Jump to content

The King is dead, Long live the King.


Recommended Posts

I obviously like VFR’s , which is why I am here , and I am fortunate enough to have more than 1 . For me part of being a VFR afficionado means I like to ride my VFR , talk / read / watch things about motorcycles and VFR’s in particular , although I confess I have other non VFR motorcycles and have owned many different bikes over the years , but always gravitate back .

I personally think its sad that the VFR line is finished . VFR’s are discontinued and it is the end of an era. Allegedly its Euro 5 that’s finally killed it off although as discussed on here and other forums its more the fashion for adventure bikes that’s to blame. Honda is not going to spend money improving a bike that’s not going to sell in big numbers . Shame. Everyone seems to want one of those adventure bikes and I don’t want to start a war of words, I don’t get it . Im not crossing the Kalahari and even if I did I wouldn’t be doing it on one of those overcomplicated adventure bikes. It would be something strong, reliable and easy to fix. Honda Xl 500/600 perhaps, or a Yamaha XT660 . Certainly not a Triumph 1200 or a GS 1200/1250 , they are just not for me. I don’t know what adventures all the owners of these bikes are having , but it seems to me the most they go off road is up a kerb or a grass verge . They are huge, overweight, overpriced, ugly, full of stuff you don’t need/don’t want/can’t fix and not as reliable as they make you believe. You really going to take your £15-£20 K bike off road and scratch or drop it, because trust me you will ? Of course not. It’s a fashion statement mostly and yes that's just my opinion . If you changed their name from adventure bike to upright touring bike id probably be more amenable about them .

Anyway, lets move on . I hope this doesn’t come across as an angry post because its not meant to be angry . I’m not angry . In fact I am smirking because what I have been reading over the last 2-3 months has proved to me we are right , and it is the same thing over and over again and I am going to suggest its something every VFR 800 owner already knows.

The motorcycle press , papers, magazines , online, forums are all buzzing with excitement over the 2020 Aprilia 660 . Every manufacturer has killed off their 600 capacity bikes and they were good and honed over years , but they don't sell anymore . However fast forward a bit of time, Aprilia turns up with their 2020 660 and If you read what's been written about it , road tests , everyone is wax lyrical about it. They are all saying without exception what a great bike it is and how it’s the new motorcycling messiah. Its not too big and intimidating, it has the right amount of power all of which is useable unlike a 200 bhp bike , it handles well , it looks good, its comfortable , has the right equipment and it is the right price. They also say a lot more about it spec wise and you can read all the details instead of have me regurgitate them to you . Just pick up MCN or any bike magazine.

So in the interest to satisfy what I already knew , and what my own " butt dyno " was telling me , so no one could accuse me of wearing my rose tinted spectacles I thought I would do it in black and white . I would like to share with you what I found out . For the record I have NOT ridden an Aprilia 660 .



HONDA VFR 800                                APRILIA 660

800 ( 782 cc)                                        660 (659 cc )

V4 VTEC                                              PARALLEL TWIN

105.9 BHP                                           99 BHP

55.9 LB-FT                                          49.4 LB-FT

240 KG ( WET )                                   190 KG ( WET ) & Fuel load adjusted.

TOP SPEED 146 MPH                        TOP SPEED 145 MPH

0-60 MPH 3 SEC                               0-60 MPH NOT AVAILABLE

MPG 49.6 ( Fuelly.com)                    MPG 48 ( Official specs )

119.5 CO2 g/km                              116 CO2 g/km

FUEL CAP 21.5 L                               FUEL CAP 15 L

PRICE £9,999                                    PRICE £10,150





The official Honda list price is £9,999 , but I have just bought a brand new one for £8,999.00 and I see others advertised at this price.

