What might (should?) have been...

Discussion in 'General VFR Discussions' started by rc24ste, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. rc24ste

    rc24ste New Member

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    In 1986 when the first gen VFR 750 arrived it offered the same horse power (give or take a few BHP) as a Suzuki GSXR 750. It offered about 95% of the handling too. On the road (pavement as you USA dudes say) any differences in terms of getting from A to B in the quickest time were down to a rider's individual talent. It was different on a track where the GSXR's lower weight did make a difference. Still, despite being an all rounder rather than an out and out sports bike, the VFR could put up a helluva track fight.

    The VFR was also better built than the GSXR, was way more comfortable (I've done 600 miles in a day without too many issues) and was competetive(ish) on the weight side of things too. In other words, what an amazing engineering achievement the first VFR 750 was. Not only could you have your cake and eat it, the VFR even baked it for you.

    But, look what happened over the years...
    (Please note, all figures are the manufacturers so they must be true...)

    1986
    Honda VFR750 Suzuki GSXR750
    Dry weight 198kg Dry weight 176kg
    Horse power 105BHP Horse power 100BHP

    Today
    Honda VFR800 Suzuki GSXR750
    Dry weight 225kg Dry weight 167kg
    Horse power 104BHP Horse power 150BHP

    Oh dear, as it has become middle aged the venerable old VFR's put on weight and lost some of its oomph (bit like me in fact). It's even lost its 'cam gear train'. And, haven't Suzuki's engineer's done well?

    Now then, what would have happened if the VFR had remained a 750 and kept in line with the GSXR750's relentless development path? Using the same ratios that applied in 1986 we would have a 2018 VFR750 that offered this:

    Honda VFR750
    Dry weight 188kg
    Horse power 150BHP

    Hmmm. We have a bike that weighs 60kg LESS than a VFR 1200 but has about the same horse power.

    188kg is only 3kg more than the weight of a first generation Honda Fireblade but with another 30 extra V4 horse power!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow! What a bike that would be. All day comfort, 170mph top end, sub 11 second quarter mile time, light weight, competitive on the track, fantastic build quality, etc, etc. A road legal and long lived 150BHP V4 750cc engine would be something to sell a kidney for. It would have to have a 360 degree crank too.

    What happened to Honda with the VFR750? Yes the latest VFR800 is a good un, but as the figures above show, it's just a shadow of its original sprightly and youthful self (yes, I know, just like me). Honda appear to have forgotten what the VFR750 was all about and just, well, completely lost their way with it. Even the VFR1200 which promised so much is a bit of a let down. Too heavy and it offers nothing that a Suzuki Hayabusa or Super Blackbird weren't providing way back in 1999.

    Why do this post? Simple. It's a cry for help from Honda. Please get your engineers back on track and develop a VFR750 for the 21st century. The GSXR750 has had it too easy for far too long.

    And, can we have the cam gears back in the engine please ? My '86 VFR won't last forever.

    Phew. I feel better now even though I know there is no chance of Honda listening to me. I bet their engineers would agree with me though. What a bike to put together!!! Problem must be the bean counters.
     
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  2. Brian Rodgers

    Brian Rodgers New Member

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    100% in agreement !
    Your proposed NEW VFR750f would certainly have me reaching for my keys and my checkbook.
    The new ones just don't do it for me; egad .......the 1200...... is that really a VFR?
    Brian
     
  3. JIMLARCH

    JIMLARCH New Member

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    All honda had to do was make the 8th gen 70lbs. lighter. Then it would have been a much better bike. Handling would have improved, and as every 7 lb. drop in weight gives you an extra hp then with the same engine, an extra 10 would have been gained . I somehow doubt dropping 70 lbs. would have been that hard to do.
     
  4. rc24ste

    rc24ste New Member

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    Yeah, weight is the enemy of a motorbike. Why the VFR800 has to be so heavy is beyond me. I mean, it's not as if it has to deal with 150 rampaging horses. Its engine is only making about the same as a 1995 Honda CBR600...
     
