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Hello from London - VF1000R


ROOTS
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Hi Everyone,

 

New to the forum (naturally) but also new to Honda ownership!

 

Recently sold my Ducati Sport Classic which i loved, went down the MV Agusta Brutale 990R route (briefly!) and now found happiness again with a 1985 Honda VF1000R!


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The VF is a US import which came to the UK in 2013 and never registered. The paperwork has all been completed and bike MOT'd so hoping the DVLA can send me the V5 and more importantly a registration number so i can get out on the bike.

 

First impressions using a friends trade plate tell me the suspension needs servicing up front and the rear shock ill probably change. Advice on this would be helpful.

The engine fires up quickly and settles into idle without a problem but under acceleration it hits a wall / hesitates beyond 5500/6000rpm. Its filled with fresh Esso 99 supreme and has new plugs fitted. assume its carbs but ill get to that later...

The brakes need a good flush and pad change, i have bought HEL braided lines for the rear and clutch. Fronts are already braided.

Clutch was slipping horribly but a flush of the system and fresh fluid did help, however, the biting point on the lever is quite far out so i suspect weak springs/worn plates - bike has 19k miles on the odo. 

 

Really just the usual recommissioning snag list but generally the bike is awesome, funny how i really like it even if it handled like a boat and the brakes leave a lot to be desired!

 

Moving on to the good stuff,  I would like to find a 4-1 exhaust header to pair up to one of my Kerker cans. The exhaust note for now is nice but it does sound a bit corked up with the stock centre box - which i assume also weighs a tonne. If anyone has a 4-1 (or possibly a 4-2) they would be willing to sell, please let me know.


In addition, i have bought a Dynojet kit ready to get installed and waiting for a new (now NLA if anyone else is looking) K&N air filter. I was curious if the airbox can be deleted entirely but have not read this been done - advice on this would be great too! I assumed the US jetting would be different than EU/UK so Dynojet (and new floats!) kit seemed like a no brainer. 

 

Sorry for the long "Hello" but just sharing my experience to date and hope to chat to you all and hopefully make some useful contacts/friends along the way.

 

Cheers,

Ian

Edited by ROOTS
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Welcome.

 

Get some proper springs for the front, likely at least some 1.0 and straight rate.  Have the forks completely serviced including bushings and install some Cartridge Emulators.  I've done this on two of my VF1000 and it's a VAST improvement.

 

While the stock brakes aren't amazing, with your braided lines and some fresh HH pads, they are certainly adequate.  The TRAC on the left fork (which will be disabled with the Cartridge Emulators) is the biggest hurdle for fitting different calipers.  I have seen some pretty cool custom adapters made, but they are not cheap or easy.  I think you mentioned you wanted to keep the bike fairly stock-ish looking.

 

The stock rear shocks are best used as door stops or anchors.  Sounds like yours has lost it's damping, which is very common.  They either become bouncy or nearly locked up.  2 of mine locked up.  I have fitted YSS shocks on two of my VF1000 and I am very happy.  They are a huge improvement and an amazing value actually.  There are other options as well, like Hagon or Wilburs.

 

4-1 exhaust will be difficult to find, but not impossible.  Just keep searching.  One thing to mention, I have a Hindle 4-1 on a 85.  While it sounds amazing and makes great power, the ground clearance due to it's configuration is not great.  When I upgraded the suspension front and rear and the bike could actually hold it's weight and composure, that helped immensely and I haven't had any issues since.  The exhaust collectors can be prone to rust out, but they are not as heavy as you would think, solve a packaging problem and make good usable mid-range power.  Though I'm not saying they are light either.  Any full system will be hard to find and prepare to pay more than you want for cosmetic condition less than you want.

 

Do not try and delete the whole airbox.  That is counter productive on these bikes and difficult to cleanly accomplish.  If you want some intake "honk" you can remove the two snorkels from the front of the airbox.  The snorkels are not really restrictive as far as power, they are there to redirect intake noise and lower the overall decibel profile of the bike so they can use the allowance elsewhere, like noisy gear driven cams.

 

These bikes are just plain big and heavy, nothing is really gonna change that fact.  But smartly upgrading the suspension front and rear transforms them into something else that is very enjoyable.  Many people's opinion about them is based on riding mostly stock examples, and a stock 1000R is certainly not confidence inspiring in the corners. 

 

Cheers!

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  • Member Contributer

@ROOTS

Welcome to VFRD from across the North Sea. :beer:

Picture of VF not showing...... 

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  • 1 month later...

VF1000R has had quite a lot of work since I picked it up in July 🙂Enjoying every minute of owning “Big Bertha” (formally known as Rhonda!). What a beast! 

 

Having owned a Ducati Sport 1000 where all the power thumps you immediately before running out of steam the VF1000R is only getting into its stride - Totally different beasts but enjoying the feeling of the big VF which is approx 50-60kgs heavier. 
 