These bikes have similar specs . I fail to see how one is the new saviour and the other one is a relic of the past that is trading on a 20 year old reputation and people say the VFR era peaked with the 98-01 VFR 800 . To me the VFR is so much the better bike. They say the last incarnation had few changes from the one before. To those I would say that clearly Honda got it so right to start off with that there was little that needed changing . Why is the VFR better ? It’s a V4 Vtec for a start. An engine configuration everyone is chasing which just goes to show how right Honda were 30 years ago. Its silky smooth . It doesn’t vibrate like the Aprilia 660 despite its counterbalancing attempts . The VFR won’t make your hands numb due to those vibrations. The VFR costs less , has more power, more torque , bigger tank, longer range , is better made , has vtec, heated grips , 12 v port adjustable seat height and will be more reliable . The Honda support network is better . They both have radial brakes and adjustable suspension, although the VFR has conventional forks to the Aprilia has upside down forks. The VFR does weigh more but the performance specs are the same .They both have the same top speed near enough and the VFR does 0-60 in 3 secs. I cannot find any 0-60 figures for the Aprilia but will guess its in the same region . A Panigale V2 does 0-60 in 2.9 secs so you can’t accuse the VFR of being slow . Aprilia has a tft dash and a few electronic rider modes and the VFR has old style instruments and a rudimentary traction control . The Honda comes in 2 sober colours whilst the Aprilia comes in a choice of 3 shell suits .

What this comparison has done is proved to me how fashion dictates sales/perception but it has also confirmed to me what an absolute peach and a bargain of a bike the VFR 800 is and if I hadn’t just bought one I should run out and buy however many are left , and hoard them because when fashion changes again and it will people will wake up and will look at those of us who have a VFR with envy . How many times have you heard this before from a dealer. Yes mate, we did sell them . We ended up discounting them to get rid of them . To be honest with you for some reason we couldn’t give them away at the time . Now I get half a dozen calls every week with people wanting one.

I will end with this. Honda VFR 800 , honed over decades unsurpassed quality and if you want a lesson in sport touring deportment the VFR 800 is it. As Bike magazine said, in a class of 1 .

The King is dead, Long live the king.

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought my 6th gen. was a terrific all-arounder, and it's one of the things I loved about it.  But when I got into riding in 2006, most people wanted exactly one thing out of a street motorcycle.  They bought a cruiser, a tourer, or a sportbike.  Adventure bikes like the GS existed, but I think were a very small percentage of sales overall.  I think the market was really dominated by cruisers and sportbikes, with tourers coming in a distant third.  And that's the way it was for several years.  (Also, good *new* beginner bikes were practically non-existent, but thankfully that's no longer the case.)

 

Fast forward 15 years, and yes, the adventure style bike market has really come into its own.  Now every brand sells at least one adventure bike, even though some are just that style and not really meant to tackle anything more than an occasional gravel road.  But I don't begrudge adventure bikes.  Sure many of them are ugly, but they are the sort of all-arounders many people should have been buying all this time.  I'd much rather see someone using their adventure bike to commute *and* ride during the weekends than drive their car 98% of the time and use the bike as an occasional weekend toy.

 

But getting back to the death of the VFR, unfortunately it was all but inevitable.  While motorcycle sales are down overall, the VFR was the most niche bike of the good all-arounders in my opinion.  Not fast enough for some, but too sporty for others.  Not comfortable enough for touring, but also not hard-edged enough for others.  Too expensive, too heavy, not techy enough, too complicated for purists, etc.  We who are VFR fans made a couple compromises in making our bikes terrific daily bikes, and it was well worth the trade-offs.  I really loved my VFR, and I doubt I'll ever own another motorcycle as long as I had my 6th gen.

 

As for the Aprilia 660, it looks like a terrific bike.  It might perform much like a VFR, but I doubt it will ever approach the fantastic all-arounder capability VFRs had from the start through the end.  Plus, as Careca said, questions of reliability remain, and probably will for a couple years.  Lack of an adequate dealer network to fix my still-under-warranty bike would bug me.  That's not necessarily true if you live near a dealer, but what if you're on a trip and are hundreds of miles from a dealer shop?  That's one reason why I'll stick with a bike from a brand with more dealer shops around the US.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

There are plenty of VFR's out there.  You will never have a problem finding a VFR if you want one.  They might even make new ones again someday.

 

tumblr_mr1izxIvnS1r4tb8lo1_400.gif

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone on another forum just suggested a VFR 1200 engine in a VFR800 frame . Has that ben done ?

 

Id love to try that .

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer

That would require some serious fabrication skills . . . 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've looked at a few other bikes and the one thing that hits me about all of them is that they lack a feel of quality that the VFR has. Maybe that's where all the weight is hiding? If the VFR were less of porker, I'd be happier. My CB500X has become my go to ride. The weight and ergos just make it a fun bike for any day rides. I run faster with less effort on it than the VFR. The VFR is only better for multi day sport touring comfort.

