL. It’s a brilliant road bike and a machine that can be turned into something more special with a few choice mods. And at the price they are right now, they make a very astute used buy.
The Honda VTR1000 Firestorm seat’s a little bit hard, but fairly comfy, whilst the fairing provides some good protection against the elements. The clocks are dominated by a huge, analogue rev counter plus there’s an analogue speedo and digital screen with fuel reserve, clock etc.
Extras on the Honda VTR1000 Firestorm included heated grips, luggage and a rear hugger, but compared to modern day bikes they're pretty basic, as you'd expect.
|Engine type||8v V-twin, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||19 litres|
|Front suspension||Preload and rebound|
|Rear suspension||Preload and rebound|
|Front brake||Twin 296mm discs|
|Rear brake||220mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||35 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£100|
|Used price||£1,900 - £6,800|
14 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||97 bhp|
|Max torque||64 ft-lb|
|Top speed||144 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||11.8 secs|
|Tank range||146 miles|
Model history & versions
1997: Honda VTR1000F Firestorm launched.
1999: Honda VTR1000F Firestorm gets new, silver wheels.
2001: An overhaul increased Honda VTR1000F Firestorm's fuel capacity to 19 litres, raised the bars for a more upright riding position and installed a new HISS security system. There were also minor tweaks with both suspension and carb/ignition settings plus the dash was redesigned and new, smaller indicators installed. Black wheels.
2005: Honda VTR1000F Firestorm discontinued.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA VTR1000 FIRESTORM (1997 - 2005)
38 owners have reviewed their HONDA VTR1000 FIRESTORM (1997 - 2005) 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:||£100|
Annual servicing cost: £250
This was the best bike I have ever owned. The noise with a set of cans, the engine, position, everything just fitted. I moved up from a CBR6, and found the VTR great in every way.Over the years I owned it I fitted a Scorpion exhaust system, Dynojet and K&N, dropped the yokes down the forks 10 mm and changed the springs and oil in the front suspension. I also had a repsol type paint job done when I managed to drop it and scratch the bodywork.I toured, commuted, track days and just general fun for many miles.When I sold it I bought an R1, which was faster, but I never quite got the mile after mile smiles the VTR gave me.I am sitting here thinking it is maybe time I found myself another one.
Ride quality was great, even when I made the steering angle sharper dropping the yokes, it always behaved and never had a nervous front.the tank range meant it was never a problem on riding position even when touring, you got a break every 100 - 120 miles.
Smooth, refined and grunt - what more needs to be said
I dropped a star as I did have some fueling issues, common on the early ones for sure. It was called 'spit back' and was effectively a cough in the carb at low revs. It would typically stall the bike and lock up the back wheel. It only ever did it at snails pace, but alarming the first few times. It did mean, however, that I perfected the clutch in, jump off pegs, v-twin bump start
it was main dealer service for me at the time, but would be cheaper now.It wasn't the most fuel efficient!
Everything worked as it should
Buying experience: Bought from Fowlers in Bristol, one of the first they had sold when it was new out. Enjoyed the experience, they looked after me well.
Annual servicing cost: £50
incredible value, highly underrated bike. i constantly tell people to buy one. i have two and would not hesitate to buy more. i have ducatis and the vtr is right there with them. it is such a great bike.
the sound is incredible. nothing like a v twin
just keep going and going
exhaust to let the sound out
Buying experience: bought mine used and they were a bargain.
Annual servicing cost: £20
Been ride motorcycles for 45 years since I was 16. I have 2 on the road at this time, a VFR800 VTEC, which I have modified (28lb weight loss), and love it. The VTR I have had now for 4 years, and she is just so much fun to ride. It has only 15,000 on it. I think the the front forks have been modded as I find them almost perfect, if a tad on the stiff side. Other mod's, manual CCT, MOFFET rectifier, Pyramid belly pan, and as the it was the 1st modal, I put VFR800 handle bars on it, so much more comfortable to ride. The standard exhaust cans made the foot pegs buss a bit at around 5,000 rev. I have made my own can's and no buss and not to loud, and pulls now into the red. It did have straight through stubby MTC's on it, which was offensively loud. Would I sell it, no, not until I can't ride any more (62 now).
