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Roarin's VFR400R - notes from a quick spin

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Loz, May 28, 2007.

  1. I've been punting around a bit lately on Roarin's VFR400R. You may remember it from such moments as "sucking the stickers off litre superbikes in the black spur," "quickly disappearing tail-light" and "jesus christ no bike can lean that far, for pity's sake hang off a bit, I'm having a heart attack just watching." A couple of chances to get in the rider's seat have given me a longer look at this miniature sportsbike than I've ever been given in the twisties.

    I'm happy to confirm Andy's enthusiastic assertions that this is a mental little bike. It corners like nothing on earth and is deceptively fast even with the tall gearing. Those tiny v-4 motors really belt out the power. It feels a bit lilke a twin and just churns out power in a very flat and predictable curve that frequently had me doing double-takes at the speedo and grabbing for the brakes. Speed builds quickly and effortlessly.

    It's a tiny and very compact motorcycle which makes it a bit of a squeeze for me, but it's built to carve - the ridiculous amount of front-end feel almost overwhelms you in the corners. If you got used to so much feel you'd find it disconcerting to go back to a lesser cornering bike.

    I was instantly faster on the 400 on a couple of my favourite bolte loop bits than on any bike I've ridden before, and the bike had plenty left in it, as evidenced by the fact that Roarin's only has half a footpeg on each side left. :shock: I can see how the feel and feedback from the front end would make you confident to push on hard - although you'd be a f*cking psycho to try to get it around as quick as Andy does, sitting bolt upright and chucking it through corners like the willing little biatch it is.

    Suspension, although Andy reckons his is knackered, seems great to me; perhaps it's a matter of being well set-up, but it seems to have a good balance between comfort and road-holding at speed. Brakes... Well, I'm not a fan of the way Roarin sets his up, they bite like a motherf*cker on one-finger pressure and I like a bit more play - but there's no disputing the fact that those huuuge discs have stupendous stopping power - and lots of people seem to like bad-ass bitey brakes like these. Stoppies are no problem on decent sticky tyres and it wheelies like crazy with a bit of clutch too if that's your bag - damn thing nearly flipped me off the back when I gave it a bit much.

    Tyres make a big difference - on a slightly squared-off front it held a cornering line like it was on rails once you were settled in, and took some effort to move onto a different line mid-corner. It really felt like I could kick back and have a coffee coming down the big bolte off-ramp, it was that planted and stable. On a new Pilot Power front, the bike was more responsive to mid-corner line corrections, which I think is a much better sort of feeling, so I gave it plenty more stick.

    If I was smaller I'd be looking seriously at one of these for a fantastic real-world sportsbike that really flatters a rider and encourages you to use all of its power. Blasting up out of the eastbound Bolte onramp, cranked right over, watching the white line apex drifting in just as far as I wanted and then away, hanging onto full throttle as the little viffer exploded out into the traffic was a manic and addictive thrill. I'd go in harder next time without fear.

    Sadly I'm a big fat f*cker with tree-trunk thighs and I wouldn't want to carry a shoehorn everywhere to get my feet up onto the pegs - and indeed down again after a decent ride - so I'll have to keep tugging Andy's sleeve for a crack at the Spur on it and see if I can't nudge past a few big boys on this tiny little racer that looks for all the world like a knackered old CBR250. Quite a bike, quite a bike.

    Now, to see if I can convince Chengaleng to buy this one as her upgrade... :twisted:
  2. ^^^^
    EDIT: God those ads are bugging me!

    nice report Loz,
    always fun to read your ramblings.

    I was looking at the VFR as a possible upgrade... especially if I have the urge to do some track days.
    Do you think a bike newbie would appreciate a machine like this? Or is it more for some one who has ridden a few bikes to know what their own riding style and already done a few track days. Being an older 'race' bike I would imagine maintenance to be an issue if one was not much of a grease monkey.
  3. It's an easy bike to ride, no problems there. I think it would flatter most riders and I'd have no hesitation in recommending one as an upgrade. The power is a big step up from a 250 without being intimidating. Holding full throttle while totally cranked over is quite possible and contributes to the enormous corner speed it's capable of.

    Maintenance wise... Roarin does all his own spannering. Being a road-going Honda I'm sure it's a piece of piss to maintain, although I remember something about the 400's shims being difficult to get at, I dunno. Put it this way, there's a lot of k's on Roarin's bike and it still feels tight and fast. I can't see why it would be a more difficult bike to maintain than any other faired sports bike. Perhaps Andy can comment on that.
  4.  Top
  5. The VFR's are supposed to be bullet proof. The RVF is similar and with good maintenance they will last a while.

