1 year later... (a review)

Discussion in '7th Generation 2010-Present' started by ZenMoto, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. ZenMoto

    ZenMoto New Member

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    Ok, so January 23rd marked the 1 year anniversary of me buying the VFR1200, something I was thinking about Sunday as I was navigating the rippled, torn up, gritty, off-camber, crap-shoot that is Deer Creek Rd..

    [​IMG]

    In that year I have managed a paltry 12,000 miles (give or a take a couple hundred) due to various family obligations, etc..

    While I was riding around I started to think about the trap I always get myself into with vehicles. I use them for a while, then something shiny and new comes along, and I find myself thinking "That would be so much cooler / better / more fun than what I have!" It got me to switch from my trusty Tacoma to the FJ Cruiser (which I still love, but am not IN
    love with ...really need a pickup). And it happened with several bikes I've owned.

    ...granted, some, like the KTM for good reason, it really did kill my lower back to ride more than a couple hours at a time (unless it was off road, with a lot of standing). In truth, most of the "I gotta have it" that I've experienced stemmed from a real need or deficiency in my current conveyance; the Magna just wasn't sporty enough anymore, the XR400 was terrible in the sand ...which the desert is full of, etc..

    So while I was out and about on the VFR, I started wondering, what will replace the VFR when the time comes? ...what could a bike offer that would make me want to give up the VFR and go with something else?

    ...and the answer I kept coming up with was ...nothing!

    [​IMG]

    Granted, my VFR is MUCH improved from stock; it had SERIOUS issues from the factory, many of which are killing it on sales floors around the globe. So here is my list of complaints / criticisms as it came from the factory, as well as the solutions (if any):

    Fuel Range - If I ride in a sporty fashion I'm on the blinking light at 110 miles (but now know I have at least 30 miles until I NEED gas).
    If I baby it, I can get 46 mpg which gets me over 200 miles on a tank ...but I can't ever seem to baby it that much for a whole tank. ...perhaps on a trip up the coast, at night ...in the fog!
    On the 2012 they've squeezed 0.4 gallons more into the space ...not much, but it helps.
    ***I've learned to live with it. ...the Magna had worse range, and it never killed me, but it would be an issue should I ever get the chance to do another cross country trip!

    Fuel Gauge - Ok, WTF Honda!!! Very consistently, I will go 48 - 54 miles with before the 1st (of 7) bars on the gauge drops off.
    I will lose a bar every 10 miles after that until I'm blinking on empty (the final bar) at around 110 - 115 miles. Is it really THAT hard to make a reasonably accurate gas gauge???
    ***not a big deal, just freakin' ANNOYING!!!

    Power deliver / 1st & 2nd gear restriction - If you look at this photo you will see how HORRIBLE the power delivery is in 1st gear from the factory (RED LINES are OEM POWER AND TORQUE):

    [​IMG]

    ...and here is 2nd gear, again RED lines are what you are looking at:

    [​IMG]

    ***If you looked at the BLACK lines, you'll see how the Bazzaz Z-Bomb improves performance
    The Z-Bomb is just a plug in version of a known wiring harness hack, which fools the ECU into thinking you're in 3rd for 1st & 2nd. The down side is, your dashboard displays 3rd from 1st - 3rd, ...I'm waaaay over caring about the dash display, the bike
    is SO much better like this.
    I'd LOVE to hear someone who knows (from Honda) explain why they felt like fucking up the bike this badly; it REALLY is THAT bad stock!!! ...bad enough I was having buyers remorse until it was fixed!!!


    Suspension - Well, what can I say, I'm a fat guy (and bigger than average when I'm in shape), so it's hard to judge suspension fairly.
    That said, on a $16,000 bike, it's criminal that Honda puts better suspension on their $10k sportbikes than on their flagship techno-tour de force.
    From the factory the settings all had to be zeroed and slowly dialed in (normal), but nothing, and I mean NOTHING could make the rear feel good (remember, I'm 225#, so this isn't shocking). There is only preload and rebound damping front and rear, and that's too damned bad!!! On the rear, with the sag set correctly (preload) you only had rebound left to play with.
    Dial in more rebound damping and the ride gets brutally harsh and feels disconnected from the pavement.
    Dial in less rebound and suddenly you're riding on a pogo stick, just bouncing your way down the road; ...very unsettling. The rear was so bad it was impossible to draw a conclusion about the front!
    ***I spent $1000 of my former KTM on an Ohlins shock! It's still not perfect, and I still need to play with it more, but night and day better!!!
    I was able to dial the front in to a very usable setting after getting the rear to settle down, which makes me very, very happy.
    Even though it's still not 100% dialed in, I can now ride the bike as hard as my sight lines will allow, and feel confident in the process; impossible with the stock shock!


