Honda VFR1200F

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The Honda VFR1200F is the 7th generation Honda sport touring motorcycle from the VF and VFR line motorcycles powered by a transverse mounted V4 engine. The VFR1200F has several new technologies including the first dual clutch transmission offered on a motorcycle.[1][3][4]

Honda VFR1200F
Honda VFR1200F with Dress-up Parts and Accessories.jpg
PredecessorVFR800, Super Blackbird[1]
ClassSport touring
Engine1,237 cc (75.5 cu in), UNICAM, 76° V4
Throttle by wire
Bore / stroke81 mm × 60 mm (3.2 in × 2.4 in)
Compression ratio12.0:1
Top speed157 mph (253 km/h)[2] (Engine restricted)
Power127 kW (170 hp) @ 10,000 rpm
173 hp (129 kW) (148.94hp|rear wheel)[2]
Torque129 N⋅m (95 lb⋅ft) @ 8,750 rpm
84.68 lb⋅ft (114.81 N⋅m) (rear wheel)[2] 90% of the torque available at 4000rpm
TransmissionManual sequential 6-speed or optional dual clutch gearbox
Shaft drive
SuspensionFront: 43 mm telescopic fork, preload and rebound adjustable
Rear: Pro-link with rebound and remote preload adjust, single-sided swingarm
BrakesFront: 320 mm dual disc, 6-piston, Combined ABS
Rear: 276 mm single disc, 2-piston, C-ABS
TiresFront: 120/70 ZR17
Rear: 190/55 ZR17
Rake, trail25.5°, 101 mm (4.0 in)
Wheelbase1,545 mm (60.8 in)
DimensionsL: 2,250 mm (89 in)
W: 755 mm (29.7 in)
H: 1,220 mm (48 in)
Seat height815 mm (32.1 in)
Weight267 kg (589 lb) (wet)
Fuel capacity18.5 l (4.1 imp gal; 4.9 US gal)
Oil capacity4 l (4.2 US qt)
Fuel consumption15.5 km/l (44 mpg‑imp; 36 mpg‑US)
Turning radius3.5 m (11 ft)
RelatedHonda Crosstourer
Honda VFR800

When the previous VFR800 was discontinued, it was followed by both the 2014 VFR800F (RC79) and the larger VFR1200.

The VFR1200F was discontinued in 2017, as it no longer complied to new emission standards and noise regulations.[5]


Honda V4 Concept Model.

The first V4 concept bike was unveiled at the 2008 Intermot show in Cologne, Germany.[6][7] It had distinctive design elements that were to appear in the production VFR1200F, in particular the X shaped headlights. Leaks and spy photos of a new Honda appeared in various places including online and print news outlets.[8][9] Honda created teaser websites in Fall 2009, in which parts of the a new V4 were shown tantalizingly, and a countdown timer was displayed.[10][11] Eight years after the introduction of the previous 6th generation VFR800 Honda unveiled the production VFR1200F at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.[12]

  Media related to Honda V4 Concept at Wikimedia Commons


Honda VFR1200F engine with dual clutch transmission at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Production of the VFR1200F began in October 2009 and first models were delivered in early 2010.[4] The transverse-mounted V4 architecture is kept from previous VFR models though the engine and gearbox are completely new with displacement increased from 800 to 1200 cubic centimeters. A slightly de-tuned version of the engine, and the same gearbox, have been used on the VFR1200X Crosstourer, a dual-sport motorcycle launched in 2011.[13][14]


The VFR1200F was primarily designed in Honda's Italian and German design studios under the supervision of Spanish designer Teofilo Plaza. The exterior features a variety of aerodynamic enhancements taken from the Honda MotoGP bike including a dual layered fairing designed to pull heat away from the rider and an X shaped bulbous front nose to keep the vehicle stable at high speeds as well as increase turn in handling. While the new design was viewed with mixed to negative reactions by the general public and press, Plaza was supported by other designers who felt the VFR represented a new design trend where function is the primary design goal with aesthetics used to complement the aerodynamic profile of the motorcycle.[15]


The new engine incorporates the single overhead camshaft distribution system called "Unicam" which was tested on Honda's offroad machines. This compact system reduces engine size, allowing it to be placed further forward in the frame while lowering the bike's center of gravity. This allows for better front wheel traction when cornering. A 28° positioning of crank pins and a specific firing order of the cylinders (1&4 and 2&3 layout instead of the regular 1&3 and 2&4) resulted in an engine with perfect primary balance. Because of this, there is no balance shaft, further lightening the engine.[16]

Instead of conventional direct mechanical connection from the rider's twistgrip to the throttle, electronic throttle control ("throttle by wire") commands the engine control unit to modulate engine power output.

The configuration of the cylinders is also unusual. The V4 has the rear bank of cylinders paired closely together, with the big ends of their connecting rods on the inner sides of the crank journals. The forward bank of cylinders is conversely set outboard of the rear bank, with the big end journals mounted on the outer sides of the crank journals. This design allows for a much narrower engine at the rear, which makes the bike slimmer where it contacts the rider, and allows an easier reach to the ground from the seat.