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  5. GatorGreg

    GatorGreg Honda Fanboy/LitiGator

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    The gixxer 750 is a SuperSport/sport bike while the VFR has evolved into a sports-tourer so the VFR is obviously gonna weigh more and compete with other sports-tourers like the Suzuki GSX-S1000F and Kawi Ninja 1000. That said, the 8th gen is still a very capable track bike even in stock form with center stand as can be seen in Smoke’s vid below. Therefore the extra weight is not really that big of an issue IMO unless you plan on tracking it even harder than Smoke - if you do then you should probably buy a CBR600RR or Fireblade instead of a VFR :D

    You might want to check out my old thread “Why is the bike so heavy?” (see link below) which analyzes the weight issue of the VFR in some detail:
    http://vfrworld.com/threads/why-is-the-bike-so-heavy.51810/

     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  6. weevee

    weevee New Member

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    What you're really asking for is a successor to the RC30 - but then it would be a different bike entirely. I've an RC30 and a 5th gen VFR, and having ridden them back-to-back many times, I wouldn't want either one to be more like the other - in the slightest way. It's the contrast (in power-delivery/weight & handling) that makes each one just right for the job it was designed to do. If Honda produced a lighter/more powerful/better-handling modern-day VFR, which of my bikes would it replace? Both of them maybe? I doubt it. However 'good' it was it would always be compromised somewhere - and it would always occupy the middle ground.
     
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  7. Eagle Six

    Eagle Six New Member

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    I wondered the same things when I bought a 2007 ABS. For the first several rides I kept wondering and looking at the bike thinking, why is this so heavy. In comparing a 2018 VFR800 to my 2006 ZX14, my ZX14 is lighter (4-1 carbon), same front tire, rear tire a little larger, same trail, more comfy for me and the wife, felt more solid in the lean, more responsive and predictable on the throttle, than my 2007 VFR. Yet, even though my VFR has gone to a new owner and replaced by my third ZX14 (this one an 'r' model), I did enjoy the VFR and actually liked the valves kicking in at about 6,700 rpm. I still list it as the 2nd best bike I have owned.

    As suggested above, if Honda reinvented the VFR, reducing the weight by a hundred pounds and upping the horsepower to that 150-160 range, I would most likely be standing in line. But as weevee points out there would be compromises and a lot of other competition to consider. Nonetheless, the early model VFR750's were so perfect for their time and what they were, if I find one in mint condition, there may easily be room in my shed for one in the future.
     
  8. Gator

    Gator Insider

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    They have gotten a bit portly and have not uncorked the motor. But for the price you can get one for they are great. Spend a bit more and the Kawi is a much better bike and spend more you have the Tuono....... V4, 100 lbs lighter and 170hp. Italian beauty.
    Honda does not care about the sport tour market, adventure and small bikes keep the bean counters happy.
     
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  9. Keager

    Keager Member

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    which was plenty for me. The reason why I picked the VFR over the CBR1000 in 2006 was more for comfort. I didn't need to do 110MPH in 1st gear. It's crazy fun, but the added weight is also added stability. It's not a sport bike, and the GSXR750 is now. The VFR matured, giving way to the CBR for the balls out crazy people. Even the CBR300 has more oomph than my 600 did back then. the 900 I had later had a heck of a time keeping up the the 600's 8 years later. I just gave up running with the kids at that point, I didn't want to be known as "that guy" either. 155 MPH (supposedly) top end is fast enough to land you in jail.
     
  10. weevee

    weevee New Member

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    I remember reading Steve Hislop's autobiography, and in it he tells the tale of when at the TT in (1988/89?) Honda gave his VFR a power hike. After lapping on it a few times, he told them he thought he could go quicker on his production bike. He found the extra power too difficult to tame on the Isle of Man's narrow & bumpy roads.

