The legendary VFR800F is completely updated with sharp, contemporary looks, a brand new telescopic fork, Pro-arm swingarm, wheels and bodywork. Plus adjustable seat height, standard-fit Traction Control System, ABS, heated grips and Honda’s unique new self-cancelling indicators. 10kg lighter than the previous model, with the engine re-tuned for greater low and mid-range torque.
The V4 engine configuration is a special one for Honda, going back nearly 40 years. A complex, yet compact unit, it has a unique power delivery and a soul all its own. Honda’s current RC213V MotoGP machine uses a V4, as does the flaghip sport-touring VFR1200F. It’s a powerplant woven tightly into Honda’s engineering DNA.
And nowhere has the V4 engine been more at home than in the legendary VFR800F series – a truly all-round motorcycle that’s always done sport as well as it tours, and all areas in between, with or without a pillion. It has inspired huge loyalty among owners over the last two decades and it’s estimated there are still 75,000 VFRs in regular use across Europe.
The legion of VFR800F fans know exactly what they like about their bike and also what they’d like more – and less – of in a new model. With such an important model Honda has listened intently to customers’ views; in essence they want a high-quality motorcycle with strong low and mid-range torque, light and slim but just as capable and adaptable, with a return to the evocative look and feel of VFRs of the past.
Two factors were key drivers for Honda’s engineers in development of the new VFR800F – firstly, to retain and expand the essential VFR qualities that inspire so many, and, secondly, to update the new model with modern features and technologies.
Starting with the 782cc V4-VTEC engine, bottom and mid-range power have been boosted, to strike the ideal balance of enjoyable sports riding and easy commuting. The VTEC transition has been softened and the resulting power delivery is smooth, strong and linear. Honda’s TCS (Traction Control System) has also been added.
Extensive work has gone into making the new VFR800F lighter than its predecessor, a whole 10kg lighter in fact. A single exhaust muffler has replaced the dual underseat design of the previous model and a host of detail changes save weight.
A brand new Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm, 43mm telescopic fork, radial-mount four-piston front brake calipers and redesigned wheels hang from the quintessentially VFR twin-spar aluminium beam frame. Seat height is adjustable by 20mm, ABS is fitted as standard and – for the first time – a Honda Genuine Accessories shift assist system is available to bolt straight on.
And then there’s the styling. Considerably slimmer in the middle than the outgoing bike the 2014 VFR800F mixes a sleek silhouette with crisp, contemporary angles – and more than an echo of classic VFR design.
The VFR800F’s 782cc, liquid-cooled 16-valve DOHC 90° V4-VTEC engine has received significant development – mainly focusing on cam timing and valve duration/overlap – to deliver the required increase in low-to midrange power and torque. Peak power of 77.9kW is delivered at 10,250rpm, with peak torque of 75.1Nm arriving at 8,500rpm.
VTEC valve timing still operates one pair of inlet/exhaust valves per cylinder at low rpm, and then switches to four as revs rise but the transition is now seamless. Combined with the uprated torque, the effect is a remarkably linear power delivery and effortless overtaking at highway speeds.
Bore and stroke is 72mm x 48mm, with compression ratio of 11.8:1. The PGM-FI fuel injection – with 36mm throttle bodies – has been remapped to suit the engine’s new performance parameters, and fuel economy is 17.8km/l (WMTC). The single exhaust design saves 7kg weight.
Honda’s Traction Control System (TCS) is fitted as standard equipment. It’s operated from the left handlebar and a single mode covers a wide variety of riding conditions and situations.
The diamond triple-box section aluminium twin-spar frame is unchanged; a revised die-cast aluminium subframe is 3kg lighter than the previous model. In total, kerb weight is reduced by 10kg to 239kg. Rake is set at 25°30’ with trail of 95mm and 1,460mm wheelbase.
Completely new are the aluminium single-sided Pro-arm swingarm and 43mm Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) telescopic fork. They feature stepless spring preload adjustment and 108mm wheel travel; the HMAS gas-charged rear shock operates through a Pro-Link suspension linkage with remote spring preload and stepless rebound damping adjustment.
The fork lowers have been redesigned in two pieces to accept radial-mount four-piston brake calipers. New Fine Die-Cast (FDC) hollow aluminium wheels employ dual 310mm floating discs up front and a 256mm disc at the rear. The front rim is a 17M/C x MT3.50, the rear a 17M/C x MT5.50 with 120/70 ZR17M/C (58W) and 180/55 ZR17M/C (73W) tyres. 2-channel ABS provides consistent and safe all-weather stopping control.
