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Honda VFR800RR Bioblade

Friday, April 9, 2010
Honda VFR800RR Bioblade
Ready or not world here comes a concept straight out of Belgium; a E85 bioethanol powered VFR800RR.
Belgium. The ‘land that God forgot’ is more famous for balding politicians and chocolates than inventions. Perhaps ‘Hercule Poirot’, the detective with the dodgy moustache and equally bizarre habit of stumbling upon random criminals isn’t the best example. But Belgians have been very successful inventors in the past, with the saxophone, the Big Bang Theory and asphalt just for starters. And last year, a couple of brave Belgians took a leap of faith to produce something else they believe the world wanted, the VFR800RR Bioblade.

Bikers world wide hadn’t been hoping, we had been expecting Honda to produce a V-Four-powered sports bike. Its stand at the Milan bike show in 2008 was adorned with V-Four signs, flanked by a spectacular collection of historic V-Four race bikes; the RC45, RC30 and NR750. Photographers were poised with their arms stretched skywards, lenses aimed over the heads of hundreds of waiting journalists. The focus of everyone’s attention was the veiled shape on stage and the promise of a new V-Four. But as the curtain dropped, so did our hopes for a V-Four powered sports bike. Honda’s new V-Four was a sport-tourer, the fresh for 2010 VFR1200F.

“If Honda won’t build it, we will”

Shortly after the Milan show, two Belgian bike journalists from Motorrijder magazine decided to build something special, the kind of motorcycle they believe Honda should consider developing in the future. Their limited experience of building such a bike was comical compared to that of the mighty Japanese manufacturer, but after 18 months of hard graft, which included using as many original Honda parts as possible, the VFR800RR Bioblade was finally finished,

Honda VFR800RR Bioblade
Starting with a crashed 1999 Honda VFR800, the Bioblade project morphed into its present form with parts from a CBR1000RR and aftermarket help from Akrapovic.
Think 800cc V-Four and you think MotoGP (for now at least). RossiHayden and Stoner all ride high-tech prototype machines that cannot be replicated for road use under the current official ruling. But what if there was a production spin off? A Honda sportsbike, powered by an 800cc V-Four, with a MotoGP replica paint job. Sounds interesting doesn’t it?

The Bioblade VFR800RR had three simple goals. It had to have the peak power of a modern 600cc bike and a wider power band overall, specifically with less fluff and more punch in the lower revs. It had to be visually stunning and capable of competing with the elegance of Aprilia’s RSV4R. And the bonus ball was an environmentally friendly one. The Bioblade had to run on biofuel and successfully compete in a three-hour endurance race before being converted from race bike trim to a completely road legal motorcycle.

I saw the crumpled heap of the crash-damaged 1999 Honda VFR800 and found it hard to visualise the promised end result. But the mangled wreck provided the frame and heart of the Bioblade, the V-Four engine. Next step was to buy another crash damaged bike, this time a 2005 Fireblade (the Fireblade being Honda’s name for the CBR1000RR here in the States – MCUSA ed). The superior forks, suspension and braking system replaced the VFR’s entire front end, while its fat and low rear unit was exchanged for the Fireblade’s trimmer tail with underseat exhaust.

Honda VFR800RR Bioblade
With some more adjustments to the tuning the Bioblade was capable of an impressive 134 hp. Not bad for a bike running on biofuels!
A custom made Akrapovic exhaust system, combined with flowing the ports and a sharper cam profile, enhanced the characteristic roar of the engine and released a respectable 125 hp at 10,000 rpm and 69 lb-ft of torque at 8250 rpm. Reprogramming the engine mapping and changing the end canister produced yet more punch, 134 hp at the back wheel. Not bad for a bunch of Belgians.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though, the first track test was hampered by a serious lack of ground clearance and with the exhaust pipes scrapping, Akrapovic revised their artwork to let the bike to achieve its full potential on track, second place in the second round of Belgium’s biggest endurance championship, the No Budget CUP.

