Honda Veteran Models - Still Kickin
We had a chance to ride a 2009 ST1300 on the streets of Florida and Georgia, and a 2009 VRF800 on the Roebling Roads track during the Honda Canada Press Launch in early March, and here are my thoughts on those mature models.
Riding a VFR800 on the track at these Honda events has become a yearly habit for me, as I particularly enjoy the 800's riding position and performance. The sheer joy of cornering the bike means that I continue to ride around until the Honda staff throws a net across the track to get me to come in.
The pleasure comes from many sources, such as no dirt on the track, no Buicks or cops, but also ergonomics that allow for enough room to stowe my belly while still leaning forward and sliding off the seat in corners, all without my knees starting to hurt after 10 laps. And it gets better, as the revs stay above the 6,500 level where the VTEC lets four valves do their good work in each cylinder.
The VFR is slated for replacement, or should I say has been for the last year or two according to press scuttlebutt, and I truly hope that Honda will not abandon the segment, but rather bring out a new model from the same mould: honest performance and handling, comfortable ergos, but also 25 kg lighter and with a happy 25 extra horses.
|2009 Honda VFR800|
Personally, I look forward to my VFR "track day" next year, new model or not!
Riding the 2009 ST1300 brought up a very different set of impressions. My personal 2004 ST1300 still turn me on every time I get on it to spend four or more hours touring. I love the easy power, the ideally placed controls, adjustable seat height, steady and competent handling, and gobs of storage space. After a mere 60,000 km (I get to ride all kinds of other bikes!), my bullet proof 1300 has performed beyond expectations.
So much for the bright side of things, as after riding nine different bikes in nine days in Florida, I was struck by the up-top weight of the ST1300 when running in traffic. That roomy and protective upper fairing work great, but it weighs a (relative) ton.
As with the VFR, the ST1300 has been replaced many times - by the rumour mill that is. In truth, it is slated for replacement in the near future. Mr. Honda, please make it lighter, more powerful, and keep that reliability thing going please, as the ST family must be the most reliable machines ever built, period!
I lightened my personal ride by adding a 1978 Yamaha SR500 to my stable for around town and light touring, keeping my ST for it's intended purpose - more serious touring and two-up riding.
See you at the track!Photo Credit : Honda