Honda has finally unveiled its much-anticipated V4 road-sports VFR1200F, though sadly it has gone the verbal-diarrhea-PR route with its press announcement and not a great deal has been revealed about the machine. Isn't it high time that Honda allowed its knowledgeable engineers to tell the story directly to a public that it should know by now is allergic to unsubstantiated prose, and deliver some facts. We understand that the bike is quite special, and raises the bar much higher for its competitors, but in allowing its advertising copywriters to write the press statements and its communication strategists to indulge in prolonged onanistic delight, it is simply selling its engineering prowess way-too-short.
We present Honda's press statement in full - after all this time, and all the prolonged titillating build-up we've had to endure, the following is what they presented upon the release of the bike today. We'd try to interpret it for you, but no-one here can get more than half way through it without gagging.
Headline: Honda's V4-Powered New VFR1200F Breaks Cover
TEXT: Honda Motorcycles is proud to announce the launch of its all-new and eagerly awaited V4-powered ultimate road-sports machine - the VFR1200F.
This important new machine creates a landmark in motorcycling history, with the latest technologies and styling being focused and developed to enhance every-day riding enjoyment, but with a look, feel and sound that together create a new breed of machine.
VFR1200F has been developed in keeping with previous VFRs and continues the bloodline of Honda's V4 heritage. But this latest incarnation moves the boundaries even further to deliver a machine with an unrivalled combination of sports and touring capabilities, to meet the needs and desires of customers as understood from extensive research.
The VFR1200F's revolutionary sculptured styling can't fail to impress from every angle, with the patented layered fairing design creating the perfect match of form and function. The ergonomically styled fairing works in harmony with the fuel tank to provide extra support and efficient weather protection for the rider and pillion, whilst also allowing for optimal air flow and heat management.
Textured surfaces give the front of the motorcycle a light, open look while also creating a profile that slices through the wind with the least possible resistance. A strongly defined X-shape characterises the front of the machine. Concave surfaces direct the eye and air up towards the windscreen and the powerful single line-beam headlight streams into two tinted LED-look strips that frame the sides of the headlight, increasing the illusion of lightness and space.
The distinctive growl of the flexible and responsive V4 motor may rekindle the emotions inspired by previous iconic VFRs, but its unique 'heartbeat' engine feel and an unrivalled level of manageability sets the new VFR apart, not only from its predecessors - but also from every bike currently available.
There were several challenges involved in tailoring the strong V4 power for use in an all-round machine that can be used for weekend enjoyment, commuting and long-distance touring. Key elements of the VFR1200F's power characteristics are its unrivalled response and strong torque delivery.
In pursuit of heightened levels of control and feedback for the rider, the VFR1200F adopts the latest race-track bred technologies, but adapted and evolved to create a machine that can be many things to many riders. Some of these engineering solutions have never before been seen on a road-going machine before.
At the heart of the VFR1200F is the brand new UNICAM 1237cc V4 engine. Performance is delivered where it's most useful and enjoyable, and for comfortable yet responsive power delivery. The V4 configuration emulates the briskness of a typical inline-4 engine's performance, but is delivered with a pure V4 beat and feel.
VFR1200F adopts the UNICAM single overhead camshaft cylinder head design from the world-class CRF motocrossers. This immensely compact solution optimises mass centralisation which contributes to the machine's balanced feel and ease of control. To further this cause, the rear cylinders are purposefully close together, while the front cylinders are more widely spaced. This layout allows for a slim, compact 'waist' that fits comfortably between the rider's legs. A new Phase-shift Crankshaft complements the advantages of the cylinder layout and operating with a 28° throw, it effectively reduces primary vibration and noise, eliminating the need for a power-sapping balance shaft.
A compact new transmission layout further contributes to high-speed stability, better cornering and improved traction capability. To aid control under intense deceleration, a slipper clutch is also fitted. Even under the most excessive downshifting the clutch is designed to slip, thus preventing the rear wheel from inadvertently locking up, allowing the rider to stay firmly in control.
The highly developed shaft drive system offers incredible throttle-to-drive delivery, unlike any other shaft drive system. Also adding to this heightened level of response and control is a sophisticated throttle-by-wire system, providing light, precise fuel metering at all engine parameters.
A key element in the raw emotion of this V4's sound is the exhaust system. Engineered to provide excellent cornering clearance and minimal intrusion to the rider's and pillion's feet, the high-volume, twin outlet high-chrome muffler produces an unobtrusive but fantastically stirring note. At low revs the noise is off-beat and bass-rich. Further up the rev range, once the servo-operated valve is opened, the noise changes to a truly inspiring, hard-edged V4 howl to stir the emotions.
The VFR1200F frame, suspension and drive components are brought together in a unique configuration. The VFR1200F frame is a strong aluminium twin-spar diamond configuration that is both lightweight and rigid. The swingarm and driveshaft length are optimised without extending the overall length of the motorcycle. The long swingarm contributes to balanced, confident manoeuvring and exceptional high-speed stability.
The swingarm is complemented by a compliant Pro-Link rear shock absorber with adjustable rebound damping. At the front, sturdy 43mm telescopic forks with adjustable preload provide smooth and assured control. Together, these systems ensure a comfortable ride, even with a pillion and luggage on board and add to the overall feeling of total control and riding enjoyment.
The VFR1200F is further equipped with a powerful combined braking system to provide the optimal balance of front and rear braking forces. The addition of a standard-fit compact and lightweight ABS system supports both the motorcycle's sportier riding potential and its touring proficiency.
The pillion's comfort and security have not been overlooked either. The supportive, vacuum-moulded dual-seat has a flat and expansive area for the pillion and strong, easy-reach grab handles and footrests positioned with comfort and security in mind.
Attention to detail and quality is evident everywhere within the VFR1200F, and every design element has been fine-tuned in tandem with engineering requirements. The cowl and body are fused together, creating one smooth, unified, aerodynamic surface. The rear design is compact and tapers upwards, emphasising the bike's lightness and dynamic shape with the tail-light and rear indicators subtly mimicking the frontal design.
The VFR1200F will be offered in three colours of Candy Prominence Red, Seal Silver Metallic and Pearl Sunbeam White, with a wide range of stylish and practical optional accessories developed by Honda Genuine Accessories also available, to include:
The VFR1200F will be available from Honda Motorcycle dealers across the country from early 2010, with the date of its (insert country here) launch, and price, being announced later in the year.
Hands up all those people who think they should keep their communications strategists on much a shorter leash.