Honda VFR1200F

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Honda VFR1200F[1]
Honda VFR1200F with Dress-up Parts and Accessories.jpg
Manufacturer Honda
Production October 2009–
Predecessor VFR800, Super Blackbird[2]
Class Sport touring
Engine 1,237 cc (75.5 cu in), SOHC, 76° V4
Throttle by wire
Bore / stroke 81 mm × 60 mm (3.2 in × 2.4 in)
Compression ratio 12.0:1
Power 127 kW (170 hp) @ 10,000 rpm
Torque 129 N·m (95 lb·ft) @ 8,750 rpm
Transmission Manual sequential 6-speed or optional dual clutch gearbox
Shaft drive
Suspension Front: 43 mm telescopic fork, preload adjustable
Rear: Pro-link with rebound and remote preload adjust, single-sided swingarm
Brakes Front: 320 mm dual disc, 6-piston, Combined ABS
Rear: 276 mm single disc, 2-piston, C-ABS
Tires Front: 120/70 ZR17
Rear: 190/55 ZR17
Rake, trail 25.5°, 101 mm (4.0 in)
Wheelbase 1,545 mm (60.8 in)
Dimensions L 2,250 mm (89 in)
W 755 mm (29.7 in)
H 1,220 mm (48 in)
Seat height 815 mm (32.1 in)
Weight 267 kg (589 lb) (wet)
Fuel capacity 18.5 l (4.1 imp gal; 4.9 US gal)
Oil capacity 4 l (4.2 US qt)
Fuel consumption 15.5 km/l (44 mpg-imp; 36 mpg-US)
Turning radius 3.5 m (11 ft)
Related Honda Crossrunner

The Honda VFR1200F is the 7th generation Honda sport touring motorcycle from the VF and VFR line motorcycles powered by a transverse mounted V4 engine. The VFR1200F replaces the previous VFR800 and has several new technologies including the first dual clutch transmission offered on a motorcycle.[2][3][4]

Development[edit]

Honda V4 Concept Model.

The first V4 concept bike was unveiled at the 2008 Intermot show in Cologne, Germany.[5][6] It had distinctive design elements that were to appear in the production VFR1200F, in particular the X shaped headlights. Leaks and spy photos of a new Honda appeared in various places including online and print news outlets.[7][8] Honda created teaser websites in Fall 2009, in which parts of the a new V4 were shown tantalizingly, and a countdown timer was displayed.[9][10] Eight years after the introduction of the previous 6th generation VFR800 Honda unveiled the production VFR1200F at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.[11]

Media related to Honda V4 Concept at Wikimedia Commons

Production[edit]

Honda VFR1200F engine with dual clutch transmission at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Production of the VFR1200F began in October 2009 and first models were delivered in early 2010.[4] The transverse-mounted V4 architecture is kept from previous VFR models though the engine and gearbox are completely new with displacement increased from 800 to 1200 cubic centimeters. A slightly de-tuned version of the engine, and the same gearbox, have been used on the VFR1200X Crosstourer, a dual-sport motorcycle launched in 2011.[12][13]

Design[edit]

The VFR1200F was primarily designed in Honda's Italian and German design studios under the supervision of Spanish designer Teofilo Plaza. The exterior features a variety of aerodynamic enhancements taken the Honda MotoGP bike including a dual layered fairing designed to pull heat away from the rider and an X shaped bulbous front nose to keep the vehicle stable at high speeds as well as increase turn in handling. While the new design was viewed with mixed to negative reactions by the general public and press, Plaza was supported by other designers who felt the VFR represented a new design trend where function is the primary design goal with aesthetics used to complement the aerodynamic profile of the motorcycle.[14]

Engine[edit]

The new engine incorporates the single overhead camshaft distribution system called Unicam which was tested on Honda's offroad machines. This compact system reduces engine size, allowing it to be placed further forward in the frame while lowering the bike's center of gravity. This allows for better front wheel traction when cornering. A 28° positioning of crank pins and a specific firing order of the cylinders resulted in an engine with perfect primary balance. Because of this, there is no balance shaft, further lightening the engine.[15]

Instead of conventional direct mechanical connection from the rider's twistgrip to the throttle, electronic throttle control ("throttle by wire") commands the engine control unit to modulate engine power output.

The configuration of the cylinders is also unique. The V4 has the rear bank of cylinders paired closely together, with the big ends of their connecting rods on the inner sides of the crank journals. The forward bank of cylinders is conversely set outboard of the rear bank, with the big end journals mounted on the outer sides of the crank journals. This design allows for a much narrower engine at the rear, which makes the bike slimmer where it contacts the rider, and allows an easier reach to the ground from the seat.

