Get the official lowdown on Honda's new V4 sports-tourer
IF YOU'VE KEPT one eye on Visordown's news pages over the last few weeks you will have already seen Honda's new V4 in numerous leaked spy shots, but for those that want the official lowdown here's the first images of the company's long-awaited VFR1200F sports-tourer.
It's reported that from 2011 Honda will also offer a higher-spec version of the VFR1200F, which will be equipped with a sequential automatic gearbox and the much-hyped cylinder deactivation technology.
You can see the official Honda colour schemes for the VFR1200 here.
Visordown has taken the standard press image and created a gallery of colour options for the Honda VFR1200F, which you can see if you click that link.
Here's the highlights of the extensive media pack:"To a larger degree, pure function determined the VFR1200F’s form. Mass centralisation, consummate rider control and aerodynamic efficiency provided the key underlying design criteria and from this starting point the machine’s form evolved. The remarkably narrow cylinder heads and clever cylinder spacing allowed a very narrow waist, effectively lowering the seat height thus making it easier for the rider to place both feet flat on the ground at rest. This wasp-like waist also gives the rider the feeling of being ‘in’ the bike rather than perched on top – crucial for feedback and control. The fuel tank’s elegant yet complicated contours have purpose as well as eye-pleasing aesthetics in mind. Its shape and form supports and assists the rider to add extra elements of control and heightened levels of feedback whatever the riding situation. The ergonomically styled fairing works in harmony with the fuel tank to provide extra support and efficient weather protection for the rider and pillion. Even the hand controls and switchgear with their revised button positioning are engineered to ergonomic advantage. The pillion’s comfort and security have not been overlooked, either. The supportive, vacuum-moulded dual-seat has a flat and expansive area for the pillion and strong, easy-reach grab handles and footrests positioned with comfort and security in mind.Layered Fairing technologyThe patented layered fairing design of the VFR1200F is a perfect match of form and function. Designers and engineers worked together to create a uniquely beautiful shape and, at the same time, optimal air flow and heat management. The fairing design incorporates two layers, which harnesses the benefits of flowing air to the machine’s dynamic and mechanical advantage. This has two functions; air entering between the layers and through two oval-shaped spaces in the front of the fairing is channelled in exactly the directions needed to enhance the bike’s stability at higher speeds. By effectively increasing the speed of the air by channelling it through smaller apertures before it reaches the radiators, engine cooling is optimised and the hot, exhausted air is channelled away from the rider and passenger for a cooler, more comfortable ride. The heat generated by the powerful, enclosed V4 engine is also channelled away to keep hot air away from the rider.A balance of positive and negative surfaces gives the front of the motorcycle a light, open look while also creating a profile that slices through the wind with the least possible resistance. A strongly defined X-shape characterises the front of the machine. Concave surfaces direct the eye and air up towards the windscreen, which incorporates another air-directing aperture at its lower edge. Even the edges of the screen have been crafted to enhance stability at speed. The powerful single line-beam headlight is the same type used on the CBR1000RR Fireblade. Its light streams into two tinted LED-look strips that frame the sides of the headlight, increasing the illusion of lightness and space.Three colour options were selected to emphasise the highly-polished look, smooth texture and unique shapes and layers of the bodywork.In 2010 the VFR1200F will make its debut in:
- Candy Prominence Red- Seal Silver Metallic- Pearl Sunbeam WhiteEngineThe VFR1200F engine was designed to provide its rider with high speed, quick acceleration and a strong, engaging feeling coming from the engine’s power characteristics. Honda also wanted to deliver the invigorating engine sound and feel that characterise V4 sports bikes, but with an additional focus on comfortable, responsive power delivery. The new V4 engine’s performance is delivered where it’s most useful and most enjoyable. Its linear torque curve is focused in the low and mid range, making it possible for the rider to simply roll on and off the throttle while powering through bends. The bike is capable of staying in top gear (in the same gear) between 130 and 195 km/hr, meaning that the rider only needs to concentrate on braking and steering allowing the rest of their focus to be channelled into reading the road and assessing the conditions. This effortless control makes the bike great fun to ride – this is a sports bike with real-world usable power.Smooth deliveryThere were several challenges involved in tailoring the strong V4 power for use in an all-round machine that can be used for weekend enjoyment, commuting and long-distance touring. Key elements of the VFR1200F’s power characteristics are