I rode my VFR with a group locally last weekend because they had never seen it. At the first stop, several of the guys walked up and said "man that thing sounds awesome". Not likely to sell mine until I can't ride. I did look last fall for an 8th gen with bags thinking about a change. That's the only thing that would replace my 6th gen.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to trade after about 2 years, coming from an MT07. If not for the mushy front fork I might have kept it, which I was working on.

Most of the bikes I've had since my 20+ year layoff I have wished I still had, but space and moolah is limited.

I bought the VFR probably from a yearning 20+ years ago. It came with the hard bags, which  will remain in the house, as I can't see myself

taking it on multiple days touring, having a cruiser for that. With a minimalist mindset, a tankbag suits me fine.

If only it weighed less, much less. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Kudos and a big ditto to the OP.

 

I've posted the same....less extensively and eloquently. The VFR is the only motorcycle I need. ADVs well, another man's poison.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer

Nice story, but we all know the VFR peaked with the 4th gen/RC36-2/1994-1997... :tongue:

 

Peach perfect carburation, proper NACA ducts and NO dumbo ears..  

 

Owned one from 1997-2016 until a car turned of in front of me.

Got another one last year..

 

IMG_20200805_211222.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer

I've ridden them all from the 83 first Gen VF750F to the 8th Gen VFR800 with the exception of the 1200.

 

My favorite(s) are the 3rd and 4th Gens. Carbs, bulletproof cam gears, Analog clocks, No VTEC, etc. Later models are still fine bikes, but I have to do all my own work, the nearest Honda dealer to me at 60 miles closed last year, the next nearest seems to only have quads and side by sides and outboards. A quick look a while back showed not a single motorcycle in the showroom. 

 

Unsurprisingly there are no Aprillia dealers in the state of Maine, the nearest is an 8 hour RT. I don't think they are going to be selling a lot of those 660's around here.

 

Now what was I doing? Oh yeah, Craigslist, type in VFR in search box. 🙂

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer

   The Aprilia is 123 lbs lighter than the VFR and that alone is a biggie. The Ape also has a TFT dash, Lean-Sensitive ABS, traction control, wheelie control, engine braking control, engine maps, ride modes, a quick shifter, cornering lights, automatic high beams, self cancelling turn signals, and full LED lighting. It will probably be shorter, and feel like a smaller bike than the VFR with a wheel base of 53.9 vs 57.4 for the VFR. It will be a sportier bike, which is what about 1/3 of VFR owners always wanted.

 

   Honda made the un-affordable race versions, RC30 and RC45, then made the VFR. If they had made a VF model for light touring (as a normal VFR), and a VFR model, with more of the lighter CBR or RC51 parts, they could have kept costs in check, and satisfied both ends of the spectrum without too much effort.  Sort of what Aprillia has done with the Tuono, and RSV - same chassis and engine for 2 different purposes. 

 

   It seems 1/3 of owners are happy with their VFR's and 1/3 make them more comfy, and touring oriented, and 1/3 make them more sporty. After enjoying upright ergos for sport touring, I would never go back to a sport bike for long rides. I think that is why upright naked and adventure bikes have been so popular. The fat part of the sportbike curve was in the mid to late 90's and most of those folks are now in the 40~60 age range, so the marketing for sport bikes has changed to 20- 30 year olds who want to dip their toes into the sporty waters without buying a committed race replica. Ducati and BMW have cashed in on the older guys with some cash that still love insane power and tech in their crotch rockets, but other than that, I see very few new liter bikes around.

 

    I've ridden all the normal current engine configuration in the bike world, singles, P-Twins, V-twins, I-3's I-4s and V4's. The V4's make me the most happy, then V-twins. The I-3 is a nice engine, almost like a bike version of a 911 engine. Then parallel twins, and last are Inline 4's, as they just have no soul. They do make a crap-ton of power, but it's all up top so you have to wring it's neck to have fun. I would love an RS660, but it would end up being a track toy, and I already have one of those. If I was a young man, it would be at the top of my list, but I'm not, so I will have to wait and see if I can get a test ride just for fun.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer

Interesting comments. I ride an 8 gen and 3rd gen, recently acquired a 4th gen. On the 8 gen I do miss the gear driven cams but still find the bike a great ride, the V-tec is also rewarding (a PCV helps the transition and mid range). I haven't spent a lot of time on the 4th gen yet, but I would say it is most likely going to be the favourite child. It's hard to say if the 3rd/4th gen's are a better bikes than the 8th gen, I would say that as much as they are the same, single sided swing arms and V4 engines, they are different motorcycles separated by 20years as one would expect. In short they are all good. A couple of my mates have Aprilia's, I always looked at them as a sports bike more at home on the track, while the VFR was more at home on the road and easier to live with. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer

I’m always casting around for a replacement of my 8G Viffer, but can’t find too much that can match it.

