New to riding needs advice.

Discussion in 'General VFR Discussions' started by konrad unold, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    Hi Ladies and Gents
    I'm an old fart that is just about to pass the driving license and needs your advice. I'm on a hunt for a bike and my research so far narrowed my choice to Honda VFR. I'm not interested in other bikes.
    I read through the forum back and forth searching for answers but it all gets too complicated for my small, inexperienced head.
    Few terms such as 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th generation VTEC engines as an example that I don't understand, hence the question, that I would greatly appreciate if somebody could answer in laymen terms:

    What would be the better choice for me? 2008 to 2011 VFR800 or 2008 to 2011 VFR1200?
    What's the difference between the engine generations? Which would be the best for me considering that:

    The bike will be used for commuting and long weekend trips all year around in dry and wet conditions. I am looking for a bike that will go smoothly with luggage and passenger, yet will have enough power when needed. Kind off a bike that you could call a family man by day and a monster by night. I'm not a petrol head - more of a passionate guy fulfilling his long time dream.

    Both VFR800 and 1200 are similar price on this side of the pond.

    Any answers, hints, suggestions regarding gear, upgrades, bikes itself will be greatly appreciated. Please consider the following in your answers: Look, sound, how it handles, ergonomics and anything else that you experienced VFR riders could have think of.

    Thank you very much.
     
  2. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Member

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    The 1200 did not sell that well from what I understand. It was a 7th Gen. The 8th gen returned to the 800 engine. There must have been good reason for that. The 6th gen was only available in Canada from 2002 to 2009 but I understand it was available elsewhere for a few years longer.

    I have made many long and hard trip on my 2006, mind you I was solo, but packed with enough gear to equal the weight of my wife. I also commuted year round for several years, wind rain and occasionally caught in the snow too. This bile has served me very well. I have over 206,000 km on it now and it is still strong.

    Don't skimp on the riding gear. Buy the best you can get for what you can afford. And wear it all the time. A good helmet is the priority. Not all helmets fit the same so you need to get into store and test fit them to your head, They are going to feel really tight at first but you should expect that. The cheek pads will break into fit your head. Next is armoured jacket and gloves and of course boots. Leather is best by far but they have some decent textile suits out there too.

    Oil changes are your cheapest insurance to a well running bike. Stay away from K&N oil filters. There is nothing but bad experiences on this site on their massive failures which luckily did not end with serious injuries or even fatalities.

    Upgrades are a personal thing. Many have upgraded their seats to either Corbin or Sargent. I did so with a Sargent but honestly, I was comfortable on the original seat even on 2000 mile return rides. Mine is kinda old now so I am about to have the seat rebuilt by a nearby guru of upholstery. Helibars or bar risers (same thing) are also a common addition. They raise the handlebar about 1 inch and it does make a difference in comfort.

    I upgraded my suspension to Ohlins. nice improvement but I do not get the value out of these performance suspension things. I would not have gotten them if the suspension was not in need of a rebuild in the first place.
     
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  3. skimad4x4

    skimad4x4 "Official" VFRWorld Greeter

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    Hi Konrad and welcome to the MadHouse.

    So where in the world are you based?

    Wikipedia provides an over view of the various VFR generations. Alternately if you scroll down posts on the forums list on here, you will see that 6th Gen and earlier versions were all prone to charging system issues which could develop with no obvious warning and then leave you stranded. If you intend owning one of those models at the very least consider adding a cheapo voltmeter (sort sold in ebay for buttons) just need one with an LED display which shows the volts as a number - which you simply connect at the battery to track the charging system volts. They are rarely accurate but will allow you to monitor the bike as you ride. Then if you see the volts fall through the floor or shoot through the roof it will give you a chance to head for a safe place before the battery is drained of all remaining power and the bike shuts down.

    Decoded = if you can afford them, I would go with either the VFR1200 or the newer 2014+ 800 model as Honda seem to have finally eliminated the charging system gremlins. Nothing so frustrating as a bike letting you down miles from anywhere - been there and was not impressed by the huge bill for RR stator and new battery.

    As for going 2 up touring on the bike - the best option is to find a bike being sold with full OEM luggage in the bundle. Factory panniers, top box and mounting carriers are scary expensive if you have to buy them afterwards. They will however keep stuff dry and securely carry ample for two for a week long trip - NB most people take way too much on the first trip.

    Whatever you go for haggle on the price - no one pays ticket price. Dealers tend to be less flexible on the ticket price so a common approach is to get them to bundle in full luggage for free. Good luck - I look forward to seeing photos of whatever you go with.

    SkiMad
     
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  4. Samuel

    Samuel New Member

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    Great replies from Randy and Skimad.

    A few (hopefully different) pesos:

    If you haven't done so already, I recommend that you take a legitimate motorcycle riding/safety course (especially if this is going to be your very first motorcycle and you're choosing between a few of the larger/more powerful options out there).

