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Honda VTR1000F 'Firestorm' review.

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by boingk, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Hey there guys, just fired off this in a PM to a fellow Netrider who asked about my VTR I had for sale recently. I thought it a reasonable enough review to warrant posting in the reviews section, so here goes.

    The bike itself is in the superbike mould, and while not a horsepower king does a really good job of providing both power and usability from its 1000cc 90' twin-cylinder engine. Its got double overhead cams, great big 48mm Keihin carbies and lovely sounding twin exhausts. Many also came with a solo cowl for the rear pillion seat which, lets face it, is uncomfortable on most litrebikes... and this is no exception, although its still fairly usable for a run downtown or to give a mate a lift.

    If you're looking into them they are a great all-rounder type of ride with good seating position for sport riding or freeway/commuter work as well. They don't heat up heaps around town, just a little bit on your ankles but it *is* a litre bike. Fuel economy is about 6L/100km on mine so alright for a litre sports. Pillion position is shite as mentioned above.

    Power and acceleration are insane - quoted quartermile times are in the high 10 second regions. They tend to dyno at 108ish rear wheel horsepower, so probably not lying when Honda said they had 120 at the crank. Sounds like smallfry compared to modern 175hp ZX-10's and 192hp S1000RR's but it comes in nicely - up to 5,000rpm its like an old V8 with grunty, linear torque everywhere. Over 6k it goes ballistic right up to the 9.5k redline, an absolute hoot to ride and you'd have to be a hardened, jaded racer to not be impressed.

    You'll be skimming tarmac with the front wheel up to 200kmh from a hard start, passing 100kmh in less than 4 seconds. Over 200kmh it slows down a tad until you hit your max speed of about 250~260. Fast enough for 90% of riders and definitely fast enough for the road, so long as you don't have a deathwish. For what its worth its a very comfortable and capable cruiser at around the 160~170 mark and does not feel out of place at such speeds, or higher, either.

    Handling is good with easy, positive turn-in and great power from the brakes so long as you make sure they've got good pads and fresh hydraulic fluid - older bikes often need new pads and fluid even if the brakes seem to work okay. Mine might turn heads and shine in the sun... but its still a 13 year old bike under that sparkling paintjob.

    Only thing you need to watch out for when riding it is that the weight distribution is quite rearward biased so it tends to like you leaning forward and into the corner to go round quickly and feel good doing it. It'll also wheelie very easily in first and second due to this, too.

    Things to watch out for are camchain tensioners and fuel range on models up to 2000 and reg/recs allround.

    Apparently Honda had 3 companies supply camchain tensioner springs and one of them put out a defective batch of springs... meaning you've got a chance of the engine going 'BOOM!' somewhere between 30 and 50 thousand kilometres. Manual replacements are about $90 a set and take an hour or two to fit on a Sunday avo.

    Fuel range is a bit average, I tend to need to fill up around 200km or so but have pushed to 250km with 2L remaining in the tank - up to 2000 they only held 16.5L. Best economy I've gotten was 5.8L from Newcastle to Goulburn sitting dead on 120kmh the whole way.

    For those reasons I'd highly recommend you go for the post 2000 models as they had no camchain tensioner issues (to my knowledge) and an increased capacity tank to 19L, making your comfortable fuel range 250km with up to 280~300 possible while still having a litre or two left.

    The regulator/rectifier is under the seat on the lefthand side and easy to change but OEM ones cost $250 or more. You won't have a happy battery if you don't have a good one and I'd recommend swapping out to a Chinese replacement as soon as you can - mine cost $20 posted from China and took 3 weeks to get here but beats to stocker in every way. It also hasn't left me stranded on the side of the road. Apparently this is reasonably common with older Hondas from the late 90's/early 2000's.

    With that all done and dusted I'll sign off by saying that no matter what I have to ride I keep on coming back to the VTR. Its a great allrounder and seems to keep me happy with almost any sort of riding. I'd highly recommend looking at one if you're after a used bike. They can be picked up relatively cheaply for between $3,000 and $5,000 used, and are a bargain at those prices for the performance on tap.

    Cheers - boingk
  2. I have coveted the VTR for most of my motorcycling time
  3. And they sound wonderful :)
    • Disagree Disagree x 1