 

- Centre stand for tyre fixing,

- 21+ litres of fuel (up to 450kms on a tank)

- runs just as well on 91 Ron.

- perfect weight for long distance touring (light bikes get knocked around by B doubles)

- fast enough for this old fart (230kph +)

- fantastic exhaust note (Arrow Slipon)

- integrated pannier mounts,

- ABS for the tough times,

- and comfortable enough for 800km days.

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer
30 minutes ago, VFR78 said:

I’m always casting around for a replacement of my 8G Viffer, but can’t find too much that can match it.

 

- Centre stand for tyre fixing,

- 21+ litres of fuel (up to 450kms on a tank)

- runs just as well on 91 Ron.

- perfect weight for long distance touring (light bikes get knocked around by B doubles)

- fast enough for this old fart (230kph +)

- fantastic exhaust note (Arrow Slipon)

- integrated pannier mounts,

- ABS for the tough times,

- and comfortable enough for 800km days.

+1 from me. My thoughts exactly. And she's such a good looker, sex on wheels. :wheel:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • Member Contributer
On 2/5/2021 at 12:40 PM, Careca said:

I obviously like VFR’s , which is why I am here , and I am fortunate enough to have more than 1 . For me part of being a VFR afficionado means I like to ride my VFR , talk / read / watch things about motorcycles and VFR’s in particular , although I confess I have other non VFR motorcycles and have owned many different bikes over the years , but always gravitate back .

I personally think its sad that the VFR line is finished . VFR’s are discontinued and it is the end of an era. Allegedly its Euro 5 that’s finally killed it off although as discussed on here and other forums its more the fashion for adventure bikes that’s to blame. Honda is not going to spend money improving a bike that’s not going to sell in big numbers . Shame. Everyone seems to want one of those adventure bikes and I don’t want to start a war of words, I don’t get it . Im not crossing the Kalahari and even if I did I wouldn’t be doing it on one of those overcomplicated adventure bikes. It would be something strong, reliable and easy to fix. Honda Xl 500/600 perhaps, or a Yamaha XT660 . Certainly not a Triumph 1200 or a GS 1200/1250 , they are just not for me. I don’t know what adventures all the owners of these bikes are having , but it seems to me the most they go off road is up a kerb or a grass verge . They are huge, overweight, overpriced, ugly, full of stuff you don’t need/don’t want/can’t fix and not as reliable as they make you believe. You really going to take your £15-£20 K bike off road and scratch or drop it, because trust me you will ? Of course not. It’s a fashion statement mostly and yes that's just my opinion . If you changed their name from adventure bike to upright touring bike id probably be more amenable about them .

Anyway, lets move on . I hope this doesn’t come across as an angry post because its not meant to be angry . I’m not angry . In fact I am smirking because what I have been reading over the last 2-3 months has proved to me we are right , and it is the same thing over and over again and I am going to suggest its something every VFR 800 owner already knows.

The motorcycle press , papers, magazines , online, forums are all buzzing with excitement over the 2020 Aprilia 660 . Every manufacturer has killed off their 600 capacity bikes and they were good and honed over years , but they don't sell anymore . However fast forward a bit of time, Aprilia turns up with their 2020 660 and If you read what's been written about it , road tests , everyone is wax lyrical about it. They are all saying without exception what a great bike it is and how it’s the new motorcycling messiah. Its not too big and intimidating, it has the right amount of power all of which is useable unlike a 200 bhp bike , it handles well , it looks good, its comfortable , has the right equipment and it is the right price. They also say a lot more about it spec wise and you can read all the details instead of have me regurgitate them to you . Just pick up MCN or any bike magazine.