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Few things done so far: 

- carbs ultrasonic cleaned and Dynojet stage 1 kit fitted.

- K&N air filter with airbox snorkels removed (great upgrade for those seeking some intake 🎼 🎺 )

- YSS rear shock (F model) with ride height and sag set for rider weight.

- Hyperpro springs, cartridge emulators and new seals. (deletes original anti-dive and top rebound adjusters, but they did nothing anyway.) This setup F&R is firm and progressive. 
- New brake lever, master cylinder rebuilt, b calipers rebuilt with Brembo sintered pads and braided lines.

- Rear brake master rebuilt, braided line and Brembo sintered pads.
- New clutch lever, master cylinder rebuilt.

- Braided clutch line from HEL.

- Clutch slave cylinder rebuilt.
- New thermostat.

- New (85 degree) rad fan switch.

- New rad cap.

- Kerker end cans relocated to original position to accommodate passenger rear pegs.

- Pirelli Sport Demon. 120/70 front and 150/70 rear. Huge improvement! 
 

big thanks to @Captain 80s for the tips and points in an earlier post 👍

 

Next up is -1 front sprocket (16t) with 44 rear & have the fork air balance pipe plugged & deleted to lower the front by approx 25-30mm. The new spring preload has raised the VF quite a lot and it seems the only way to lower it down is deleting the air pipe so forks can go through triple clamps. No big deal really as the air pipe is now obsolete anyway. 


Still on the hunt for a RHS mirror, and a 4-1 exhaust manifold if anyone can help.
Kerkers will then go up for sale - along with the pair of interceptor mirrors I’m now using. 


Cheers,

Ian

Edited by ROOTS
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Very good progress with smart choices in upgrades.  On my F and one of my R I eliminated the crossover for the same reason, to slide the forks up after suspension mods.  I slightly drilled out the holes in the fork tubes for the correct tap and threaded in some tiny hex stop screws with loctite. Then a little light filing to make sure anything that was still above the  surface matched the radius of the fork tube.  A little brush of some touch up paint to protect the filed set screw.  Also before install I filed down the set screw so just the min amount of hex was left to still engage the wrench, so the set screw didn't go in too far.

 

 

I'm sure they could have been filled with epoxy or something, but I wasn't completely disassembling the forks so I couldn't guarantee everything was clean enough to totally trust the seal.  Same reason I didn't have them welded up, they were already assembled with all the new parts. I hung them up side down when I did the work so dripping fork oil kept any debris or chemicals I was spraying to clean always draining out.  

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2 hours ago, Captain 80s said:

Very good progress with smart choices in upgrades.  On my F and one of my R I eliminated the crossover for the same reason, to slide the forks up after suspension mods.  I slightly drilled out the holes in the fork tubes for the correct tap and threaded in some tiny hex stop screws with loctite. Then a little light filing to make sure anything that was still above the  surface matched the radius of the fork tube.  A little brush of some touch up paint to protect the filed set screw.  Also before install I filed down the set screw so just the min amount of hex was left to still engage the wrench, so the set screw didn't go in too far.

 

 

I'm sure they could have been filled with epoxy or something, but I wasn't completely disassembling the forks so I couldn't guarantee everything was clean enough to totally trust the seal.  Same reason I didn't have them welded up, they were already assembled with all the new parts. I hung them up side down when I did the work so dripping fork oil kept any debris or chemicals I was spraying to clean always draining out.  


thank you, I’ll keep all of this in mind when tackling next week. As a guide - is 25-30mm the ballpark I should be looking at dropping the front (I can adjust the rear to suit as the YSS has a broad range) but thinking of wheel to rad clearance under compression / bump. 
 

Have you played around with gearing at all? My man maths tells me 16/44 with these smaller rolling radius tyre should equal an absolute max of 135-140mph (limited by revs in 5th) which should make mid range really impressive. 
 

I’m keen to make the bike more responsive under acceleration / mid range - top speed doesn’t interest me at all - so any guidance on sprockets will alleviate trial and error if my man maths are wrong. My Sport Classic was geared down to 14/41 from 15/39 which made the bike incredibly responsive & fun to ride, albeit at the sacrifice of some MPG and motorway (freeway) practicality, which again I don’t really care about! 🙂

 

Should be a fun bike to hustle around when the front end is lowered and gearing mods are carried out. 

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Good choince on the YSS; fitted one on my VF and fitted Tecetech emulators&springs when I bought the bike.

 

HEL didnot have the clutch line in their program so I sent them mine and they copied them. They offered to make it a single line, but I prefered the look of the 3 piece.

 

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First breakdown of VF ownership occurred last night and again this morning - electrical gremlin!