Transmission[edit]

The VFR1200F is available with either a conventional sequential manual transmission, or an automatic dual clutch transmission (DCT).[16] The DCT version, known in North America as the VFR1200A or in other markets as the VFR1200D, has dual clutches, one operating 1st, 3rd and 5th gears, the other operating 2nd, 4th and 6th gears. The dual clutches are able to switch quickly between gears and can operate in one of three modes: 'D', which is a fuel-efficient fully automatic mode; 'S', a sports automatic mode, which changes gear at higher engine speeds; and manual mode, in which the rider changes gear using paddles fitted to the handlebars. This gearbox is the first of its type fitted to a large capacity motorcycle, although dual clutch transmissions are already used in race cars and performance automobiles. The DCT gearbox retains characteristics of a conventional manual transmission like engine braking and clutch engagement as the internal components are very similar except the clutch operation is controlled by an electric motor and computer rather than the rider.[3]

Both models feature a slipper clutch to reduce wheel spin during hard engine braking and a shaft drive system to transmit power to the rear wheel. The shaft drive system is bolted to the frame on a swinging pivot mount. Engineers developed a two part shaft connected by a spline which allows system to flex under load mimicking the feel and performance benefits of a traditional chain drive.[14]

Brakes[edit]

The VFR1200F incorporates the C-ABS combined braking system sourced from the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR sport bikes. C-ABS distributes the braking forces completely electronically sending information from the brake lever into a separate braking computer before the system applies hydraulic pressure to the brakes. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) now as standard equipment rather than optional equipment as they were in the previous generation. Though the braking system is combined, to achieve maximum braking force the rider needs to actuate both front and rear brakes as the rear brake controls one of the six front pistons and the front brake controls one of the two rear pistons.[3]

Reception[edit]

Reactions to the production VFR1200 were mixed at its introduction. Some had expected a return of the VFR to its racing past because of a much more sport focused concept model along with V4 engine architecture sourced from the Honda RC212V MotoGP bike. Others noted Honda continued its tradition of using the VFR line to showcase new technologies: the previous VFR800 introduced Honda's VTEC to the worldwide market, and the new VFR1200 became the first production motorcycle to have a DCT automated manual transmission. Traction control was added to all 2012 models at no additional cost though it was not available on first year models.[17]

The reduction in fuel tank capacity from 22 L (4.8 imp gal; 5.8 US gal) on the previous VFR800 down to 18.5 L (4.1 imp gal; 4.9 US gal) on the VFR1200F has been the main complaint raised by motorcyclists, coupled with the new engine's higher-than-expected fuel consumption. On-road tests have shown a maximum distance from a single tank of less than 300 kilometres (186 mi),[18] with some press reviewers running out of fuel after just 240 kilometres (150 mi).[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New VFR promotion, Honda, retrieved 2009-10-08 
  2. ^ a b Hill, Geoff (10 January 2010), "Oh, You Are Such A Little Tease; The Honda VFR1200F is fast, sexy and smooth - but not as brilliant as promised", The Sunday Times (London, England): 8 
  3. ^ a b c Frank, Aaron (January 2010), "2010 Honda VFR1200F - Mr. Sophisticated Honda builds an automatic for the sportbike people", Motorcyclist (magazine) (Source Interlink Media), ISSN 0027-2205, retrieved 2010-01-30 
  4. ^ a b Conner, Blake (January 2010), "Honda VFR1200F; Transmission transition: the gearbox you didn't realize you needed", Cycle World (Newport Beach, California: Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.): 10–14, ISSN 0011-4286, retrieved 2010-01-31 
  5. ^ Honda V4 Concept Model Shown At Intermot Cologne
  6. ^ MCN News Desk (7 October 2008), "Honda launches V4 concept bike", Motorcycle News, retrieved 2010-01-31 
  7. ^ UK Exclusive: New Honda V4 spied in action, Motorcycle News (UK), June 24, 2009 
  8. ^ Spy Shot! 2010 Honda VFR1200 / Honda's all-new V-Four caught in the act, Cycle World, June 2009 
  9. ^ Honda promotional website: "Feel the V4"
  10. ^ Honda promotional website: New VFR (countdown clock prior to announcement)
  11. ^ Press release—"Honda Announces Overview of Display for the 41st Tokyo Motor Show 2009", Honda, September 30, 2009, retrieved 2009-10-06 
  12. ^ "Crosstourer". Honda / 2012. Honda. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  13. ^ http://www.hondamc2012.com/bikes/crosstourer/
  14. ^ a b Procter, Guy (6 January 2010). "Designers rally behind 'ugly' VFR1200". Motor Cycle News. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Cantin, Mark (19 October 2009). "2010 Honda VFR1200A First Ride". moto123.com Post. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Honda Announces the New Dual Clutch Transmission for Use in Large-displacement Sport Bikes
  17. ^ Booth, David (23 April 2012). "Road test: 2012 Honda VFR1200 Impressive beast can hold its own". National Post. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  18. ^ mcnews.com.au VFR1200 Around Australia Trip 2010
  19. ^ Ash, Kevin (14 January 2010). "Honda VFR1200F review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 

External links[edit]