Monthly Archives: June 2018

Honda June 4, 2018 posted by

Dorian Gray: 2005 Honda Interceptor in Silver

A lot of people consider the Honda RC30 and RC45 as the best Honda sportbikes to own but those are fully track oriented machines not really setup for daily use on the street.   Additionally much of the success of the RC bikes can be traced to the VFR V4 editions (and ironically much of the RC tech then found its way back into later Honda models such as the 800cc VFR).   Today’s post is a 2005 VFR 800 in a beautiful monochromatic silver and with 12,000 miles which for a VFR is barely broken in.

2005 Honda VFR800 on ebay

When Honda introduced its V4 streetbike configuration in the early 1980’s, the result wasn’t what the company expected.  Honda engineers deeply believed that a V4 engine would produce nearly optimum power and torque but problems arose with the camshafts in the larger displacement/700cc models.  Given the new technology of the V4 system it probably shouldn’t have been a surprise that there would be issues but what was surprising was the inability of Honda, a company that prided itself on its engineering ability, to find a quick resolution to the issue.   The VF700 received a mind-boggling 8 camshaft revisions in its first year alone and the VF series quickly earned a moniker of “chocolate camshaft – it melts in your hand!” with sales being drastically impacted in the following year.

Fortunately for Honda, the company was large enough that the issues with VF series wasn’t a make or break proposition but they still had to decided whether to keep working on the V4 design or walk away from the concept.  The later option was actually the financially safer choice; its what Suzuki would do with TL series and what Bimota wish they could have done with the V-Due.  But for Honda’s motorcycling division, the issue was more than just a financial decision; their reputation for engineering prowess was at stake.  Honda went back to the design board and the result was the 1986 VFR, a machine engineered to a detail that was unheard of previously.  Rumor has it that the VFR was so over engineered that Honda actually lost money on every one it sold but there is no arguing that the VFR restored the companies reputation as an engineering powerhouse with the VFR winning bike of the year in its first year.  Most impressively it kept winning its market segment year after year and was even anointed as “bike of the decade” for the 1990’s by CycleWorld.  Despite changes in displacement and technology the VFR line is still going strong.

NOTE:  An excellent history of the VFR lineup and the changes in each edition can be found here.

This particular VFR800 looks to be in amazing shape, although the silver color combined with the direct sunlight could potentially mask some small paint imperfections.  On the plus side the seller indicates a recent refresh including rubber and misc items.  On the negative side some frame sliders seem to be in place in some pics so its unclear as to how the bike has actually been used.  Also the seller does not indicate if the optional ABS that was available with this model is included on the bike.  This is an important question because while the VFR came standard with a linked braking system (which worked very well indeed), the VFR has a wet weight of over 500 pounds so having ABS was a major upgrade.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • New tires Michelin Pilot Power 2CT
  • New spark plugs
  • New brake pads
  • New K&N air filter
  • Fresh battery
  • Fresh oil every season.
  • All stock, except license plate mount. It was removed by the previous owner.
  • I have panniers Givi Monokey V35 for extra $500. They are barely used.

Admit it, those exhausts are cool and look great with the silver color scheme.

So is this 12,000 mile VFR worth the current asking price of $3,500 USD (extra for the hard luggage)?   While this generation of VFR will probably never appreciate as a collectors bike, if your intent is to actually ride your bikes then that price seems like a great deal.    Also the VFR is a renowned touring machine so this offers an opportunity for both at a low price.  Personally I think this would make an excellent every day rider for someone who already has their track bike or for someone who wants to move into longer distance riding without moving into the everything-but-the-fridge-goldwing segment.

-Martin G/Dallaslavowner

Dorian Gray:  2005 Honda Interceptor in Silver
Yamaha June 2, 2018 posted by

Saved Not Spent – 1989 Yamaha FZR-400 with only 1,200 Miles !

The four stroke small-sports are definitely whipping up on the stock market this year, and this barely used 1989 will likely continue the trend.  It’s a cornering machine with 60 hp and ready-to-ride weight well under 400 lbs.  New repro bodywork to preserve the excellent factory set can only help.

1989 Yamaha FZR-400 for sale on eBay

The progressive-license wars had been going on for several years overseas, and all of the big four had four valve inline fours available with racey lookalike styling.  The Yamaha won the refinement award with the EXUP exhaust valve tailoring the torque curve, and build quality was just shy of the red benchmark.  Except for the fields with numbers, the specs read like its big brother OW-01 – Deltabox frame, Genesis top end, quad Mikunis, dual front disks, and staggered alloy wheels.

The owner’s not saying much about the history or whether this example is an import, but despite the nearly three decades it shows no corrosion and has Colorado paperwork.  Some 1989’s have updated seat console and fairing while this one has more details from a few years before, perhaps an aficionado could comment.  From the eBay auction:

Never raced.

This bike comes with two sets of plastics.

The plastics on the bike currently are Japanese racing repro’s.

The bike comes with the original plastics in fantastic condition.

In addition the bike comes with original manual, rear footpegs, back seat,
spare perfect condition radiator and hoses and a new red front fender.

The bike does not smoke or drip.

Tires are older and should probably be changed before serious riding.

There is a hairline crack in the original front fender not noticeable unless you look for it.

The original pipe has a couple of scratches that have been touched up but there are no
dents or damage of any kind.

Though the FZR-400 was imported for a few years, the displacement arms race and premium MSRP curtailed its long term success.  Riders with a track day habit or easy access to some twisty bits have re-discovered the segment, and the bikes can be maintained at home. This one looks too nice to track, but could certainly take in some turns on the way to a bike night…

-donn

Saved Not Spent – 1989 Yamaha FZR-400 with only 1,200 Miles !
Honda June 1, 2018 posted by

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

If you’re into bikes that aren’t obviously compensating for something, this little Honda CBR400RR offers big-bike looks and serious refinement in a more compact, less overwhelming package. The included photos are very nice, but the seller has included just three of them, so I’ll keep this post short. In general, 400cc sportbikes from this period are grey market imports: while very popular overseas and in particular in their home market of Japan, there was little to no interest in a sportbike displacing less than 600cc here in the USA.

That’s unfortunate, because this “Baby Blade,” so called because its bigger sibling was called the “Fireblade” in other markets, was a pretty sophisticated machine. It was powered by a 399cc inline four with sixteen valves, gear-driven twin overhead cams that was suspended in a stiff aluminum frame. The 70hp available from de-restricted versions was put through a six-speed gearbox and overall there’s plenty of fun to be had on a tight canyon road.

Americans actually could pick up the CBR’s close relative in the relatively obscure CB-1 that used a detuned version of the CBR’s engine but replaced the aluminum frame with one made of steel. Weight was similar as the CB didn’t have a fairing, but it looks like Honda might have gambled correctly in not importing the CBR, since the CB-1 didn’t sell very well.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 aka Baby Blade

Classic smaller displacement sport bike popular in Japan/UK. Imported from Japan.
Starts and runs nicely all through rev range!

Recently carb tuned and de-restricted. Bike is in KM and I added a MPH overlay.

Makes a great small displacement track bike! 

New: 

  • Pirelli Rosso Corsa
  • Screen
  • Mirrors
  • Battery
  • Tank grip
  • Axle slider

Buy It Now price is $5,500 which is a pretty decent price although you’ll obviously have to be careful to verify you can register it where you live. This one is in Texas and I’m assuming it’s been road-registered there since the seller has gone to the trouble to add the MPH overlay to the speedometer.

-tad

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

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