New member from Finland - 5th gen VFR800FI

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by w3bdevil, May 1, 2019.

  1. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Hi all!

    Got my license almost 15 years ago and been on and off riding friends bikes with loaned gear and now finally got my first own bike which is a 1999 VFR800FI. I found one with rather low odometer reading, about 37000km / 23000 miles. It has been serviced well and some things fixed along the way. The voltage regulator has a fan on it (not sure if it's an original) and there is a voltmeter + red/green light to tell when the battery is being charged. Also the previous owner has fitted a USB and 12V outputs and grip heaters along with Laser Duotech exhaust and Wilbers rear shock. Otherwise it's pretty much stock. I fell in love with the looks of this 5th gen VFR already back in the day when they were introduced and now I finally have one! I've been riding a few different types of bikes (CB500, Yamaha V-Max, VTR 1000 F, HD RoadKing + numerous smaller bikes) but I like this one the best so far. My "dream" bike has actually been a RC51, the VTR1000 SP2 / RVT1000R but I doubt that would have been very good commuter / daily use bike. Besides, I think there's plenty of bike in the VFR800 to take me to track days also. Right now the limiting factor is me, not the bike :)

    Here it is, looking forward to many fun miles ahead!

    Honda-VFR-d9227d117ee23adc-large.jpg
     
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  2. mello dude

    mello dude Member

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    Welcome to the 5th gen club :wheelie:
     
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  3. GreginDenver

    GreginDenver New Member

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    That's a great looking 5th Gen you have there.

    And, with regard to Finland in general, my daughter is a huge fan of Valtteri Bottas. He's having a great 2019 Formula 1 season so far.
     
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  4. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Thanks! Speaking about Valtteri Bottas, the company I work for actually happens to have a partnership with him and I was lucky enough to get my son a shirt with his autograph while he was here doing a photo shoot. Not much of a fan yet though, the boy is only 9 months now but he might appreciate it some day :)
     
  5. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    By the way GreginDenver, I'm currently going through your rebuild thread absorbing the mountain of information. Really warms the heart of a fellow engineer to see the attention to detail. Excellent job!
     
  6. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    Ecellent choice, and in the fastest color too! Fifteen years of research paid a good benefit.
     
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  7. OOTV

    OOTV Member

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    Welcome to The World w3bdevil! That bike looks showroom clean! For the record, my 5 Gen has been my track day bike for sometime now and other than getting passed by the S1000RRs on the long straights, it will hold its own when the turns come up!
     
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  8. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    OOTV how do you like it on track? Have you done any suspension etc. mods to it? My company has a motorcycle club and they are paying part of the expenses so I'll be able to get to track very cheap so I'm definitely going to have a go at it. I just have to find a balanced set of tires that work both on the street and on the track. Been looking at Metzeler Sportec M7 RR.
     
  9. OOTV

    OOTV Member

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    w3bdevil, I love it, it's not a "true" track weapon or race bike but IMO it's great to use the same bike you ride on public roads with, it gives you a better idea of what you and your bike can do. Last year I put on about 1,100 miles of just track time. I volunteer for the California Superbike School as a corner worker. This gives me a lot of track time and where I ride with students and instructors alike on their BMW S1000RRs. Most riders can leave me a few bike lengths behind on the longer straights but when it comes to corners, most of the students are still learning so I usually get back in front of them there. :)

    Prior to my low side, which rendered the bike non street legal for a while, I rode the 5 Gen in the canyons and twisty roads of Southern California and it definitely did a great job for me there and I was very happy with it. When it became non street legal, I started to use it solely for track use but I have since got its street legal status back but have not really got a chance to break it in on public roads yet.

    As you would imagine, I did do a few mods to it. First, suspension, I went with DMr (www.daughertymotorsports.com) as Jamie is both a member here and knows the VFR well. I had him provide me with a set of springs, valve/shim stack and rebound adjusters for the forks (I left the OEM forks on, much to the chagrin of some members) and had a Penske rear shock rebuilt by him too. Both front and rear were tailored to my weight and for track use. So far very happy with this upgrade.

    I also added steel braided brake lines and I'm using Carbonne Lorraine XBK5 pads as I found them to not fade like the EBC HH I had on originally when it was primarily for street use. I ditched the OEM exhaust can in favor of a Carbon Fiber 2Bros can and removed the passenger rear sets and center stand along with the catted exhaust in favor of a OEM 98-99 cat-less model. Although not sure how major of a weight loss, I did get to shed a few pounds ditching all that stuff. I have added a set of CBR929 rear sets using an adapter made by fellow member Sebspeed and I'm about to save a little more weight when I put on my 2 Bros replica stainless steel header system on it. ( https://vfrworld.com/threads/new-5th-6th-8th-gen-performance-header-now-in-production-in-usa.56300/ )

    For tires I have only used the Michelin Power RS and Pirelli Super Corsa SP2 on the track, sans one time using Bridgestone S21s. The Michelins and Pirellis tires offer excellent grip but the Michelins last a bit longer. I cannot really comment on the Bridgestones, as it was for only one track day and on a track I was on for the first time, along with the EBC pads. I cannot doubt their ability though, as I did get to the edge of the sidewall! They are currently living the remainder of their life on my Ducati 900SS and have been fine for street use. The Metzeler should be a good tire though, as if I'm not mistaken they share some DNA with the Pirelli tires but it is slightly more for street use. Perhaps like the Power RS, you'll get more mileage out if them than a pure track/sport tire like the Pirelli.