    Actually go and sit on the models you are considering. See if the normal riding positions are amenable to you (there may be room for adjustment - e.g. handlebars/hand grip risers/lifts, brackets allowing lowered footpegs, possibly adjustable seats and/or ride height on newer models, aftermarket seats, etc). See if you can arrange to safely lean it over to both sides while you're straddling it (maybe have a salesperson be a "catcher") to see if the weight of the bike will be an issue. Hopefully, you have the strength and technique to be able to pick up from the ground whatever bike you end up buying.

    If you're not sure what to look for when buying a motorcycle, bring someone experienced/knowledgeable/qualified with you (and, depending on the dealership, it might not be a bad idea to have him/her come with you even if you're buying from a dealer). Another option if you're buying from a private party is to have a qualified mechanic/shop do a pre-purchase inspection for you.

    The VFR also comes in adventure type platforms (e.g. VFR800x, VFR1200x) that might be worth researching/considering, especially from an ergonomic standpoint.

    Re: "long weekend trips" - "long" is relative. :) If you haven't done a lot of "really long" distance riding, I would look at some of the advice here: http://ironbutt.com/aow.cfm as well as reading through some of the wonderful experiences that members have shared here and also on VFRD (VFR Discussion).
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
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  5. GatorGreg

    GatorGreg Honda Fanboy/LitiGator

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    Welcome Konrad. Since you are a self-described "old fart" who is also new to riding I would recommend more of a beginner bike than a VFR. But if you insist on getting a VFR, I would recommend the so-called 7th gen VFR, specifically a 2012+ VFR1200 with the DCT (auto) tranny.

    I say this because by having the DCT tranny you won't have to worry about using your left hand and left foot to operate the clutch lever and shifter. If I were an old fart beginner I would LOVE having that. In addition, 2012 was the first year for Traction Control on the VFR1200 which IMO would be a critical safety feature for a noob who wants to ride in wet conditions as you indicated you plan to do. The 2012 also got a bigger fuel tank among other tweaks. Also, the VFR1200 has combined ABS which is another great feature for a noob because it allows you to just use the brake lever with your right hand to activate both front AND rear brakes instead of having to worry about also using the rear brake pedal with your right foot (it's actually more complicated than this but you are probably already aware of this feature).

    The 8th gen VFR800 (2014+) also has Traction Control (except for the "base model" which was only available in USA). But the 8th gen has no DCT available nor does it have combined ABS (although combined ABS was available on 6th gen VFR800). So for this reason I would recommend the 2012+ VFR1200 (it was available in an awesome blue paint scheme in the USA for 2012). Good luck in your search.
    http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2011/11/md-first-look-2012-honda-vfr-1200f/

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
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  6. VFR4Lee

    VFR4Lee Member

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    I'd say the smaller lighter 800 for a new rider. Still has plenty of power to get you in trouble.
    Just won't get you there quite as quick. Which is good for a new rider. Ride safe.
     
  7. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Member

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    Linked ABS has been around for a long time. My 06 has it. Did they increase the size of the fuel tank on the 7th gen mid stream of its life because the capacity was actually less than the 6th gen when they first came out.

    Don't worry about having "too much bike" to learn on. The older, the wiser. I had never ridden a bike in my life when I bought my 6th gen back in 2006. This was the absolute first bike I rode and so ling as you respect the power, you will learn how to use it safely.

    BTW. Self confessed old fugger here to.
     
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  8. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    Thank you very much for your reply. Much appreciate it.
     
  9. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    "Hi Konrad and welcome to the MadHouse.

    So where in the world are you based?"

    Hi, and thank you for your reply. I'm based in the UK. I work in France at months at the time for my company's other factory in Dammarie Les Lys. So as you may guess id rather travel by bike than take a plane to get to work :)
     
  10. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    Thank you very much for the replies guys. Much appreciate it.

    I signed for an advance course how to handle the big bike (conversion day followed by two days of prepping for the full A cat license, followed by the 3 days of advanced handling). I have an experience on 125cc bike, but it lacks power where needed. I had YBR125 and CBR125.
    I describe myself as a new to riding as my 2000 miles of experience do not even to began to scratch the surface despite one advance course I've attended.

    Seems like I'm going to settle with VRF1200 from 2012+with few upgrades here and there depending on what my budget will look like after I got all the best gear I can get.
    My local dealer has one on sale with full original luggage set.
    The blue you've posted looks fantastic, but I'm more of a Red person - all bikes, all gear, all helmets I've ever had were red. For whatever reason it was always my "go to".

    Thank you guys again for your replies. You made my decision much easier and a lot of doubts that I had now are clarified.

    As soon as I bought the bike - which will be in about a month or two - ill post it here to see what you guys think :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  11. slovcan

    slovcan New Member

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    Hi Konrad,

    That will be a good choice. Regarding gear, I have found textile gear to be more affordable and more versatile. In the spring, summer & fall I mostly use my mesh gear with the windbreaker liners if it starts to get cooler and maybe another layer of clothing underneath if warranted. For winter I have solid textile gear with zip in warm liners. It's all Joe Rocket brand except for my mesh jackets (Triumph & Firstgear(?)). The mesh jacket should fit snug to give best ventilation and keep the armour where it belongs.

    They will probably cover this in your training, but always remember to actively practice COUNTER-STEERING. We all do it, but until you are aware of it, counter-steering sort of goes unnoticed. Once you are aware of it you consciously practice it. It feels good. It makes riding more fun. It WILL save your life.

