The Varadero is Honda’s large capacity adventure-tourer. With a big 996cc V-Twin (sourced from the Firestorm) providing the motivation Honda’s Varadero can easily cruise at any reasonable speed you require.
V-Twins are notorious for using quite a lot of fuel compared to their 4-cylinder brethren but this poses no problems for the Varadero as a monstrous 25-litre fuel tank ensures that stops can be kept to a minimum.
Riding the Varadero long distance would be a breeze with the upright riding position combining with a well-padded seat and tall screen which make long stints a no fuss affair. A rack at the back of the bike allows for easy fixing of gear while panniers are also available for the Varadero.
The 5-speed gearbox is smooth and positive and transfers drive to the rear wheel via a sealed ‘O’ ring chain.
Those caught a little short in the leg department may find the 845mm seat height a little cumbersome at times but all the other bikes in this class are similar in this regard. This is one of the trade-offs that have to be made in order to achieve the generous 195mm of ground clearance that the Varadero provides.
Up front 43mm forks do a quite a good job in keeping the 220-kilogram (dry) Varadero under control, as does the Pro-Link single shock rear end.
Braking the Varadero are large 296mm dual discs up front and a 256mm disc at the back. These are linked by Honda’s ‘Dual Combined Braking System’ (DCBS). Whereby pulling the front brake lever activates 2 of the 3 pistons in the front calipers while also activating pressure on 1 of the 3 pistons in the rear caliper. Likewise depressing the rear brake will activate 2 of the 3 pistons on the rear caliper and also apply pressure to 1 of the 3 pistons of each front caliper. The system works very well, especially on the road. But when things get down and dirty in the gravel this rider would prefer to rely on a conventional system.
I only covered around 500 wet kilometres on the Varadero but did come to like the beast a little more each time I rode it which is a sure sign towards happy ownership. Nevertheless the machine has never proved popular in Australia and Honda have dropped it from their 2002 Australian range.
- Engine – Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve DOHC 90° V-twin
- Bore x Stroke – 98 x 66mm
- Displacement – 996cm
- Compression Ratio – 9:1
- Carburetor – 42mm slanted flat-slide CV-type x 2
- Max. Power Output – 95hp @ 8000rpm
- Max. Torque – 99Nm @ 6000min
- Ignition – Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
- Starter – Electric
- Transmission – 5-speed
- Final Drive – ‘O’-ring sealed chain
- Dimensions (LxWxH) – 2295 x 880 x 1460mm
- Wheelbase – 1560mm
- Seat Height – 845mm
- Ground Clearance – 195mm
- Fuel Capacity – 25 litres
- Front Suspension – 43mm hydraulic telescopic fork, 175mm axle travel
- Rear Suspension – Pro-Link with spring load-adjustable damper, 155mm axle travel
- Front Brakes – 296mm dual hydraulic discs with Combined 3-piston calipers and sintered metal pads
- Rear Brake – 256mm single hydraulic disc with Combined 3-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
- Dry Weight – 220kg