‘Elegant Sport’ is the essence of the VFR800F and its stunning new bodywork not only provides a contemporary outline, with a mixture of sharp angles and soft curves it pays respect to design elements from the VFR’s history – details like the small air intake duct on the fairing’s flank.
The VFR-signature ‘X’ headlight shape is updated and now features LED lights – a first for Honda. Positional lights are integrated with the wing mirrors, just like the VFR1200F. At the rear, the wide, angular tailpiece offers plenty of room for a pillion and features an LED rear light unit with combined indicators for a clean look. With fuel economy of 17.8km/l (WMTC), the 21.5-litre fuel tank offers a 350km plus cruising range.
At 500mm the width around the middle cowl is reduced by 40mm giving the VFR800F a slim and compact feel. The seat is height adjustable (789mm or 809mm) using the tool provided and a handlebar height spacer, adding 15mm is available as a Honda Genuine Accessory.
Unique to Honda is the VFR800F’s self-cancelling indicator system. Rather than using a simple timer it compares front and rear wheel speed difference and calculates when to cancel the indication relative to the riding situation.
A new dashboard houses a digital speedometer/tachometer plus gear position indicator, ambient temperature gauge, fuel consumption information and clock. There’s also an indicator for the 5-stage heated grips, which are fitted as standard. A compact automotive-style ‘wave’ design key – with internal grooving – reduces the chance of breakage.
For the very first time Honda Genuine Accessories are offering a shift assist system. Designed to bolt on and plug straight in it provides race-style split-second upshifts with no need to use the clutch.
A new rear hugger protects the shock and Pro-Link suspension from water and the colour-matched 45L top box and panniers have been redesigned to accept the wave key. Other Honda Genuine Accessories for the VFR800F include:
Colour-matched top boxes
Pannier and top box inner bags
Averto security kit
– Model: Honda VFR800F
- Engine Type – Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 16-valve DOHC 90° V-4
- Displacement 782cm3
- Bore x Stroke 72mm x 48mm
- Compression Ratio 11.8 : 1
- Max. Power Output 77.9kW @ 10,250rpm
- Max. Torque 75.1Nm @ 8,500rpm
- Oil Capacity 3.8L
- Induction – PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
- Fuel Tank Capacity 21.5L
- Fuel Consumption 17.8km/l (WMTC mode)
- Clutch Type Wet, multiplate with coil springs
- Transmission Type 6-speed
- Final Drive O-ring sealed chain
- Frame Type Diamond; triple-box-section aluminium twin-spar\
- Dimensions (LxWxH) 2,134 x748 x1,203mm
- Wheelbase 1,460mm
- Caster Angle 25° 30′
- Trail 95mm
- Seat Height 789mm / 809mm
- Ground Clearance 126mm
- Kerb Weight 239kg
- Front Suspension – Front 43mm HMAS cartridge-type telescopic fork with stepless preload and ten DF adjustment, 108mm axle travel
- Rear Suspension – Rear Pro-Link with gas-charged HMAS damper, 7-step (stepless remote-controlled hydraulic) preload and stepless rebound damping adjustment, 120mm axle travel
- Rims – 10-spoke diecast aluminium – Front 17M/C x MT3.5 – Rear 17M/C x MT5.5
- Tyres Front 120/70-ZR17M/C (58W)
- Tyres Rear 180/55-ZR17M/C (73W)
- Brakes – ABS. Front 310 x 4.5mm dual floating hydraulic disc with radial fit 4-piston calipers and sintered metal pads
- Rear 256 x 6mm hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
- Instruments Digital speedo, analogue tachometer, fuel meter / fuel consumption / water temp. / gear-position / ambient temperature / clock
Same bike under new skin
Longtime VFR riders who loved the versatility of the legendary 1990-2001 VFR750 and 800's were losing faith in Honda when the 2002 model added expensive clunky VTEC and weight, and then the 2010 big fat Shamu arrived with the Interceptor name mis-appropriated to it. We were disgusted to see a SPORT-tourer steadily become a TOURER.
But now Honda seems to have put together a handsome package that may very well win some of us back!
The weight decrease is VERY welcome, and unlike Michael, I care much more about real-world performance than big numbers for the sake of big numbers. The total package is what matters: great brakes, great suspension, great ergonomics, reliable high quality hardware -- everything that the VFR always used to have, now refreshed in the RIGHT SIZE again.
Everyone knows that modern engineers can wring out more HP per liter than ever before. 800cc is enough for me, and Michael can buy a Shamu VFR1200 if he needs more displacement.
I can't wait to ride it -- Honda will see huge demand in the USA and Canada.
NICE BUT !