    No center stand? - I thought this would be and issue ...until I thought about it!
    Honda wants something like $250 to add a factory center stand, PitBull wanted $150 for a rear stand that works in the OEM bracket.
    ***PitBull for the win!!! I have their rear and front stands for the VFR for little more than the center stand would have cost. ...it's not like I'm servicing a chain on the road!!!

    Black paint on the tank - A minor quibble, but the day I brought the VFR home I noticed that the black section of the tank was already rashed up pretty good from just a quick spin in the Santa Monica Mts..
    The black paint is very soft, and black shows scratches badly! I didn't want to wear through the paint on the tank like a buddy did on his matte black Speed Triple.
    ***TheTankSlapper.biz to the rescue. For $30 I got a 3M tank protector kit from them that is nearly invisible and super tough.
    It took some patience to install, but it has proven worth while, and when it starts to wear out, I will install another set ASAP.

    BEST $30 I've spent on the bike!!!


    Buzziness - This is a me thing, I think. Every VFR I've owned (4th & 5th gen) have made my throttle hand fall asleep; this one is no different.
    Exacerbated by the displacement, no doubt, it would make my hand fall asleep almost instantly on the slab (not good).
    ***Throttle Rocker, Throttlemeister bar ends, and gel grips have all been employed in an attempt to curb this, as well as some hokey "tuned resonance in-bar dampers" which don't do shit. The result is somewhat less vibration, possibly at a different RPM range that make the bike much more user friendly for me.
    My hands still eventually go to sleep on the slab, but now I can lock the throttle and give my hand a rest, and it's not as severe to begin with!


    Bar reach - Riding a friend's 6th gen VFR back to back with my 1200 confirms that the reach to the bars is just a little more aggressive than previous VFRs, and I notice it.
    At first my neck bothered me, but now I'm used to it. ...now it's just that my wrists get fatigued a bit after a day of riding.
    ***This could be as much due to my flabby core as the reach, but I'm willing to shed pounds more quickly than I'm willing to spend $350 on bar risers!

    ...I may try Heli-bars in the future, but for now, it's just not worth the $$$ for a 3/8" increase in height.


    Tires - Not surprisingly, the OEM tires are CRAP!
    ***Pilot Road 3 ...'nuff said! These tires are the shizzle! ...that's right, I just said SHIZZLE!!!

    Luggage - It's small, but expensive! ...but I really like it. I don't pack heavy on long trips, so there's plenty of room in the 3 bags, and I got them thrown in for a decent price.
    The left bag will let significant water in if left sitting on the side stand out in the rain. ...not sure if it gets in when in motion, but it definitely gets in while sitting (so use a WP bag when packing)
    Most size large and smaller helmets will fit in the trunk, no helmet (maybe a half shell) will fit in the side bags.
    ***I love the mounting system and locks, and the look great on the bike. I've wired and SAE power adapter to the bottom of the trunk, so my phone etc. can be charging while I'm out and about.

    So that's my "As honest and thorough as I can be!" assessment of the
    V12's negatives.

    [​IMG]

    As for the positives, I'll just run through them quickly:

    Power - Pure awesomesauce! Now that the 1-2 thing is fixed, the bike is sheer joy to ride at any speed, on any surface. She pulls like a freight train and will allow you to unleash the hooligan inside on a whim!

    Comfort - Seats are highly personal, I've never had an OEM seat that didn't kill me ...until now! I can do canyons, literally, ALL day on this seat. On the slab though, 3-4 hours start hurting (not bad for OEM).

    Wind Protection - Without any of the overpriced OEM add-ons, it puts the wind right where you want it (for my 6' frame anyway), and I get NONE of the heat on my feet of previous VFRs.

    Fit and finish - Simply stunning. Not only does it look fantastic, but it's the easiest VFR to take apart for basic service yet. ...I'll know more about valve service this spring!

    Maintenance - Speaking of... No chain! The shaft not only feels like a well adjusted chain (very, very little noticeable lash) but it's super easy to change the oil (and the service interval is WIDE, though I change it more frequently than required, since it's so easy).

    Handling - Have I mentioned, that with the new shock, I can ride the piss out of this thing??? It easily handles as well as my 4th gen VFR (which had Fox shock and Race Tech front and stands as the best handling bike I've ever owned). ...that is some feat for a bike that weighs nearly 200# more.

    ...you seriously don't feel the weight, and the bike only feels big after climbing off, and onto say ...a Superhawk or older VFR! lol ...once moving, forget it though, pure heaven!!!

    Brakes - Dear Lord! ...a bike this heavy shouldn't be able to stop this fast, but it does, and it has ABS too!