So in the interest to satisfy what I already knew , and what my own " butt dyno " was telling me , so no one could accuse me of wearing my rose tinted spectacles I thought I would do it in black and white . I would like to share with you what I found out . For the record I have NOT ridden an Aprilia 660 .



HONDA VFR 800                                APRILIA 660

800 ( 782 cc)                                        660 (659 cc )

V4 VTEC                                              PARALLEL TWIN

105.9 BHP                                           99 BHP

55.9 LB-FT                                          49.4 LB-FT

240 KG ( WET )                                   190 KG ( WET ) & Fuel load adjusted.

TOP SPEED 146 MPH                        TOP SPEED 145 MPH

0-60 MPH 3 SEC                               0-60 MPH NOT AVAILABLE

MPG 49.6 ( Fuelly.com)                    MPG 48 ( Official specs )

119.5 CO2 g/km                              116 CO2 g/km

FUEL CAP 21.5 L                               FUEL CAP 15 L

PRICE £9,999                                    PRICE £10,150





The official Honda list price is £9,999 , but I have just bought a brand new one for £8,999.00 and I see others advertised at this price.

These bikes have similar specs . I fail to see how one is the new saviour and the other one is a relic of the past that is trading on a 20 year old reputation and people say the VFR era peaked with the 98-01 VFR 800 . To me the VFR is so much the better bike. They say the last incarnation had few changes from the one before. To those I would say that clearly Honda got it so right to start off with that there was little that needed changing . Why is the VFR better ? It’s a V4 Vtec for a start. An engine configuration everyone is chasing which just goes to show how right Honda were 30 years ago. Its silky smooth . It doesn’t vibrate like the Aprilia 660 despite its counterbalancing attempts . The VFR won’t make your hands numb due to those vibrations. The VFR costs less , has more power, more torque , bigger tank, longer range , is better made , has vtec, heated grips , 12 v port adjustable seat height and will be more reliable . The Honda support network is better . They both have radial brakes and adjustable suspension, although the VFR has conventional forks to the Aprilia has upside down forks. The VFR does weigh more but the performance specs are the same .They both have the same top speed near enough and the VFR does 0-60 in 3 secs. I cannot find any 0-60 figures for the Aprilia but will guess its in the same region . A Panigale V2 does 0-60 in 2.9 secs so you can’t accuse the VFR of being slow . Aprilia has a tft dash and a few electronic rider modes and the VFR has old style instruments and a rudimentary traction control . The Honda comes in 2 sober colours whilst the Aprilia comes in a choice of 3 shell suits .

What this comparison has done is proved to me how fashion dictates sales/perception but it has also confirmed to me what an absolute peach and a bargain of a bike the VFR 800 is and if I hadn’t just bought one I should run out and buy however many are left , and hoard them because when fashion changes again and it will people will wake up and will look at those of us who have a VFR with envy . How many times have you heard this before from a dealer. Yes mate, we did sell them . We ended up discounting them to get rid of them . To be honest with you for some reason we couldn’t give them away at the time . Now I get half a dozen calls every week with people wanting one.

I will end with this. Honda VFR 800 , honed over decades unsurpassed quality and if you want a lesson in sport touring deportment the VFR 800 is it. As Bike magazine said, in a class of 1 .

The King is dead, Long live the king.


Careca, man... you NAILED IT! Bravo! Well Said! 

I think there will be a 9G from Honda someday....

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer
On 2/8/2021 at 1:23 PM, Dutchy said:

Nice story, but we all know the VFR peaked with the 4th gen/RC36-2/1994-1997... :tongue:

 

Whoa... speak for yourself....... .I do have much love for the 4th gen, I owned one and rode the crap outta it.  Yes, its special.... 

But the 5th gens......:cool: ---- Ultimately, I need one of each...... (4th, 5th, 6th, 8th.. and and and... )

:beer:

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer
On 2/8/2021 at 9:04 AM, Careca said:

Someone on another forum just suggested a VFR 1200 engine in a VFR800 frame . Has that ben done ?

 

Id love to try that .

That would awesome to try, But the thing is.... could a 1200 convert to a chain drive?  (No shaft for me... :cool:)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Member Contributer
19 hours ago, flya750 said:

I think there will be a 9G from Honda someday....

I hope you are right, but with the Euro 5 emission requirements, probably not gonna happen. It already killed off part of the Honda product line. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.