13 May 2018

2014 Honda VFR800

Okay, it has been a while since I posted on here. My old job ate my time but now I should have more available to come back. First off, I have a new bike the Honda VFR800. This was due to me being knocked off of my ER6F and it was written off (I'll probably post more about that later). I wrote a review of the bike, but never really found time to post it. So here it is - I haven't edited it so read it as if it is 2014!

I hadn’t been planning on getting a new bike this year, let alone one this expensive! However after my last bike was written off after a SMIDSY, and chatting to my friendly Honda dealer, I decided to upgrade to a larger bike.

Looking around I went to look at several bikes. The ones that interested me were the Kawasaki Z1000SX and the Triumph Sprint GT. The Sprint was too long to fit in the space in the garage and there were no Kawasaki dealers near me any more. That left me the VFR. After a test ride, alongside the Fireblade (awesome bike but not for me), I was taken.

Never having ridden an old VFR with the older VTEC system I have little to compare, but I never felt any problems with it as it kicked in. The only obvious indication was the change in the exhaust note to a glorious V4 growl. Pop the bike into first gear and pull away, and pull and pull. The engine just keeps on giving. It is also silky smooth and the gearbox is quite nice as well. I do have some issues with finding neutral, my last bike (an ER6F) had a positive stop for neutral if you had come to a stop and tried to get into 2nd gear. Was really useful to get neutral easily. Otherwise the ‘box happily clicks through the gears with little issue.

Styling is always in the eye of the beholder. From the pictures on Honda’s website I was never too sure on the headlights. Everything else looked great, just not the lights. If I am totally honest I am still not totally sold on the styling of them. That said they fit in great with the rest of the bikes design, and understated look with a single colour palate and only VFR emblazoned on the fairing. And the red paint... I have seen the bike in both white and red (thought not the black) and have to say red is definitely the VFR’s colour. The quality of the paint is extremely high and even though it is not a metallic it still draws you in with a depth to the finish. Actually the whole bike is finished to a very high level, gold highlights on the engine casing and on the wheels adding to that feeling of quality. Despite the price tag of the bike, it does feel very much worth the money. And that is before we talk toys...

The bike comes with an array of ‘extras’. You get heated grips, traction control, ABS, trip computer, LED headlights, center stand and self cancelling indicators. If you are an all weather/season rider the inclusion of heated grips are a godsend. Neatly packaged into the bike there is a button next to the left grip to activate. It has 5 levels of heating which is displayed on the dash as you select. The previous heat level is remembered so the next time you turn them on you are greeted with the same heating. It is a shame the button for the traction control isn’t as neat. It looks like they had finished designing the bike and someone noticed it was missing and just added it on. Unlike most other bikes out there with TC the VFR’s is a simple on/off affair. To be honest I can’t see you needing to ride with it off unless of some exceptional circumstances (if you are a wheely king maybe, or riding on gravel). ABS is standard and can not be turned off. The trip computer is a great addition, giving average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption, engine temp, air temp, 2 trips and clock. Unfortunately to navigate the display you have to press buttons on the dash, which isn’t easy if you are moving.

Most bikes headlights are okay, neither lighting everything nor as bad as a candle in a jar. However the LED headlights in the Honda are amazing. Dipped they are probably slightly better than I am used to, giving a pure white light. Switch to main beam and the sun has come back up! Okay not quite, but the only other vehicle I have seen light the road that well was a car equipped with Xenon projector lights. The last toy is my least favourite, the self cancelling indicators. I have taken to saying my suffer with PCS - Premature Cancellation Syndrome. As I understand the theory, the bike takes into account speed, tilt angle etc to determine if you have left the indicators on. At a stop they will blink for as long as you want, start moving and the timer starts. However they don’t seem to be very good at roundabouts. When I turn right at a medium to large roundabout I can get about a third the way round before they cancel. Meaning I have to remember to turn them on again, not a good thing at that moment in time so giving me something else to think about. Speaking of sight, the mirrors offer a great rear view. Even though you have a good chunk of your elbows, there is a clear view behind you.

Getting settled onto the bike is very nice. It has a riding position on the more sporty side of Sports Tourer but it isn’t uncomfortable. I have ridden for over an hour on it and not felt any real pressure on my forearms or wrists. The suspension is quite supple. It absorbs the bumps without unsettling. There is also some minimal adjustment. It is somewhat of a shame the single swing-arm is largely covered by the exhaust so the VFR’s defining feature can’t be seen easily.

