"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 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 New 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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  5. HotPursuit

    HotPursuit New Member

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    My first bike is a 3rd gen Magna, and I LOVE that bike. It's definitely sporty for a cruiser and plenty fast, but as it is, it's still more of a leisurely cruise through the hills type of bike, even if it isn't as leisurely as your average light-to-middle weight cruiser. It still has some very real performance and touring limitations, which is one of the biggest reasons I ended up deciding on the Interceptor as my second bike. Literally all the things I wish my Magna had, the interceptor fills the gaps in... Better range, better brakes, better performance, and still comfortable, and still that wonderful, smooth, always on tap power of the V4. The weight doesn't really bother me, because the Interceptor weighs within 15 lbs of the Magna, albeit sits a little higher. The Interceptor may be heavy for a sport bike, but the Magna, by contrast, is light for a cruiser, even in it's own class.

    What I'm getting at is I was using the wrong bike for the riding that I wanted to do. The Magna hides it's shortcomings well, and would have been better served with a bigger tank, dual brakes up front, and disc brake in the back, but that's not really what the Magna was built for. That's what the Interceptor was built for.

    I think a lot of people who don't appreciate the Interceptor don't seem to understand what it is, and instead try to evaluate it for what it isn't... Every review I see on the thing, someone's trying to compare it to either large sport-touring bikes, or on the other end, compare it to more track-oriented sport bikes. It is obviously neither one of those things, and in all reality, there are maybe 2-3 other bikes that maybe even begin to approach whatever niche or "type" that defines the Interceptor.

    It's funny, nobody suspects the Magna of it being the beast that it is, but at the same time, I feel many of the folks that have approached me about the Interceptor grossly misunderstand what that bike is about. This isn't a bike that you buy for the dyno chart, or even the lean angle. At least, to me it isn't. I know, however, that it's got more power and clearance than I will ever use, and delivers in a manner that works well for most of the riding I do, in a package that isn't overwhelming. I did a lot of research into what bike I wanted, and it always came back to the Interceptor. This bike, like the Magna, you get because it's the one you want, because if you're looking at it as anything other than what it is, you'll be disappointed.

    I just got my Interceptor back into tip-top shape, and I'm looking forward to taking some trips to exploit the varied capabilities of this bike. Having taken the Magna through some mountain roads, I'm itching to see how much better the Interceptor handles them. At this point, most of my riding has been highway and around town commuting, which it does very well.

    I think the limitations and general nature of the Magna made it a great beginner bike, but the Interceptor (and I'm refering to the VTEC models) is probably just hair over the "too much bike" line for a beginner. It can get away from you; it is fast, and so smooth, you won't even realize how fast it is. I think I'm preaching to the choir at this point, but my bottom line is I don't think I would've appreciated the Interceptor for what it was if I hadn't come from the Magna, which, in a lot of ways, is a very similar character.
     
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  6. Bubba Utah

    Bubba Utah Insider

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    I feel like this thread is a 12 step program so here I go ("Hi, my name is mike and I have a 2014 VFR 800! I began using the VFR in early 2016. I started using because of how cheap the VFR was at $7000. Most paid $11,000 in 2014. Being a heavy VFR it was addicting. Some other uses preferred the lighter stuff. I did once, but now prefer using the heavier VFR because of the price and I don’t have to ask my family to support me with the VFR. I had a relapse of wanting to go lighter when the VFR started causing me more troubles than expected - cost and emotional breakdowns- not knowing the true addiction of such a heavy VFR. With the help of others here I hope to get to a state of maintaining and not increasing my addiction to the VFR!:drink1:
     
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  7. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    Hi Mike.
     
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  8. Vulcanator

    Vulcanator New Member

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    Interesting thread. I'm getting to know my VFR after a 15 year gap in motorcycling. I'm tickled pink by my bike, yes I feel the weight, but I find the handling very good indeed. I've got about 10mm of chicken stripes to wear off my rear tire which I expect to happen as I grow with the bike. Power is great, perhaps if I recently rode an R1 I might have reset my opinion on that. But when the V-TEC kicks in, it flies like shit off a chrome shovel, and puts a big smile on my face.
    :wheelie:
     
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  9. Glenngt750

    Glenngt750 New Member

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    My first bike was a Kawasaki KZ400. I sold that after a year or so, then bought a new 1985 Honda VF750FF Interceptor. I remember riding down a divided road and pulling the brakes on, using four fingers, as I always did on the 77' KZ400! Whoa! The front tire immediately locked up and chirped. Luckily, I had a firm grip on the bars and it was dry. The older bike had a cable actuated drum brake. Early version of anti- lock braking! Also, the original tires on the Interceptor were terrible. Basically rim protector's for the long boat ride from Japan! I actually was able to keep the bike upright, until I dropped it on Vancouver Island, on the way back from Long Beach. It was a very narrow road back then and I was going too fast for my skill level. Period! Practice Practice Practice! That is how you'll survive to become an old(er) Motorcyclist. I wouldn't have traded that bike for the world back then. bikes in the garage 2012 (9).JPG
     
