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Old 3rd August 2016, 13:02   #16
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Great bike, superb write up!

I find myself in a similar situation to you (also in a similar age bracket, I think). I am not a biker, haven't owned / ridden anything for over 7 years now. But suddenly, I have this overwhelming urge to buy a big, fast naked bike. I have no idea what I will do if I actually get one, but does not stop me from wanting it.

Write-ups like yours will push me closer to actually buying one!
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Old 3rd August 2016, 23:46   #17
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob UK View Post

Why would a VFR800 / CRF1000 be 20lacs if built in India? They are 10-11 lac bikes in the UK
The taxes of course. They currently assemble the CBR650F for nearly 13k OTD. What Honda does is import the engine as is fully assembled while the rest of the parts arrive in separate units. The fully built engine I presume gets taxed higher so it reflects on the pricing overall. Don't think it would be any different for the CRF1000L. I'd be surprised if it sat this side of $17k even in CKD form when they announce the pricing next year.

That and the govt has also raised taxes in terms of displacement this year, atleast for Maharashtra which I think will be emulated in the other states in the next few months to add more revenue.
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Old 4th August 2016, 01:12   #18
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Since you can buy Indian made small bikes really cheaply relative to the UK, I'd assumed if the CRF1000 was be build there, that should be cheaper too.

I really like the look of the CRF1000... hmm...
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Old 4th August 2016, 23:14   #19
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob UK View Post
I don't think it would be a great bike on Indian roads as the engine and side pod radiators give off plenty of heat, and even with the fan running it can get a little warm.
<-snip->

thoughts on the bike in summary...

Good:
Build quality is second to none
Centre stand is a very good thing to have in practical terms, you are not afraid to park the bike in public bays as it would be very hard to knock over
The gearbox is fantastic - no false neutrals, perfect ratios and a slick shift. I can up shift without the clutch at the redline with only a tiny lift of the throttle
The engine sounds amazing and has a very usable power band
The ergonomics are perfect for me, I can ride all day
It can play sports bike, tourer, or commuter with aplomb
It is a proper 2 seat bike with comfort for the passenger
The mirrors are excellent & so is the headlight - small bonuses that make a big difference to a bike that gets used in heavy traffic and at night.

Bad:
The rear shock is the bit Honda scrimped on - it is only adjustable for pre-load, and this must be done with a C-spanner which is awkward
I cannot find any colour matched luggage
I would be even happier if the engine just had a little bit more go at the top end now... There is no 'redline rush' like a 750 sport bike. You can rebuild these engines to about 830cc with 130bhp but that is an expensive exercise and defeats the object of a cheap bike.
There is no gear indicator - this would be useful in heavy traffic
Hello Rob,
That's a great steed you have there. A similar red 1998 VFR800 would've been my first big bike some 4-5 years ago when I found one up for sale, but I gave it a miss for the owner being a little dodgy on total number of owners and lack of all documentation. VFRs are rather rare here.
I found the 2002-2008 VFR too ugly though. Bit surprised about the heat thing - I though the side-mounted radiators would push the hot air down away from the rider.

I rode that VFR for a short while, and it was my first bike over 350cc , but never felt intimidating. If anything, it felt docile up to some 6000rpm that I could take it to. The V4 power delivery was smooth but the V4 sound somehow fails to enthrall, the way an inline 3 or 4 does. Nonetheless, if those papers were in order I'd have bought it.

I really miss having a main stand that most sportbikes then, and all sportbikes now, skip. I felt the lights were weak, but this can be excused given the bulbs might be the same old ones or cheap replacements. I would expect better tank range out of the VFR though, given it's 21 litres.

The Indian government thinks we earn in pounds, charges 118% duty on imports and 60% of parts , so the same Triumph model here costs more than it does in the UK - and UK/EU are high-tax , so more expensive than the USA. We end up paying 2 times as much for the same bike as an American. Mercifully, spare parts and accessories a little cheaper here than in the UK.