its unrivalled response and strong torque delivery. To allow full enjoyment of the engine’s power while still providing a high level of comfort, vibration needed to be carefully managed. A unique cylinder layout was developed for this purpose. Instead of the traditional V4 cylinder configuration, with the cylinders evenly spaced front-to-rear, the VFR1200F adopts an ingenious solution in order to centralise mass and at the same time achieve a compact, space-saving solution. The rear cylinders are placed side by side but close together, while the front cylinders are more widely spaced. This layout allows for a slim, compact ‘waist’ that fits comfortably between the rider’s legs. It also supports mass centralisation, thus contributing to the bike’s balanced feel and ease of control. With no right-left couple imbalance, the need for a balancer is eliminated and friction is reduced. A new Symmetrically Coupled Phase-shift Crankshaft (S.C.P.C.) complements the advantages of the cylinder layout. Operating with a mere 28° throw, it effectively reduces primary vibration and noise, eliminating the need for a power-sapping balance shaft. The new V4 typically produces more than 80% of its maximum torque (115.3Nm/8,500 rpm) at 3,000rpm. To allow the rider to comfortably take full advantage of this torque, delivery is smoothed by four drivetrain dampers, which further eliminate uncomfortable vibration and backlash.Off-road technologyThe VFR1200F utilises the UNICAM single overhead camshaft cylinder head design from the world-class CRF motocrossers. The logic was straightforward: in an environment where space, performance and weight are at a premium this technology was perfect for a project where mass centralisation and ergonomics were prime design criteria. Also borrowed from the CRF range is the sealed crankcase system where mechanical pumping losses are eliminated by the use of a scavenge pump to vent the unwanted crankcase pressure waves to atmosphere. This system has never been used on a road machine before but the gains for the rider are identical - electrifying throttle response and improved fuel consumption.New transmission layout and ground-breaking shaft drive systemA compact new transmission layout contributes to high-speed stability, better cornering and improved traction capability. In the new configuration the output shaft is placed in front of the counter shaft to enhance road-holding. Moving the output shaft forwards leaves room for a longer swing-arm without extending the wheelbase length thus improving stability and traction simultaneously. The VFR1200F features a revolutionary shaft drive system that delivers all the characteristics of a chain drive in terms of its dynamic performance without the time-wasting maintenance issues associated with chain final drive. This highly developed shaft drive system features an offset pivot point that eliminates ‘rise’ and a sliding constant velocity joint that takes up any variations in length during the rear wheel’s arc of travel. At the output shaft a clutch damper absorbs any backlash. The results are astounding; regardless of how aggressive the rider is with the throttle, this shaft drive system always behaves like a conventional chain drive. Refined control A throttle-by-wire system improves the rider’s connectivity with the VFR1200F. Providing light, precise fuel metering at all engine parameters this highly developed accuracy gives the rider increased levels of control, whatever the situation. It is another individual aspect that adds to the heightened feelings of response and control. To aid control under intense deceleration a slipper clutch is fitted, similar to the system on the CBR1000RR Fireblade. Even under the most excessive downshifting the clutch is designed to slip, thus preventing the rear wheel from inadvertently locking up, allowing the rider to stay firmly in control. ChassisThe VFR1200F frame, suspension and drive components are brought together in a unique configuration that facilitates both sports bike power and smooth stability. Its strong aluminium twin-spar diamond configuration frame is both lightweight and rigid. The swingarm and driveshaft length are optimised without extending the overall length of the motorcycle. A short wheelbase keeps the bike compact for great handling around corners, while the driveshaft remains long for improved levels of traction. Meanwhile, the long swingarm contributes to balanced, confident manoeuvring and incredible high-speed stability. The swingarm is complemented by a compliant Pro-Link rear shock absorber with adjustable rebound damping. At the front, sturdy 43mm telescopic forks with adjustable preload provide smooth and assured control. Together, these systems ensure a comfortable ride, even with a pillion and luggage on board, and add to the overall feeling of total control.High-performance brakesThe VFR1200F is equipped with the most highly developed brake technology for all-round sports bike use. Powerful new six-piston calipers act on large discs (320mm at the front and 276mm at the rear). A Combined Braking System creates the optimal balance of front and rear braking forces. The addition of a standard-fit compact and lightweight ABS supports both the motorcycle’s sports riding potential and its touring proficiency.
