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Honda VFR1200: old vs new

Published: 17 May 2012

Updated: 20 November 2014

Honda’s V4s have come a long way since those early, flawed, chain-driven cam 750s of the early ‘80s. That first VF750S led to the VF750F and on to the VF1000 in all its forms spawning junior siblings such as the VF400F and VF500F along the way.

After that came the VFR dynasty which prospers to this day. And along side all of those have been machines as diverse as the NC30 ‘baby RC30’, monster US cruisers such as the VF1100 Sabre and exotic racers including not only the RC30 and 45 but the exquisite, legendary RS850 and RVF750.

All of which means that Honda’s latest and greatest production, road going V4 has a lot to live up to.

That bike is, of course, the VFR1200F. Introduced in 2010, a bike which, though not perfect and underwhelmed slightly at its launch, has itself, quietly, been updated for 2012 – primarily to address those original concerns.

What's new

  1. Bigger fuel tank
  2. Extra low-end torque
  3. Traction control
  4. Improved comfort
  5. Updated cosmetics
  6. Uprated clocks

Let’s get two things straight immediately: First, the big VFR remains a good, bordering on great bike. It’s quality and finish is typical peerless Honda; its refinement, ergonomics and ease-of-use impeccable.

And the cherry on top is that unique-sounding and fabulously grunty, flexible and, yes, fast V4.

But it’s not stunning, hasn’t ‘moved the game on’ as much as, being an all new, flagship Honda V4, it probably should have done and it does have a few niggly faults, such as the limited range.

And second, although Honda has made a significant number of changes to the VFR for this year, largely to address those criticisms, in reality you have to look pretty hard to spot any of them, let alone appreciate the difference they make.

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