I am an ordinary guy who enjoys riding motorcycles. I love riding all makes and models. I love short rides, long rides, and multi-day road trips. I post reviews about motorcycle gear, motorcycles, roads, restaurants, sights, gadgets and more. The Motorcycle Facts,Trivia and History page has a lot of good info. Be safe and enjoy the ride, Oz.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Honda VFR 1200 Review

Sport Touring Bike #2
The Honda VFR 1200 is my second sport touring motorcycle and here is a 11,000+ miles review of the 2012 VFR 1200.  Updated at 60,000+ miles

March 23, 2014 
 Shopping for a new Bike
I wasn't looking at the VFR originally, but a friend and R1 rider at the time suggested I consider it.  After some research on my own I decided I should at least sit on a VFR. 

I had a Yamaha FJR 1300 for almost 4 years (60,000+ miles) and was considering another one along with the Aprilla Copone and VFR.  After sitting on all three, looking at options, features, maintenance, insurance and overall "gut" reaction I decided the VFR was top of the three and I should test ride it. 

June 2014 ride to Nocona, Texas

My First Honda
After the test ride the negotiations began.  The discounted price was a big "plus" along with the fact my insurance company priced it as a two year old bike. Saddlebags would have to be ordered, but I could roll the cost into the final amount.
On May 31, 2014 I bought my first Honda motorcycle.  A new 2012 VFR 1200 with less than 5 miles on it, even after Mac and I took test rides on it.  For reasons unknown to me the VFR 1200 does not sell that well here in the USA, so this brand new two year old bike was mine at a great price.

The fit and finish is top of the line.  The sleek lines and curves gives the impression the bike is "fast" and the looks are not deceiving.  The 1237cc V4 produces smooth consistent power.  The stock seat is plenty comfortable for me and I have never felt like changing it.

Making it My Bike
I was not as confident as I wanted to be with the stock tires, but once I mounted the Michelin Pilot Road 2, confidence in the curves increased greatly.  I have since used the PR3 and PR4, both great tires.

I ordered the saddlebags for the bike, they do not come stock. I replaced the stock windsheild with the  Zero Gravity windshield.  The tinted windshield looks good and greatly reduced buffeting. I swapped the big bulky stock exhaust with the Two Brothers slip-on exhaust, which greatly improved the looks and the sounnd of the bike as well as dropping 12 lbs! 

I added T-Rex Racing sliders and Grip Buddies. I wanted to sit up more so I changed the clip on handlebars to Helibars.  I loved the comfort and the improved feel I had of the bike/road connection.
The Grip Buddies were added because I like the comfort of the bigger grip and the vibration reducing neoprene.

I added the Givi 46 litter top case since I am able to do a good amount of multi-day trips.  The Givi is durable, convenient and well made.  It is also a substantially less expensive than the OEM top case. 

Zero Gravity tinted windshield is about 2 inches taller than stock and works great.


 That's a Wrap!
After about 2 years I decided to have a good friend put a wrap on the bike.  I knew what I wanted so I discussed it with Mike.  I left the VFR with him while I was riding in the Alps in Italy and Switzerland.  When I returned I was blown away by the work Mike had done!

In Wyoming on my way to Alaska.

In Wyoming on our way to Alaska
 June 2014 on US129 a.k.a The Tail of the Dragon - photo by Killboy.com

Putting on the Miles
I have commuted, ridden back roads with twisties, ridden in Dallas traffic, taken weekend trips and extended trips.  The VFR has taken me on the windy roads in the Smokey Mountains, including the Tail of the Dragon, and over many mountain passes of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico.  I have ridden a few miles in a day up to 650 miles in a day.  I have travel without saddlebags, with saddlebags and even fully loaded for camping.  I have put the bike to the test and I have found myself always smiling.

In Alaska on our way to Valdez
New Features for Me
This is the first bike I have owned with traction control and/or a slipper clutch.  I like the both features; however, the first time the traction control engaged was a little surprising and at the same time comforting.  I was glad to feel it work so much quicker than I could react.  The slipper clutch works great and makes downshifting smooth.  The single-side swingarm not only looks sharp it makes changing the tire very convenient.  I love that feature!

