Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2009 Suzuki Hayabusa VFR Comparison

Monday, April 5, 2010
2010 Honda VFR1200F
The Hayabusa riding position commits to a forward-sloping, aggressive stance. The VFR position, while also pitching the rider forward somewhat, is more neutral and much more amenable to packing on the mileage.
RIDING POSITION
The Honda seat feels quite comfortable to our test rider’s sensibilities. The seat offers comfort, without feeling spongy. The reach to the bars is natural, though low placed. Again, the narrowness of the bike positions the legs close together, tucking easily under the scalloped fuel tank. Actually, it was quite relaxing to lean forward and rest our arms underneath the tank folds. In spite of a slight forward pitch, the riding position lends itself to long stints in the saddle.

“Similarly to current-generation CBR sportbikes the VFR features an exceptionally accommodating cockpit,” deems Adam. “It’s the perfect compromise between sport and comfort. If you’re decently in shape you can ride the VFR all-day with zero knee, wrist, or butt discomfort. It’s also nice how low the seat is and when you’re riding the bike you feel like you’re riding inside it which no doubt assists in its charismatic handling attributes.”

The Hayabusa doesn’t make any pretense for touring comfort and, like a true sportbike, it really isn’t designed for long stints in the saddle. (Ten hours aboard the Hayabusa, if you’re driving at the Autobahn pace it demands, would get you about 1200 miles down the road!) The riding position refuses to compromise with its sporting intentions, the rider leaning forward over the tank with low bars and high footpegs. Adam describes the Busa seat as “awesome”, which is a generous opinion I do not personally share. Better perhaps than most sportbike perches, the Suzuki seat is not amenable to high-mileage routes.

2010 Kawasaki Concours 14
There's no mistaking the purpose of the Kawasaki Concours 14, with its upright position, cush seat and high bars begging for long-distance jaunts.
The Kawasaki, by comparison, feels like a veritable Barcalounger. An upright, neutral riding position, with high-placed bars and a spacious, cush seat – the Connie delivers the softest perch, both literal and figurative. We normally pit the Connie against likeminded Sport-Tourers, where it feels big, but not out of place. In this comparo, however, the Kawasaki’s immense size and comfort had us thinking Gold Wing before some of its closer (on paper at least) competitors like the FJR or BMW K1300GT.

TOURING
All this talk gets us to the question of touring. Our comparison test ride, which ran from Irvine, California, to Tucson, Arizona, and back, gave us plenty of miles to determine these machine’s touring credentials.

The VFR lacks the creature comforts to make it a true touring mount, at least in the conventional sense. The switchgear, with its irritating horn placement, doesn’t deliver all the doo-dads expected from a tourer. Most notable, there’s no adjustment button for the windscreen, because the screen is stationary (though Honda offers an optional $250 windscreen deflector, placed over the stock screen and offering three settings). That said, the VFR delivers substantial rider protection via the screen and fairing, its aerodynamics cutting through the air with minimal fuss (Honda touts GP development for the bodywork and screen’s “air management”).
2010 Honda VFR1200F
The VFR offers a more casual riding position than the Hayabusa, but if a rider chooses they can tuck in and exploit the V-Four's potential behind excellent wind protection of the non-adjustable screen and a cozy, comfortable saddle.

The VFR’s sleek aerodynamic shape contrasts the Concours, its bulkier profile bullying through the air and battered around by strong wind gusts. We weren’t enamored with the Connie’s windscreen either, our taller riders finding the buffeting worse than the more direct exposure on the VFR and even the Busa – the Suzuki delivering a lot more wind protection than expected. That said, the Concours sets the standard for this comparison in touring amenities. The 2010 version we tested answers some of the short-comings of its predecessor, with heated grips standard and an info trigger at the left switchgear. It also sports roomy, easy-to-operate integrated bags.

As for luggage, the optional bags for the VFR were unavailable for our test, though we’d love to try the purpose-built integrated luggage at a future date. We did toss on an aftermarket tailbag for our route and, combined with relaxed ergos, comfortable seat and ample wind protection, the VFR tackled long-distance touring with great success. Ample options from Honda only aid the VFR’s touring creds, like the saddlebags ($1400) and rear top case (no price listed yet), as well as the extras like heated grips ($350), 12V socket ($100) and centerstand ($250).

As for the Hayabusa, its touring competence left us perplexed (see sidebar). We’ve put the kibosh on adding the Hayabusa to previous sport-touring tests thinking it pure insanity, but the Suzuki on tour wasn’t the sadistic riding experience we’d always imagined. Turns out the idea of riding a Hayabusa 100 miles on superslab was much worse than the reality – it was far from unbearable. Another surprise was the aftermarket Cortech saddlebags, which hung snuggly off the bulbous tailpiece and under the distinctive rear hump and turned the Suzuki into a decent gear mule.