The original VFR800’s bulky fairing was replaced with slimmer bodywork from a Honda SP1 and aftermarket Bimota DB7 clocks completed the stylish transformation. A professional paint job mirrored Honda’s celebratory limited-edition Fireblade, with the ‘HRC’ detailing (Honda Racing Corporation) subtly replaced with ‘MRC’ (MotorRijder Concept).

Then it went green. Bioethanol is fuel made from fermenting plants like sugar cane, fruit or even potatoes. The resulting (E85) mixture is 85% Ethanol and 15% petrol, the later is needed to start the engine from cold. According to BP’s estimates, 20% of all road transport fuel will be Biofuels by 2030. E85 costs roughly half the price of petrol, assuming of course that you can find somewhere to buy it. Admittedly, the Bioblade drinks 25% more E85 than conventional fuel, yet the bike still manages to squeeze over 140 miles from the VFR’s original 21-liter (5.5-gallon) tank, which was retained for practical reasons such as cost, and its ability to suck a magnetic tank bag in place.

Honda VFR800RR Bioblade
Honda Belgium called the VFR Bioblade project  "interesting", but will riders one day see a purpose-built VFR supersport anytime soon?
This bike was never intended to be an impractical show piece, but a real motorcycle for real bikers. The Belgian boys were hardly a match for Honda’s bank of technical experts though, so the 467-lb (fully-fuelled) Bioblade feels like a VFR with superior suspension rather than a featherweight supersports bike. The riding position is comfortable, especially on track and the stance is not dissimilar to a GSX-R750, but with more leg room. Road riding highlights the bike’s sportier focus and there is noticeable pressure on your wrists. A small price to pay for something so unique.

In all, the VFR800RR Bioblade is a brave attempt from these lads to literally ‘put their money where their mouth is.’ Rather than simply verbalize their disappointment, not necessarily in the introduction of the VFR 1200, but rather in the lack of a Honda V-Four sportbike, they developed the bike themselves, albeit on a budget and with limited resources. And for that, they can only be applauded.

So, will the VFR800RR Bioblade ever become a reality? Honda Belgium described it as ‘interesting’. I hope that’s not Belgian waffle! 
Honda VFR800RR Bioblade Gallery
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Honda VFR800RR Bioblade Specs
Honda VFR800RR Bioblade
Honda VFR800RR Bioblade
Engine:
781cc V-Four
Power:
125bhp @10,000 rpm
Torque:
69lb.ft @ 8,250 rpm
Transmission:
 6-speed
Fully Fuelled Weight:
 212kg (467lbs.)
Fuel Capacity:
 21 litres (5.5 gal)
Price:
£14,000 approx ($21,365)

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Comments
Tom -'99 owner  November 3, 2010 10:52 AM
Wow, as the owner of a '99 vfr this is what I've been hoping for from Honda also. I've said a thousand times, (to myself mostly) all I'd want is 20 more hp, 20 less pounds and updated suspension and I'd buy one. I'm sure the new 1200 is great, but I couldn't see myself riding one. Hats off to the Belgian boys, nice work.
taglicious -YES yes yes...  November 2, 2010 11:30 AM
I forgot this link was in my favorites and today was looking through here for somehting to catch my eye... I concur that this should've been the VFR unveiling that Honda set out to do... Is the marketing dept redfaced or are they looking into this as an up and comer? This should've been the one to bump up before the RSVR... Honda Honda Honda... TSK TSK.. KUDOS to the crew that made this happen like so many others that are reworking their own bikes...
Mattie O -VFR Owner  July 15, 2010 03:52 PM
I have a 1998 800 FI that I have done a fair amount to it - Harris rearsets, Helibars, Sargeant custom seat, but it is a 12 year-old bike and is starting to feel its age - especially suspension-wise. After I pay a grand for an Ohlins rear shock, and spend the bucks for Race Tech or Performance Works suspension improvements and other needed age-reduction mods I might be close to a Bioblade price point.

