Flick the switch on the right bar to MT (Manual Transmission) and the riding experience transforms similar to the system on high-end performance cars. Riding the DCT version takes some getting used to for seasoned veterans as you instinctively want to grab the clutch lever, but achieving perfect gear changes at just the push of a button-instantly-frees you to focus on other parts of riding. Make no mistake; this isn't a CVT like that on the Aprilia Mana and several scooters, but is in fact a true dual clutch transmission. Gear changes are made only when the buttons are pressed and only revert back to first gear when the bike is at a complete stop, meaning tight maneuvers that would normally require slippage of the clutch are still possible-unlike the Yamaha FJR1300AE. Downshifts, again, are done perfectly every time with just the right amount of rev-matching.
Revolution or Evolution?
Flat out, Honda's VFR1200F just plain works. Instead of taking away from the experience of manual shifting, now perfect shifts are at your fingertips every time. It's rare that we come back from a new model introduction with something groundbreaking to write about, but this is one of those times. Is this technology something we could see on future CBR models? Probably, but unfortunately, there's going to be a large mountain to climb to get public opinion to differ on automatics. Then again, Honda likes challenges.
2010 Honda VFR1200F
Type: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke SOHC 76-degree V-four
Bore x stroke: 81 x 60mm
Compression Ratio: 12:1
Induction: PGM-FI, 44mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart
Rear tire: 190/55ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart
Rake/trail: 25.5 deg./4.0 in. (101.0mm)
Wheelbase: 60.8 in. (1545mm)
Seat height: 32.1 in. (815mm)
Fuel capacity: 4.9 gal. (18.5 L)
Claimed wet weight (including all fluids, ready to ride): 613 lb. (278 kg.)