    Bazzaz - Not only did they fix the 1st and 2nd gear BS from Honda, but they gave it the full fuel management system, complete with bar switchable mapping (why? ...who cares!)
    They also gave it traction control, again, complete with a bar mounted dial with settings from off to very aggressive control. Did I mention the quick shift? ...I don't use it all the time, but sometimes, it's SO much fun to blast up to 135 mph without ever letting off the throttle! :wink:

    Akropovic - Very, very nice exhaust. Limited choices due to having the luggage (everyone makes a "hi-mount" system, that is incompatible with the factory bags) but Akro offers both, and it sounds amazing with the baffle out (the way I run it). ...not annoyingly loud, but sounds great!

    Grin Factor - Possibly the most important feature of any motorcycle!
    Grin factor is that thing that gets you out of the house at zero-dark:30
    It is what makes you decide to take Piuma - Schuerin - Saddle Peak - Tuna Cyn. - PCH to get to Malibu Market from the Mulholland / Malibu Cyn. intersection!

    It's why you make excuses not to take the cage to work ...even when it's cold and wet out.

    This bike has Grin Factor in it's blood. When I get on the VFR I find myself thinking things like "Should I run to the beach, or head up to Morro Bay ...I've got a couple hours!!!"

    In the past year, there hasn't been a time I've gone out on the VFR and not come home to say "God I love that BIKE!!!". ...true story!!!

    If this one were to die and untimely death, or when it just plain wears out (which, with my lowish mileage of late, should take a long, long time) I don't think there's another bike that I would want. ...this is it.

    For me, the VFR, as it currently stands, is pretty damned close to the perfect bike!!! Could it use more range, sure. Could I use a custom seat for long days, sure. Do I wish it were less buzzy on the fwy, yeah, but not enough to get an inline 4.

    If I had to buy a new bike tomorrow, I'd go get another VFR1200F; that's as high an endorsement as I can give a bike today! :cool:

    ...so that's it. My year in review from the seat of a 2010 VFR1200F. No punches pulled, and I don't think I missed anyting!

    [​IMG]
     
    Viffer J likes this.
  2. Scubalong

    Scubalong Official Greeter?

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    Awesome write up, thanks for sharing.............Won't get the 7th gen until all the issue mention above fix :)
     
  3. Pliskin

    Pliskin New Member

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    Nice write up, thanks.

    While there were a lot of "easy" fixes, its a shame you had to do that, given the price. But you figured out what you needed to do to make it perfect for you, and that's what its all about. Glad you're enjoying it, and we'll look forward to "year 2 update".
     
  4. tinkerinWstuff

    tinkerinWstuff Administrator Staff Member

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    great writing and top notch photos! Thanks for sharing
     
  5. drewl

    drewl Member

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    What he said.

    Thanks.
     
  6. FoothillRyder

    FoothillRyder New Member

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    Great writeup. I just wish people would stop posting photos. Every time I see a picture I have to look the other way.

    Sorry, and I've been told the VFR12 looks better in person; but it is just not attractive in photos - at all - even a good photo - from a 'good' angle.

    :cool:
     
  7. pap11y

    pap11y New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to do this. A great read..
     
  8. reg71

    reg71 Poser Staff Member

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    Good article. Where were those photos when we were putting together the calendar? Seriously I'm pretty sure you would have gotten in.
     
  9. Pliskin

    Pliskin New Member

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    How about making this a Pinned thread in the 7th Gen?

    Its filled with useful info, mods, issues, and how things were fixed. And it provides a dyno to end any discussion.

    It'd be nice to be able to refer back to this, or when a newcomer starts a new thread of "Thinking about getting a VFR1200" - well, just give him Zen's write up and be done with it.
     
  10. ZenMoto

    ZenMoto New Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys, I've kinda' been off the grid. ...have a 3 week old boy at home now (which should explain my lack of participation the last few months), so my time is still limited, but I felt I at least owed the community a 1 year review.

    Reg, I promise to submit some photos for next years calendar ...all but that bottom one were taken with my silly iPhone! lol

    Hope everyone's enjoying their winter!!!
     
  11. reg71

    reg71 Poser Staff Member

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    can I get a second? it sounds like a good idea to me. anyone?
     
  12. Seemedo

    Seemedo New Member

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    I've had mine for just a few days more than a year with a few more miles running completely stock except for the two brothers pipe. I'm used to the 1st and 2nd gear so it doesn't drive me crazy but then I don't burn through corners.

    I have Pirelli Angel ST tires that I like so much they're going on again. I'm used to the range but laying off the rpms to get better fuel milage is so hard to do. Coming from an 95 Harley FLSTN was a like night and day but I couldn't ride the FLSTN afterwords.

    I like the stock seat always have but at first the foot pegs seemed a little high but I'm used to them now and they are just fine. Vibrations don't bother me at all but my two previous bikes where the Harley and 2009 Triumph T100, very nice bike too.

