Honda VFR750F

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Honda VFR750F
Honda VFR750P.jpg
VFR750P police variant
Also calledInterceptor
PredecessorHonda VF750F
Engine750 cc (46 cu in) liquid-cooled DOHC V4 four-stroke, carburetted
BrakesFront: double disc
Rear: disc

The Honda VFR750F is a motorcycle produced by Honda from 1986 to 1997. Originally intended as a sports bike to compete with the Suzuki GSX-R750 and Yamaha FZ750 it was reassigned to a sports tourer with its replacement in racing by the Honda VFR750R followed by the introduction of the more rounded 1990 VFR750FL. It was fully faired and Honda claimed 104 hp (78 kW)[1][better source needed] from the liquid-cooled double overhead cam (DOHC) V4 four-stroke engine. All generations of VFR750F since 1990 had an Elf-designed pro-arm single-sided rear swingarm, and since 1986 had durable, gear-driven cams.[2]

The original VFR750F was first introduced to journalists after the 1985 Bol d'Or, and launched at Jerez, Spain. Introduced for 1986 as a complete redesign of the VF700/750F models in order to address some of the camshaft and bearing problems that had become associated with the first-generation Honda V4 engines, and to improve Honda's negative image concerning this engine. Compared to the VF750F, the new VFR750F had greater power output (104 hp up from 83 hp), lighter weight (claimed 20 kg),[3] a lower centre of gravity, a wider front tyre, a slightly shorter wheelbase (15mm) gear driven cams and six rather than five gears.

"Tariff beater"[clarification needed] 700 cc versions (VFR700F) of the first-generation bike were available alongside 750 cc versions in the US market, due to the tax laws in place at the time that penalised large-displacement imported motorcycles (in order to protect the troubled Harley Davidson Motor Company).

In the Japanese domestic market there were other VFR750F variants:

  • VFR750P - A police-specification model with its own distinctive model number (RC35) was restricted to 77 ps (75 hp)[citation needed] and fitted with a five-speed gearbox, modified main stand, gear indicator, uprated alternator, crash bars, higher handlebars, and modified speedometer. This bike was not offered for sale to the general public.[citation needed]
  • VFR750K - Not to be confused with the VFR750FK, this bikini faired training version of the VFR750F, again with its own distinctive model number (RC37), was restricted to 77 ps (75 hp).[citation needed] The oil cooler was removed and it was fitted with a modified main stand and gear indicator. This bike was offered for sale to the general public.[citation needed]

Race history[edit]

Although not designed as a race bike, in 1986 British racer Ron Haslam took a standard VFR750F to third place in a soaked Transatlantic Challenge race at Donington Park, UK.[4][better source needed]

A special VFR750F called the '6X', a 135 hp@13000RPM 188 mph full HRC prototype using RVF cycle parts and containing titanium valves, magnesium cases and flat-slide carburettors, weighing 165 kg (364 lb) (dry),[3] even less[peacock term] than the factory RVF that was first seen ridden by Wayne Gardner at a Suzuka test against TT F1 machinery.[clarification needed] Wayne broke his four-stroke lap record by 1.5 seconds.[3] Six examples of the '6X' were built, 4 for the Domestic Championships and two for the American Championships.[citation needed]

The VFR '6X' was raced at the Isle of Man TT by Geoff Johnson, coming in 2nd to Joey Dunlop in both the F1 and Senior TT.[5]

In the US Fred Merkel and Wayne Rainey contested the 1986 AMA Camel Pro Championship, which at the time had both Superbike and F1 races but only one championship, with the best finish of the day counting.[citation needed] Merkel just rode in the Superbike while Rainey did the F1 as well. Merkel won two races and Rainey seven, but the championship was won by Merkel by two points.[citation needed]

For 1987 Merkel's bike was passed to Bubba Shobert who took 3rd place in 1987, being beaten by Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz.[citation needed] The points he earned during the 1987 season gained him victory in the AMA Grand National.[citation needed] In 1988 Shobert won three of the seven races to win the AMA superbike championship.[6][7]

The engine developed in the 6X became the basis for the factory racer, the VFR750R. A race kit was available for the 1986-87 VFR from HRC for US$4,000, this including a titanium exhaust and was known as the VFR750RK.[8][better source needed]


