I have to admit the VF1000R was a bit before my time; my memories of 1985 are more about flying Deloreans than 1000cc sportbikes. For anyone else who doesn't remember, the Honda VF series of bikes included everything from a 400cc standard to 1000cc sportbikes. The passage of time has relegated most of the lineup to the dustbin of history but the VF1000R is still highly desired by collectors. Why? Well it was the top bike in the lineup which is always a draw to collectors but more importantly, it was one the first models released by Honda after the VF-F "chocolate cams" issue damaged Hondas reputation. The response by Honda was to over engineer the next series of bikes (the VF-R series) resulting in bikes that had previously unheard of levels of performance, comfort and most importantly, reliability. The VF1000R was the bike that proved Honda could make a big sportbike that would work everyday.
While the VF1000R was engineered to show that Honda had resolved the cam issues of the VF-F series, it was also designed to be the basis of race efforts and a showcase of Honda technology. The big sportbike with the tasteful red over blue and white paint job included a lot of race tech from the company's race team efforts via significant changes to the engine, front suspension, bodywork, and rider ergonomics. The result was the VF1000R was rated as the fastest production motorcycle until the Kawasaki GPZ900R took the title a year later.
An excellent and detailed explanation of all the changes between the VF1000F and the VF1000R series of bikes can be found here.
While the VF1000R was a significant technological advancement from the F series that came before it, all the changes did result in one problem; an increase in weight. The resulting bike weighed in at nearly 600 pounds with half a tank of fuel, roughly 85 pounds heavier than the F series race bike it was based on. The result was the R version struggled to be competitive when it was used in racing.
Also the introduction of the CBR series in the late 1980's/early 1990's began an era where riders could get a mid-sized/much lighter bike that offered nearly the same power as the previous generation liter bikes like the VF1000R. It would take until the introduction of the Yamaha R1 in 1998 for the liter bike class to regain its status as the king of the cc configurations.
This particular VF1000R is in pristine condition and is listed with an astonishing 431 miles (yes you read that right). The seller indicates this particular bike sat indoors for 25 years but that a full refresh has already been completed (details below).
- 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).
So what is this fresh slab of mid-1980's sportbike goodness worth? Well when I wrote this post the current high bid was $6,550 USD with a still listed Buy-It-Now option of $12,990 USD. The price seemed a bit high at first but is actually in line with what other VF1000R's have sold for recently. Given the outstanding condition, recent refresh and low miles, I think the reserve on this one will probably be near the Buy-It-Now price.
As the seller incides in their eBay listing "if you are serious about owning one of the nicest VF1000R's in the country this is the right bike." Personally it's a bit before my time but it would be an excellent addition for a serious collector or perhaps someone who wants to re-live a bit of the 1980's.