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  10. Bubba Utah

    Bubba Utah Insider

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    That was the first and only VFR I had ridden until my purchase of the 2014! It was owned by a friend of mine, and I worked at a Honda shop as the parts boy! I was 17 and could not get one due obviously my parents. little did they know I was riding this one a couple of times a week. Love that old bike. I wanted the Saber v65 full fairing in 84' , the Kawasaki GPz750 turbo, or one of these. The Katana was an ugly bike, but I also had a friend with one. Those where the days! I had to settle for a CH125 Honda scooter in 85'. But, I got the girls back then with that little scooter because they where not afraid to get on. Or get some afterwards.

    I was always and even today caught between loving an inline or a V either 2 or 4 after owning at least one of each. Torque and mid range vs. horse power and top speed. After 4 bikes (2 inline 4's, one being the down tuned 11oo ninja - the 1995 Gpz1100 for midrange - 1 v-twin the 2003 Sv1000s and now the v4 2014vfr800) I will take the mid range and torque vs. top speed and power. I think that the V's do it better but my last inline was made 23yrs ago. I know that the ninja 1000 still intrigues me. But the cost of insurance does not. Hench me riding a V!
     
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  11. comradeQuestion

    comradeQuestion New Member

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    I just bought a 5th gen 2 months ago with 56k miles on it. I only had my '04 Ninja 500 (my first bike) for 11 months when I bought the VFR, and hadn't even ridden 1000 miles on the Ninja in that time. It just felt like a bike that was stuck in the 80's. It had carbs, skinny tires, got thrown around on the freeway, no fuel guage, and you could tell it was built cheaply. I was looking for a "proper" modern bike that wasn't a wanna-be racer but at the same time wasn't a giant cruiser, and I think the VFR is exactly that.

    Now, after buying my bike I rode it a few times (it came with a nail in the front tire :Cry: so had to wait for the shop to order and mount new tires) and it wasn't quite the riding experience I expected. I was more cramped on it than I thought (I'm 6'4" with long legs though). The gearbox felt really clunky from 1st to 2nd, and I must have hit neutral 10 times on the first two rides after the new tires and oil. 1st gear was much taller than I was used to, and that has actually been a big adjustment around town. Pushing it around is quite the chore, so I got caught in a few bad situations early on, though managed to keep the viffer upright. Mine came with some no-name garbage windscreen, so I was still getting blown around the freeway. I'll be honest, I doubted my purchase for a couple weeks.

    I have to say though, after riding it more I've been able to smooth out the 1-2 shift, plan on getting BLS lowering blocks, and have a taller windscreen on the way. I think I'm going to really like this thing now, but that came after thinking more about the compromise I was making with the VFR.
     
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  12. Tony Pugh

    Tony Pugh New Member

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    I bought a viffer 5th gen a few months ago and as stated above it was an aspirational bike so will just be used on sunny days as a toy.
    im 53 and have been riding since 16 and had loads of different bikes over the years, but the VFR tops them all for a do anything kind of machine. yes I know its heavy and top heavy at that, and im too bloody short to get my feet on the ground, but to come close to this kind of niche performance these days you have to fork out for something like a BMW traily at 10K or over.
    for what it was built for in its day it is still great in modern traffic, and can cross continents with ease. complete bargain.
     
  13. sfdownhill

    sfdownhill New Member

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    Raising a glass to the spirit of this thread...here’s to us, and our V-fours
     
  14. Handkphil

    Handkphil New Member

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    I'm 53 too, and just bought my 5th Gen VFR800 a couple of months ago. I've owned 20+ bikes in the last 15 years, and my VFR is hands down the most fun of the bunch. Comfort is very good for anything under an hour, after I added bar risers. My Sargent seat and re-worked shock should arrive in the mail today. Speaking of big BMW trailies, my VFR has made me decide to sell mine. I paid it off last week. The VFR makes my BMW feel like a tractor, and I don't keep slow bikes that don't excite me. Can't wait to get that shock installed and enjoy the rest of the Michigan summer on my Interceptor.
     
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  15. Tony Pugh

    Tony Pugh New Member

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    Enjoy mate. the summers are far too short, and it will be cold and shite before you know it. I'm off on a rally this weekend so fingers crossed it will be a beautiful couple of days.
     
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