So, every year, you hear the rumors: “There’s a new VFR on the way.” “It’ll have five cylinders.” “It’ll be a 1,000cc V-4 superbike.” Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
There’s something about the venerable Honda VFR that provokes fanatical loyalty from it’s fan base. And, for years, they’ve lived on rumors that the VFR will be upgraded in some fantastic way, and that the 782cc V-Tec equipped V-4 would get a new, massive power injection. Or another cylinder. Or something. whatever it is, it would be wonderful. Sadly, they’ve never gotten it.
It appears that Honda is lining up a 1200cc V-Tec bike,, not only as a replacement for the VFR, but perhaps, according to some high-ranking Honda officials, a new line of bikes.
There’s only a few spy shots of it so far, but it seems to have gotten the VFR fans into an absolute tizzy, despite the fact that the headlight looks like the head of some sort of South American jungle toad.
Anyway, it sounds impressive.
The new bike is said to be a sport-touring mount powered by a V4 engine with displacement around 1200cc. It is claimed to have variable cylinder technology, allowing it to “turn off” two cylinders (presumably the rear bank) while cruising in order to save fuel. European publications are claiming that the engine will have power “approaching 200 horsepower”, but considering Honda’s corporate philosophy and the intended market, we seriously doubt it.
Snarky asides about Honda aside–true or not–this is an interesting development. Not only does it call into question just how powerful the new VFR will be, it also calls into question the future of the venerable ST1300, with its 125HP V-4 (but non V-Tec) powerplant.
The ST1300 could certainly use a more powerful engine to push its massive weight down the road, and for touring purposes, variable cylinder technology implies the possibility of 50MPG at 70MPH. Combine that with the ST1300’s 7.8 gallon tank, and you have a highway cruising distance of 390 miles between fill-ups. A lighter, more powerful ST1200 V-Tec would seem to be the perfect reply from Honda to Kawasaki’s Concours14 and Yamaha’s FJR1300.
And, it doesn’t need to have 200HP. 165 is enough to make all the C14 riders green with envy.