Posts by tag: gear-driven cams

Honda September 15, 2016 posted by

Vee-Four: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

1985-honda-vf1000r-l-side-front

The popular conception of homologation specials is one of thinly-veiled racebikes, competition bodywork with a couple holes cut in it for headlights, close-ratio gearboxes, and racebike power just a remap/rejet away. The reality is sometimes far less exciting. Sure, the Honda VF1000R may look like an endurance-racing bike with lights, but at a portly 600lbs with fuel, plenty of other bikes of the period could show it a clean pair of heels. Ultimately, the bike was a bit of a misfire as a performance machine: it was just too heavy and offered no real advantage in terms of power or handling over the more common VF1000S. But that wasn’t really the point, since an homologation bike is mainly designed to include specific components so that those same bits can be utilized by production-based racing teams. And anyway, the same criticisms could be leveled at both the RC30 and RC45: out of the box, they were incredibly exotic, but some fast guy on a standard GSX-R750 could probably take your candy.

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The VF1000R’s 998cc V4 ditched the S-version’s cam chains and replaced them with a more precise gear arrangement, something that eventually became the V4’s distinguishing characteristic. It made a claimed 117hp and the slippery fairings allowed a near 150mph top speed, while Honda’s Torque-Reactive Anti-Dive Control meant cool acronyms and improved manners under heavy braking. Wheels are often overlooked and considered pretty unremarkable on a motorcycle: they’re round and covered with sticky, black rubber things. But as the point of contact between the bike and road, they’re critically important components.

1985-honda-vf1000r-rear-wheel

In the VF1000R’s case, they were Honda’s modular Comstar wheels and came with radial tires, something very new to motorcycles at that time. Axles were clamped in place with a quick-release system, the rear brake disc was vented, and the bike featured adjustable bars to help set the bike up for the rider’s individual preferences. Obviously, many of those parts serve no real purpose on a road bike, except to admire for their innovation and craftsmanship, or to brag about at your local bike meet.

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Today’s example has low miles, appears to be in excellent condition, and features the desirable dual-headlamp setup often missing from the 1985 bikes: worried that it wouldn’t pass federal regulations, Honda developed a simpler, single rectangular unit often seen on these bikes.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Not perfect, but a very, very good original survivor condition 1985 Honda VF1000R of sufficient quality that that it won its division at a large AMA sanctioned/ judged show (see below). It was originally purchased new in Indiana.  The 2nd owner purchased it in 1990 with about 5000 miles and eventually moved it to Kansas City.  I purchased this VF1000R from the 2nd owner in 2012 with 10,077 miles.

In 2012, I rode to one of the largest motorcyle events in Kansas City – The 20th Annual (and final) “Ralph Wayne Backyard Nationals”.  It is an insane confluence of two-wheeled wonder that includes thousands of bikes including Ariels, Aprilias, Vincents, Victories, Hodakas,  Ducatis, Gammas, RZs, BMWs, Harleys, R1s, CBRs – you get the picture.  There is a tent in Ralph’s back yard that only holds about 30 of the most unusual and/ or outstanding bikes at his event.  When I got there, one of the marshals waved me to the tent and this VF1000R was the only Honda under the tent that year.

In 2013, I entered this bike in the Clymer Manual Sponsored, Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts (HOAME) Vintage Midwest AMA sanctioned and judged show.  This a huge regional show and this VF1000R won the “Best Modern Superbike “Division.  Several of the AMA judges asked me if I still rode it (by looking at the tire wear patterns).  I responded “yes” and they expressed mild amazement that a bike this nice would still be ridden regularly.   Clymer posted a video they took of this bike at the show on Youtube.  It can be viewed with key words “Clymer VF1000R”.

The bike is nearly 100% survivor excepting the following:

When I initially rode the bike home after the sale, the OEM fork springs were shot, causing the front end to dive and scratching the front fender and left/ clutch side fork tube with the left lower metal blinker mount.  The scatches were touched up with correct, color-matched Honda “Fighting Red” paint.  The worn OEM fork springs were upgraded with Race Tech 1.05 Kg/ mm single-rate springs with new seals and synthetic Motul fork oil.  This fork upgrade dramatically improved front end tracking and feel.

The OEM/ survivor carbon fiber backed bodywork was touched-up with correct, color-coded paint prior to above shows and apparently looked good enough to the judges to win. It has the optional (for 1985 models) endurance racing dual headlamp fixture that came standard on the 1986-later models. It was shown with the F1S aluminum mufflers as seen in the photos, but the bike also comes with very good condition original/ OEM mufflers that could easily be cleaned up and reused if you want to sport that “Big 80s Big Muffler” look.  The F1S pipes on it now sound great. The OEM chain was replaced with RK X-Ring chain on the original/ OEM sprockets.

