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Honda VFR1200F: Shamu?

Man, the guys at Hell for Leather really don’t like the VFR1200F. They took it out to the track, supposing that, since Honda says the bike has tons of sporting pretensions, it’d be kind of fun.  Turns out, they thought it was terrifying.

Their four main complaints:

  1. Suspension is too soft
  2. Ground clearance for cornering sucks
  3. Controls are unpredictable and fueling is monumentally bad
  4. The ergos are poor.

Wes Siler sums up:

It’s nowhere near fast enough to be a Hayabusa or ZX-14 rival and doesn’t handle nearly as well as either of those bikes either. The riding position is more forward-leaning and uncomfortable than a Kawasaki Concours 14 and the Honda doesn’t come with luggage as standard. It kind of looks like a rival for the BMW K1300S, but that bike would run circles around Shamu in a corner and feels notably quicker.

What we’re left with is a bike that’s got a sporty riding position, but corners like it’s made out of jelly. A bike that’s got a big engine, but isn’t terribly fast. A bike that’s as heavy as a tourer,  but looks like a sportsbike. A bike that’s supposed to be friendly, but is difficult to ride.

That’s more or less what I’ve been saying.  An interesting bike that fills some incomprehensible niche. An all-round sports-touring bike that does neither well. I just don’t get it.

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2 Responses to Honda VFR1200F: Shamu?

  • Funny how everyone wants to judge a bike based on how well it fits into a category, instead of just liking a bike for what it is.

    • I dunno. It seems to me that pretty much every bike slots into at least a broad category. But I don’t even see how the new VFR even does that. Its got a tiny 4, gallon tank, so it’s a pain to tour with. Big powerful engine, but really too heavy to run with sportbikes.

      So, even if you take it on its own terms, you gotta ask, “what does it do well?” I mean for 16k, its gotta be good at something, doesn’t it?

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