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Forgotten heroes

Published: 24 February 2014

Updated: 20 November 2014

Honda VTR1000 Firestorm
Honda’s Firestorm is a bike that has lived its life under the radar, which is a shame because this V-twin is a lovely bike that once tried is not easily forgotten.

Using a 996cc 90-degree V-twin engine the Firestorm is not a naked SP-1 (Honda’s homologation special appeared three years after the Firestorm) but instead is a semi-faired sports tourer that is remarkably agile and excellent fun to ride. Although it does have a few irritations…

Initially Honda armed the Firestorm with a tiny 16-litre tank, something that increased in volume in the 2001 update to 19-litres. Although bigger this still only gives around 110 miles tank range as the V-twin is pretty thirsty, averaging 25-36mpg. On a bike as comfortable as the Firestorm this was quite an error by Honda and was a major factor in why the Firestorm failed to make it to mainstream popularity.

However if you can look over this annoyance you will discover a bike that is absolutely brilliant at going about its day to day business while providing enough performance to amuse if not intimidate. Get the V-twin spinning and it has a reasonable turn of pace, not fast like a TL or Ducati, but still certainly not a slouch.
And the chassis backs this up.

Like the engine the handling is sporty without being over the top, allowing you to enjoy the ride without feeling the urge to go bananas. By now you are looking at a 15-year old second hand bike, so the suspension will probably be well beyond its best, but with a price tag in the area of £1,500 you should have some cash left in the bank to sort this out.

View Firestorms for sale here

Insurance isn’t too bad either, for a 1998 Firestorm you’re looking at:

Rider 1, aged 25 from Hull -
£133.00 (£550 excess)

Rider 2, aged 35 from London -
£136.67 (£800 excess)

Rider 3, aged 45 from Edinburgh -
£103.50 (£350 excess)


1998 Ducati 900SS
This quirky looking V-twin was the Bologna firm’s ‘budget sportsbike’ in the late 1990s. The air-cooled engine is cheap to run, reliable and packed full of character while the chassis contains all the usual Ducati sporting DNA. For around £2,000, the 900ss is a cheap entry to Ducati sportsbikes.

2001 Aprilia Falco
Aprilia’s other naked bike is nowhere near as barking as the Tuono but still contains much of the same technology. A thumping V-twin engine and weird looks have helped the Falco (rock me Amadeus) attract a dedicated fan base. Early bikes cost as little as £1,500, so it is on a par with the Firestorm.

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