Honda VFR1200F technical specifications and Honda VFR1200F optional extras.
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 11:24
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 11:52
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 12:05
By checking the bike dimensions, this bike is huge...
I was thinking if it could be used for commuting but it looks like no chance: vfr1200 width is 886 mm
the current vfr is 735 mm
even the xx was 720
The new bike is almost the size of a varadero (925). It looks like the purpose is only touring (as a competior for the FJR, GTR, BMWs), sad news as VFRs were solid all around bikes.
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 12:25
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 12:37
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 12:47
This isn't intended to be a VFR800 replacement, more an addition to the range to replace the Blackbird. So, if you compare it to that, an additional 4kg kerb weight, 10 or so more horses, smaller fuel tank (could indicate better economy?) it's definitely pitched at the K13S sort of market.
Jury's out on the styling but the proof of the pudding will be when Joe Public or the Press get hold of it and can see what it can do.
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 12:53
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 12:58
Looks classy Honda build quality, at least in the pictures, similar to Fireblade of which I'm a fan. The 267kg is quite meaty, probably a fraction heavier than the ZZR14 I currently own. I haven't yet seen an 'official' reference to price ... but I saw a comment somewhere that it is likely to be more than £12K. A year ago when I bought my ZZR14 it was about £8.5K which seemed pricey but acceptable. I know the pound has taken a battering, but top range Jap bikes are uniformly £10-12K now. That's getting to be a large lump to swallow. Average UK salary is £25,800 (from moneysavingexpert.com yesterday).
Looks good - I'll give it another year to get the snagging done on it, see the price come down a bit as the initial keen rush subsides, then I'll have one!
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 13:23
Cameo now has an official bike (to match the codpiece).
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 14:33
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 15:10
What an Fugly bike!!!
Come on honda sack the design man!!!
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 17:50
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 18:05
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 18:40
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 18:45
What a bag of bits. Congrats Honda, makes the 'Prillia RSV4 zorst look good. Front end looks like a slapped arse. Hello Yamaha.
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 20:05
I think it's a handsome bike, but I was hoping for a v4 pure sportbike, I'm not sure I'm ready for a sport-touring motorcycle at this stage of my life.
Initial rumors were saying 200 HP, now I read they are down to 160, both measured at the crank. After the shaft drive eats a significant percent of that I'm not sure people will be satisfied with what is left.
Actually I'm not sure why this bike needs to exist at all when they still have the ST1300 and Goldwing to fill the touring category.
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 20:49
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 21:20
Actually I'm not sure why this bike needs to exist at all when they still have the ST1300 and Goldwing to fill the touring category.
The Goldwing is in a completely different category, built to cross thousands of miles of Interstates in La-Z-Boy comfort ("luxury touring"), and likely to be replaced soon by whatever the X-Wing concept evolved into. The ST1300 is the oldest bike in its segment, yet it's Honda's second most expensive bike?!? As to why this bike exists, it's the engine. As for this specific iteration:
BMW K1300GT, more powerful, lighter, more factory doodads than the ST1300.