    Be aware though that they are ALL old bikes now. Someone advertising one as 'low mileage' or 'imported with low k's' simply cannot prove that fact. So good mechanical inspection is a must.

    I had a real hound of a VFR so know the pitfalls, but for handling it was simply the best bike I have ever ridden. Absolutely planted, enough power to go quick, not enough to unhook the tyres. If you get a good one, cherish it and ride it well, you will probably never want to sell it. You will harass people like me everywhere, taunt me with your corner speed and be giggling like a child and, at the end of the ride, point at my bike and laugh.
  6. I like the look of the VFR400, but am quite big myself. I've ridden a zx2r and a cbr250rr before, and was quite cramped (zx2r in particular, which i could barely get my feet up on, knees weren't designed to bend that much). Is the vfr bigger or better layed out in your opinion?
  7. I point at your bike and laugh anyway...... :p
    Damn weird looking things they are..... :cool:

    Seriously a mate had the VFR800 a couple of years ago.
    Never ridden the 400 but the 800 was nuts! More power that a psycho locomotive and fast.... scared the crap out of me!
  8. Aren't these bikes grey imports ?
  9. I felt it was quite similar to the CBR250RR. Upper body wasn't a problem, legs were a bit folded up - but you get that on a bike that can take such extreme lean angles, if the pegs were any lower they wouldn't last a week!

    It's nowhere near the tower of discomfort other bikes can be - reference the ZX-7R - but my lower body was definately aware it was a compact bike. I'm 5"11 and around 115 kg wth tree-trunk thighs, so I make most bigger bikes look like clown bikes - I'm sure I looked hilarious on the 400. It really wasn't that bad comfort wise, I just got the impression a long trip would leave me personally with sore legs. Take one for a hoot, your mileage may vary.
  10. I'm 6'1" 100kg with longish trunk legs. Now i just need to find one to take for a hoot, stupid remote townsville :S.
  11. I find it quite hard coming to grips with the vague front end feeling I get from a lot of other bikes I ride.

    I've had 3 VFR400's (still have one for a racebike, see profile) and I agree wholeheartedly with the above. Cracking little bikes which I'm a true enthusiast of (yes, one-eyed!).

    Anyone over 6' will struggle to be comfortable, especially if the bike has aftermarket rearsets, they are essentially a 250-sized sportsbike with a larger engine.

    The torque curve of the engine (whilst still having a fairly high redline) would have to be the second-best trait for the model, impressive for just 400cc as anyone who rides one will attest, my modified road 400's would happily outdrag VFR750's and early generation 600's.

    Best trait would have to be the noise they put out which adds greatly to the whole experience: exhaust and cam gears!
  12. You're a bad man Loz. I've been perving on RVFs for a while now, your post makes my wallet whimper and cower :LOL: Has Roarin' done anything with the gearing?
  13. Most VFR400 owners change the front sprocket to one less tooth as standard it's a little high geared (over 100 out of first). This gives it much better performance, but throws the speedo out.

    RVF's don't suffer the same overgeared problem as the first 3 gears in the box have shorter ratios.
  14. Apart from the gearing (as ^^^) what are the differences between the VFR and RVF400s?
  15. Thanks Cammo, hadn't spotted that :)

    USD forks on the RVF, an extra couple of kgs (pfffft, so what? If it hoons with Loz on it... :LOL:) and smaller carbs for more midrange and less top end, hence LAMS. Oh, and in turn almost twice the price :evil:

    ...but this is all from the keyboard and what I've been told, haven't ridden one yet and maybe the Spada will win out :eek: :rofl:
  16. IIRC; same engine, smaller carbs, smaller exhaust, different shape, different headlights, fully adjustable usd forks on the front (but the same brand and size). People have said that while the vfr400 takes a line in a corner and sticks to it, the rvf400 likes lines in corners, but you can change it. Both look sexy.
  17. Nope, I don't think so, apart from turning the gear lever upside down to race pattern.

    Although the bike pulls fine in standard gearing, many people would go for the extra punch of downgearing it. Not Andy, if that mentallist lost 10% of his top speed, he'd take 10% longer to get where he's going. This doesn't apply to most riders.
  18. Heheh, would be awesome to see the little beastie in action under Roarin's command :grin:

    I'm surprised you got the front up, but again I haven't ridden one. I'd be worried about doing it by accident on an RVF if the gearing hasn't been touched on this one :LOL:
  19. It was a big handful of revs and a hearty clutch-up. Remember, most 250s will lift under those circumstances, and the 400 has a LOT more guts.
  20. Interesting little advertising campaign...
    You post this and suddenly there are two for sale in the bike sales forum...