It's great even when stock | This bike has class and distinction written all over it.
In 2014, Honda V4 aficionados rejoiced at the return of their beloved VFR800. What Honda had hoped for its 2010 replacement, the VFR1200 never panned out, which is not surprising as the 1200 is a totally different ride. The current VFR800 is about 20lbs lighter than the 2009 model due in most part to a simpler design. This design would include a single low side exit silencer as opposed to the previous dual under seat exhaust, an aluminium subframe instead of steel as well as lighter hollow die-cast wheels reducing unsprung weight as well.
This simplicity, combined with any lack of graphics and solid metallic paint schemes (white or red), give the 2015 Honda VFR800 Deluxe a clean handsome look. LED headlights with an “X” pattern highlight the front profile as well as an LED brake light with integrated turn signals and front turn lights built into the rear view mirrors produce a refined and polished look. Moving the radiator to a more traditional position in the front of the engine has also led to a narrower profile.
Riding Position and Controls
The riding position splits the difference between a sport bike and touring bike, and gives the VFR800 a compact feel that does not put too much pressure on the wrists. This is all while still tucking one away on highway runs. The windshield at about 100km/h pushes air just above the neck allowing for smooth laminar air to push around the helmet. A night run through the Forks of the Credit shows very clearly via bug juice where the air hits me at 5’9 inches tall. The seat is height adjustable from 30.7 inches up to as high as 31.5”. The clip-on bars give good feedback with all of the controls located within easy reach of the rider.
Adjustable clutch and brake handles allow for all hand sizes. Standard fitment on the Deluxe model tested here includes a center stand, traction control, heated grips, self-cancelling signals, remote rear pre-load adjuster, adjustable front pre-load dampening and ABS. The instrumentation has a large center analog tachometer with digital speedometer and stepped fuel indicator to the left. On the right is a display that indicates the odometer, trip functions, engine/ambient temperature, and time. Even in bright sunlight I was able to see the instrumentation clearly. Honda offers a higher clip on option for the bars and if I were touring there are multiple options for higher screens.
Engine and Riding Impressions
The 2015 model retains the same V4 as the 2002 model, however it boasts newer fuel maps, upgraded fuel injection and a more refined VTEC system that opens up the secondary valves in a more subtle manner. The latter of these is the major complaint of owners of the previous iterations. Right off the hop, the engine provides a smooth torque curve that runs most of the way up the RPM range with the VTEC system compensating at higher revs (6800 RPMs). Power comes on smoothly and when the VTEC activates, a surge of controlled power and an audible reminder become evident, none of which upset the ride even in corners.
This engine will never compare to a full-on midsize sport bike, but the name of the game here as it has always been with the VFR is refinement. If you want to burn it up then you have to keep this engine over 6800 RPM and all 16 valves opening. If you want to rack up the kilometers then sixth gear at 100 km/h is easy at just 5000 RPM. Rebound dampening and pre-load are standard on both the front shocks and the rear shock but only on the Deluxe model (allowing for full adjustment and compensation for two up riding and/or loaded hard bags).
It is obvious that while Honda may have significantly refined and revised the VFR they have kept it true to what devotees of the VFR have loved about the previous versions. A smooth all-rounder with the ability to do everything well and now even more competent with the current version. Riders that only look at numbers may pass over the 2015 Honda VFR800, but if it’s refinement in a regal sort of way that you are looking for, this bike has class and distinction written all over it.