Stuck in traffic is not what this one like, so I use the VFR. It is a long legged bike, so loves the fast swoopy roads. I don't take passengers on it and no insured to.
The engine is the best part of this bike.
It is a Honda, so mostly all good. the CCT's were already fitted when I brought it, and they are a must to be changed. The R/R had to be replaced. The main problem, and it is a killer, it the side stand electrics. At 1st the engine would cut out after about 40 miles. Would restart after letting to cool down for 10 minutes. Over the years it got worse, and after checking everything, I fitted a new CDI and ECU, but no change. It anded up so bad, that it almost killed me. The engine cut out in the 4th lane were 2 motorways merge, and I was stuck leaning against the centre armco with can whizzing past with a fer inches to spare. I sat there for over 10 minutes before it would fire up. It turned out to be were the side stand switch plugs into the wiring harness under the seat. Well that has been removed and the loom soldered together. Never missed a beat since. There is a very useful Forum, that has very knowledgeable members - VTR1000.ORG
I do all my own work being an mechanical engineer.
I fitted RoadSmart Donlop tyres to it, and seem perfect for it
Buying experience: Private and had only 12,500 on it
I love the engine on this bike. That V-twin pull and exhaust note (not sure my neighbours agree!). It’s easy to work on even as a very novice home mechanic. On the flip side mine can be unpredictable with starting if not correctly set up right. I’m working on it though.
I’ve been comfortable and uncomfortable on it. Easily commute the 25 miles to work. You can only get 100-120 miles out of a tank of fuel which is perfect for having a few minutes leg stretch. I have a pillion occasionally and she said 3 out of 5 stars. Long distance not so comfortable. I’ve also used it on track and found the handling to be good for my ability.
The engine is quality. Quick, responsive and engine braking is great.
Honda build quality. It’s done 17 years on mostly original parts. Just starting to replace bits now. Carburettor pilot screw is hard to get to without the right (expensive) tool.
I’ve learned to service it myself to keep costs down but a service kit can be around £70-100
I run Bridgestone BT-023s and find these work well even with a pillion. Done about a 1000 miles on them so far. First come with much as standard but easy to add things to. Changing to Manual cam chain tensioners a must!
Buying experience: I paid £2000 4 years ago. Easy buy and swapped my sv650 for it.
Just the character and feel just perfect
Annual servicing cost: £100
My second Firestorm...I've owned this one for four years...each time I ride it I can't believe how much I like this bike! Can't imagine another that would give you that glorious V twin sound and overall comforrt for the same money. Just great.
Despite a lot of negatives, I like the handling, ride and brakes. I'm no Marquez, but the bike has never caused me to squirm no matter how hard I push it. Suspension works fine for me, brakes are pin sharp too. Folks complain about the tank range, but I get 3 hours riding out of a tankful, by which time I need a pit stop anyways.
V Twin. 1000cc. 100 hp ...need I say more? Pulls like a train from tickover, smooth powerband, bags of grunt. Aftermarket hi level Jardine system makes an awesome sound, both on acceleration and overrun. Love the strong engine braking...rarely need to use the back brake.
Only major upgrade that I've done is fit manual Cam Chain Tensioners. I DIY job, but follow the instructions to the letter! Plenty of help on the fourm for this though. Apart from a Reg/Rec replacement the bike has never let me down. Even at 17 years old, the bike looks like a 2 year old. No corrosion, no flaking, paintwork is mint.
Just an oil and filter change each year, plus the upgrades, no other work really needed....just start and go!
No fuel guage, but a fuel light is good enough. Rev counter and speedo...what else do you need? I run Pilot tyres and they are good on the bike....no scares so far. I removed the pillion hangers and prefer the look as a single seater.
Buying experience: I bought this bike when I lived in Canada and loved it so much I shipped it back to the UK with me! Paid equivalent of around £2,500. Worth every penny. Bike is mint.
Annual servicing cost: £68
Plenty of low down torque but too easily stalled in low gear slow speeds around town.
Riding on the open road is great but the bike tends to make the ball of the thumbs numb when ridden in town as all the weight is on the wrist, thumbs.
