Giving the VFR1200 a European look

Interview with one of the men behind the new VFR1200, Teofilo Plaza

The reason the VFR1200 looks European is no coincidence. The design team was headed up by Teofilo Plaza, a Spaniard based in Italy. ‘I like to think of this bike as a Porsche, 911’ Plaza told me. ‘It has every day practicality -– capable of pottering about and maybe commuting, but when the mood takes you it should be like a GT car and be totally adept at covering huge distances very quickly.’ Mass centralisation was a key concept and is part of the reason the VFR doesn’t feel as heavy as its kerb weight would suggest. Heat management was a major design headache, according to Plaza.

‘It’s a big powerful engine that produces a lot of heat and because it’s totally enclosed we had to really think about how we removed that hot air efficiently. Those ducts all have a purpose.’

The layered fairing assists this solution but also, they claim, adds to high speed stability. As a design trick it also helps to break up the big expanses of panel area.

At the front the headlight, mirrors and air ducts are designed to mimic the human face – an image the human eye is naturally drawn to. Honda’s research claims this makes a motorcyclist more visible to car drivers.

That chrome exhaust end-can is yet another example of the effects of draconian noise regs. A servo operated flap knocks the edge off the noise below 7,000rpm presumably to get it through drive-by noise tests. The exhaust, however, does appear to be a bit of a concern to our forum members, although it has not been universally condemned, there is some concern over the looks. Presumably exhaust manufacturers are rubbing their hands together with glee…