My VFR750 - the bike I've owned the longest... - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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My VFR750 - the bike I've owned the longest...

As some of you might remember I promised at the end of last year that I'd start a thread about my old VFR.



I had this bike since 1993 when I'd bought it with just 3,000 miles. I covered a total of 62,500 additional miles on it in 5 years inclusive of winter use.
About 1996 the UK VFR owner's club was formed and because they liked my riding style, they made me president...
But then Joey Dunlop asked to be president and of course I wasn't worthy any more, so I asked to be the product tester and was duly appointed!

Back in those days there weren't all that many tuning parts for the VFR750, but I got all I could - often for free or at discount in return for writing about them in the club magazine.
So the bike got 6 piston Harrison calipers (With a larger CBR1000 master), JLS braided hoses (In the same pattern as OEM - have never seen more tidy hose kits for bikes since!), Maxton re-valved forks and race shock (transformed the handling!), Dynojet kit with K&N and a carbon exhaust can. Yes, back in those days Carbon was THE thing to have, there were still no titanium exhausts!

The VFR never missed a beat despite being ridden hard just about every time I used it. It toured Europe, went on camping holidays 2 up all over the UK, rode for hours on empty winter highways late nights on a pinned throttle to get to my girlfriend at a Northern University.
Most fun was killing early Fireblades and R1's with it's much improved handling and braking combined with country roads I was familiar with riding very quickly on.

So when I left the UK in 1998 I hibernated it as best I could, since it was going to sit waiting for my return inside our small garage at a house near a seaside cliff... !

Last year a customer comissioned our company to grey-import a new car for him from the UK so I took the opportunity to piggy back a ride inside the container...



Shipping bikes on their own is usually prohibitively expensive.
Fortunately an old biker friend in UK found an old pallet that had been used to ship Ducati's for many years... and it was pressed into service for my Viffer.



I also bought an old seat off Ebay UK and had it sent to Tony Archer to be re-trimmed with new gel type foam, before a customer visiting family there over Christmas brought it back for me. Cost about 80 GBP including UK postage!

Despite draining the carbs and filling the barrels with WD40 15 years ago, it didn't start when I put on a new battery & fresh fuel, so a few weeks ago I stripped down the carbs and cleaned them out well using acetone. Then it started. It took a while to burn out the oil I'd squirted down the exhaust before sealing it up.... I think the fuel filter's probably gummed up though and the fuel pump and perhaps hoses are too, but she idles and runs OK at lower revs. Have ridden it on country roads behind our home and it feels really sweet to be back in the saddle. Suspension is still just right and brakes (rebuilt) are perfect.

Am now in the process of getting it legalised for registration as a re-import in Japan. Then it'll be my runabout / loan bike for a couple of biker friends who don't have their own at the moment. Welcome home old friend....

....I still prefer the RC51 of course








Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.

Last edited by The Stig; 05-14-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 01:06 PM
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Nice looking bike. Was pondering picking up one myself.

One can pick these up quite inexpensively.
There's a fine looking '01 my area with only 1424 miles for only $3500.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 01:52 PM
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Very cool, nice story to go along with the pics of the bike...

'06 Black/Metallic Gray RC51
-Competition Werkes FE w/
Clear Alternatives IT

'02 Silver/Black CBR 954RR
'11 Graphite Black CBR 1000RR (sold '15)
'08 Pearl Orange CBR 600RR (sold '11)
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 03:26 PM
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I wonder what the Aston and your bike were talking about on the way over. If only the container could talk. The Aston was probably like, 'lol, you look a rag head with that tarp over you'. And the VFR would have been like, 'yeah, well at least I'm not made of plastic and glue so f*ck you!' Just an idea anyway.

2000 RC51 SP1
2007 Yamaha YZ450f
2002 Yamaha YZ125 (sold)
2007 Triumph Speed Triple (sold)
2004 Triumph Speed Triple (sold)
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1996 Honda RVF NC35 (sold)
1983 Kawasaki KX60 (wrecked)
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 07:04 PM
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That was quite a write up Stig, very cool! You have one the nicest VFR's I've ever seen, bar none. Nice that you could put all that quality time and parts into it to reach it's real potential. Great work!

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SubSailor View Post
Nice looking bike. Was pondering picking up one myself.

One can pick these up quite inexpensively.
There's a fine looking '01 my area with only 1424 miles for only $3500.
There's a thread which sort of goes into why the 750 was the best of the VFR's here: http://www.bikersoracle.com/vfr/foru...ad.php?t=41167

Honda made the VFR because of the problems they'd had with the predecessor VF models whose camshafts wore too quickly and also had cam chain wear problems at higher mileages. As Honda's reputation for quality had been damaged as a result, they over engineered the VFR engines. This combined with great build quality at the time made for excellent bikes.
The first VFR's were raced quite successfully as near standard bikes - I'm sure you'll find interesting history if you delve...

