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Pristine: 1985 Honda VF1000R with 442 Miles for Sale

When you mention Honda’s endurance race replicas, most folks are likely to think of their iconic RC30 or RC45 machines, some of the best-looking bikes of their era, or maybe the smaller NC30 if they’re more budget-minded. But the VF1000R had endurance-racer styling and a host of sophisticated features to homologate them for competition. Possibly the bike has languished a bit forgotten as it hails from an in-between period of sportbike design, as the formula was still being established. It’s bulkier and heavier than you might expect for a sports-oriented bike, at 600lbs wet. But 125hp and a spread of V4 torque meant a top speed of almost 150mph and, in keeping with the endurance-racing theme, it could charge along at that speed all day long.

So why was this racing-styled beast so heavy? The typical Honda tendency to over-engineer everything: fairings on the bike featured spring-loaded flaps to vent hot air, and the rear brake actually has a vented disc. Torque-Reactive Anti-Dive Control forks were designed to reduce brake dive and featured quick-release axles, adjustable bars meant ideal setup for a variety of riders, and modular Comstar wheels were wrapped in radial tires, a relatively new development for motorcycles. At the heart of the machine was a 998cc V4 with gear-driven cams that gave precise timing and that distinctive whine.

The VF1000R is not exactly an agile machine, but handling is stable and good wind protection combined with those adjustable ergos mean reasonable comfort. This particular example appears to be in pristine condition, as you'd expect with just 442 miles on the odometer. The only possible downside is that slightly less-desirable single, US-market headlamp. Interestingly, Honda developed that configuration just in case the Euro twin-lamp [behind a single lens] set up didn't pass regulations here. They needn't have worried, apparently, but typical Honda thoroughness won out and luckily both treatments look good.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R with 442 Miles for Sale

Up for sale is my 1985 Honda VF1000R from my collection and it is in pristine condition and is listed with an astonishing 442 miles. The bike sat indoors for 27 years but that a full refresh has already been completed (details below).

Honda’s enthusiasm for the V4 engine layout in the early 1980s was such that by 1984 the VF range comprised six models and the fastest and most glamorous was the VF1000R: a limited-edition super-sports machine that was created, with little expense spared, to dominate production racing in the way that the straight-four CB1100R had done three years earlier.

Refresh details:

  • Flushed brakes, add stainless steel braided brake lines, rebuilt rear master cylinder
  • Lubed and adjusted throttle and clutch cables
  • Flushed cooling system
  • Torqued and checked all chassis fittings and fasteners,  check/tighten steering head bearings,
  • Replaced shock (rear) with Hagon coil-over upgrade, shock was valved and springs for me being a 180 lb. solo rider optimum.
  • Replaced battery, NGK spark plugs,
  • Performed compression check and full tune, including clean and synch carbs, flush fuel tank and add 1 gallon bath metal rust remover, replace petcock assembly (leaking).
  • Added engine top-end oiling kit from Daughtry Motorsports (early VF1000's were reported to suffer top end oiling deficiency and this kit addresses that fully).  Includes oil filter with adapter for top-end oiling kit.
  • Replaced original tires (old and cracked) with brand new Bridgestone Battlax BT45's.  Went to 150/70/17 rear (stock was 140) and 120/80/16 front (stock size).

Starting bid for this listing is $12,000 with no takers yet plenty of time left. These have been selling for shockingly low sums up until very recently, considering their rarity and specification, but collectors appear to have finally gotten wise to this forgotten gem. The seller is looking for big money, but I'd expect you're looking at the nicest, lowest-mileage example in the US. I'm not sure how much time it will take before that looks like a bargain, but I have the feeling it won't be all that long...

-tad

9 Comments

  • Beautiful bikes in the classic 80s Honda red/white/blue. But the WEIGHT!!! I reassembled a basket case one of these in a friend’s basement and it was all we could do to get it back up the steps. I know, I know – prior planning. I had an 86 VFR750F at the time and even compared to that 500lb ballerina the weight and overengineering of the VF1000R amazed me. And it wasn’t any faster than the 750 – slower actually. I rode it twice and gladly sold it. I loved my 750, personally think they are better looking bikes, certainly better performing, and they actually had great success racing, unlike the 1000 that even Fast Freddie couldn’t win on. I’m surprised the 86 750s haven’t jumped in value yet – they are starting to go up, but slower than their contemporaries.

    This 1000 will be perfect for someone’s collection and $12k seems reasonable given its condition, and maybe it doesn’t matter that they aren’t stand out performers given you’d hate to put more miles on this one. If you’re collecting 80s open classers, I’d certainly MUCH rather have this than a 1000 Hurricane!

  • $12k is quite dear. This is a bucket list bike for me. Only my own poverty and too many bikes already keeps me away. Considering the condition and scarcity I can’t balk at the price.

    I’m old enough to recall how machines of this vintage performed. As sexy as it Is I’m pretty confident I’d be underwhelmed by the riding experience. Unobtainium and best left as such I suspect. I’d be happy to give anyone $400 to ride theirs for a day. It would probably save me $11,600.

  • Just amazes me when I see these 30+ year old bikes in this shape and no miles. I only wish I had that kind of self control and patience. Definitely worth the 12K in my opinion but I agree that it would just be a collectible and deserves to sit in a museum of some sort rather then on the road. Also agree with the last two posts, so hard to go back to these bikes from more modern ones. I don’t need 180-200HP (like the new bikes) but the suspension, brakes and weight would just make me turn back home, put it back in storage and hop on something else.

  • She might be a big girl, but she sure is sexy.

  • I owned 2 of these monsters, absolutely bulbous and a bitch to push around but one of the coolest sounding and best looking bikes period! RWB,what more can I say.

    Get one while they’re still cheap…..

    • @Ron – what more can you say ? Rothmans !

  • While Mike J may unfortunately be on point about the performance in todays world being underwhelming against the current techno wonders not as challenged by gravity, their beauty and soul is what attracts.

    As Ron notes, one of these running with its gear drive whirring….Oh damn. Its like aural crack. Only Honda’s own RC51 gives that sense to me.

    I can appreciate the seller having it simply as eye candy. But sad it sad without proper storage to end life with a rusted out tank. Having had one just a few years ago well past 30 years of age at the time, I can say its avoidable as the tank was spotless inside. But perhaps a small price to pay for the overall condition.

    Hope it finds a good home!

  • Aren’t these nut cookers? I mean, like TONS of heat emanating from the engine out towards you?

  • Hey guys , these are great bikes . I have parted out nearly 11 of them so far. I should be picking up another one soon to do a light restoration on it . I won’t be asking 11 grand for it and it will be nice. I previously restored 5 RC30s . Look for me on the VF1000R Forum if you need a bike or parts to restore your . I also refurb the exhaust systems from A-Z .
    They may be heavy bikes to push but once they are moving they do not feel as heavy as they really are . The racing heritage is there . And the sound as you get up there in the revvs is addictive ! Yes they can be nut cookers in traffic. A manual fan switch is never a bad idea to install on an older V-4 Honda . And finally Mike J …..I should rent out one for $400 per day……seems like a plan . You would get your $400 worth …..probably want to buy the bike afterwards !!

Comment rules: Add something useful and constructive, and don't be a jerk. Comments that don't add value will be deleted. Comments will automatically close after 30 days. Thank you. -dc

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