Prior to my ownership, some brake fluid leaked onto the external clutch cover and damaged some of the paint on the lower edge.  The damaged clutch cover paint has been colored with black marker.  See photos. There are a few scratches on top of the original aluminum/ OEM/ survivor fuel tank.  Otherwise the original paint looks deep and glossy except for minor/ normal mars on this 31 year-old survivor sportbike.

CONDITION:

The original 998 cc, V-4, 16-valve motor runs as well as any VF1000R.  It starts without issue and idles smoothly, does not smoke, shifts smoothly and accelerates linear and hard all the way to redline. No oil or hydraulic leaks.  The gear drive sound is marvelous.  There is no undue mechanical noise.  It purrs. The pictures closely demonstrate the overall, excellent condition of this 1985 VF1000R. Comes with (most of) the original Honda VF1000R tool kit which is otherwise unobtainium

I’ve enjoyed absolutely gawking at this very low mileage amazing condition VF1000R in my garage for the past 4 years and putting a few miles on it, but now it’s time to pass it on to somebody who will hopefully enjoy it as much as I have.

1985-honda-vf1000r-l-side

The seller includes a ton of information at the original listing and includes his personal history with the bike, a few minor cosmetic issues, and a listing of everything that was changed or updated, along with reasons why. It’s pretty clear that the owner is an enthusiast, although the price is on the high end for these: the starting bid is just south of $7,500 with no bids yet, but plenty of time left on the auction.

If you’re looking for a Honda homologation special and can’t spring for an RC30 or RC45, these are rare, feature exotic specification, and can still be had for relative peanuts. It’s not, and probably never was a cutting-edge sportbike, but that just makes it more practical as an affordable bit of HRC history: something you can ride and enjoy, not something that needs to be stored away for alternate, sunny Wednesdays in June.

-tad

1985-honda-vf1000r-l-side-rear

Vee-Four: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale
Honda March 23, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda CBR400RR

Often gray-market specials re-appear on the market with just a few miles, but this CBR400RR has been loved by someone.  Never offered in the U.S., they were a staple in countries where progressive licensing required lower horsepower and speed for younger or new riders.  The model was updated in 1990 and has gear-driven cams, fresh air intake, and a race-inspired sculpted swingarm.

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr right

1990 Honda CBR400RR for sale on eBay

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr left

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr right front

The inline four in the CBR400RR is a stressed member of the aluminum box-section frame and makes 59 hp at 12,500 rpm.  Confessing the bike’s humble aspirations, the right-side-up forks are still a hefty 41mm.  The “Castec” ( aluminum casting technology ) rear suspension has the curved “gull arm” which allows the exhaust to pass under the swingarm.  Binders are 275mm front discs and single 220mm rear.  Sharp looking, from a block away you might mistake the 400 for the CBR900RR, at least until you could hear it well.

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr binnacle

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr rear

Looking much better than it should for the kms, this CBR400RR wears the original silver/teal/black livery nicely, and shows some patina but  no major mods or damage.  Plus the owner is including a full set of aftermarket bodywork.  From the eBay auction:

1990 Honda CBR400RR NC29. 47,648 Kilometers (29,607 Miles) This is a very clean well cared for bike. Fairings and body work are OEM.  Tank is excellent with original paint. I am including  after market fairing kit I had made to duplicate the originals. Seats are in excellent shape with no tears. Tires have another season left on them.  I have gone thru the bike mechanically and everything works as it should. Turn signals, brake lights, horn, High and low beams, radiator fan, Shifts and revs to redline perfectly. Starts effortlessly every time. No leaks No smoke Very smooth running. Bike has USA Title ready to transfer into your name.

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr left front wheel

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr left engine

Sized as the CBR900RR’s younger sibling, the 400 will be snug for an average adult ( and what kids you’d have to be to use the passenger seat ) but it is fully equipped.  But maybe for a lighter rider, or maybe junior.  With almost 30K miles and no damage, obviously somebody fit this bike well and loved revving it up – that should continue…

-donn

20160323 1990 honda cbr400rr cockpit

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda CBR400RR
Honda September 29, 2015 posted by

Featured Listing: 1988 Honda VFR400R for Sale

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A precursor to the iconic NC30 that was a sort of “mini RC30,” the VFR400R was powered by the a 399cc, gear-driven V4 and had the bigger model’s same ELF-designed Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm. Visual differences compared to the later NC30 include a more conventional, street-bike styled single headlight and bodywork, along with four bolts to hold the rear wheel in place, instead of a single large hub nut.

