"VFR800 suxx!!! But does it?" Newbie to a newbie talk.

Discussion in 'New Riders' started by konrad unold, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    If youre unexperience rider and you recently bought VFR800 this post is for you. For thers it may be juts frustrating or amusing at best.
    I had a brief romnace with Kawasaki Z1100st about 20 years ago. Recently two 2 weeks courses on Fazer and Hornet. Both oscilating around 100bhp. But my 1sr REAL, full time bike IS vfr800 a6. And I will be completly honest. I had some unpleasant adventures, experiences and doubts with it. Hence this post. Because i still love it afterall.

    I dropped it twice in a first week. Both times slow speed stuff in conjustion with curbs taken in a wrong angle. I panic, front break, baaam - gravity wins. In the process (well, two of them) Ive lost both mirrors and a front break lever...
    (Yeah, youre right, I will probably drop it again!)
    As those experienced would say: All due to my stupidity. If the mentioned circumstances is not enough for you to prove that im not the sharpest tool in the box I also had the heavy loaded (with chains and other gear) top box on, which makes the bike very top heavy. Add standard December wet Portsmouth weather and viola.
    I know that much: My complete lack of experience and imagination "paid off". I bought the wrong bike. How many of you can relate? "This bike is just not right for me", right? Despite all the research ive done regardless of the all positive reviews. Not right for me. Full stop. But is it realy?

    Im a persistant little old fart, so I chose to smash the bike to pieces by dropping it routinely on curbs and corners rather than giving up. (I even considered riding it into Justin Bieber's stage whie hes on it! At least this way my sacrifice wouldnt be meaningless).
    But last 2 months turned into valuable experience so let me share my thoughts:
    Power is not a problem. Vtech kicking shouldnt be a problem. Side panniers are not a problem. ABS is not a problem.
    Weight IS a problem. On "u" turns, tight corners, wet surface.
    Learn from my mistakes: dont put the top box untill youre comftable with the bike. It will save you mirrors and break levers . Get it lowered if - as me - you cant get comftably both feet on the ground, with ease, withouth squizing the tank. Change your levers to a racing one that retracks upward when bike is dropped - you spend 70 quid on them, but it will save you money in a long run. Use 1st gear shortly. When you "click-up/nodge up" your right wrist you will find it dificult to find/turn the gas grip position back into the perfect, smooth change (i found under or at 3k as a sweet spot on my bike) - you will find that other gears requires less wrist movement. Unless youre on a straight, wide country line or an relatively empty motorway dont rev it above 6.6k. You set yourself up for a nasty surprise. It may even feel that somebody hit you from behind or you may think that your engine just failed as all of the sudden it sounds completly diferent when the second pair of valves kick in.

    And most of all. Love your bike and it will love you back. If you drop it - like i did - dont blame it. If you start to have doubts if you choose right - like i did - dont. You chose right, trust me.

    And most importantly - as from my experience it may be the hardest thing to do:
    If you've started to have fears, shaky hands when you fire up your Honda. When you've got that nasty lingering thoughts in the back of your mind at every pull away, every corner, every traffic lights that youre going to drop it - think about something you love. Your kid, Christmas, your girlfriend, your post stamps collection or a pet if you have one. Or just think about all those jealous numpties sitting in the furniture around you. Or just simply listen to the growl of that vtech engine.
    This will help you to overcome the fear and doubts. It certainy helped me. Take it slow. Ride the clutch. Take an empty country line to practice corners. Empty Tesco parking lot is your best friend for a slow ride and feeing/getting used to the weight.
    Take my word for it. This bike is not too heavy, too powerful or too hasty. Its all in your head.
     
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  2. VFR4Lee

    VFR4Lee Active Member

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    Not too heavy, but no welter weight. Powerful and hasty enough. :wheelie:
     
  3. vfrrfv

    vfrrfv New Member

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    VFR800 is a fantastic bike for its intended purpose. It was always an aspirational bike not a starter bike (weight and power wise). Scuffs, scratches, and dents of the body don’t take away any of its true capabilities. Clutch and brake levers are inexpensive and worth replacing to give you the best control. The bike is heavier than some, lighter than others. Keep the tires at 36/42 psi and it’s easier to move in the garage. Respect the weight at low speeds and set your expectations accordingly. Riding boots with soles that give you good grip make a big difference. Once moving keep the rpms above 4K and use the clutch regularly to feather in/out power. Enjoy that exhaust bark and the suspension stability that comes with a little extra weight and its cartridge forks.
     
  4. Eagle Six

    Eagle Six Member

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    I bought an 06' VFR800A last spring and sold it about a month ago. It's a great bike, I liked it and so did the wife. I just couldn't get used to the lack of HP and neither could she. I think it is a great bike for some beginners and not so much for other beginners. I do suggest new riders attend a 2 day MSF basic riders course regardless of their first bike choice, and approach the VFR with respect and maybe some caution until they feel comfortable. The VFR is large enough for touring, small enough for sport riding, and fast enough for general street use and even on the track with some limitations. I think it is actually one of the better bikes to build experience. A used model is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain. Other than the R/R (which is an easy fix) they provide a bunch of enjoyable and dependable miles. The 800 cc motor I think puts it in the top performance range for a beginner bike for most new riders. And for many, they never need or want more power than the VFR can produce and therefore can be a 'forever' bike.

    For those new riders (or old experienced guys like me) that are height challenged, there are many options to help out. Taller heels, lowering links, shaving the seat, and above all training and experience (which usually will eliminate the need for taller heels, lowering links, or shaving the seat!!). I don't speak for other experienced riders, but mine started when I was about 12 years old and I'm now 71! So of course there have been lots of miles on lots of different bikes and lots of different roads. It also consist of many training days and what would experience be without a few failures! Yes, I have laid some bikes down, sometimes at speed but mostly that embarrassing parking lot or stop street. Probably the most valuable technique or skill I have developed is understanding and admitting, what has always got me in trouble is too much speed, even when my speed was only 5 mph at the time, I realized the rubber side was no longer down. 2nd important skill I have developed is smooth on the controls. Smooth brakes are our friend and lack of distance the enemy!

    Anyway, although I no longer have a VFR, it will always be one of the better bikes I have owned, maybe even the 2nd best.
     
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