Enjoy the view from the Pikes Peak Veterans Memorial outside of Cripple Creek, CO
The seating position is slightly more aggressive than the FJR which took a little getting use to.  I like the lighter weight (589 lbs - wet - although I know that is heavy compared to some bikes) when it comes to backing up or moving around in the garage.  The detachable saddlebags are a great feature requiring just unlock the bag and lift the handle - very convenient.

Very easy to remove saddlebags
Final Impressions
The VFR's handling is solid and breeds confidence in the twisties.  There is plenty of ground clearance for leaning hard.  The levers are adjustable and operate smoothly.  Breaking is the best I have had (6 bikes so far).

I love the bike.  I can not stop smiling when riding (except when a distracted cager makes a bad move).  It is more "sport" than "tourer".  MPG for me has been consistently 39.5 with a mixture of city and hwy. 

If I were to retire and tour for weeks at a time year round I have to admit I would go back with the FJR due to comfort, storage, fuel economy (40mpg vs 44mpg) and sitting position.  But, for now I am loving every mile on the VFR!
Video Review

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  1. I lean towards the larger tourers. I have a 2006 1800 Goldwing that I bought mid January of this year with 11,500 miles on it, I have added 5,000 miles to that total already. I know it's a big heavy bike, I weigh 230. It does everything well, I believe I can hang with the sport bikes pretty much. Jack from Greenville.

  2. Sounds like although you didn't know it at the time, you picked the perfect bike for you.

    Good to know you are enjoying it so much.

  3. Trobairitz, I am loving it and it does seem to fit my riding preference.

  4. is this a good beginner bike?

  5. I would not recommend this as a beginner bike. Way too much power and a little heavy for a new rider unless they were 6ft or taller so they had good leverage. A new rider could get in trouble with this much power (144 HP).

  6. It is the weight of larger bikes that gets newbies in trouble, not so much the power, unless you are a true novice. Anyone riding a 300 or a mid size 500 for the first year would actually be able to ride a VFR, but the weight issue could see them in real trouble and it would be very hard fro them to get the problem sorted before disaster.

  7. I have one just like it and it's been a great bike. I took it to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia this summer and it did great for the week. I have the trunk option which helps. How was the Tail of the Dragon on this bike? I've done it before on another bike, but I'm itching to do it on the VFR. I get a lot of comments on it since you don't see too many of these around.

    1. You are right - there are not a lot of VFRs around. The bike performed great on the Tail of the Dragon. I want to go again now that I have more miles on the bike and the ECU reflash. You will not be disappointed with the VFR on the Dragon.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. It is a great bike. Shame is Honda stopped making it after 2014. My understanding is Honda is not producing the 1200 anymore.

  9. Fine review, thank you. I own a vfr1200 f too, a 2010 model now 7 years old that I modified as I like, 68.000km and some. A pity honda discontinued such a wonderful machine.

    1. Ciao, I was disappointed when I read Honda decided to stop production. You have put a lot miles on it. Great job. I am up to 31,000+miles (about 50,000km).

  10. I have A 2010 and for a small guy who likes to tour this bike is perfect! Honda hasn't discontinued the bike it just may be special order for North America. Europe has a black and white 2017 version.

  11. Of all the bikes I've test ridden lately, it was one that really stood out. As a long-distance commuter, and coming from a stage 2'd 1250S Bandit, I admired the grunt, the upgraded (for me) brakes, shaft, wind protection, storage, and it's looks. Think it's a very "civilized" or "gentlemanly" ride. Kick myself for not buying it because of the Z-bomb tweak screwing up the gear indicator. Strange they had such poor sales and now they've de-nutted them and made them into something resembling a dirt bike!

  12. Sales here in the US just weren't strong. They sold better in Europe aND the far East. Shame they stopped making yhem.

  13. 2012 VFR 1200 was my first Honda motorcycle too! I like it a lot.

    1. Glad you have enjoyed it. Here is link to a video review I did after 365,000 miles - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=337vz6xiKso&t=49s

  14. Awesome review, always love checking out your blog for advice. Thanks for the share!

    1. Hope the info was good. Since the post I recorded a video review after 36,000 miles - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=337vz6xiKso