Once you get used to the stroke of the engine it's faultless, but it takes a wee while to get to grips with the power outlay, particularly around town.
Front end too soft under stress, brakes are excellent and ride position is very comfortable.
You have to keep on top of the brake calliper maintenance as it can be costly to replace all those seals and pots.
I find that tyres with a hard centre and a medium side work best for the VTR1000 F, also dyno jetting the carbs and fitting aftermarket cans make a vast improvement to the top end power delivery.
Buying experience: I bought privately for £2000 for my VTR with less than 16000 miles and a full service history, very good value bike and definitely under rated and overlooked.
Annual servicing cost: £100
A qualifier for the 5th star - the suspension on both ends has to be re-valved, with stiffer front springs added to get the most out of this bike. Once that is done, this thing really rides and handles well.
Suspension works well, but you'll never get top performance from the stock set up. Brakes do what they are supposed to and have good feel.
Killer torque, sounds fabulous with aftermarket cans!
Anyone who has a VTR1000 is always hoping the R&R and the CCT's hang in there...
Keep the oil changed and the air filter clean - easy.
V-Twin Hondacati. All the fun with a quarter of the maintenance.
Best feature: engine! Lot of torque Worst feature: front suspension is too soft and it also affects the braking
Great bike to ride. Mine is in excellent condition with only 5k on the clock. Love the v-twin power delivery. Plenty of torque. Handles well. Overall a great bike - just a shame about the tank range.
Nice power delivery. Plenty quick enough. Standard exhausts don't sound great though in my opinion.
No problems with mine.
Carburettor model, a tank of fuel only lasts about 100-115 miles. Makes me think twice about long journeys.
Annual servicing cost: £140
This is my first V-Twin having owned most other variants over my twenty nine years of biking it was a box I had to tick. After much deliberation with my myself and my bank manager (no Ducati) I opted for the Firestorm. Unlike the typical Japanese sewing machine like fuel injected in-line four, this engine has character and a bit of soul! The grumble from the Scorpion system at idle is impressive, roll off the the throttle at low revs and it gurgles farts and pops, lovely! I`m not sure what they run like on the standard carb exhaust set up and how the fuelling is but my experience is all good. You can plod along in first gear at tick over in heavy traffic. If you give it a big handful the front will lift and 2nd gear tops out at 85 just under the redline. There is no point in redlining this bike in any gear as it runs out of grunt above 7500rpm. Overtaking is effortless and stress free in any gear just twist and go! Its not a quick turning bike but the handling to me feels neutral and stable and lighter than my FZ6 at lower speeds. Its never going to lead the fast group on the twisties but you can keep up with R1`s and the like as long as the road ahead has a long straight! Easy to service and I`ve had no issues after 4000 miles. Paint is still gleaming at 15 years old. Comfort is good for me especially as I`m a short arse with long arms. I've got a double bubble screen and I`ve done a couple of 500 mile plus trips with no complaints except the numb bum every 150 miles or thereabouts. Easy big bike for someone coming up from a 600 no nasty surprises pulls the same in every gear with no need to chase the surge! Honda quality good all round road bike with character. Great value for money in my humble :)
Neutral centralised handling with planted solid cornering. You can get away with a little back brake mid corner and will go lower on its side than you would believe for this type of bike. Lots of grunt for powering out of corners although the back end can squat a bit (standard rear shock) but never felt unsafe. Brakes are good enough most of the time but the front brake is too powerful for the standard front suspension set up. The initial plunge is scary! Once you know its going to happen you try not to brake so hard.
Lots of grunt all the time just don't red line
Not a single issue over a year and 4000 miles. Paint, forks, swingarm and frame all look like almost new some minor corrosion on adjuster bolts on the swingarm but no where else.
Oil filters plugs fluid pads obviously its going to vary.
Poor fuel tank and range no gauge no panniers high exhaust.
Annual servicing cost: £85
I would undoubtedly recommend the VTR to any of my friends seeking a high powered sports ride comfortable enough for the older rider
For a sports bike, the riding position doesnt feel as though you are trying to get your ankles behind your neck, as so many do! Although no sissybar fitted as standard and the fact the seat hump (for solo riding) makes it awkward to fit one means your pillion is forever sliding down the seat. Cool if its some bike loving bit of fluff you take for a spin... However not so cool if its the wife and your on a long run to a festival etc...