Yamaha FJR1300, more powerful, lighter, less expensive than the ST1300.
Kawasaki Concourse 14, more powerful, lighter, less expensive than the ST1300.
Triumph Sprint ST, more powerful, handles better than the VFR800.
Suzuki Hayabusa, kicks Blackbird butt, for two generations now.
Kawasaki ZX-14, kicks Blackbird butt.
BMW K1300S, kicks Blackbird butt.
So, in the entire spectrum of sport to touring bikes, Honda is getting creamed everywhere between the liter bikes and luxo-tourers. Yes, the Fireblade is always competitive. Yes, the Goldwing rules the luxo-touring roost. Between the two? Honda is dead meat with old product.
Open Class GT? Blackbird, how old is that bird? Underpowered in class.
Chain Drive Sport Touring (i.e. sporty touring): VFR800, underpowered, overpriced.
sport-Touring (i.e. Touring), ST1300, overweight, overpriced, underpowered, old, minimal tourista gadgetry, Linked Brakes & ABS not as good as Combined ABS.
FYI: I have a '06 ST1300A and SV650N, had a '04 ST1300 and Triumph Sprint RS.
Posted: 08/10/2009 at 22:50
Nice bike for us 50 year olds who can't be bothered with manky chains but who still enjoy a bike that handles.
You are comparing this bike against Busa's, ZX1400's, Blackbirds etc. these bikes were all built to sucker people into thinking they were hero's who could do 180MPH, a speed I never want to see on UK roads. This bikes attraction lies in it's Honda build quality and reliability, civilised nature, driveability and refinement. I always wondered what the attraction of a Mercedes was over a Mondeo until I bought one and realised it had nothing to do with 0-60 or top speeds, it was the effortless ability to drive in the zone that matters i.e. 50mph to 90mph, the Merc (with a smaller engine) just blew the Mondeo away on a motorway in terms of performance and refinement. That's what this Honda will do I expect; step off it unruffled at the end of a long run when the Busa boys are groaning with aches and their passengers are trying to extract the bugs, birds and roadside detritis from their teeth.
The fact that its as Fugly as a dog with rabies has nothing to do with it, when your riding it you aint looking at it!
Posted: 09/10/2009 at 10:03
And it's the 50 year olds who generally have the most money; this bike will fly off the shelves. If I'm guessing Honda will have one of their biggest recent hits with this bike
Posted: 09/10/2009 at 11:09
'Nice bike for us 50 year olds who can't be bothered with manky chains but who still enjoy a bike that handles.'
You've nailed it.
40+ kgs heavier than a Blackbird, 160 mile tank range, I don't believe it will appeal to VFR or Blackbird owners at all. Honda has f*cked up big time.
Bird and pre-vtec VFR owner
Posted: 09/10/2009 at 15:01
I have had 3 VFR's, x2 BMW K1200rs's and I think this new VFR is ghastly!
I am 50+ and I just dont like the look of it, I still have a VFR 800 and a GSX 1400 and I am keeping them forever.
Sorry Honda but what have you done?
Posted: 10/10/2009 at 00:09
The Kerb weight of a BlackBird is 253KG, the new Viffer; 267Kg. Heavier, but hardly 40Kgs (@Alec). Kerb weight is fuelled and lubed, all set to go.
I'm a bit worried about the wheelbase being longer than an ST1300 and the small tank. I'll reserve judgement 'till I ride it. Love the looks though.
Posted: 10/10/2009 at 04:22
nice looking bike but if i was shelling out 12k for cumfy rides out / commutes no messy chains 50+ riding it would have to beat the 1200rt le for £12500 and the following spec
UK Specification of the R 1200 RT LE includes factory options • ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) • Cruise Control • ASC (Automatic Stability Control) • Tyre Pressure Control • Colour Coded Top Box • On Board Computer • Seat Heating • Heated Grips • Additional Power Socket • White Indicator Lenses • Chrome Exhaust
plus the rt boasts 58mpg at 75mph and therefore a 250+ range from a 27l tank. i don't know how much the service costs for the beamer but i have been put of the vfr 800 due to high service costs - if anyone could put figures to this it'd be appreciated.