Last edited by Ricci : 4th August 2016 at 23:18.
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Old 5th August 2016, 17:39   #20
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Excellent review Rob. One of wife's colleague has a Blackbird and he always says that it is the best bike ever made! I have been itching to get my motorcycle license but simply not able to find time and permission from Home Minister

Meanwhile, where are you exactly in UK? I live close to East Midlands airport. We need to catch up.
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Old 6th August 2016, 03:48   #21
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by shibu View Post
Excellent review Rob. One of wife's colleague has a Blackbird and he always says that it is the best bike ever made! I have been itching to get my motorcycle license but simply not able to find time and permission from Home Minister

Meanwhile, where are you exactly in UK? I live close to East Midlands airport. We need to catch up.
I'm in London most of the time, Northants at weekends

Are you into bikes or cars or both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
I rode that VFR for a short while, and it was my first bike over 350cc , but never felt intimidating. If anything, it felt docile up to some 6000rpm that I could take it to. The V4 power delivery was smooth but the V4 sound somehow fails to enthrall, the way an inline 3 or 4 does.
The fireworks happen after 6000rpm, and the sound changes significantly - I do like a triple but a V4 is way better than an inline 4 for sound effects - check out some RC30 / RC45 onboard race footage on YouTube
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Old 9th August 2016, 13:13   #22
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob UK View Post
Learning to ride:

Absolutely lovely to read that write-up. A buddy of mine who I ride with occasionally, has a VFR 800 as well, in similar colour. Is in Mumbai. His bike featured on one of the club calendars in Europe last year, if I remember correctly. The VFR engine is a gem.

You've mentioned the Honda Blackbird in a later post. Whoever said it was one of the best bikes ever made, wasn't lying. But then, I'm biased
Attaching a pic of mine.

Separately, if you're looking for luggage for the VFR, reach out to davidsilverspares in the UK. The original Honda boxes for the VFR were exactly the same if I remember correctly, barring the badging for the individual bikes. You may have a challenge finding the right mounting kit though.

Cheers
Ravi
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My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience-20151117_094617.jpg  

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Old 24th October 2016, 04:29   #23
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

Well, the VFR has an expired MOT (safety inspection certificate) as of 3 weeks ago. I haven't got around to getting it tested & I was missing riding...

...as if by magic, I got an email inviting me to test a Harley Davidson!

I could choose pretty much whatever model I liked to test. For me, the Dyna models are the most appealing, and the pick of the range is the new Lowrider S, so that's what I took. These look very similar to a couple of the custom Dyna models on Sons of Anarchy - blacked out, drag bars, headlight fairing etc... and the 'S' model packs a 110 cubic inch (1800cc) 'Screamin' Eagle' high performance engine and uprated suspension.

The bike is surprisingly good dynamically (as long as you don't ask too much of it) with USD forks and big twin discs, but what dominates the ride is that thunderous 110ci engine... she really does like to pick her skirts up and run. With 115lb/ft of torque, acceleration is loud, instant, and induces a huge grin. The bike doesn't feel unwieldy or fat at all (I'm 6'1 and 210lbs so I don't tend to struggle anyway) and a relatively slender 160 section rear tyre helps it to tip neatly into the bends.

I am rather impressed

I have to get a ride on a Triumph Thunderbird Nightstorm now, purely for comparison purposes honest!
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Old 16th February 2017, 07:20   #24
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Default Re: My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience

More treachery on my part after the Harley...

Sick of the UK winter, in December I headed with my fiance to the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, out in the Atlantic off the African coast. It never drops below about 20 degrees in daylight, and has roads like this:

My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience-img_20170216_012240.jpg

A good friend of mine from London (originally from India) joined us along with his lovely wife. He is also a biker (Ducati Monster S4 with the 916cc liquid cooled engine) and so we hired bikes for the week.

I selected a Triumph Tiger 800, and him a Harley Davidson 883

My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience-20161219_115115.jpg

As expected, the Triumph wiped the floor with the Harley completely

Every few miles I would pull over and wait a while for it to catch up! Whilst the Harley boiled its rear brake fluid coming down the mountains, the Triumph was very well behaved, yet great fun. Even with a pillion I had the peg feelers touching down. Very confidence inspiring handling, and the triple cylinder engine had loads of get up & go.

On the last day I had the Tiger, I went out alone and really put it through its paces. The overall impression is of a big supermoto, and you can throw the Tiger about with surprising abandon. When I picked the bike up, it had a brand new rear tyre. After a week with me, it looked like this:

My '99 Honda VFR800 - Ownership experience-20161221_171459.jpg

As you can see, I got the full money's worth out of it

When I got home, I took the VFR out for a spin. At first it felt odd and very solid/weighty, yet after a few miles I remembered easily why I love that bike. The Triumph triple is more tractable and has awesome midrange, but hit 8000rpm and it's all about the V4, with the melodic wail it produces far more satisfying than any inline engine.

I came home thinking "don't worry old girl, I'm keeping you for good".

Last edited by moralfibre : 16th February 2017 at 09:17. Reason: Formatting post.
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