2010 Honda VFR1200F - First Look

Honda unveils the next-generation V-Four sport-tourer.

2010 Honda VFR1200F - First Look

2010 Honda VFR1200F - First Look

Here it is at last, and what it is, Honda says, is "a futuristic sport motorcycle created for the sheer joy of riding, custom tailored for experienced hands who ride hard, ride long, ride far and ride often." The all-new VFR1200F actually looks quite tasty in the flesh and adorned in its Candy Red metal-flake paint, and not quite so alien as the stealth-mode black version captured in the previous "spy shots." Apart from the muffler that looks a bit like an aluminum-foil sculpture gone wrong, the rest of the bike hangs together pretty well. And while it is no lightweight sportbike, it hasn't ballooned up too terribly: Honda says 591 pounds for the six-speed manual-shift model ready to ride—including a full 4.9-gallon fuel load. The tricky Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission version, which lets the rider choose between two fully automatic modes and a paddle-shifter mode, weighs in at 613 pounds on the official Honda scales. The new manual bike, then, has gained about 40 pounds compared to the last generation VFR800—but given that it's also gained 456cc, that doesn't seem like too bad a thing at all.

The all-new V-Four displaces 1237cc, with the front two cylinders outboard and tilted 76 degrees forward of the rear two, a thing Honda says allows the bike to be thinner between the thighs. Crankpins offset 28 degrees eliminate primary engine vibration that results from the 76-degree Vee, and four valves per cylinder are activated via Honda's CR-F dirtbike-derived Unicam system. Bore and stroke are 81.0 x 60.0mm, compression is 12.0:1 and the VFR's tachometer redlines at 10,000 rpm. Honda's PGM-FI system places a single 12-hole injector in each 44mm throttle body. Biggest news on fueling, though, is that the new VFR represents Honda's first production foray into fly-by-wire: Now the throttle cable goes to an ECU instead of a set of butterflies.

All that electronically tailored power (Honda won't quote a peak-output number) flows through a slipper clutch and into a new shaft-drive system. Locating the front pivot point an inch or two lower than the swingarm pivot, Honda says, gives the VFR a whole new level of shaft-drive performance. The single-sided swingarm is controlled by a rebound-adjustable shock with a handy remote preload adjuster. Wheelbase is 60.8 inches, rake is 25.5 degrees, with 4.0 inches of trail. At the front, a sport-oriented inverted 43mm fork is preload adjustable.

Keeping with the thin theme, what little is visible of a stout-looking twin-spar aluminum frame snugs up tight against the bike's rear cylinders before tunneling forward beneath a big, layered fairing that's designed to duct hot air away from the rider and engine. In time-honored VFR tradition, the riding position is benign, with easy-to-reach handlebars, humanely located footpegs and a nicely sculpted fuel tank that could be excellent to lean on given the right tank bag. Honda says "new-technology seat construction" should add to the all-day ridability VFR riders crave. Other things they crave are saddlebags; the mounts are already in place. Honda's Combined ABS brakes are standard equipment, featuring six-piston calipers with 320mm discs up front and a two-piston caliper at the rear working on a 276mm disc.

In general, Honda says the overall level of put-togetherness that defines its products has been bumped up a notch in the new VFR, including a new level of "tactility" in all its controls. It truly is an impressive motorcycle in the flesh. Suppose one of us will have to ride it soon...

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F

2010 Honda VFR1200F