One of the classic – yet misunderstood – heavyweights from the 1980s was the Honda VF1000R. Heavily influenced by endurance racing, the big Interceptor was shy of a true Homologation machine but certainly benefitted from Honda’s dedication to the track. From the gear-driven cams made famous by the RC30 to the dual headlights that illuminated braking points and apexes the one liter VFR was very different from the more staid “F” model Honda pandered in the US. It was also much more expensive, more exclusive, and sadly…. did not sell well. Today these are celebrated as a technical tour de force and growing in collector status.
1986 Honda VF1000R for sale on eBay
While American riders were offered the “streetbike” Interceptor (less bodywork, less power, less exotic V-4 engine) as a VF-F model, the R was very Euro in design. From the dual headlights to the 6+ gallon tank, to the TRAC anti-dive assisted fork to the quick-release front wheel attachment and 16″ front wheel, the R model was supposed to reflect what Honda learned on the racetrack. Unfortunately the move to gear-driven cams added weight, as did said bodywork, additional radiators for cooling, larger fuel tank, and so on. At the end of the day, the R model weighed much more than the F model – mid 500 lbs range dry, above 600 full of liquids – and was said to be top heavy at slower speeds.
From the seller:
1986 Honda VF1000R Interceptor
V4 Motor with 4 Gear Driven Cams
Fresh Tune with Plugs and Wires
4 Fully Synced Carbs
101 Octane Sunoco Race Gas
K&N Air Filter
Yoshimura R&D USA Dual Exhaust
Fully Adjustable front & Rear Air Shocks
Sitting on Pirelli Sport Demon tires
Between the weight, complexity, cost and markup (these were not readily available like the F model), the VF1000R made for a striking image but sales lagged. Sport enthusiasts were not that interested when better solutions existed for extreme riding, and the R model was too sport-oriented to be a truly capable sport tourer. Today, buyers are reliving their youth, when perhaps this bike as not affordable to them. Interest is high in these models, and they are seen as a high-water mark for classic Honda in the 1980s.
Today’s VF1000R is a 1986 model, which is one model year that exhibited the dual headlamps. For many, this is the year to have for that reason alone. This particular bike appears to be well loved and cared for, shows an exhaust upgrade (no notes on the availability of the stock exhaust), and has 20k on the clocks. That is fair mileage, but again, this is a Honda and the reliability record on the model is very good. Located in Oklahoma, this bike is offered on a Buy It Now only format, with the ask being a stout $17,000 or best offer. That is bigger money than we have seen asked in the past, and this will be telling to see if the market is moving this model higher in terms of valuation – or if the ask is simply optimistic. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!
Nice. As owner of a European 86 Rothmans, finally good to see these under appreciated classics starting to get the recognition they really deserve. Personally do prefer the Euro gas tank rather than the sloping tank the NA models had.
And how many other RSBFS alumni have been featured on the TV show “Knight Rider” back in the day?! Micro-lock their brakes KITT!
If this bike gets anywhere close to that asking price, I’ve got a 1985 9.75/10 that will be going up for sale. And mine only has 10k miles.
Hi Sean……do you find the VF1000R to be fairly good on canyon roads. Have always wanted one of these v4’s. I am in my seventies, so my riding is spirited, but not all out crazy…..let me know what you think of yours…..thx, Gary
Very cool bikes but there’s no getting past how heavy they are. I had one at the same time I had an 86 VFR750 – the 750 was better in every way aside from extended high speed straight line riding and that feeling you get on the 1000 of riding something completely over-engineered.
To me though, these are a high water mark of Honda’s superior fit/finish/engineering/quality back in the 80s. But I don’t want one 🙂
Gary, the VF1000R is definitely a pig, but it has endearing qualities that take you straight back in time. Once the old girl is rolling she’s a lot more nimble than you would ever think. That being said, carving canyons at a spirited pace in not something I would consider. Cruising through the canyons is a better/safer method of travel.