    I think James Hillier found out the same thing last year when he put in a few laps on Kawasaki's new 300hp hyperbike, the H2. In the thirty years since Hislop rode there, much has moved on - not least in chassis/tyre technology and road-surface improvements - and yet still he struggled to contain the power. So what really makes a bike better? More power/less weight is rarely an instant answer. The VFR's true strength (be it the road or the race bike) is in its 'togetherness'.



    Steve
     
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  11. Gator

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    More power and less weight on the same bike will always make you faster. That H2R weighs more than 100 lbs than a ZX 10. If the ZX 10 had the same HP as the H2 the lap times would definitely go down.
     
  12. NorcalBoy

    NorcalBoy Member

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    The reason they are so heavy is that they are built to be loaded up like a Winnebago and that requires some serious structural support to hold all that together. If the machine was built to support a reasonably sized person, in decent gear, the structure could be lightened significantly. Titanium tank, ala, Double R, redo the front cowl arrangement, lighter fairings, it would all add up....but you would lose the touring aspect and not be cheap.
     
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  13. rc24ste

    rc24ste New Member

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    Interesting point.
    The thing is, my 86 can carry loads of weight, it makes almost as much power as the current VFR800 yet it weighs 27kg less. Developments in materials technology and stress analysis over the last 32 years means that Honda know how to get more power from the 750 engine and put it in an 'all-rounder' motorcycle which weighs around 190 kg not 225kg.
    The problem is, if Honda made a bike like this, who would buy their Fireblade? Perhaps that is why Honda never took the VFR750 along its true development path?
     
  14. rc24ste

    rc24ste New Member

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    The irony here is that key drivers behind the engineering of the first gen. VFR 750 was Honda's desire to beat the VF750 by offering more power and less weight. 'Togetherness' is a good thing! I want that in the current VFR too, but in 2018, I could do without the mid eighties weight and horsepower. The rest of the world has moved on.
    The more I think about it, I can't help but conclude that the VFR750 was 'scarified' to allow Honda to expand their model range into the 1990s and beyond. It's a shame really as Honda created the ultimate motorcycle concept - competitive high power and light(ish) weight, great handling on road or track, superb build quality, switched on styling, great reliability and all day comfort - and spent the next 30+ years forgetting all about it.
    Funny old world.
     
  15. GatorGreg

    GatorGreg Honda Fanboy/LitiGator

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    LOL - did you even bother to watch the vid I posted above by Stephen Mears where his stock 8th gen (complete with center stand and heated grips) had no trouble holding its own on a track against much lighter bikes? The 8th gen’s capabilities far exceed the skill level of all but the very best riders - including you I bet (if they don’t, then simply get yourself a supersport). So unless and until you post a vid of you riding your ‘86 harder than Mears’ 8th gen I will ignore any further whining by you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  16. VFR4Lee

    VFR4Lee Member

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    Making the 8th gen bike no lighter or more powerful than the 5th gen bike helped me cement my decision to buy the
    Ducait Monster I had dreamed of for years.
    Thanks Honda. :drink1:
     
  17. Gator

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    I don’t Think he is whining just making observations. Honda could make a substantialy better VFR if they wanted to. But then it would cost a lot more. The great thing about VFR’s is the price and a good all around bike.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  18. Gator

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    I have seen guys at the track riding SV’s at a much faster lap time than many of the tricked out liter bikes. Doesn’t mean jack other than they were decent riders. Power to weight ratios of the 8th gen are not impressive at all by today’s standards. What is impressive is the price you can get one for. Great all around bike for the money.
     
  19. GatorGreg

    GatorGreg Honda Fanboy/LitiGator

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    News flash - nobody cares except the OP and 8th gen haters/whiners. The 8th gen is PLENTY quick doing 0-60 in 3.0 seconds. I only recall one 8th gen owner opting for a bike with a better power to weight ratio and that was the guy who lived in SoCal who bought a Daytona 675R after his 8th gen got stolen cuz he wanted to spend more time carving canyons - I think it was Ragtop? Again, if you need the power to weight ratio of a supersport Honda is more than happy to sell you a supersport (see below).

     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  20. Gator

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    I already have a very well sorted CBR 1000 track bike.
     
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