The VFR750F models all used 748 cc 16-valve gear driven DOHC liquid-cooled 90° V4 engines with carburettor-based air/fuel induction; the bore × stroke remained the same for all 750 models at 70.0 mm × 48.6 mm (2.76 in × 1.91 in). The engine was made of cast aluminium alloy with the crankcase being divided horizontally, VFR750P and VFR750K models use slightly different crankcases with the lower casing being modified to allow for the gear position indicator in place of the neutral switch. On all the VFR750 models the gear drive for the cams was between the cylinders. Lubrication was via a wet sump with a chain-driven, dual-rotor oil pump; an oil (air) cooler was also fitted. The transmission was a 6-speed, with a constant-mesh, wet multi-plate clutch and chain drive to the rear wheel with the exception of the 5-speed VFR750P which had a spacer in place of one of the gears.[citation needed]

The VFR750F uses a 180° crankshaft, instead of the 360° crankshaft used in the VF and VFR750R.[citation needed]

In comparison to the VF750 almost every component had weight shaved off it, each connecting rod lost 90 g (3.2 oz), rocker arms 6 g (0.21 oz), intake valve 0.5 g (0.018 oz), exhaust valves 1.5 g (0.053 oz), pistons 20 g (0.71 oz), piston rings 1.3 g (0.046 oz) per set, valve springs 17 g (0.60 oz) each.[3]

The V4 engine has proven itself highly reliable,[opinion] with few known faults.[citation needed] The gear-driven camshaft system removed any lingering concerns about cam-chain maintenance, which had dogged the VF-series of Honda V4 engines.[citation needed] Valve adjustment on first-generation VFR750Fs was by screw and locknut, which changed in 1990 to shim-under-bucket, along with the valve-clearance inspection interval to 16,000 mi (26,000 km).[citation needed] However, RC36 engines have been known[by whom?] to reach well over 50,000 mi (80,000 km) without any need to adjust the valve clearances.[citation needed]


The 1986 VFR750F used what Honda call a diamond type frame, this is because the engine is "set" in the frame like a precious stone is set in jewellery. This design of frame is now referred to as a twin spar. The 1986 VFR750F frame uses the engine as a stressed member and has a cast aluminium headstock joined via 28 by 60 mm (1.1 by 2.4 in) extrusions to the rear castings.[citation needed] The downtubes are 30 by 40 mm (1.2 by 1.6 in).[citation needed] The VFR750F was the first of the 750 class to have an aluminium twin spar frame,[citation needed] weighing just[peacock term] 14 kg (31 lb) and the nearest thing on the road to the VFR,[opinion] the GSX-R also had an aluminium frame but it was of a conventional twin cradle design.[citation needed]


First-generation VFR750Fs sported anti-dive (adjustable on some models) on the damping-rod front 37 mm (1.5 in) Showa forks (uprated to 41 mm (1.6 in) for 1988) and a conventional, dual-sided aluminium swingarm with a centrally located Showa damping unit with remote hydraulic pre-load adjustment at the rear and a pro-link suspension linkage.[citation needed]

Second-generation models had non-adjustable 41 mm (1.6 in) cartridge-style Showa front forks, coupled with a remotely adjustable (for pre-load) emulsion-type Showa shock absorber and the trademark single-sided swing arm. Honda soon upgraded the VFR750F's suspension to include pre-load adjustment on the forks, and damping adjustment on the shock.[citation needed] The bike's distinctive swing arm,[opinion] derived from the Elf-designed race-bike Pro-Arm development work, has the advantage of allowing rear-wheel removal without the need to remove the drive chain or rear axle, and allows chain adjustment to be made very simply with no concerns of altering wheel alignment.[citation needed]

Third-generation VFR750Fs continued to use the same basic suspension components as the VFR750FN/P, though the single-sided swing arm was redesigned to reduce weight.[citation needed]


The VFR750F can be divided[by whom?] into three distinct generations, with significant revisions having taken place upon the introduction of the VFR750FL in 1990 and the VFR750FR in 1994.[citation needed] The VFR750F ceased production in 1997 with the introduction of the VFR800Fi, marketed in the US as the "Interceptor" and in the UK as the "VFR".[citation needed]

1986–1987 — VFR750FG/H (RC24)[edit]

New model based on a complete redesign of the VF750F, full fairing, alloy twin-spar frame, gear-driven camshafts, and 16 inch front and 18 inch rear wheels.[sentence fragment] The VFR750FG also had a cam sensor which was omitted from all later versions.[citation needed] US and Canada models had round gauges while all other models had square gauges.[citation needed]

1986–1987 — VFR700F / VFR700F2 (RC26)[edit]

The "Tarrif Beater"[opinion] 700cc VFR700F was almost identical to the 750cc version with minor changes to graphics (no 750 on the lower fairing), shorter stroke, different cams and ignition timing.[citation needed] The VFR700F2 was mechanically the same as the standard F but had an upgraded rear shock and fork internals alongside square gauges.[citation needed]