I think this a huge untapped market. Hell, they make crossover cars now in mass quantities - why can't they make a true crossover sport/touring bike? A 750-ish sized motor with COMFORTABLE ergonomics that has the fit and finish like the Bioblade.

I think a bike manufacturer would quickly have a line of people ready to plunk down deposits for it. Like most folks here I haven't gone out and gotten a newer VFR because it has continually lost that focus that made it such a winner in 98. I have had three V4 bikes now (85 VF500, 87 Sabre) so obviously I think this is the motor that is best in a bike. And Moto GP seems to thinks so too now as well.

Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha and ESPECIALLY HONDA - ARE YOU LISTENING??
shralper -Wake up Honda!  June 29, 2010 10:48 AM
This is the bike that i THOUGHT Honda would build as the 6th gen VFR. Instead, we got an overweight, underpowered, chain-driven cam'd, worthless-VTEC model. The sad thing is that it didn't even take much to tweak the 5th gen V4 motor to produce 134 hp/69 lbs torque at the rear wheel...on biofuel no less! Wake up Honda. Read these comments from your former loyal fans. Go back to your roots. Not all of us want or need a tiny track-focused 1000 or 600 super sportbike for our daily riding...nor do we want the new ugly gimmicky, expensive VFR 1200. Fortunately I recently found and bought a 2001 VFR in excellent condition...last year of the 5th gen. Just wish it had hp/torque numbers like the VFR800RR Bioblade.
Oscar -Ethanol not so hard, guy  May 17, 2010 02:04 PM
Ethanol is NOT corrosive. Perhaps you are thinking abot methanol. Methanol is the alcohol found in cristal cleaning products(you better don't drink it), ethanol is the regular alcohol found in whisky. Actually ethanol gives HIGH octane number to the fuel. It just is less energetic per pound, so you must increase injectors flow rate. You can get higher output from an engine switching to ethanol.
JIM -This is the VFR I was waiting for!  May 4, 2010 11:06 AM
I have been a Honda fan for 30 years, but in recent years it seem's to me Honda has lost touch with their core customers. I wish they didn't call that new 1200 thing a VFR.

The bike in the article looks awsome, good job Begium boys!!!


Shaitan -Sticking to the Big H  April 21, 2010 09:49 AM
Honda's direction lately has been totally off the mark of what I want in motorcycles. I've been waiting years for brand new VFR to slay all sport-tourers with it's V4 awesomeness -- like VFR's were in the 1990's -- but we just keep getting ugly experiments in bad design. Besides, I don't need a 1200cc BMW contender, I need what makes VFR's appealing... medium displacement sport-tourers that handle like proper sportbikes, but are comfy and accommodating for touring and commuting. A V4 750-800cc is hardly underpowered for most applications and I don't need speakers, a drink holder or room for my honey (she rides her own anyhow).
skidd66 -It would sit beside my vtx1800f  April 21, 2010 05:36 AM
Now that is a vfr I would like to own,I had a 2000 vfr and loved every minute of it but had to sell it. Then, wow a 1200 is going to be in production cool......well not so cool, what a ugly, techno pile of junk,Honda you totally screwed up the vfr, grow a brain. All I have owned are Hondas this may soon change. I agree with (les)Honda you SUCK. Mr. Honda must be rolling over in his grave.
les -nice  April 21, 2010 04:19 AM
I cried when they released the vfr1200. It should have been named the st1200. I waited and waited for a new vfr without all the extra 'junk' like v-tec and what we got was more extra 'junk'. Pretty much a 'super scooter'.

Honda just plain sucks now. This from a honda fan boy who has owned about 10 of them so far and no other brands.

They are too busy making crap like the Fury and losing in motoGP.