    Motor wise, I just recently added a Rapid Bike tuning module and a Pipercross air filter but have not been to the track with that just yet. I'm scheduled for the weekend of June 8&9 so I hope to see a bit more improvement with that plus the new headers!

    In short, I'm having fun and always learning more and more. Most of the guys I ride with and a few of the instructors all seem very surprised on how well the VFR performs and I have received some good comments on my riding and tips from observant instructors on how to improve. Although I can keep up a lap or two with some of the faster riders on bikes more suited to track/race use, I will eventually fall back but it doesn't discourage me from using my VFR. On that note, I did get to ride an R3 on the track and have to say that was really fun! Similar to the VFR, on the straights I get passed but even more so, almost like I was going backwards but when they bunch up in certain corners I was usually passing riders 2 at a time! Then they pass me on the straights...lather, rinse and repeat.
     
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  10. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Good to hear, thanks for your experiences! Let's see when I get myself to track for the first time, despite the nice weather earlier it was suddenly snowing again this week...
     
  11. GreginDenver

    GreginDenver New Member

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    It's funny, my father accidentally turned me into a Formula 1 fan when I was only 5 years old. We lived in Palmer Township, Pennsylvania which was just south of Nazareth, Pennsylvania where Mario Andretti lived (and still lives to this day). My dad took me up there to see him in the summer of 1969. That was it for me, lifetime Mario and Formula 1 race fan.

    Now I have two daughters, no sons. So my younger daughter has always been my "pretend son". She watches Formula 1 with me, we ride motorcycles together, we race go carts, stuff like that.
     
  12. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    My father was a bit of a F1 freak too when I was little :) Never been to a F1 race though.

    So, I checked the tires and found out the front tire has been manufactured on 2012 :Eek: and the rear although it's not as old it's worn a bit flat on the center and sometimes behaves a bit odd on corners so I'll replace both with Metzeler Sportec M7 RRs. The front fork has been serviced a few years back but it's completely stock and I find it a bit on the soft side so I'm thinking of replacing the springs at least, maybe with Wilbers progressive ones. I'll be booking my first track day soon so I won't have the fork fixed before that but at least I'll have some decent rubber under me.
     
  13. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Here's a few pics after the tire change and general cleaning up. On closer inspection the fairing bolts and plastic fasteners were somewhat worn or missing so I went and replaced all with stainless steel ones and new plastic clips. I also changed the mirrors to aftermarket '00-'01 style ones. Besides the better looks, might be just a psychological effect but it feels like these provide a bit better visibility too. Tire change with hand tools was actually a bit easier than I initially expected. Sure it took me a couple of hours on the first time learning but there were no major difficulties. The next possible track day is next week but it was sold out before I could get a ticket so now I'm just waiting in line if someone decides to cancel. In the meantime I have to do some more riding 'cause you have to break in the tires, right? :)


    vfr04.jpg


    vfr01.jpg


    vfr02.jpg

    vfr03.jpg
     
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  14. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    So guess what? I actually did get a track day ticket after all due to a cancellation. And boy am I glad I did :) It was yesterday and the big grin on my face hasn't vanished yet. It was the most fun I've had with a bike ever! Not to mention the benefits from having an instructor from the local club per every five newbies and it didn't even cost us anything, apart from the track day ticket that is.

    The track (Ahvenisto in Hämeenlinna, Finland) is quite old and there are almost no safety areas at all. On the other hand there are no long straights, the track is very technical with a lot of interesting corners and quite a bit of height variation (around 32 meters / 104 feet) so in my opinion it's perfect for learning cornering technique. I did around 162 km / 100 miles on it which amounts to 57 laps on 20 minute stints. Between stints the instructors were giving theory lessons and personal feedback. For anyone thinking whether they should go to a track day to learn to drive better I'd say DO IT NOW!

    Since the track sits in the middle of the city there was a noise limit of 110db. My VFR with Laser slip-on measured 95db so I had no problem at all.

    One of the biggest revelations for me was the importance of how far do you look while driving. The exact same corner with the same speed went from scary "holy crap I'll never make it" to fun "hey, I can actually open the throttle a bit more" by not looking too close in front of you. The same goes for driving lines. There were guys with brand new R1's and other 1000cc bikes overtaking fast on straights and ending up slowing everyone else down on corners because they totally missed the line by going too fast and way too wide.

    BTW, I've seen a lot of posts stating that the VFR is top heavy, to the point that you should be careful about it. To be honest I don't have that much experience on lighter bikes but I had absolutely no problem flicking the VFR around on even the tightest corners. What are your experiences on this?

    First thing to do was to strip the mirrors off, no looking back here :)

    2019-06-14 08-47-48-1.JPG

    After a few more speedy laps the rear wheel started to warm up a bit. There's still room for steeper lean angles but I'm starting slowly.

    2019-06-14 08-47-12-1.JPG
     
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  15. OOTV

    OOTV Member

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    Awesome! I had just did two days this past weekend myself. It is so great to not have to worry about cars, trucks, pedestrians, animals, etc. mostly just riders slowing everyone up in the corners ;).
     
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  16. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    So true, but that you can perhaps avoid by doing a quick pitstop letting the slowest bunch get far enough not to disturb your riding :)
     
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