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Honda VFR750F Interceptor

There is no doubt about the fact that the VFR750F Interceptor was born out of chaos but somehow the bike managed to carve the path that cemented Honda as one of the most reliable and successful motorcycle builders of all time.

Without the VFR750F there would be no VFR750R RC30 /RC45 the World Superbike racing champions, nor would the VFR range of bikes have become iconic sports tourers in the years that followed.

However, let’s narrow our focus and stick to the bike that started it all, the VFR750F Interceptor that had a lifespan from 1986-1997

VFR750F History

In 1969 Soichiro Honda introduced the CB750, the number one contender for the title of the ‘World’s First Superbike‘.

However, in the years that followed in quick succession there were other contenders for the title and to stay ahead of the rest Honda knew they needed to keep improving on performance.

The plan? A range of bikes to be developed with a sporting V4 engine.

The first product of this new mission was the V45 Sabre Cruiser released in the US and this was followed by the VF750S.

These were powered by liquid cooled, over-square engines of 70mm x 43mm with a shaft drive. The engines were high revving and high performing.

In 1983 VF750F Interceptor was ready, a sportsbike that could be homologated for the AMA Superbike Class.

However, it wasn’t quite finished, not long after release dealers were receiving the bikes back with cam chain tensioners and excessive camshaft wear causing havoc, among other issues.

Honda needed to remedy the issues fast as their reliability reputation was going down the pan.

Fortunately, they didn’t have to do too much work, the FWS1000 racer and VF1000R already had their double overhead cams driven by gears rather than chains. All Honda therefore had to do was replicate this for their 750’s.

When the new bike was ready Honda ensured the press knew the engine had new cylinder head castings to provide better support of the camshaft.

In 1985 the VFR750F Interceptor was unveiled ready for the 1986 model year and rest as they say was history.

Honda VFR750F Review

Engine and Transmission

Honda needed to get the engine right for VFR750F so they didn’t repeat the disaster of the VF750. So, the trick was gear driven cams and new cylinder casings to ensure everything was stronger.

Furthermore, the VFR engine received a 180 degree crank instead of the 360 degree crank on the VF. It also had new valve timing, a much bigger airbox along with revised carburetion (36mm carbs instead of 34mm).

It was a powerful, sporty motor with a smooth power delivery that was great for riding on the street more so than the track. It weighed around 10% less than the VF engine and gained roughly an extra 22 horsepower.

The engine was mated to a six speed transmission, with the sixth gear being mainly an overdrive gear for high speed cruising.

Honda had got it right this time, they had built a powerful, reliable and overall excellent performing engine.

Chassis Handling Styling

Honda mounted the redesigned V4 into a twin spar aluminium frame that was super light and would suit both the sports rider and more casual street riders. It was rigid for precision steering and good handling.

The VFR was down a huge 44lbs from the VF and it also had a more compact chassis overall and slightly shorter wheelbase.

The front wheel was 16″ and the rear wheel 18″.

The Showa forks were air-assisted and the Pro-Link single rear shock wasn’t top shelf, but was pretty good, although only the preload was adjustable. Initially the bike was fitted with a twin sided swingarm but this was later changed to a single sided swingarm for the second generation.

In 1988 Europe received the VFR750R, the famous RC30 but this didn’t get released in the US until 3 years later. This was a faster, lighter, more aggressive, track performance focused sportsbike.

However, if riders wanted to up the ante with their VFR750F’s they could purchase a race kit which included titanium valves.

In terms of styling the VFR was more street focused than the previous VF which looked more race ready. The front fairing was sleek, slim and controlled, and the headlight big and square both of which looked more purposeful over stylish. Although, today I must admit that I am a big fan of this retro styling.

Depending on whether the bike was a European model or destined for the US the gauges would be either round or square in design. It was only on the second generation model that the bike received a fuel gauge, clock and later a gear indicator.

The riding position was sporty but comfortable, allowing you to have complete control of the bike and engage in spirited riding while remaining comfortable as you did so. With around 170 miles between needing to fill up too, the idea was you can ride as far as you wanted in a day without too much physical suffering.

Riding the VFR750F is a sports rider’s dream for the road, it has the performance and ground clearance for leaning over into the twisties but isn’t extreme ergonomically so it can be more than just a Sunday ride or track day bike.

VFR750F Specs list

Engine and Transmission

Chassis and Dimensions

How fast is a VFR750F?

The Honda VFR750F has a top speed of 147mph. It has 106 horsepower and 66Nm of torque.

Honda VFR750F Variants

There are three distinct generations of Honda VFR750F Interceptor, the original model, the 1990 model and the 1994 model.

1986 VFR750F (RC24)

Based around the earlier VF750 but with improved engine components and redesigned twin spar frame.

1990 VFR750F (RC36)

First major redesign took place including cartridge dampers now included in the forks, wider wheels, new frame and single-sided swingarm, the weight also increased by 17kg.

1994 VFR750F (RC36-2)

The basic layout of the model was retained and the RC36 designation but Honda reviewed and replaced around 200 parts on the bike for 1994.

This meant it had a new riding position, new brakes, new shocks, new tank, among other key components, in a bid to reduce weight Honda had saved 6kg.

1997 was the last year for the VFR750F and it was time for the VFR800FI to take over proceedings, a slightly bigger model with fuel injection.

Honda VFR750F For Sale

In the UK you can pick up a Honda VFR750F for between £2,500-£5,000. There is some variation in prices where you can end up paying slightly more or less depending on condition, age and mileage.

In the US you can find bikes such as the one pictured above for sale around the $5,000.

When shopping for an Interceptor you need to remember that they are sportsbikes and you should always check for signs of the bike having been dropped or in an accident. This is often evident by mis-matched bodywork and non-matching paint.

Restoration project?

Fortunately if you do opt to buy a bike that is in a bit of a state then it won’t cost you a fortune to get it back up to scratch.

Furthermore, fully restored models will allow you to put a higher asking price if you go on to sell it.

Parts are plentiful and easy to get a hold of at good prices, the only problematic parts you will have finding will be matching original bodywork panels. Although there are professionals that can replicate the originals very well.

Is the VFR750F a good investment?

The VFR750F is a bike that salvaged Honda’s pedigree as reliable performance motorcycles.

As a result it is a bike that many look on with great fondness. While prices are not as high as some motorcycle classics, they have remained steady.

Early models are more sought after and these are the ones you should go for as an investment, as they will likely continue to hold their value if not creep as they become more rare to get a hold of.

Verdict

Honda fixed their early mistakes with their first V4’s and came back swinging with the VFR750F. The Interceptor is a great bike that is just as good now as it was when it was released, and for me that is the best compliment you can give a motorcycle.

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