What can I say.... Its a legendary Honda V-Twin and provided any mods are matched and shared equally between tuning, sound and spark delivery it performs at least as well as you would expect it to, under all conditions.
Thats self servicing and doesnt include tyre wear, as that would be difficult to in clude on a year in-out basis! Also if I had to have a grouch about running cost it would be only that I don't find it particularly fuel efficient... eg: at 108ppl £18 equates to 100miles.... So not too bad considering you have 1000cc engine under the tank! Just being picky through lack of any major issues to mention lol
Annual servicing cost: £100
After 10 years off 2 wheels (GSXR 750 slingshot was the last bike) I decided I wanted something cheap and cheerful that would not spit me off due to lack of practice. A 17 year old bike... Cheap, Yes.. £1250. Cheerful, smiles all round. The engine is brilliant, I short shift a lot and it just keeps going. 2 up with a 100KG mate over the mountain during the TT was a joy. By myself it was a blast, I was by no means the fastest and certainly no where near the slowest. Diablo cans make it sound wonderful, a blip of the throttle and everyone looks to see what made the BOOM..
Front suspension was a bit soft for me so a stiffer spring kit was fitted and forks raised 8MM which made it much better. Rear needed to be softened and also jacked up by 6MM. much better riding position and handling. Too stiff a rear and the rear tyre loses grip when the engine fires you out of a corner... Fun to certain extent.. Tyres get shredded though. . A full set of braided hoses, calliper service and Brembo pads transformed the brakes from adequate to V good.
Engine is awesome.. it has grunt to spare and as I short shift it suits my style... That's said it runs out of steam at the top end. Not a problem 99% of the time but at the TT I could keep up with newer bikes in the twisty's and corners but any fast straights I was simply out gunned.. not the bikes fault at all but did leave me feeling deflated.. but it only cost 1/10th of the bikes my mates have so overall I am very very happy..
So far totally reliable. I have Manual Cam Chain tensioners ready to fit this winter. Rear hugger has kept most of the muck off the rear shock and linkages but one linkage is within MM of the rear exhaust header pipe and was seized solid. it didn't cost much for new bearings and seals and nothing for the bearings to be pressed out as I have a hydraulic press (they went with a bang). The rear sub frame was slightly corroded where it goes wheel side of the rear plastics, £25 for a spare from Ebay and £10 to have it powder coated has sorted that out. Front fork stanchions where showing their age so were painted when the fork springs were replaced. Starter is in direct firing line of the front wheel so can get damaged, corroded. terminals need cleaning periodically to get the best out of it
Less than 100 to service, I do it myself and keep all receipts. A family of mechanics. Fuel economy is no worse than any other bike, the small tank makes it seem worse.
Plenty of aftermarket parts available. Belly Pan gives it a much more sporty look. I have a custom seat that's sculpted and has lettering stitched into it. looks lovely. Rear grab rail is a must for pillions, engine breaking will have them head-butting the rider without. Rear hugger, looks great and keeps things clean. LED rear light replaces the twin bulb OEM, uses less power and does not suffer blown bulbs. Clear lens also looks better than the red OEM one. Top yoke is a rough aluminium cast affair. £10 from EBay for another and polished it, the Honda logo is 'engraved' so it has been filled with the same red paint as the bike, looks much better. Makes the bike looks more expensive. Stainless bolts replace many of the 'blued' and corroded OEM ones. (no anodised bolts for me, looks cheap in my opinion)
Buying experience: Cost £1250. Bought privately, History check came back clear. Its a very clean example with 22k on the clock. It looks almost new after being stripped and various components replaced, Painted or polished.
Version: '99 V reg Smaller tank Carbed
Hmm, maybe just me,but although it's a great day to day bike and i'd been lead to believe it was brilliant, it just wasn't the bike for me. Good mid-range grunt,handling ok,brakes ok, but it didn't endear itself to me,or blow me away. That said,it was functional and did the job with reasonable standard brakes. Mine was immaculate and i mean immaculate...but standard! For me, it needs all the extras to get the best out of it: New pipe,power tweaks,braided lines,but especially decent shock and i'd suggest linear springs! If you're buying,get one with the bits already on.
