Lukewarm reception but a stonking road bike for the real world
Just got back from a pretty hard-core 120 mile ride on the new Honda Crossrunner and these are my findings. Are you sitting comfortably?
Last night at the unveiling and press conference there was a bit of a murmur going round the assembled hacks. It was a bit like the Emperor's New Robe except the throngs weren't quite so wiling to play the sycophants.
Most people in the room weren't looking at the Crossrunner as a brave new concept or a new twist on an everyday machine as Honda were touting it. They saw it as a slightly tweaked VFR with a spot of lippy and some new knickers. Me too, to a certain extent, I mean, there's no denying that beneath the new skin lies a VFR800 that's been around for over a decade.
Now, as the throngs of VFR800 die-hards that inhabit this very site will testify, the VFR is one mighty fine machine that is probably (still) one of the best all rounders, er, around. It's downsides? That horrible stuttery transition of the VTEC system and a big lack of mid-range power compared to its bigger capacity opposition. You could also argue, that for everyday riding, the current VFR's low handlebars don't really suit its, ahem, more mature customer base. Honda's phrase for this age group? How about Nostalgia Sleepers? That 30-50 age group is me and I'm not sure I like that or 'Variety Seeker' - one of two euphemisms to describe grey haired old bastids like myself.
The blast this morning from the hotel starting point to the first photo shoot stop didn't really sway many of the gathered journos. Comment along the lines of 'it feels light, even though it isn't' and 'it's comfy' were about as positive as it got.
The next stretch of road, though, changed all of our opinions. A succession of second and (mainly) third gear switchbacks along the cliff-strewn coastal route really played into the Crossrunner's hands. The mid range is massively better than the VFR800's thanks largely to reworked header pipes and inlet trumpets that are longer (20mm) and narrower (by 6.5mm) at their throats. The remapped VTEC is much, much better, too. Transformational. That feeling of fuel starvation at the transition point has gone completely. And the noise from the airbox? Beautiful - a sort of throaty rasp that gets better the more you open the throttle bodies and the more you cane it.
In all, it seems to be the sort of bike that's perfect for attacking an unseen (hazardous) road. You're sat upright for a great view and the new-found elastic properties of this rejuvenated engine allow you to hang onto one gear for a long time whilst you concentrate on the corners and hazards ahead.
The ABS kicked in a few times, too. The tarmac over here (Majorca) is iffy, to say the least. The combination if a tightening downhill hairpin, loose sand on the road and, er, exuberant riding meant the ABS had its work cut out at times.
Continue the Honda Crossrunner Review - 2/2
Posted: 01/04/2011 at 08:49
Posted: 01/04/2011 at 08:59
Not too sure about the credentials as a real world bike. Too heavy and thirsty, never mind stupid non-existent headlights , odd seat, and bars that won't be adjustable with standard risers.
I can see this more as a weekend tourer for the 50+ market - the low exhaust means more pannier space will be possible in a way most of the others with high exhausts can't
Posted: 02/04/2011 at 13:18
Posted: 03/04/2011 at 09:56
Posted: 03/04/2011 at 23:48
Posted: 04/04/2011 at 08:18
Nice to read your thoughts.. I am one of these so called ''oldies'' with a VFR800VTEC - personally I love the bike but am looking for something a bit different and it is interesting to see this model which is apparently an improved VFR. I am just wondering though about the 'concept' Cross Tourer.. it seems to be much more than a concept and perhaps it's better to wait and see first before forking out 9 grand. YOu got any info/updates on this concept...if so would be great to hear
Posted: 05/04/2011 at 16:42
Posted: 05/04/2011 at 18:23
Thanks - looks like I will have to book a test ride then ;-)
Posted: 07/04/2011 at 13:06
Posted: 21/04/2011 at 01:19
I road tested a Crossrunner yesterday and these were my personal findings:-
Advantages :- Superb handling and cornering over all road surfaces, brakes A1, pulled like a train especially mid range, looks the part (in my opinion), that old revamped engine is a delight.
Disadvantages :- foot pegs are too high (and I'm only 5' 8") giving discomfort, front shield a bit flimsy (wind buffeting), reflection from speedo in sunlight so couldn't see info in some circumstances. Honda would sell this in shed loads if it was a grand cheaper. A bit thirsty.
I was only allowed an hour to test but you really need 2hrs I guess to see if it really suits you. I'd give it 9/10. All in all, a great bike.
Posted: 25/06/2011 at 10:24
Posted: 04/10/2011 at 17:38
Posted: 05/04/2012 at 12:53
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