maandag 23 april 2012

VFR1200F purchase and plans.

Hi,

I've created this blog to share my experiences with my new Honda VFR1200F.
To begin, I'm not a regular blogger, nor a professional writer or reviewer. I'm also not a native English speaker, so if you happen to see an error or weird turn of phrase, don't hesitate to point it out to me as I'm happy to correct it.

Now, I've only been a "biker" since 2011 as the visits to my customers became more and more cumbersome in traffic, and the "freedom" of riding a motorcycle has always appealed to me. Also, I'm now 26, have owned a couple of cars (7), I felt I was also mature enough not to kill myself within the week.
So I had to chose a bike that would do about 500km/week, or a good 25k km/year, not to powerful, some weather protection, and not to expensive.

That landed me on my first and current bike, a CBF600SA (S= half faired, A= ABS). It has done well for me, have had to drop it couple of times (luckily at slow speeds or even standing still), but suffered minimal damage during the process. The bike was great overall, returned good mileage: 5,5l/100km or 18km/l, had a little under 80hp so as someone new to biking it felt very fast, my only gripes I'd say is that the chain does require regular maintenance when doing those kinds of miles, and two-up you could really feel the "lack" of power. (I use "lack" very loosely here as it would still be faster than most cars, it still picked up speed pretty well).

Come 2012. I've always lusted after the VFR800 when I was looking for my first bike, but I thought, I'd get something cheap with not that many miles and sell it on and get myself a VFR800 after half a year. Well, almost a year has passed and I started to look for a bike. Looking at my options I saw that a new one wouldn't be too bad a deal, but what bike? Well I had some new requirements, as a new one would mean that I can't sell it after a year, losing too much of it's value. My new requirements:

  • Fast, also fully loaded two-up
  • Good weather protection
  • Looks good
  • Not too big a footprint as I have limited space to place it, ruling out most tourers that can't fold their mirrors
  • Reliable
  • Shaft drive
So, my list quickly got narrowed down to the K1300S and the VFR1200F. Up close, the VFR somehow looks a lot more expensive than the BMW, and when I saw the deals I could have on the VFR, the cashback I could get for the CBF and the 3-year (no miles limit) warranty we get on it, I decided to go for it.

I could get very decent deals on the MY2010 (there was no MY2011 afaik), but in the end I decided to go for the 2012 for a couple of reasons*, most of all traction control. As it's a significant power hike, about 120% more power. (that would be like going from my 159 to a 911 Turbo)
So, almost a month ago I placed my order. The bike would be here in two weeks, but it still isn't (I'm not too happy about it although the weather is pretty shit so that's ok). So I really hope I can pick it up this week.
Here, I will try and tell my stories, experiences and share pictures on a regular basis.

The bike I ordered:

2012 VFR1200FC

  • 6-speed manual
  • Black
  • Heated grips
  • Screen spoiler
  • Centre stand
  • Rear hugger (yes, I do find it preposterous that the latter two are optional extra's)

Some extra's I'm deciding on:

Panniers:

I didn't order the luggage yet, but after doing some reading up I'm going to fork out he cash for the original panniers, based mostly on the fact that there are no racks required for them and I've heard they are very well made and very easy to attach/detach. Also, at 2x29l, they'll be sufficient for the weekend out. The original panniers' list price is 900 €.

Top case:

I'm not going to get one right away, but if we go touring for longer than a weekend I think I'll go for the GIVI MAXIA 3 E55 Tech. As, if the panniers aren't sufficient, I'll want a LOT of space, and the regular case is just pretty small (31l iirc) and very expensive (750€ incl bracket). The GIVI, giving me a lot more space, is 450€ incl bracket.

Tank bag:

Well, I've made the mistake of getting me a cheap magnet bag for my CBF600 and, while it was a brilliant bag, it scratched my tank pretty bad, so I'm not going to repeat that mistake. Also, since most of the VFR's tank is the plastic fairing covering it, it wouldn't work anyway. Now the original bag is only 120€, and that's also a small one, but I have a couple of problems with that one:
  1. It's VFR1200F specific, so no putting it on other bikes
  2. No map holder
  3. At 7L, it's very small
  4. If you get a tank ring, you can get several bags for it
So I looked at a couple of tank ring solutions and decided I'll probably go for a GIVI T489 Tanklock (see a theme here?) as they are pretty cheap and you have some choice.

GPS

So, the standard navigation was about 450€. But I've got a perfectly fine Samsung Galaxy S2 that I'll go and get a holder for. I ended up at ram-mounts, their Aqua Box in combination with a stem base mount seems like a winner. The total will be about $70 + shipping.

Anyway, as you can see and as any biker will understand, I'm very eager to have a go!

* 2012 changes summed up on this VFR owner's blog

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