RANGE
There’s one touring area, however, where all the rides in our test fall short – range. It’s no surprise the Kawasaki gets furthest on a single tank, but it’s a piddly 204.5 miles by our observed fuel efficiency. All our test rides quaffed down the premium fuel with relish, the Kawasaki netting 35.3 mpg, Honda 35.6 and Suzuki 36.8. Range for the Busa works out to 193 miles from its 5.25-gallon tank, while the Honda claims an even more meager range, just 174 miles from its 4.9 gallon reserve – perhaps its biggest touring shortcoming.

Of course, fuel efficiency is hard to come by from the throttle hands of our testing crew. But we doubt any save for the most demure riders would be capable of doing otherwise! A side note about fuel efficiency: the much-hyped ECO mode on the Kawasaki, which switches to a leaner fuel map to extend the Connie’s range, another common complaint of the ’09 bike, yielded less than impressive results. We used the ECO feature almost the entire 1400 miles of our trip, and while gas mileage did indeed improve - it was a scant 0.5 mpg more than the 34.8mpg observed during our 2009 Sport-Touring Comparison.
2010 Honda VFR1200F
A looker? Depends on the viewer's tastes, with the Honda VFR a bird of a different feather.

STYLE
When it gets down to evaluating looks, the VFR garnered its fair share of detractors. The word "Shamu" got tossed around in the press, but that’s quite subjective. The VFR’s fit and finish well serve the Honda name, and we found the metal flake red paint particularly fetching. Naysayers to the contrary, the VFR’s lines look fine enough to us, with the Vee motif of the front headlight extending into the instrumentation. The new VFR takes a lot of cues from that original concept we first saw two years ago.

The Hayabusa’s style reaches beyond direct criticism at this point, with its curves and signature look having achieved iconic status. As for the Kawasaki, it remains one of the sharper looking sport-touring mounts on the market, at least by our measure.

As far as value goes, Honda presents the most expensive bike in this comparison – the stock VFR ringing in at $15,999. Start adding on the touring extras and the cost climbs, adding all the current extras and the VFR crests $20K. The Kawasaki slots in second at $15,299 for the ABS version we sampled, but comes loaded with standard extras like heated grips and its KTRC traction control system (see sidebar) - a fantastic value for ST riders. Then there’s the
2009 Suzuki Hayabusa
Brutal strength on public roadways, the Suzuki Hayabusa remains a visceral treat every time we get at its controls.
Hayabusa, which delivers one of the greatest values in terms of adrenaline-per-dollar at $13,199. The caveat here being a rider will need to save that extra dough for tickets, court fees and insurance premiums – if you even manage to hang onto your license at all… 

CONCLUSION
This test is a comparison, not a shootout, the three rides too dissimilar for a head-to-head. The test did serve to amplify the differences of the three rides.

The Busa is all about raw, unrestrained sportbike passion. Not dumbed down for the general public, the Hayabusa makes no apologies, its credo ‘buy the ticket, take the ride’. Even after 10 years on the road, it still shocks us every time we encounter it with its brutal performance. One day, preferably in the distant future, people will look back at the Hayabusa era and wonder how for more than a decade Americans were able to ride them legally on public roads.

The Kawasaki sits on the touring end of the spectrum. In its own class, the power from his ZX-14-derrived engine is almost as shocking as the Hayabusa. Riders need only blip the throttle to get a jolt of the Concours' potency. Improved this year, the new Connie enters the riding season a dark horse contender in our 2010 Sport-Touring Shootout.

2010 Honda VFR1200F
The VFR1200F proves a pleasing blend of performance and comfort - a versatile ride for the rider looking for something different.
That leaves us with the VFR. Here we are, 1400 miles and many days of contemplation later, and still it avoids easy categorization. There’s something satisfying when all the OEMs agree on the displacement ground rules and say, let’s see who can make the best Superbike, or 600 Supersport, or 450 motocross bike. And while Honda plays that game too, at a very high level we might add, it also creates and supports bike lines that defy convention. The luxo-touring Gold Wing comes to mind, as well as the previous VFR Interceptor. This current VFR is no different.

Pressing Honda’s media reps with the question of whether it views the VFR1200F as a tourer or sportbike, the response was Honda already has a sport-touring motorcycle – the ST1300. Instead, they gave us a term, used often in Europe, to describe the VFR – a Road Sport.