The VFR1200F is available with either a conventional sequential manual transmission, or an automatic dual clutch transmission (DCT).[17] The DCT version, known in North America as the VFR1200A or in other markets as the VFR1200D, has dual clutches, one operating 1st, 3rd and 5th gears, the other operating 2nd, 4th and 6th gears. The dual clutches are able to switch quickly between gears and can operate in one of three modes: 'D', which is a fuel-efficient fully automatic mode; 'S', a sports automatic mode, which changes gear at higher engine speeds; and manual mode, in which the rider changes gear using paddles fitted to the handlebars. This gearbox was the first of its type fitted to a large capacity motorcycle, although dual clutch transmissions were already used in a number of automobiles. The DCT gearbox retains characteristics of a conventional manual transmission like engine braking and clutch engagement as the internal components are very similar except the clutch operation is controlled by an electric motor and computer rather than the rider.[3]

Both models feature a slipper clutch to reduce wheel spin during hard engine braking and a shaft drive system to transmit power to the rear wheel. The shaft drive system is bolted to the frame on a swinging pivot mount. Engineers developed a two part shaft connected by a spline which allows system to flex under load mimicking the feel and performance benefits of a traditional chain drive.[18]


The VFR1200F incorporates the C-ABS combined braking system sourced from the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR sport bikes. C-ABS distributes the braking forces completely electronically sending information from the brake lever into a separate braking computer before the system applies hydraulic pressure to the brakes. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) now as standard equipment rather than optional equipment as they were in the previous generation. During front brake lever activation, all the right-side caliper pistons are applied, along with four of the pistons on the left side. When the rear brake is applied, the other two left-side pistons are actuated. To maintain equal braking force when using just the front brake, the right-side pistons are slightly smaller than the left-side pistons.[19]


Reactions to the production VFR1200 were mixed at its introduction. Some had expected a return of the VFR to its racing past because of a much more sport focused concept model along with V4 engine architecture sourced from the Honda RC212V MotoGP bike. Others noted Honda continued its tradition of using the VFR line to showcase new technologies: the previous VFR800 introduced Honda's VTEC to the worldwide market, and the new VFR1200 became the first production motorcycle to have a DCT automated manual transmission. Traction control was added to all 2012 models at no additional cost though it was not available on first year models.[20]

The reduction in fuel tank capacity from 22 L (4.8 imp gal; 5.8 US gal) on the previous VFR800 down to 18.5 L (4.1 imp gal; 4.9 US gal) on the VFR1200F has been the main complaint raised by motorcyclists, coupled with the new engine's higher-than-expected fuel consumption. On-road tests have shown a maximum distance from a single tank of less than 300 kilometres (186 mi),[21] with some press reviewers running out of fuel after just 240 kilometres (150 mi).[22]

Ariel AceEdit

Honda have agreed to supply the Ariel Motor Company, British makers of the Ariel Atom sports car, with the VFR1200's V4 engine for use in a new motorcycle, the Ariel Ace.[23]


  1. ^ a b Hill, Geoff (10 January 2010), "Oh, You Are Such A Little Tease; The Honda VFR1200F is fast, sexy and smooth - but not as brilliant as promised", The Sunday Times, London, England, p. 8
  2. ^ a b c "Performance Index Winter '12/'13 Edition" (PDF), Motorcycle Consumer News, Bowtie Magazines, January 2013, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-29
  3. ^ a b Frank, Aaron (January 2010), "2010 Honda VFR1200F - Mr. Sophisticated Honda builds an automatic for the sportbike people", Motorcyclist, Source Interlink Media, ISSN 0027-2205, retrieved 2010-01-30
  4. ^ a b Conner, Blake (January 2010), "Honda VFR1200F; Transmission transition: the gearbox you didn't realize you needed", Cycle World, Newport Beach, California: Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., pp. 10–14, ISSN 0011-4286, retrieved 2010-01-31
  5. ^ ""VFR1200F/CFR1200X", the First Large Tourer Model with DCT are No Longer in Production". Motorcycle News | Webike Japan. 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  6. ^ "Honda V4 Concept Model Shown At Intermot Cologne". Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  7. ^ MCN News Desk (7 October 2008), "Honda launches V4 concept bike", Motorcycle News, retrieved 2010-01-31
  8. ^ UK Exclusive: New Honda V4 spied in action, Motorcycle News (UK), June 24, 2009
  9. ^ Spy Shot! 2010 Honda VFR1200 / Honda's all-new V-Four caught in the act, Cycle World, June 2009
  10. ^ Honda promotional website: "Feel the V4"[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Honda promotional website: New VFR (countdown clock prior to announcement)". Archived from the original on 2019-06-02. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  12. ^ Press release—"Honda Announces Overview of Display for the 41st Tokyo Motor Show 2009", Honda, September 30, 2009, archived from the original on October 3, 2009, retrieved 2009-10-06
  13. ^ "Crosstourer". Honda / 2012. Honda. Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2011-11-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Procter, Guy (6 January 2010). "Designers rally behind 'ugly' VFR1200". Motor Cycle News. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  16. ^ Cantin, Mark (19 October 2009). "2010 Honda VFR1200A First Ride". Post. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  17. ^ Honda Announces the New Dual Clutch Transmission for Use in Large-displacement Sport Bikes
  18. ^ Newbigging, Chris (23 October 2009). "VFR1200F shaft drive explained". Motor Cycle News. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  19. ^ "2013 Honda VFR1200F". Top Speed. March 19, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  20. ^ Booth, David (23 April 2012). "Road test: 2012 Honda VFR1200 Impressive beast can hold its own". National Post. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  21. ^ " VFR1200 Around Australia Trip 2010". Archived from the original on 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  22. ^ Ash, Kevin (14 January 2010). "Honda VFR1200F review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  23. ^ Brown, Roland (October 4, 2014). "Ariel Ace review". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 1, 2016.

External linksEdit