The VFR lives up to all the pre-release-super-clandestine hype. It's now apparent why Honda was particularly reluctant to release any information and/or photos. While doing our evaluation we happened to have a couple of thoroughbreds in the mix; it was clear why the world press intro for this groundbreaking motorcycle was on a racetrack rather than on the street. This V-4 is not typical by any stretch of the imagination and is by far the best shaft-driven motorcycle I've had the pleasure to flog, hands down! When put through the paces at a brisk roll the 1200 never blinked; I was left in shock and awe by the comfort level provided. Considering I was riding a motorcycle that in most circles is recognized as a porker at nearly 600 pounds, the VFR was beyond composed. I realize that the price for any high-tech, cutting-edge piece of machinery isn't for the weak-of-wallet, but at the end of the day I had to say, "show me the papers and I'll show you the money." The VFR is really that good.
Say what you will about the Honda's styling, I personally don't think it looks that bad. I'm especially willing to forgive a bike for its looks if it performs as well as the VFR1200F does. Finally we have a machine that calls itself a sport-touring rig that I would want to ride to and at Miller Motorsports Park. It's just that much fun to ride. The V4 growl at full song is unlike anything else, and the way it handles belies its 600-plus pound curb weight. I would have wished that our test bike was the DCT model instead of the standard six-speed, as the double clutch technology really is that impressive. My only gripe with the VFR is that side bags and a top case are optional. You would think that a sport-touring machine would have some kind of storage accommodations. At any rate, it's a shame that the VFR1200F is getting such a slamming in the European press and on the message boards. Maybe transplanting the VFR's engine into a more sport-oriented chassis would help. Wink wink, Honda.
Make no mistake, I was definitely impressed by the VFR's performance. For a bike with its substantial heft, the Honda can sustain a surprisingly rapid pace without becoming ruffled in the least. The seat is comfy, the dash is easy to read, good wind protection-there's a lot to like with the VFR. But for over $15K (and even more with the DCT version), there's some rough edges and missing pieces that I feel should've been smoothed over/included. The flat spot in the powerband is bothersome in tighter canyons, and in slow traffic trolling there's some clunkiness in the drivetrain that is annoying. Having to fill up every 150 or so miles is a little too short for a sport-tourer, and it would've been nice to have hard bags included. All that said though, I'm still looking forward to testing the DCT version. If it performs as well as Troy and all who have ridden it say, those aforementioned issues could be forgiven.