    The stock exhaust looks good to me but I like a little more rumble which the 2Bros delivers.

    Smile factor is what I was thinking about on my ride to the beach last weekend even in the rain it was still a big old grin while ridding I forget about my little pains and such.

    The Black on the tank where my tank bag rest I protect with a carbon look magnetic vinyl cut to fit. You hit the breaks and she stops.

    I practice my quick stops but I know if needed she will stop very fast. Life is short at its best if you wait until something is perfected you're wasting time. [​IMG]

    When I ride with my bud sometime you end up at strange places, he keeps thinking he can get me back on heavy iron.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  13. suse

    suse New Member

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    Great read. Thanks. My wife was looking at the "new" VFR. We will give it a test ride when the weather warms up a little. It's hard for me to imagine there is such a gamut of issues with the 1200. But, then again, the first years production of any vehicle seem to have their quirks. I probably wouldn't have noticed all those issues. The biggest issue I have with the 1200 is weight. A major reason I went for the VFR800 was because it is significantly lighter than my ST1100.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  14. vfrruss

    vfrruss New Member

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    Great write-up. You have inspired me to take another serious look at buying a VFR1200. It fits with what I'm looking for in a bike that's sporty and also adequate for occasional 2-up riding. The snatchy throttle and the torque-restriction in 1st and 2nd made me look at other bikes, but for one reason or another I haven't bought anything yet. So now after a long time I come back here and see that you and have solved these issues. Nice.

    It's interesting to me that engine tuning problems and suspension problems for the VFR1200 are the same problems I need to fix with the other motorcycles that I am considering. I think it's a common problem with a lot of motorcycles, especially the engine tuning issue. A good flat torque curve is more important to me than the horsepower number.

    What rear Ohlins shock did you buy? My riding weight is up around 225 also. Do you know of any Ohlins front fork internals that can be used to match?
     
  15. ZenMoto

    ZenMoto New Member

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    Thanks, I'm glad some people are finding it useful.

    I got the shock from hardracing.com ($1000). and it is part number HO 013 model number 46HRCS.

    I don't know of any Ohlins fork bits that will work with the OEM forks. As far as I know you get the usual suspects there; Race Tech's Gold Valves, Traxxion's work, or Lindemann (which isn't really the same, since Jim passed away, though I have no experience with the new ownership).
     
  16. Scubalong

    Scubalong Official Greeter?

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    ++++++++++++++++++++ 3
    :thumb:
     
  17. Befbever

    Befbever New Member

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    On the slab + twisties riding on an Aprilia Futura: 4 days and no-one, not even me, had any discomfort.

    Now on this bike after a one-day ride when my sore butt ruined the last part of the ride, I decided to bite the bullet and ordered a Corbin seat through the UK importer. 9 weeks later I receive it and it's much better but I'm pretty sure with all their technology, they still can't match the Futura seat.
     
  18. AlanSkier

    AlanSkier New Member

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    ZenMoto
    Great review and thanks. I order the Bazzaz z bomb based on your review. Could you say anything more about the traction control quick up shift from Bazzaz? It's $950 so does it work, easy install, etc
    Thanks
     
  19. ZenMoto

    ZenMoto New Member

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    Sorry Alan, I've been crazy busy lately and haven't been on the forums. To, belatedly, answer your question though; the quick shift works great, at least it does from 2nd gear on up. The shift from 1st to 2nd is a bit harsh, so I tend to manually clutch that one for the sake of not beating on my gearbox more than necessary. ...after that though, the shifts are butter smooth, and lightening quick! It's actually quite scary how quickly you hit the ton when you don't have to let off the throttle at all while upshifting!!! :)

    As for installation, I can't really speak to it, as Bazzaz installed all my gear themselves. It looks like it's mostly plug and play, it's just a matter of finding a clean way to snake the sensor wire down to the gear shift arm, and up to the control module. ...I'm really not sure what all is involved though, that's just the way it appears!

    The quick shift isn't something I use too frequently, but it sure is fun when I do.

    As for the traction control, it's kinda' the same thing, I didn't install it, so I don't know how difficult that was. There is a controller mounted on the bars to dial in the amount of control you want (from 0 - 10) so there's a wire that needs to be run. As for its use, I don't think I've ever had it activate! ...there's not too much rain here in SoCal and I've never had a slip when it is wet out, nor do I ride anywhere near hard enough on the street to need the TC in dry weather conditions! It's one of those "it's nice to have, but..." kind of things.

    Overall I'm very happy with all the Bazzaz systems!
     
  20. lshark

    lshark New Member

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    hey Zen did Bazzaz put the Z-AFM self mapping device on your bike ???? i'm curious where they put the sensor, in the stock o2 bungs or did they weld in a new one.....bazzaz said in the stock bung, dealer wanted to put it in the slip on pipe thnx
     
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