I think i'll get a nice triumph next.

bai nao honda.
Eggplant -Lets hear it for the boys  April 16, 2010 10:47 AM
Let's just say this one time,hooray for Belgium
Eggplant -Lets hear it for the boys  April 16, 2010 10:46 AM
Let's just say this one time,hooray for Belgium
Yakkis -Skip the ethanol  April 15, 2010 02:46 AM
I......LOVE......THAT.......BIKE . That's pretty much my dream set-up. 135 bhp and 70 lbs. of torque is cheaper to insure than a 1000cc and you don't have to rev it's nuts off to enjoy yourself such as on a 600cc. Not only would I agree that it should be produced, but I guarantee you that I would own one.............as long as it was less than 20,000 dollars and weighed a little less.
Tim B -Better Than ELECTRIC!!!  April 12, 2010 01:31 AM
This, in my opinion, is where companies should be spending their R&D dollars - on alternative fuels and not batteries. Give me an internal combustion engine over a boring electric motor anyday!
omalley -sign me up!  April 10, 2010 06:05 PM
the bio conversion is the icing on the cake. was seriously surprised when i read that. way to raise the bar.. Honda needs to pick ball back up and start producing street-going v4 superbikes again already! One that doesnt cost 20k either...
andy -nice!!  April 10, 2010 07:51 AM
Hey Honda...bring that on!! It would be a bit a change in the right direction..for a change!
Barry -The New VFR  April 9, 2010 10:03 PM
This is the direction that I was hoping Honda would take with the new VFR. Biofuel? Not necessarily. But using MotoGP technology to create a truely superior sportbike that is equally at home on the street as it is on the track. Instead the new VFR is much more an improvement over the ST1300 than it is an advancement of the 5th or 6th generation of the Interceptor.

The Belgians must be complimented on their enthusiasm and enginuity in developing the VFR800RR. I hope parent Honda takes notice and builds what so many of its customers want from the last remaining V4 sportbike.
Skeesm -Ref: Hutch's  April 9, 2010 01:11 PM
Nice short piece Hutch. Honda does make a bad-@ss VFR. It's called the RC211!
Hutch -The News  April 9, 2010 11:23 AM
BRKN - Not everyon eis in the VFR faithful category. We just posted the VFR1200 piece and thought it would be nice to offer a look at this bik ein an effort to show you, our loyal readers, something a little different. I'm not sure what news we've been 24hours behind on recently but we'll keep geting better, I promise. Now, back to the VFR: Except for the bio-fuel I like this bike too. Man, I wish Honda had mad a bad-ass VFR sportbike!
Bob -Outstanding  April 9, 2010 09:54 AM
If Honda made one of these, lightened up and refined a bit as they have the resources to do so, I'd be proud to have one in my garage.
Brian -The BioBlade Belongs in Nebraska  April 9, 2010 08:16 AM
As the second larges producer of ethanol in the country, the Bioblade belongs here! It would make a nice complement to the 5th Gen VFR I'm hope to bring into my garage this year. E85 is no problem around here!
BRKNtibia -More Old News  April 9, 2010 06:54 AM
I love M-USA and visit the site a couple times a day. Your reviews are both informative and entertaining. And the 'Superstore' offers prompt service and fair prices. But.... why are you guys always behind on the news? I'm used to M-USA reporting news a day after it happened but this is ridiculous. We VFR faithful read about and drooled over the bioblade months ago. News doesn't get much older than this. What's next, a report that some group called DMG is is taking over pro racing?
Guy -Bio Conversion  April 9, 2010 05:51 AM
There is not much difference between a bio-ethanol and petrol driven motor. Ethanol is harder on the fuel delivery system. Any components that have rubber need to be replaced, as ethanol will cause it to disintegrate. You also should try to keep the lines and such cooler, because it’s prone to vapor lock. Other than that, re-map the engine and your on your way.
Eric -Perfection  April 9, 2010 02:20 AM
What does a bioethanol conversion entail as far as parts and cost is concerned?
adam-motousa -this is what honda should make  April 9, 2010 12:10 AM
honda are you there?!