Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

New Honda VFR800 -v- BMW F800ST ???

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by martych, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Hi there. I'm due to get upgrade my my much loved V-Strom 650 soon and was looking at these 2 bikes. (see below)
    They both tick all the right boxes for me (size / weight/ comfort / price etc)
    Thing is... which is best ? I've ridden both but it was a couple of months apart and I was impressed with both.
    They're very similar in most categorys (including price, which was a surprise) although the belt drive of the Beemer is winning me over, purely from a maintainance aspect, however (according to the stats) the fuel tank on the Honda is 6 litres larger, which has obvious advantages.

    So....my question is...does anybody out there, who owns one of these fine machines, compare the two before they made their decision and what swayed them into whichever camp ? Love to hear your comments... Cheers.

  2. Personally id take the Honda from the aspect of maintainance, as their bulletproof. Who cares about belt drive, you lose so much power and when things go wrong they really go wrong, where as with the traditional system, yes its a little messy but its reliable and easy to fix.
  4. Gotta agree with Bluefreak on the chain/belt thing. Nothing really wrong with a belt.

    As for the tank size, the Beemer is meant to have pretty impressive fuel economy, with 3.3l/100kms apparently possible. Doubt you'd get economy that good on the VFR.

    Neither bike is exactly high on my personal desirable list, but if I had to choose, I'd probably opt for the Beemer because, IMO, the VFR's are a bit fat nowadays (unlike the mid-90's VFR750's), while the F800 to me seems closer to its sportsbike heritage, but then again, I prefer the sports in sports-touring, but if you lean more towards the touring side, then the VFR.
  5. The VFR750 was a great bike but the VFR800 has gotten less impressive with each release.

    It's now got tech for the sake of tech all over the bike that doesn't do anything for the bike at all... from DCBS (which has taken 3 generations just to get to the point where it works almost as well as normal brakes) to Variable valve timing (which just makes the job of the fuel injection mapping more complicated) to a single sided swingarm (which is heavier than a similar dual sided one and doesn't offer quick wheel change which is the main reason for having a single sided swing arm in the first place!).

    The BMW twin is a nice functional well balanced twin OTOH (with the bonus of belt drive) :)
  6. This has to be the most ill informed ill conceived and ill thought out post I have read about a bike.
    Next you'll tell us shaft driven bikes are unreliable. :roll:
  7. The VTEC and linked brakes seriously turn me off the VFR. What was once the jewel in the Honda crown has become a rolling techno circus sideshow. I was ready to buy one until I rode it. Get the Beemer, if it's good enough for Pfeiffer it's good enough for me... Or save yourself a wad of cash and get a pre-VTEC VFR800 or a VFR750 NC30.
  8. When considering any bike alongside a BM, you need to think about potential length of ownership. Longer terms tip the balance to BMs, although if prices are similar that's less of an issue.

    I've found BMs as a species to be easy to home service/repair and are much cheaper to run than conventional wisdom would suggest if you proceed on that basis. The independent BMW specialists I've dealt with (Munich Motorcycles, Motohansa, Motobins) have all been knowledgable and enthusiastic and have offered superb ordering/mail order services too so lack of dealer numbers is not necessarily a problem.

    The Honda is a worthy bike (putting aside my pathological aversion to the breed) but I don't think the bigger tank alone would convince me.

    If you like 'em both, the choice might come down to which you can get a better deal on and, maybe more importantly, which will cost more to run (service costs, insurance, fuel, resale value) over your prospective period of ownership.
  10. As long as the manual says it is :grin: .

    Seriously, the one "disadvantage" of a belt is that it's difficult to assess its condition visually and it doesn't give the warning that a chain does that it's coming to the end of its life. So you need to apply the maintenance principle of replacing the part based on hours (or km) in service rather than based on an assessment of its condition.

    Most belt failures I've heard of and seen are a result of this regime not being adhered to.
  11. How is this post any better???
  12. For what it's worth, I'd DEFINITELY prefer the belt of the F800 over a chain, and it was part of the reason I ended up going for the BMW.

    But, it depends what you're after and what type of rider you are and what you are looking for. If you're a "anything less than a litre is a waste" kinda person, then move on (mind you, I think 98% of those sorts of people are kidding themselves and don't/can't use that extra bit a supersport gives you anyway).

    I've just got back from my first weekend away on my F800ST with my wife, and it was a pure pleasure. It handled the two of us, panniers, tankbag and large soft sportsbag with ease, and the fuel economy rocks...350+ km on every tank (from the 16L).

    I had no problems overtaking anything, anywhere along the way, and the good, usable torque all the way up the dial makes it even easier.

    I had been tossing up the VFR, F800ST and the Sprint ST, but being short (165cm, 5'5"), the lower seat and 30kg dry weight saved by the BMW were huge factors. I also liked that there aren't many out there, whereas I see Viffers everywhere. Also, the more upright position of the BMW is much better for my back and wrists, both of which have been thoroughly abused by decades of sport.

    Servicing has been quite good. The run-in service cost me about $120, and the 10k service last week cost me about $135. Apparently the 20k involves a few extra things and should be around $240. I think that's quite reasonable...especially when you pro-rate it across the 6k service intervals of most of the Japanese brands.

    The only thing I've changed is the screen. I got an after-market screen because the stock one put the airflow on my helmet and was therefore a but rough. Apparently for taller riders it puts it on the chest and is just fine.

    In short, I'm absolutely sure they're not everone's cup of tea, but I'd recommend one in an instant...and if I was back at my decision time again but knowing what I know now...I'd absolutely buy the same bike again!

    Butz. :beer:

    P.S. I didn't test-ride the Viffer, which I think is relevant to add here, because it could just be that I don't know what I'm missing. Almost everything I've read about them has been great.

    P.P.S. On the weekend, I read a review in October's Bike magazine from the UK, where they took a Sprint ST, Ducati S3 (or whatever the tourer is, I forget), an F800 and a GSX-R750 (for something different), on a thousand mile tour, incorporating motorways, twisties and some other stuff, and most of the reviewers said they were very surprised, but pretty much agreed the F800 came out on top...in the summary, they said something like "after knocking the VFR off it's perch a couple of months ago, it's now come out on top of the big sports-tourers". I know reviews are always taken with a very large pinch of salt, but I like it when it backs up my selection. :grin:
  13. Cheers Gav

    I'll see if I can hook up a test ride of both (on the same day) soon. I found BMW to be very accomodating last time. (ie, no supervised ride and I was encouraged to have a "decent ride") The joint where I found the Honda were very sceptical and basically wanted me to commit to buying the bike first. I think the BMW salesman was able to tell that I'm old enough to not be a test pilot. Not that I blame the other guys really. They must see a hell of a lot of time wasters.
    p.s : Why only two colours in the Beamer ? Pretty boring colours at that IMO. Need to bring out a red or yellow (like the S) don't ya reckon ?
  14. If the test rides were at the dealers where you'd be intending to purchase, the respective attitudes would make me favour the BMW guys.

    Previous timewasters or no, YOU are the customer. If they don't want your business badly enough to be helpful, go elsewhere. Do you really think it'll get any better once they've got your money?

    Seriously, crap attitude/customer service is one of my pet hates and I see far too much of it. You're looking at putting down a substantial wedge. Don't get exactly what you want? Walk out.
  15. It speaks the truth.