 

Riding home yesterday evening (London) i was stopped at a traffic light and the bike shut off - no power at all. I toggled with the ignition, kill switch and checked fuses and all appeared ok then after about 5-10 minutes power returned. Bike fired up and i was able to ride home.

 

Again, today on my way into work the bike shut off completely after the same duration of riding the evening before - 15/20 minutes. no electrical power at all and after 5 minutes power returned and i was able to ride to work.

 

I am yet to get on the bike to ride home this evening but i assume im in for another 'breakdown' en route so was wondering if anyone has experienced this behaviour before and if so, what was the issue?

 

The bike isn't overheating, and i doubt the bike even gets up to temp required to have the fans kick in but perhaps its the fan relay itself... Could it be whilst at traffic lights the bike tries to power on the fan and that kills power to the ignition entirely. My knowledge of VF wiring is not good so im just trying to understand what may cause this as the bike runs fine before and immediately after the intermittent issue. Tacho operates fine, all dash lights, headlight etc work fine before and afterwards too. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

 

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Replace you main fuse even if it looks ok.  I've had both a fusible link and blade main fuse act up when hot.  Problem went away after replacing.

 

Make sure your not overcharging your battery too.  Don't think you are, but maybe you're cooking your battery.

 

Temporarily remove the wires from the thermoswitch and connect while idling when hot (pretty sure that's a 2-wire thermoswitch.  If one wire connect to ground).  That will tell you how your bike acts when the fans kick on.  Doubt that is your issue unless your fans are toast.

 

Oh and verify the condition of the plug to the starter relay.  They are known to melt as they get older from increased resistance.  They can act up when hot also, and make unwanted connections.

 

Jus throwin' shit out there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the bike into Traxden this week and Alex has been busy!
 

Flushed cooling system with new thermostat, turned out the housing was cracked where it mounts to the frame - also an earth for the gauge, so that was the reason for my gauge acting up, poor earth. New rad fan switch and then tackled the poor performance. 
 

It was a combination of carbs out of sync and the R/R wiring at connectors burnt + the main fuse on its last legs. New relay and main fuse fitted and wiring tidied up and it was ready for dyno. 
 

bike made 80hp at the wheels which is quite low considering AFR’s are within range across the rev range. Bike has stage 1 Dynojet, snorkels removed and K&N filter + Kerker end cans. Not sure where the loss in Hp could be (yet) but carbs are now perfectly sync’d and compression is strong across all cylinders so it’s a matter of tuning. 
 

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Ci13mY5K2sV/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

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On 9/6/2022 at 3:32 PM, Captain 80s said:

Replace you main fuse even if it looks ok.  I've had both a fusible link and blade main fuse act up when hot.  Problem went away after replacing.

 

Oh and verify the condition of the plug to the starter relay.  They are known to melt as they get older from increased resistance.  They can act up when hot also, and make unwanted connections.


Thanks for this @Captain 80s - you were spot on about the fusible link, it was acting up and fitting a new starter relay x main fuse fixed this problem. 
 

another issue was the connector wiring (male and female) on the R/R. It was in bad shape but the R/R itself was and still is operating fine. Wiring now sorted here too. 
 

Last concern is now actual performance, I think shimming up the needles a tad will help resolve lean across the mid range and possibly another ¼ turn on air pilot screw. 
 

otherwise the other bits and bobs to get done are just bolt off - bolt on and some fiddling around to lower front forks. 

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  • 1 month later...

Got my VF1000R tested for London usage on Friday, it costs £12.50 per day unless your bike is “ULEZ compliant” so if you do the maths it’s a no brainier to get your bike tested. 
 

bike passed (just!) but more importantly the operator has some excellent equipment for testing emissions and also for dyno’ing.
 

Although he couldn’t make any adjustments he did do a few runs for me and provide a readout that shows current Hp, torque and most importantly the AFR’s across the rev range - which is where the lack of power and low speed hesitation is evident. 

 

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⅛ throttle and approx 20mph cruising speeds the AFR is around 10:1 which is far too low and then goes far too high as revs climb. 
 

Test operator said the ⅛ throttle could be a “clogged air jet?” or something to that description and said it might be worth putting the snorkels back on, but don’t see that rectifying the massive variation… if it was slightly off I could understand but max power of 79 at the wheels and a huge AFR range tells me it needs more than snorkels! 
 

im just surprised it’s so far out of alignment as the dynojet kit was installed as suggested, moved needles from clip 2 to clip 4 to help with mid range but everything else is just bolt on - K&N, Kerkers, snorkels removed. 
 

a bit miffed to be honest… 😵💫

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I've never had a kit work properly using the directions. You'll likely have to sort it out on your own. 

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My understanding it is running very lean on top afr should be 13.  Needle clip lower ie richer that is why you are running lean at position 4. Snorkel removed increase airflow therefore leaner so you will have to make it richer.  Just google it.

 

Needle Shim for use in Mikuni Carbs

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