Brakes ok,but upgrades won't hurt. Ride ok,but even though it's not an outright racer,it became achy on the wrists and butt after a few miles;Not a bike i'd like to tour on and bar risers might help along with a comfier seat. This may just be me; yes i managed to get it quite low on the bends,but standard, i just could not get it 'dialled in' to my liking,always feeling it wasn't quite right...too jittery on the front. I've no doubt with a decent rear shock,linear springs and set up properly,it would transform the bike, but Honda should have done a better job with the standard set up.
Good grunty engine,lifts the front up at will for grin factor :) uses a little oil,but no issues,although i'd heard of a few probs with Reg/rectifier and water pump, but the main thing everyone will warn you about on these,are the dreaded Cam tensioner issues. Don't risk it,fit manual tensioners,or machine the originals...it can be done!
Front forks 'pit' easily. Tank range woeful. Fill up every 100miles to be on the safe side. Needs to be pampered and waxed to avoid it becoming shabby. Only issue,it needed carbs cleaned and balanced.
Regular fill-ups a pain and not great on juice. Use super unleaded.
Had Avon Storms,which were ok'ish. Wet...take it easy,they snatch away. Same when cold and need warming up. Great in hot weather. Battlax were recommended,but can't comment personally.
Buying experience: Paid a fair price...it was a low-mileage minter. They can be had pretty cheap,so bargains about.
I guess I liked it when I first saw but fell in love when it heared it running(with Leo Vince Exhausts!).Looks awesome for 1998 year bike, good handling for newbie biker like me. Fairing and windshield(bulk or double bulk) protect you from wind/elements. Riding at rain or heavy wind is no problem also, side radiators keep your legs nice and warm. Powerful but a bit thirsty V-twin with only 16L tank is the only minus I would add.
I bought one of these Honda V-twins five years ago on a bit of a whim, it was yellow with full fairings, and impressed me with the savage low down grunt. All of these years later, it still brings a smile to my face. I put it up for sale two days ago due to the recent acquisition of a twin axle caravan for family holidays, and the small detail of owing the radiant Mrs. Sherry a not insignificant few pounds she lent me towards the cost of same purchase. I jumped it two days hence, as the battery was flattened by the HISS since I last took it out six months ago, and drove it back to town where we live from my farm buildings where it is permanently garaged. Boy, does the VTR1000 bring a smile to your face. It has enormous low down grunt, coupled with fantastic engine braking, and is hugely responsive to all minimal inputs by the rider. I'm sorry to see it go, but wifey is secretly thrilled, because she knows it could be a serious 'widow maker' given the speed it is capable of, and because of course it doesn't have airbags like her Vauxhall Insignia SRI which has greater than 50% more horsepower. :) Some posters have commented on the front end 'diving' under hard braking, but my experience is that intelligent reading of the road ahead nullifies this, in the same sense that a pilot will never fly through airspace his brain hasn't visited previously. The feedback this twin gives is hugely rewarding, in large part due to its responsiveness, and also the soundtrack it gives under both acceleration, and perhaps even more under fuel starvation when slowing down for a bend. The Firestorm is pure 'grunt', and prefers country, to city or town.
read these reviews and they all seem pretty spot on. What a superb bike for getting from corner to corner. It goes round corners pretty well but boy does it pull out of them so well and the engine braking and general brakes (same as a fireblade but thicker discs) means entering corners ain't to bad either. The comments re range are very true anything much over 100 miles and I am looking out for a petrol station. The cam chain tensioners are a weak point as is the rectifier (see other reviews) but the grunt of the engine means acceleration and overtaking are world class and comparable with even the latest superbikes. Getting a bit older now but for a true performance bike you would get a awful lot for your money from a firestorm. ps. the hard acceleration can be a bit wearing on rear tyres but modern sports/touring compounds mean that milages are reasonable.