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This earlier iteration of Honda’s jewel-like V4 used a more conventional 180° crank, whereas later NC30 versions used a 360° “big bang” crank and firing order for improved traction and tire life. The 180° crank engine should sound a bit more like a conventional four, with combustion events spaced more evenly throughout each engine revolution. You still get the distinctive whine of the gear-driven cams fitted to these engines however.

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Although the small V4 isn’t as manic at high revs as other 400cc four-cylinders, it should have a much wider powerband and still rev to a screaming 14,000rpm. Grunt is ultimately limited by the miniscule displacement, but handling is superlative and these were [and still are] very popular in the UK as track-day bikes, although the 18″ rear wheel does limit tire choice somewhat.

1988 Honda VFR400R for sale on eBay

From the seller: 1988 Honda VFR400R for Sale

Imported legally this year from the UK with the idea of learning about  and testing the market as a possible business idea for the future.

When I received it, it would not idle, so, rather than clean the carbs, I opted for the more circuitous route and replaced the regulator/rectifier, coils, plugs, plug wires and battery as well as the starter solenoid for good measure. It ran better, but eventually I did clean the carbs and found the elusive idle.

The motor is sweet. Whining gear whir and a really nice howling exhaust note as it revs from clutch out at about 3000 all the way up to a redline of 14,000. Smooth and very torque strong powerband all the way up.

Also, as stated in the eBay post, the bodywork is original and a little rough on the two lower panels. The tank and balance of the beautiful old plastic is pretty nice in a slightly weathered patina appreciators sort of way.

I would like to mention the scale. The bike is small, the clearances around the engine and really throughout are tight and favor the small of hand. But, I am 5’10” and do not reach the bum stop under most riding conditions, so the ergonomics are semi comfortable and definitely not cramped.

Overall, this is a very sound , fun ride without the overkill of a larger superbike. I had an S3 400 Kawasaki that would pop your arms straight on the power, but this 400 is faster and more controllable in getting there. Like a RD400 but more muscular and with a much broader powerband. Throttle feedback is really fine. Would make a thrilling track bike or a good rider.

1988 Honda VFR400R L Fairing

Designed mainly for the Japanese market, a good number found their way over to the UK where they were popular as grey-market or “parallel imports.” This example is a bit rough around the edges, as the seller clearly indicates, but these are the original panels and 27 years and 28,000 miles means some scuffs and scrapes and minor cracks are to be expected.

1988 Honda VFR400R R Side

The VFR400R is very rare here in the US, meaning this should be of interest to Honda fans here looking to complete their V4 collections or track day riders more concerned with corner speed than top speed. All-in-all, this bike lacks the endurance-racer styling and raucous “big bang” engine of later versions, but still provides the basic handling goodness that made these so popular in the first place.

-tad

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Featured Listing: 1988 Honda VFR400R for Sale
Honda January 13, 2015 posted by

Exotic Heavyweight: 1985 Honda VF1000R Interceptor for Sale

1985 Honda VF1000R L Side

Some more 80’s Honda action this week, only this time the bike is in much better condition and has all of its parts included! Modern sportbikes often obsessively address issues of weight while clawing at ever-higher horsepower numbers, worshiping at the temple founded by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and his philosophy that, “adding power makes you faster on the straights, subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” Today’s Honda VF1000R is a substantially-engineered motorcycle that lives by the first part of that axiom, but falls down a bit on the second…

1985 Honda VF1000R Nose

Looking much like a scaled-up GSX-R, the fully-faired, monoshock VF1000R was designed to homologate a number of features for Honda’s endurance-racing efforts, but was actually noticeably heavier than the sport-touring VF1000F at over 600lbs wet. The 998cc V4 replaced the F’s timing chains for the gear-driven cams that would eventually become an Interceptor calling-card, while anti-dive front suspension, quick-release axles, vented rear brake disc, and distinctive Comstar modular wheels fitted with radial tires rounded-out the exotic package.

1985 Honda VF1000R Rear Tire

All-in-all, the VF1000R was a bit of a disappointment as a roadbike, but that was never really the objective anyway: like most homologation machines, it was built to allow specific included parts to be used in much higher-performing, production-based racebikes. And it paved the way for Honda’s all-conquering RC30 and RC45, although I understand those were also fairly disappointing in road trim. Spare me your anger and flame in the comments section: I freely admit I’ve never ridden either of them, but I’ve read plenty of period reviews that were less than impressed, especially considering those bikes’ price tags then and now. Once again: road performance wasn’t really the point of those bikes, either.

