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