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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Author: Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for TechCentralStation.com. Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.

2 thoughts on “Honda VFR1200F: Shamu?”

    1. 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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