Posted: 12/10/2009 at 21:05
I must be missing something. This is not, in my opinion a nice looking bike (just my view) The exhaust is just plain ugly. It may be that it will look better in the flesh.
What on earth are Honda up to?
I have a ST1300 and was expecting something spectacular. Well spectacular it is not. Technically loads of new bits, but that is all.
However not enough to want to change bikes.
Posted: 13/10/2009 at 18:23
267kg!! That's 30kg more than my 20-year old technology 1200 Trophy. What price progress?
The luggage looks a bit minimalist too, can't see there being room for my stuff and the Mrs' in there?
Power is impressive though, 127kW = 172 BHP!
Posted: 13/10/2009 at 18:49
Its a mish mash of 7 different styles, bring back the blackbird and file this one alongside the MT-01 and B-king...
Posted: 13/10/2009 at 19:55
Posted: 13/10/2009 at 22:49
Where does one start with the new VFR12...
This is clearly a heavy-weight type of bike, with no pretensions to be slim and agile. Well, OK.
From the feedback I've seen some current VFR owners are a bit disappointed in losing the lighter weight of the VFR. My Triumph Sprint ST had more of that agility and power, that I'd hoped Honda was aspiring to.
I hope that Honda is looking at the feedback it gets and THINKING about some mods to make as competitive as it could be. It's too bad that Honda didn't open up the gates for some feedback now. I hope that Honda has recovered from its usual: here's what it is and here's what you'll like.
Windscreen: One notices that the Honda accessorized model has a little deflector mounted on it, very much like what I added to my Sprint ST 1050 -- because it needed some help with airstream management. So this addition is supposed to help with airflow management -- huh, why not power adust or manual adjut like Vstrom? This is no a pure sports bike; it's intended to travel, so don't you want to make an adustable screen in the first place?
HONDA: Pleasee realize that some of us would like the adjustment designed in, via either a adjustable height screen like my Vstrom (the madstadt bracket makes it perfect!).
Looks: I'm sure we'll all come to love or hate more the looks, just as we have with Suzuki's Hayabusa. Just takes time.
Pillion: Looks like the pillon ride is going to be up high(er) and less comfy with pegs up too. This bike looks like it's geared to travel, so why make the wife a torture seat? Look at the BMW K13GT; it doesn't place feet up high.
Overall: Color and fit appear to be normal high standard, what we call Honda.
One Guy's Take: I like the engine design. I wanted to have motorlust from out of the chute. It'll either take time to catch on with me or another iteration, one with comfort for the wife and hopefully no weight gain!!
In the meantime, there are a lot of manufacturers who, IMHO, are missing the mark. Many of us would like lighter bikes that are, wet, sub-500lbs and maybe a bit more with bags and all of that stuff.
While everyone I know can pretty much ride the wheels off anything, we are looking for agile, lighter, high tech machines, good for a day ride, and easily equipped for the ride of a lifetime.
Triumph and its triple ST/Tiger models are close. The VFR-800 is close, but needs a bit of displacement. Ducati's mulitstrada is another canditate. Oh, did I mention the Suzuki Vstrom 1k? And were it not so expensive, the BMW R12GS/RT models are nice.
While some of the above don't have quite the power Honda will produce, they have decent power, agility, pillon-friendly positions that augur for a short or long ride. A Vstrom 1200 would be nice (Suzuki, you listening?).
I'm still looking forward to getting my hands on a VFR12. But seeing such simple things, such as windscreen add on, makes me think that Honda's design ignored some important functionality in the interest of aesthetics. This is, afterall, not a GSX-R 1k or other high tech sports bike. It's a shafty, with sporty side, but clearly a LD machine.
