Bore x stroke:
Valves per cylinder:
Front tyre dimensions:
Rear tyre dimensions:
Weight including oil, gas, etc:
Honda VF 1000 R 1985
It takes some significant chutzpah to hop on the saddle of a liquid-cooled 998cc weapon capable of achieving a bottom-clenching 212 kph and think, ‘what we need is a racing version!’ God bless you, Honda! Exit stage left the VF1000F Interceptor, enter stage right the VF1000R!
The VF1000 range of motorcycles – we’ll get to that – is named after its V-4 998 cc double overhead cam 16-valve engine, which in 1984 was effectively a missile on two wheels. With a four-year production run, there were three main models: the VF1000F, also known as Interceptor; the VF1000R; and the VF1000F2. Naturally Honda being Honda, there are also FF and rare FG models, as well as RE, RF and RG models, but let’s try to all have a nice time, not get angry about it and simply put those to one side. We all remember the Kawasaki KR-1 debacle.
Naturally any kind of racing upgrade on the already pretty fast VF1000 set tails-wagging and pants-wetting. VF1000R took to the limelight. But what’s this? The ladies and gents gasped: it seemed that our new hero had become a little portly whilst waiting in the wings, all in the name of ‘racing pedigree’ i.e. racing to the front of the queue marked ‘puddings’. The R was a staggering thirty-five kilos heavier than its predecessor. Despite having the same original engine block as the Interceptor, there was major rework on the suspension, bodywork and engine. Honda did away with the chain-driven camshaft and instead created nine gears. Additionally, Honda used a spring-mounted scissor gear system, resigned the cylinder heads, used two radiators for their cooling system and altered the exhaust system too. Honda’s Pro-Link rear suspension, part of the VF1000, was re-used to give a higher level of wheel control and better ride quality, yet a new addition was the TRAC (Torque Reactive Anti-Dive Control) anti-dive front fork, linking the brakes to front forks to counteract any nose-diving, keeping teeth away from bitumen. Very sensible.
But the bloater became a belter, right? Not quite. It was rarely used in competition, and like Peter Griffin in spandex, struggled competitively. It did though look the part since it received the racer replica fairings, so that’s something, isn’t it? Yet despite having racing pedigree of a blancmange, the VF1000R did indeed reach dizzying heights, and was able to claim the title of "fastest production motorcycle in the world" in 1984 with a top speed of 241 kph. A record, it’s worth noting, previously held by the Vincent Black Lightning for thirty-five years. Now, putting the VF1000R aside for the slimmest of moments, the Vincent is worth an ogle with the lights turned down: it’s the prettiest thing to come out of the UK since Elizabeth Taylor. If you’re used to such audacious claims by us at Shepster Towers then let us elaborate: in Feb 2018 one of only a handful remaining sold for nigh on one million of your American dollars, the highest-price at auction of a motorcycle. Ever. Time to dust off your VF1000R?