ive always loved big v twins ive had my tl 1000s for 14 years now and at the moment its going through a café racer build. thing is its taking ages to do and I needed another twin. luckily a lad at work had 1998 vtr for sale it was a snap at £1325 I took it for a blatt around the moores and was very happy with its performance. this baby is staying with me. theres more than enough power for road use and it delivers it quickly. for an old bike its still mountains of fun.you can keep your R1s and the like i'm sticking with v twins. :o)
I have been on the lookout for a decent budget priced V Twin for a while and was most impressed with the Firestorm out of all the bikes I tried. The one I settled on is a 2003 model and has a very smooth delivery and I was very taken at how well it handled in traffic and when cornering. I have been previously riding CBR600's and I must say the Firestorm just feels and handles better. I am only a short ass but the bike does not feel large at all, in fact it feels easier than my last CBR600. The only hang ups I can find is that it can be a little thirsty and also it is not fuel injected but the carbs are enormous anyway so these are only minor issues as far as I am concerned. Excellent value for money, would highly recommend.
I swapped my first Storm for a cruiser as I am quite a shorty, but found myself wanting another, so once I had a Harley sitting in my garage it was time for a second bike for work, I bought a Speed 4 but found that Triumph yet again wanted £600 to service the bike, so I swapped it for my storm, and I'm glad to have another. The Storm isn't perfect, you need to change the Cam chain tensioners ASAP, sometimes the original last years, sometimes not, but when they do go, the pistons meet valves and its an expensive fix, the cure is manual cam chain tensioners, which take a couple of hours and with the instructions from Vtr1000.org you can permnantley fix this potential engine in bin experience. Also the regulator should be changed if it isnt a finned version as Smooth Honda version burn out and leave you stranded by the road. What can i say about this bike, well it handles good, the engine is really nice, and unlike other Honda motorcycles has character, I love the look of the bike and for the money its a lot of bike. My only moan is the storm can be heavy around town in low speed. So if you on a budget and want a big bike then the storms a good contender, just get those cam chain tensioners done or find one already done.
Ive had 3 pre Vtec VFRs, 2 800s and a 750. I bought a 2005 VTR1000 a few months ago and I'm so glad I didn't go another VFR. As great as the VFRs are this VTR is so much more nimble and fun to ride. The noticeably lighter weight, stiffer frame and more grunt make it a much better sport tourer as apposed to the VFR tourer sport. It's comfortable and that V2 engine is a grunt factory. It's a little thirsty around town but it's sounds so good with the staintune pipes on it I don't care. Keep the air filter standard or tuned to suit or suffer a rough engine. Overall a fantastic, fun and capable sport tourer, highly recommended.
just got my firestorm from ebay ,sold my bmw r80 rt for £880 a 1986. 56k on the clock and got the storm for £900 , it has a few cracks on the fairing with 25k on the clock a 1997. only been over hart side the motor just keeps pulling , engin breaking is so good you hardley need to use the breaks hard. well worth a trip to ebay.
Ive only had mine a week so its a very early on review but here goes...ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I picked up a '97 plate in the best colour (Red)and have enjoyed every second on it so far. Coming from an Gixxer 750 the engine is phenomenal, it has so much grunt from idle and sounds lovely even on the original exhausts. Brakes are top notch (although mine has braided hoses fitted) and it doesnt feel anywhere near as heavy as it feels. Girlfriend absolutely loves riding pillion and with the grabrail fitted Ive got loads of room even with her on the back. Its got the lower fairing fitted which makes it a lot more sporty looking. Fuel economy is dire but then maybe I should slow down a touch. In all, great bike for very little money!
I have ridden for 18 years and do highish mileages (12k a year) and everyone said I needed a VFR. Bollocks. I went out and brought a 'Storm from e-bay of all places. Even now equivalent VFRs cost twice the price and have double the mileage. For what? Crapy linked brakes and a dangerous VTEC thing. And they're slower. And heavier. Mine goes like stink and does all you could reasonably expect of any bike. Problems in all year riding? It coughs, it needs cunning to start on a cold morning (use less choke..) and the tank range is truly shit. Plus points? Is there any bike with more character and all day / all year usability? I doubt it. And, at 5'8" I can get on it! ART exhausts are stunning, lower fairing a must. Bar risers work well (add about 2cm but well worth it) Last but not least - starter motor connections corrode. Early CBR600 one fits (I think it is the same) and is £25 on fleabay (£125+ for 'Storm ones). Stiffer fork springs are my next project. What next? A newer one of course. I LOVE THIS BIKE.