1985 Honda VF1000R Tail

This particular example from ’85 has been upgraded with the dual-headlight setup from an ’86 model and looks to be in pretty spectacular shape, considering the bike’s age and the fact that it has seen a reasonable amount of road use, as opposed to a pampered life in a collection. For most of us, that just makes it sweeter, and means that it’s a runner, not a display bike. The included D&D pipes should make this bike a real howler: among Ducatisti, D&D is known for making pipes that exchange volume for anything resembling subtlety…

1985 Honda VF1000R Exhaust

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Super Clean 1985 VF1000R, dual headlight upgrade over the original single one, clean paint, like new tires, smooth idle, it’s a Honda all the way!!! I hate to part with it, but I destroyed my left shoulder in Afghanistan and just can’t take the lean forward any more 🙁 … She is garage kept, and the pics don’t do it justice… I will include a set of D&D pipes to the winning bidder as well! Any Questions just ask, I’m listing an Aprillia 1000R in a few more days as well.

Thanks for looking

The biggest challenge with many Japanese bikes from the 80’s and 90’s was their mass-produced affordability: people bought them, rode them hard, and exploited their famed reliability. That means in spite of higher production, tracking down nice examples of bikes like this can be just as difficult as finding a more exotic Ducati or Bimota that was produced in much smaller numbers, but has led a much more pampered life.

1985 Honda VF1000R Dash

There are still a few days left on the auction and bidding is active, although the reserve has still not been met at just north of $3,000. Much more a “GT” and less of a “back-road-burner” by today’s standards, this should make for a pretty cool road tool for Honda fans and that V4 soundtrack, complete with gear-whine, will make any bike fan smile.

-tad

1985 Honda VF1000R R Side

 

Exotic Heavyweight: 1985 Honda VF1000R Interceptor for Sale
Honda December 20, 2014 posted by

Old School Endurance Racer: 1985 Honda VF1000R

1985 Honda VF1000R L Side

Honda’s VF1000R was from a fascinating transitional period in sportbike design, as companies moved away from racebikes based on big, heavy roadbikes like the Wes Cooley Suzuki and Kawasaki ELR to bikes like the lithe and lightweight GSX-R and ZX-7. This hulking brute has the monoshock rear and fully-faired look of those later bikes, but scaled up to almost epic proportions. Clearly meant for endurance racing, the VF1000R was a technological tour de force that showcased Honda’s technical brilliance, but ended up being less than the sum of its parts.

1985 Honda VF1000R R Side Detail

Powered by a 998cc V4 that made 117 claimed horses that could push the bike to almost 150mph, the bike was built to homologate bits for Honda’s endurance-racing bikes, and included revised heads that chucked the “F” version’s cam-drive chains for a set of precision gears. Other race-oriented bits included Honda’s Torque-Reactive Anti-dive Control that used a mechanical system to increase damping under hard braking and prevent the “dive” associated with telescopic forks. Wheels were modular Comstar items that were, in Europe at least, fitted with new-to-motorcycling radial tires. Axles featured a quick-release system for faster tire changes during races, the rear disc was vented, and the bars were adjustable.

1985 Honda VF1000R Tank Detail

Unfortunately, the changes added up to a significant weight increase over the sport-touring VF1000F, and the bike weighed in at over 600lbs with fluids. 1985 models used a rectangular headlight designed to meet expected US safety standards that never materialized, and the 1986 bikes used the intended, dual-round unit set up that is generally better-looking and more desirable.

1985 Honda VF1000R L Side Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

One owner! In great shape! 9600 original miles.

This bike is not only a great looking machine, but it runs very well too.  Recent  regular service, oil/filter change/plugs/ect, has been well cared for and is a one owner machine.   Always stored indoors and is not rusted or modified.  Controls, gauge, lights, ect are in good shape as the pictures will show.

An overview of this machine:  The VF1000r was patterned after the FWS “Works Bike” that Wise, Baldwin & Spencer used to race regularly.  This was Honda’s effort to homologate an endurance racer. Full fairing (in fiberglass not plastic) with a single headlight lens and small vents on either side and two cute round tail lights out back, 16″ front wheel & 17″ rear wheel were of the NS/NSR style “Comstar” bolt together wheels, not cast (hub an rim where connected via bolted on struts), endurance racer spec. quick release forks, with the obligatory TRAC mechanical anti-dive mechanisms. Single rear shock w/ 2 sided Alloy swingarm, Gear driven cams, 4/2 exhaust. Color was typical Honda HRC colors – White base with lots of red (in fairing and on the front fender and forks) a small blue stripe and black wheels.

This is definitely a must have for your collection!

These show up on eBay from time-to-time, but are rarely in such quality, original shape. An eminently useable superbike, VF1000R’s aren’t the fastest things on the road, but they feature a wealth of 80’s-tech details for Honda geeks and should offer plenty of real-world riding performance, accompanied by a howling V4 soundtrack.

-tad

1985 Honda VF1000R R Side

Old School Endurance Racer: 1985 Honda VF1000R