1986–1987 — VFR750RK (RC24)[edit]

Not to be confused with the VFR750R (RC30) the VFR750RK was the HRC race kitted version of the VFR750F. Designed for TT F1 and Endurance racing as well as AMA Superbike.[citation needed] The kit bumped the claimed power output from 105PS@10500 rpm to 125PS@12000 rpm[8][better source needed] due to engine changes including new titanium rods (steel for AMA), pistons (raising compression to 11:1) and cams with larger (optional titanium for the inlet) valves. A new ECU bumped the ignition advance by 5°. Depending on year either the original carbs were modified or a new set were offered as an option.[citation needed]

As well as the engine parts the kit options included a new radiator and optional secondary radiator, modified bodywork, wider wheels, new suspension (forks, shock and linkage) and the option for bars (replacing the clip-ons).[sentence fragment][citation needed]

1988–1989 — VFR750FJ/K (RC24)[edit]

Minor revision with fairing redesign from a two piece to three piece along with 2-position flip up screen, exhaust redesign, stronger fork legs (up to 41mm from 37mm) but retaining anti-dive on the left leg, a more reliable ignition system and 17 inch wheels front and rear.[sentence fragment] Larger engine valves for improved midrange along with larger carbs. Gear ratios remain the same but the gearbox shift mechanism was upgraded to the same as the VFR750R (RC30).[sentence fragment]

A clock and fuel gauge were added and the pillion footrest mounts were changed from being part of the rear subframe to bolt on cast aluminium assemblies. New larger frame castings reduced the amount of frame welding. New fairing side-panels allowed easier access to the engine, and the fairing cutaways for the rider's feet were much reduced in area. The change in wheel size allowed both a greater range of tyre options and a claimed improvement in handling. This model was not imported into the US.[citation needed]

1990–1993 — VFR750FL/M/N/P (RC36)[edit]

Major redesign with new frame and bodywork, cartridge forks, single-sided swingarm and wider wheels to accept more modern tyres, gain of some weight.[sentence fragment][citation needed]

1994–1997 — VFR750FR/S/T/V (RC36-2)[edit]

Redesign with new frame and bodywork.[sentence fragment][citation needed]

The bodywork revision evoked Honda NR design cues;[opinion] mechanically very similar to its predecessor, but dozens of minor and weight-saving changes made the bike lighter and more responsive to ride.[citation needed] Last of the VFR750F models before replacement by the VFR800Fi in 1998.[citation needed]


Model year 1986-87 1988-89 1990-93 1994-97
Models VFR750F-G ('86) VFR700F-G ('86) US Only

VFR700F2-G ('86) US Only

VFR750F-H ('87) VFR700F-H ('87) US Only

VFR700F-H ('87) US Only

VFR750F-J ('89) VFR750F-K ('89) VFR750F-L ('90) VFR750F-M ('91) VFR750F-N ('92) VFR750F-P ('93) VFR750F-R ('94) VFR750F-S ('95) VFR750F-T ('96) VFR750F-V ('94)
Model Number RC24 RC26 RC24 RC26 RC24 RC36
Engine Type liquid-cooled 4-stroke gear driven cam 16-valve DOHC 90° V4
Engine Capacity 748 cc (45.6 cu in) 698 cc (42.6 cu in) 748 cc (45.6 cu in) 698 cc (42.6 cu in) 748 cc (45.6 cu in)
Bore x stroke 70.0 mm × 48.6 mm (2.76 in × 1.91 in) 70.0 mm × 45.4 mm (2.76 in × 1.79 in) 70.0 mm × 48.6 mm (2.76 in × 1.91 in) 70.0 mm × 45.4 mm (2.76 in × 1.79 in) 70.0 mm × 48.6 mm (2.76 in × 1.91 in)
Crank angle 180°
Compression Ratio 10.5:1 11:1
Red Line 11500 rpm
Power (claimed) 104 hp (78 kW) @ 11,500 rpm[1][9] 104 hp (78 kW) @ 11,500 rpm[1][9] 100 hp (75 kW) @ 10,000 rpm[10]
Power (tested) 82.5 hp (61.5 kW) @ 10,500 rpm (rear wheel)[9]
Torque (claimed) 53.5 lb⋅ft (72.5 N⋅m) @ 8,000 rpm[10] 53.9 lb⋅ft (73.1 N⋅m)[10]
Torque (Tested)
Fuel system 34.5mm Keihin CV 36mm Keihin CV
Ignition system Transistorised with cam sensor Transistorised
Engine Weight (Dry) 77.3 kg (170 lb) 77.3 kg (170 lb) 77.3 kg (170 lb)
Frame Type Aluminium twin beam using engine as stressed member Twin Spar
Frame Weight 14 kg (31 lb)
Front suspension 37 mm (1.5 in) air assisted telescopic fork with TRAC anti-dive 41 mm (1.6 in) air assisted telescopic fork with TRAC anti-dive 41 mm (1.6 in) Showa Cartridge telescopic fork 41 mm (1.6 in) Showa Cartridge telescopic fork
Travel 140 mm (5.5 in)
Rake 27°40' 26°
Trail 108 mm (4.3 in) 100 mm (3.9 in)
Rear suspension Pro-link with remote hydraulic pre-load adjuster Pro-link with remote hydraulic pre-load adjuster Pro-Arm with Pro-link Pro-arm with Pro-link
Travel 105 mm (4.1 in) 105 mm (4.1 in) 130 mm (5.1 in) 130 mm (5.1 in)
Front brakes Twin 276mm discs with 2-piston sliding calipers Twin 296mm discs with 2-piston sliding calipers Twin 296mm discs with 2-piston sliding calipers Twin 296mm discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Rear brake Single 256mm disc with 2-piston sliding caliper
Front tyre 110/90 V16-250 or 110/90 V16 110/80 V17-250 120/70 VR17-V250 or 120/70 ZR17 120/70 ZR17
Rear tyre 130/80 V18-250 or 130/80 VB18 140/80 V17-250 170/60 VR17-V250 or 170/70 ZR17 170/60 ZR17