    At any speed above parking lot speed PUSH RIGHT to turn right and PUSH LEFT to turn left. That is push on the right handlebar to turn right and push on the left handlebar to turn left.

    Cheers,
    Glenn
     
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  12. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Member

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    That really is a beautiful colour. If the 8th gen came that colour, I would be even more inclined to go back working full time just to buy one.
     
  13. GatorGreg

    GatorGreg Honda Fanboy/LitiGator

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    Yeah my local dealer had a blue one on consignment a few months ago - first time I had ever seen one and it "blew"me away when I saw it - looked like a futuristic prototype :cool:
     
  14. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    Cheer Glenn!
    I just did an extensive research on the counter steering subject and it was one most valuable advice I've got! I guess I've been doing it intuitively as my 125 could easily get to 60 in less than 10 seconds it had enough speed to get me in troubles while taking corners. But the science behind it was very educational. My advanced course focused on breaking and how to get out of the back wheel slide, how to make sure you avoid collision even if your speed is too high, how to break with the engine to support the breaks etc.

    Bottom line is that I feel the bike which might sound weird or stupid (and probably is), but I feel like the bike is talking to me - "slow down, speed up, look left... I'm going to stall, my battery is dead, there is a gravel or sand just behind that corner". I know its stupid and only in my head but I feel it, and it got me out of trouble on countless numbers of times. Same applies to the corners and counter steering - I've been doing it because I felt it was right - never knew the science behind it.

    Lesson well learned.

    Thank you again Glenn.
     
  15. slovcan

    slovcan New Member

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    You are welcome, Konrad. I try to pass this info to every newer I meet (and some older ones, depending on where the conversation goes). It is good that you feel and understand the signals (messages) that your bike is sending you not weird or stupid at all!

    Cheers,
    Glenn
     
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  16. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    Hi Gentlemen
    I've looked at 1200 from 2012 and I didn't like it as much as the bike that literally was asking for my attention.
    I've been passing the garage on the way to the Police Ride Training when I saw VFR. She was among about 30 bikes but I saw her at first glance. I was cheeky, went in and asked if I can have a sit on m listen to the engine etc. They rolled it out for me from the row, gave the keys. I sat on it, fired it up, had a spin around the parking lot. Its sounds in such way that it tickles my private parts! I love this bike!
    The owner asked me why I wanted to try it
    - I wanted to know how it fits me as I want to buy one
    - this one is for sale - he said.
    Well isn't that destiny?? :)
    I think I'm going to buy it.

    Bottom line is: what do you guys think? Any problems I should expect? What's your opinion on the bike?
    2006 VFR 800 A6 - one owner, with ABS, barely 17k on the clock. I've done an extensive check on it via DVSA and for last two years the owner was doing 250 miles per year. Guy has very ill wife and he was to sell it. Every MOT passed with flying colors.


    20170829_142701.jpg
     
  17. skimad4x4

    skimad4x4 "Official" VFRWorld Greeter

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    Wow - Looks like you found the twin of my VFR!

    So how much are they asking for it?

    Mine has racked up well over 100k and been all over Europe and the only issues I have encountered was due to the usual achillees heel of these bikes - failed RR/stator. Fitting a LED digital voltmeter to an ignition live circuit will however allow you to monitor the charging system as you ride and whilst it won't stop an RR failure it will allow you to spot if the charging rate is suddenly wrong and give you a chance to head for a safe place before the battery is drained and the bike is stranded.

    With routine oils and filters servicing, these bikes can cover huge distances and will last and last.

    If you really like the bike - then see what deal the seller is willing to put together. Make sure they throw in the full luggage set, not just the top box. I see it already has the OEM pannier carrier fitted so I would guess the matching pannier set may be hidden in store somewhere (and the dealer is hoping to sell them off separately). They are well worth haggling for, especially if you plan to do any long distance touring, as they cost well over £600 if you can still find any in stock!

    Don't wait too long or it will be snapped up.


    SkiMad
     
  18. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    Hi SkiMad
    Thank you for the reply.
    I've already arranged the pick up on 16th when I come back from France. Paid an advance on it.
    He wants 4k pounds for it so I guess I can get it down to 3.8.
    Yes, I forgot to mention that it comes with full panniers set - I just asked them to take it off for the picture and to see the exhaust as according to the bikes history there was a minor issue with it about 3 years ago.

    I will ask them to install that LED voltmeter - it will be another 2 weeks before I will pick it up so there is plenty of time.

    Thank you for your reply again.

    With Best Regards
    Konrad
     
  19. skimad4x4

    skimad4x4 "Official" VFRWorld Greeter

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    Cool - you will love that bike!

    Give me a shout if you ever plan riding in my bit of the French Alps (south side of Lake Geneva) - it would be great to catch up and hear the roar of twin V4 engines blasting up an alpine pass or two.
     
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  20. konrad unold

    konrad unold New Member

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    Im based on Dammarie Les Lys, about an hour drive from Paris.
    But if I ever go your ways I wont hesitate to contact you.
     
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