The reasons I can see why the single sided swing arm 750's were the best:

First models (FG-FK) were the lightest and great bikes. Styling was quite dated, but they were still great bikes. valve adjustment was by the older conventional method.
Replacement first generation RC36's (FL-FN) had many improvements.
Styling was quite modern compared to it's sibling, bucket & shim valve adjustment (Which rarely went out of adjustment - mine's done 65,000 miles and never needed one shim changed) and the single sided swing arm made chain adjustment & rear tyre changes even easier. Had a better fairing for protection, better instrumentation and neat foldable rear passenger handles that were correctly positioned for safety & comfort. It's an excellent bike to ride 2 up on. Gear driven cams were introduced from the very beginnings of 750 VFR's. Suspension quite soft as standard and brakes not up to modern types, but it's not too hard to upgrade these.
Meanwhile the NR750 was introduced in 1991 and many reports tell that it rides not dissimilarly to the VFR750 (I think the NR was also quite tunable if your pockets were seriously deep).
The replacement VFR ( RC36-II FR-FT) had some styling cues from the NR, most notably the side fairing design. It lost the on the go fuel tap located on the left of facia and lost a little weight too. Brake discs changed to semi-floating and wheel design was also changed. Most say this is the prettiest of all models. The 800's that replaced the 750's had catalysts (Hence the need for fuel injection and more engine capacity to make around the same power as their older siblings), linked brakes and unfortunate styling. Build quality went downhill slightly ever since. The last of the 750's are the best of the breed, I think, but some like the early RC36's more. I wouldn't change mine, not least because of all the great memories I share with it.

My 750 rides quite differently to standard. Most notably the steering's a lot quicker as the fork rework dropped the front &r raised the rear, although I never felt the need to extend the side stand - it sits about 1.5 cm higher at the stand. It will wag it's bars slightly on hard acceleration over a bumpy road on occasion, but never worryingly so. It becomes a bike you can flick from side to side quite quickly for something of it's size. Feels considerably smaller than an RC51.
Engine sounds lovely and is improved with a good exhaust. RC36-II's are easier to get high level exhausts for, but this can affect passenger ridability.

You don't need a very low mileage one, but it certainly helps. I paid 3,000 GBP for mine (Private sale) in 1993 with 3,000 miles, so $3,500 USD is not a bad price, but right up there. Maybe look for a later model if you can find one.

Fairing mountings crack if the bike's ever dropped, so look out for this, especially at the front, behind panels, etc. Exhausts rust from the inside. Very low mileage will probably have gummed up the carbs and fuel system, but that's fixable. They're a true modern classis. Most people who had them regret ever selling their's.

Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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That was quite a write up Stig, very cool! You have one the nicest VFR's I've ever seen, bar none. Nice that you could put all that quality time and parts into it to reach it's real potential. Great work!
It's not the cleanest, there are lots of stone chips from use and a few areas that needed touching in, but it's not too bad for all the service it's given.
Red paint has a pigment that fades with UV light, so I always kept it under a cover when not in use which has helped it remain fresh looking.
Someday I'll probably have it resprayed... maybe. For now it'll make a good alternative when the weather threatens not to be so nice, or when I need to do a lot of highway miles.

Last year I lent a friend my little 2 stroke Kwak KMX200 to get to the moto GP with... Not a great highway bike & riding the SP2 alongside made for slow progress, so this year we'll go on the two 2 hondas.. as well as friends on their CBR's...

Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, 800's lost the gear driven cams in favour of V-tec... but the power delivery became less linear. V-Tec was more for emissions that great increases in power. Sometimes the older stuff's better...

Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cwpSP1 View Post
I wonder what the Aston and your bike were talking about on the way over. If only the container could talk. The Aston was probably like, 'lol, you look a rag head with that tarp over you'. And the VFR would have been like, 'yeah, well at least I'm not made of plastic and glue so f*ck you!' Just an idea anyway.
They're both about as quick, although one has a lot less value than the other! Aston was lovely though, if it was glued together it certainly felt great & sounded fantastic when pushed, anyways. I liked it a lot except for the semi-Automated gearbox. Far prefer to play sweet tunes with a manual box!

Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 09:04 AM
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They're both about as quick, although one has a lot less value than the other! Aston was lovely though, if it was glued together it certainly felt great & sounded fantastic when pushed, anyways. I liked it a lot except for the semi-Automated gearbox. Far prefer to play sweet tunes with a manual box!
Well, I know there is some plastic on the car, somewhere. But the chassis is glued together. Well, I guess the technical term would be 'adhesively bonded' together. Which to me means glue. Still very pretty cars.

2000 RC51 SP1
2007 Yamaha YZ450f
2002 Yamaha YZ125 (sold)
2007 Triumph Speed Triple (sold)
2004 Triumph Speed Triple (sold)
2001 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (sold)
1996 Honda RVF NC35 (sold)
1983 Kawasaki KX60 (wrecked)
1982 BSA Scrambler (wrecked)
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