I just hope manufacturers keep their eyes open and focused on the functionality aspects as much as the product appearance!!
Posted: 13/10/2009 at 22:53
jeez - I'm sure this machine is technically excellent with the usual Honda build quality.....................BUT this is ine Quasimodo of bike. It's fuggin hideous!
I mean I recognise that the latest gen Bladeis the daddy but it almost as ugly too............
Whatever happened to aesthetics,,
Posted: 13/10/2009 at 23:53
Posted: 14/10/2009 at 10:40
OK where'd the paragraph breaks go?
Posted: 14/10/2009 at 10:42
Posted: 14/10/2009 at 12:02
Just because it doesn't look the same as every other boring bike out there doesn't make it ugly. The blackbird's phat but soooo boring. A new look was desperately needed.
It's simultaneously beautiful and handsome.
Anybody riding this would command attention, most likely not becuase their first thought would be "wow that's ugly" - if that happens it's most likely the rider that's the problem ; )
...it is rediculously heavy tho!...
Posted: 15/10/2009 at 19:38
Ugly bike. And the wing mirrors may be higher than a car's mirrors, but at just the right height for a vans.
What a shame. Was looking forward to this bike, thinking bigger vfr 800 but well disappointed. Should have given the prototype to that policeman.
Posted: 15/10/2009 at 21:05
Well well. The waiting is over and Honda have finally seen fit to give us the specs on their new VFR1200F. And what reason have they given me to part with my hard earned millions this time? Will this new bike take me away from my beloved CBR600F? Come on Honda you must think we are all stupid! Did you question Joe Public Honda riders as to what we'd like to see on this bike? Did you ask us whether we'd like to see a replacement for both the old VFR and Pan? No. In Honda's wisdom they have done away with both the Pan and VFR and also the Blackbird and come up with this. its like saying 1=3. What amazing gadgetry does it have to make us drool over it enough to buy one? And what ridiculous price tag will they put on it?
I've been waiting very long for this bike to arrive only to see that the bufoons have tried to sucker us into buying what will be a bike with teething problems until the newer version with auto gears comes later.
I ride my bike to work and to travel to meetings around the UK. I ride it to travel abroad to my beautiful house in Spain for holidays. I ride it to visit family in Sicily. It has NEVER let me down and I don't think the updated version of this new bike will either. But I'll wait for the newer one. And is the short -arse version low enough for me? Well, we don't know yet because haven't published what the height differrence is with the lowered seat! I'm five feet four inches tall and 14 stone in weight, (all muscle before you think fatty) and I need a big powerful fuel efficient multi use bike but this isn't it. I'm going to buy the Fury instead and have some fun I think! Sorry Honda but you've missed the point again!
Posted: 20/10/2009 at 01:09
I'm disappointed. It looks as though it is a replacement for the olde ST1100.
I had hoped that the new VFR would be a bit lighter. But, the new one would not be so good for touring. With my 2006 VFR, I average a bit > 44 mpg touring, and have gone up to 214 miles on a tank; it would actually go farther. The VFR 1200 would require more frequent fill-ups.
Why not include built-in tip over protection? It looks as though the VFR 1200 would be very expensive to repair if it fell over. No doubt insurance companies will also be aware of that.
Fortunately, I expect my 2006 VFR to last a long time.
Posted: 31/10/2009 at 00:55
User _211237 said very rightly...
'' The fact that its as Fugly as a dog with rabies has nothing to do with it, when your riding it you aint looking at it! ''
I wish more reviews started with what matters - the way it handles - and finishes with the looks - as they are the most subjective part of a review anyway!I can make my own mind up as to whether is a dog or a babe from a picture, its getting a sensible review on how it behaves that I want!
Posted: 05/03/2011 at 14:01
Posted: 02/08/2011 at 19:33
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