It's a very nice on the open road, sticks to the road pretty well, and has very easy to use power, even in the wet. It's a gent and at the same time very fast. In town and heavy traffic I found it hard work, the heavier the traffic the harder the task. It's really not nimble enough for central London traffic as it's got a lot of momentum once it gets going and it just doesn't feel right suddenly nipping in and out of traffic (I used to be a dispatch rider, so I realise a lot of other sane people probably don't do this), but outside zone 1 it's a lot easier to manage as the traffic isn't so dense and there's fewer annoying scooter riders. Personally, I found the extreme riding position would give me pins and needles in my hands after about 20 mins of riding without being able to take my hands off the bars (often the case in London where you jump to the front of the traffic and need to be ready to go as soon as the lights go green). If I stopped a lot more and took my hands off the bars it would be fine. This is something I'd suggest checking before you buy as for me it was a deal breaker when I couldn't feel my fingers!
Had my 2000 Firestorm since the start of this summer, clocked up just shy of 1000 social miles. Having had a SV650S for 4 years previously, the Firestorm doesn't disappoint. The low down grunt is phoenominal, with more than enough to catapult you into next year from between 2 and 6k revs. If I was to mark the Firestorm down on anything, it is obviously not a light sportsbike, so can be a bit heavy going into the corners, but makes up for it pulling out again. Also, the tank on the pre 2001 model is too small for a weekend thrasher, generally returning about 110 miles before cowering out and having to stop for fuel. Long range is a bit better, but with no fuel guage other than a little LED, it can be a bit of a guessing game. Generally a great big V-Twin, comfortable and capable, and great value for money.
After riding in line fours for 9 years i have finally changed to a honda firestorm v twin and totally love it. Gone are the days you have to rev the tits off the engine to get the best out of it. Just wind the throttle back and short shift through the gears and you will hit treble figure speeds in an instant. I was a bit concerned about the fuelling after reading up but its not what i first thougt! The tank is small but only costs £12.50 to fill up, 13.5 litres and then 2.5 in reserve totalling 16l, not much but after testing for mpg on several swift ride outs the big twin is hitting between 35 and 40 mpg which is no different to most bikes. The fun factor on this honda is second to none and with a set of booming cans it just makes you want to ride it more. Ihave a set of hand made exhausts on but have had to put baffles in as too loud but still sounds the mutts nuts. Handling is good after the rear had a few tweaks and nothing scrapes now, knee down is a doddle even with high set giles rearsets. You can grab a bargain if you look hard and will get alot of bike for your dosh, most owners look after their storms.GREAT BIKE I cant rate this bike enough
After 15 yrs of riding this is my first Honda, I'm usually a kawasaki girl...but the modern Kawasaki's are too high for my short ass.... I got rid of both my other bikes for this, a Kawasaki GPZ900r & a Ducati m900..... The Vtr's brakes are better than my GPZ's and the bikes aLOT lighter! As for the Monster well anything is an improvement on that, as countless niggles and electrical problems plagued the bike.... Dunno if this review helped you must but thats life....
I bought one as my first big bike and absolutely loved it. It was an impulse purchase - no research, no clue. Total lucky break. Idiot proof to ride. Had 40k miles on it and I had to get cam chain tensioners done but after that little or no maintenance necessary. Narrow and good looking - sleek and and turned heads. Put Remus Revolution cans on it, removed the baffles and it sounded like rolling thunder. Twist and GO in any situation. Made a sportsbike newbie like me look very good indeed. Try one - you won't be disappointed. Got pinched. Shopping for a Falco now.
i got this bike in may-its just great fun,reasonably quick,brakes brill,looks good with full bodykit and high level silencers.the only thing bad about is the way it always takes me to fill it up,it should come with a "danger to wallet" sign on the throttle-still, the fun outways the cost.possibly the most enjoyable bike i have owned-only reliability snag i have had was the reg/rectifier went mental whilst a half hour ride from home.other trhan this its been 100% reliable.