Length 2,175 mm (85.6 in)

Finland / Switzerland models 2,205 mm (86.8 in)
Australia models 2,120 mm (83 in)

2,180 mm (86 in) UK 2,100 mm (83 in)

US 2,125 mm (83.7 in)

Width 730 mm (29 in) 700 mm (28 in) 720 mm (28 in)
Height 1,170 mm (46 in) 1,185 mm (46.7 in)
Wheelbase 1,480 mm (58 in) 1,470 mm (58 in)
Ground Clearance 135 mm (5.3 in) 130 mm (5.1 in)
Seat Height 800 mm (31 in)
Dry Weight 198.1 kg (437 lb) (claimed)[1][better source needed]
Curb Weight (with oil and full tank)
Fuel Capacity 20 L (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 US gal) 19 L (4.2 imp gal; 5.0 US gal) 21 L (4.6 imp gal; 5.5 US gal)
Oil Capacity With filter 3.1 L (0.68 imp gal; 0.82 US gal)
Oil change only 3.1 L (0.68 imp gal; 0.82 US gal)
Engine Coolant Capacity 2.63 L (0.58 imp gal; 0.69 US gal)
Primary reduction 64/33 (1.9393)
1st gear 37/13 (2.8461)
2nd gear 33/16 (2.0625)
3rd gear 31/19 (1.6315)
4th gear 28/21 (1.3333)
5th gear 30/26 (1/1538)
6th gear 29/28 (1.0357)
Final reduction 45/16 (2.8125)
Final Drive #530 chain
Measured top speed 151 mph (243 km/h)[2] 152 mph (245 km/h)[10]
Standing 1/4 mile 10.95sec @ 113.95 mph[2] 11.6sec[10]
0-60 mph 2.4sec[2]
45-70 mph 4th 3.76sec[2]

5th 4.64sec[2]
6th 5.20sec[2]

Braking 60-0 mph 118 ft (36 m)[2]
Range 189 mi (304 km)[2]
mpg 45 mpg‑imp (6.3 L/100 km; 37 mpg‑US)[2]

Related models include the VFR400R (NC30), RVF400R (NC35), VF1000F/VF1000R (SC15/16/19/20), VFR750R (RC30), RVF750R (RC45), NR750 (RC40) and VFR800Fi (RC46).


  1. ^ a b c d "Honda Sales Brochure". Honda. 1986. Retrieved Feb 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cycle June 1986[page needed]
  3. ^ a b c d Honda's V-Force : the four-stroke V4s on road and track. Haynes Pub. ISBN 978-1859604212.
  4. ^ "1986 Transatlantic Challenge". Youtube. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Race Results - The official Isle of Man TT website". 2018. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  6. ^ "VSB ~ 1986 Honda VFR750". Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  7. ^ "Brian O'Shea: AMA Superbike Collector - Mr. Superbike Part II - Motorcyclist Magazine". Motorcyclist. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  8. ^ a b "VFR750RK Setup Manual". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Smith, Robert (July–August 2015). "Rapid Transit: The 1986 Honda VFR750F Interceptor". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e "HONDA VFR750 (1995-1998) Review". Motorcycle News. November 24, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2017.

External links[edit]