Overall I love the bike. Most of the problems I found with it are niggles, tacked on switchgear, buttons not in easy reach, although possible the self cancelling indicators are a real issue. The rest of the bike feels really well put together. The styling is conservative and lacks the multi-colour paint jobs of sports bikes, but works well and will hopefully age well. The VTEC gave me no issues and the engine is smooth and torquey with a great V4 soundtrack. It is an expensive bike, yet it feels really well put together and worth the premium.

10 February 2011

Motorcycle Live 2011 Dates Confirmed

The dates for this years Motorcycle Live event at the NEC in Birmingham have been confirmed. It will be from the 19th to 27th November. So slightly earlier this year, lets hope the weather is more forgiving!

Source: Motorcycle Live

25 January 2011

Motorbikes to get "Riding Aids"

According to the BBC, Mira have developed a riding aid designed to help out bikers in certain situations. The situations it seems to be looking out for you are in your blind spots (plus directly behind you) with radar. It also monitors where you are and, with the help of GPS and a map, will advise on the safest speed by which to take a corner.

I have to admit that I am not too sure about these, considering all the problems I have had on the road are from people not seeing me, not from me missing them.

Full report here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12266406

04 January 2011

"Free" MotorcycleLive tickets

A few weeks ago MCN reported that the organisers of the Carole Nash MotorcycleLive event were going to accept 2010's tickets for the 2011 show; for those who couldn't attend due tot he weather. Well I was a little skeptical seeing as there was no word of it on the organisers website. I emailed them and have now had a response:
Your 2010 ticket will indeed be redeemable at the 2011 event – provisional dates 26th November – 4th December 2011.  If we can ask you to bring along your 2010 tickets to the event, you will then be able to swap these for a 2011 ticket on the door.
 This is great news so I will hopefully be able to go to this years event after missing out on it. I am printing out the email to keep with my tickets for when I go though!

01 January 2011

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year to everyone. Here is hoping that this year will improve on last year and allow me to get out more for trips on the bike! As a new year surprise for those wanting the new Kawasaki ZX10R, Kawasaki UK have released a news item on their site which explains why the bike was 'recalled' before it was even released in many countries. It turns out the intake valve spring was surging under certain conditions. In this instance if you were running under high RPM on a race track.

Full story

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

To anyone reading this blog, many thanks and have a Merry Christmas and happy biking New Year.

23 December 2010

Arai Helmet pod removal

With the inclement weather I took the opportunity to give my Arai helmet a good cleaning. As I wanted to give the helmet a mini service I needed to get the side pods off of the helmet. For those who don't have Arai helmets the side pods cover the workings of the visor. It isn't immediately obvious how to get them off. So a quick search on the Internet came up with a corker of a YouTube clip:

This makes it really clear on how to remove them and re-install them. Why take them off? On one side when I had mine off there was a small collections of bugs (eww).

Another clip (from the same guys) shows what to do if when you put the pods back on and they don't go exactly right.

Overall a great guide if you want to get the pods off for a complete clean. It also helped me understand how the visor actually works, now I am much better at putting the visor back on because of it. That said when I come to replace the helmet I will be going for another brand. The visor system is a complete pain in the backside, not to mention I feel that the pods actually increase the amount of wind noise, although that is only my opinion.

21 December 2010

Free tickets for 2011 NEC?

According to MCN the organisers of the 2010 NEC Motorbike show have offered all those who were not able to attend the show this year free tickets for next years show. When I say free tickets, it means that this years tickets will be valid for next year.

There is no official line on this as far as I can see and I have contacted the organisers to find out if this is true. Once I know I will get up on here. If it is, then great as I wouldn't have wasted my tickets from this year. It is also a nice gesture as they really don't have to do it, they aren't responsible for the weather after all; though I would say it would be better to move it to a warmer time of year then and of Autumn!

19 December 2010

Top speed run - ZX10R

Well, although not available in Europe yet, one lucky American has taken his new ZX10R and gone to see how fast he can go. Firstly not the most legal thing to do and secondly may not be the best way to run your brand new engine in! That said there are rumours that the recall of the bike by Kawasaki is due to "accelerated engine wear", so doing this probably is best left until you know the engine won't die quickly on you. Still, amazing to watch!

Source: MCN

18 December 2010

Mobile Template

New feature to Blogger is a template for mobile devices. Having had a look on my Android phone the format is much easier to read. The videos and maps I have don't reformat so there is a small amount of side scrolling for some posts. However it should make reading any Blogger based blog (assuming the owner has opted to activate the template) much easier.