What can i say, i got my Firestorm in the summer, its my first bike and i love it. The cons first: Had a problem in the rain, i think its fixed now but water was getting into some of the wiring! Not Good, engined died when i was overtaking on the single carriageway. Seat isnt the comfiest and when two up its not very comfy at all. Doesnt like third gear in a thirty too much and slow riding is not its strong point. Gears can be a bit clunky but are ok. Ok Pros: Apart from those minor points (which are only my experience) this bike is fun fun fun. First the sound is brilliant, the V-Twin roar sends the hairs on your back a standing and any passer by to the hospital with fright. The low range pull is exceptional, merely overtaking is the best part however, caution it doesnt take long to hit excessive speed without realising, it is very decieving on speed. The handling is typical Honda, easy and fun, forgiving as well. You can crank it open in 2nd and up and the bike wont lift, well possibly will in 2nd but will in first once hits higher revs. Overall this bike is worth the money by far. I am reluctant to trade in for a bigger bike. The petrol is dumped on but realistically sitting staedy i get 40mpg easily and full tank about 120-130 miles. Reserve light is good as well and dials are nice and big. I would really recommend one of these to anyone they are spectacular. God Bless
So many people plump for the Fireblades and other across the frame fours, but I dont think many of them are actually much cop on the road. They're just too extreme. The Firestorm is a great balance of power, torque and handling. Soft enough not to chuck you out of the saddle when you hit a piece of gravel, fast and stable enough for some top grins. Then there's the wheelies... crackin. The tank is too small but with average use the consumption isn't that bad. I've had two and am now onto a Buell Lightning... which I love... but if they made a new VTR with fuel injection and some funky styling, I could be tampeted to grab another. Oh yeah, I marked the reliability down because I did have some issues after 4 years and 40k miles. Overall, very good for the road. If you do a bunch of track days, buy something else, as well.
I have been lucky enough to have owned some of the most extreme bikes to have ever hit the british roads. From an R1 to a Hayabusa, Blackbird, ZX12r, ZX636r and even a single cylinder CCM supermoto, but I would strongly advise any two wheeled petrol head to spend at least a month on a V-Twin. The firestorm may not have the top end power of an R1, but my god they are still fun! This is the 1st bike I can use ALL of the power on normal roads. Just returned from Magny Course and had no problems both with bike and comfort. Sounds the dogs through any tunnel and lifts the front wheel in 3rd. Love-in-it! Strengths: Grunt, Sound, Confidence Inspiring. Weaknesses: People moan about small tank, but I still got 115 miles to a tank...so cannot think of any weaknesses.
Stonking engine. I am in the process of trying to sharpen the handling. At present it is a bit of a raft. Strengths: Grunt. Weaknesses: Tank range.
Be careful ... once you ride a V twin its hard to ride anything else ... and the Firestorm is well worth riding! Comfort, sound and ability are all strengths, just bear in mind you are on a Jap' V Twin not an Italian one ... not quite the street presence but almost all the fun ... buy one as a 1st twin, enjoy it and move onwards and upwards after a couple of seasons ... make sure you buy a 2001 onwards to get a bigger tank though ... Strengths: Sound / Torque / Rideability / Reliability. Weaknesses: General corrosion on various parts ... keeping it clean helps ...
Came from a zx6r to this bike. I only use it at weekends, but what a great toy! Quick, reliable, easy to ride and cheap to insure. What more do you need for the road?! Strengths: Its a Honda , nuff said. Weaknesses: Thirsty engine and small tank, bad combination.
My Ducati900ss made me fall in love with twins. My Honda superhawk996 made me fall in love again. I will never go back to a four again. My first love was tempermental, like an exotic mistress, many valve adjustments, weird electrical problems,and the list grows. I vowed never to go back. But the thought of going back to a four killed me! My superhawk is like as trouble-free as an asian wife. I have 17,000 miles on her and she still serves me humbly. Strengths: The best streetable power, a nice torque curve and 100 horse power. Enough growl to set off car alarms and turn heads. Great durability, my bikes been dumped more than a weight watchers' diet plan, and everything's still o.k. Weaknesses: It has an anorexic gas range. Until it overcomes that it can't be the best sport tourer on the market. Really is a shame Honda couldn't see it.