The Honda VFR800 - Good Goldy Oldy


I have never been a fan of the Honda VFR800; too soft, too bland, too ugly. But do you know what? At the beginning of this test I was raving about the Honda VFR800. Why? 'Cos I could keep up with some serious fast riders keeping close on the back wheel every time, and there's nothing more in life that makes an old man on a old motorcycle happy.

But that's not all. To be honest, despite having thus always had a healthy wariness of the Honda's superficial charms I was, like everyone who I have warned against it, seduced by the Honda VFR800's ease of use. After my experiences on other used motorcycles from the same age the Honda VFR800 felt like a Supermotard – easy to turn in; precise to wheelie and. Despite the linked brakes, very controllable in between or around traffic. I was actually going around apologizing for having previously been so harsh on the Honda VFR800.

The same was true on the slower, smoother roads of the north Thai mountains. Being the quickest steering of the group and also the most malleable, the Honda VFR800 could be chucked in on the linked brakes negating much of the dive associated with late entry, like a front wheel drive car and then just blasted out on that clinically crisp mid-range delivery to the next apex on a lone gear change. I'm not saying it was particularly good fun, but it was easy.
Unfortunately, this was not to be the case on the faster, twistier sections of the motorway heading back to Bangkok, the very terrain in which a sports tourer should excel. Here the rather over-zealous steering coupled to the under-damped rear end meant that the Honda VFR800 suffered from an incipient and unsettling weave even in s straight line. Dial in a few bends of the 120 to 130km/h knee-down variety, however, and this underlying theme suddenly became an overlaying one, where the slightest body movement would affect the VFR800 much more than other motorcycles I had the pleasures of riding.

Of course you could upgrade a few simple things on the Honda VFR800, like the suspension. The Honda VFR800 comes with some serious rebound resistance. But the Honda VFR800 is build rock solid and a 10-years old model will would you as new owner happy for years to come.
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