We’ll buy that. Where the Hayabusa screams tattoos and standup wheelies on the freeway, the VFR passes itself off as more the gentleman’s sportbike. Think sporting performance tempered with road-going comfort – comfort that lends itself quite well to touring…

So, here we are again: is the VFR a sportbike or a touring bike?

Yes, it is.

  Honda VFR1200F Kawasaki Concours Suzuki Hayabusa 
Engine  V-Four76-degree Inline Four Inline Four
Bore x Stroke  81 x 60mm     84 x 61mm 81 x 65mm
Displacement  1237cc 1352cc 1340cc
Compression Ratio  12.0:1  10.7:1  12.5:1 
Valvetrain SOHC, 4-alve DOHC, 4-vavle DOHC, 4-valve
Transmission  6-speed  6-speed 6-speed
Final Drive  Shaft  Shaft  Chain 
Front Suspension Showa 43mm fork, preload, 4.7 in 43mm fork, preload, rebound 4.4 in Showa fully adjustable fork
Rear Suspension Showa preload, rebound, 5.1 in preload, rebound 5.4 in Showa fully adjustable
Front Brakes 320mm 6-piston Nissin calipers ABS 310mm 4-piston Nissin calipers ABS 310mm 4-piston Tokico calipers
Rear Brakes 276mm two-piston calipers 270mm two-piston calipers 260mm dual-piston calipers
Front Tires 120/70 - ZR 17 Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart 120/70 - ZR 17 Bridgestone BT021U 120/70 - ZR 17 Bridgestone BT-015
Rear Tires 190/55 - ZR 17 Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart 190/50 - ZR 17 Bridgestone BT021U 190/50 - ZR 17 Bridgestone BT-015
Wheelbase 60.8 in 59.8 in 58.26 in
Rake 25 30' 26.1 23
Trail 4 in 4.4 in 3.8 in
Seat Height 32.1 in 32.1 in 31.7 in
Fuel Capacity 4.9 gal 5.8 gal 5.25 gal
Fuel Economy 35.6 mpg 35.3 mpg 36.8 mph
Range 175 miles 205 miles 193 miles
Curb Weight 592 690 579
Dry Weight 562.5 655 547.5
MSRP $15,999 $15,299 $13,199

Videos Our Sponsor
2010 Honda VFR1200F Comparison
Click to view video
Suzuki Hayabusa VFR Comparo Photos
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
Suzuki Tour-Bus-A
2009 Suzuki Hayabusa
The biggest surprise of our comparison, at least in my mind, was how badly the Hayabusa didn’t suck as a long-distance mount. The notion of 1400 miles aboard the Busa seemed like a torture that would make a Spanish Inquisitior sneer with approval. However, the experience was far more palatable than expected. Was it the bike everyone wanted on the thankfully sparse freeway portions of our route? Absolutely not. The forward-leaning riding position was strenuous, but far from tortuous. Our biggest gripe are the high-ish footpegs, and low bar placement.

As for wind protection, the Hayabusa’s bulbous fairing does an admirable job and the windscreen does far more than we expected. Oddly enough, we felt less buffeting on the Busa when crosswinds picked up than the Concours, which shields riders, but seems to catch every sidelong gust like a sailboat in a hurricane.

We’ve oft-wondered why Suzuki hasn’t gone the Kawasaki route and spun off a Sport-Touring mount utilizing the Busa powerplant – a la the Concours 14. All Suzuki needs really is to add a taller handlebar and lower pegs, maybe fab up some optional hard bags that incorporate the Busa’s lines. Though as my colleague Adam astutely points out, Suzuki brass would be wise to restyle the new machine and give it a new name as not to ruin the iconic status of the Hayabusa.

Suzuki, if you're reading this, let’s not dismiss out of hand the awesome Tour-bus-a as the flagship name… My royalty fee will be quite small!

- Bart
The Honda and Suzuki both sources aftermarket luggage from Cortech.
Needing extra luggage on short notice, the good folks at Cortech pitched in with their Sport Saddlebags and Sport Tailbag. The Cortech gear greatly supplemented our carrying capacity for a four-day trek. So much so we didn’t have any need to tag along the Cortech 21-liter magnetic tank bag. Combined with the Kawasaki’s Concours integrated luggage, we had plenty of room for our gear. And we carry a lot of gear, with multiple cameras, lenses, laptops, extra shields.

The Cortech Sport saddlebags were intuitive to set up and provide ample room for storage, including expansion zippers to add larger items. Fixing the Sport Saddlebags to the Hayabusa took only a couple minutes, fine-tuning the fit with the easy-to-manipulate velrco adjusters. Once fitted, we didn’t need adjustment for the remainder of the journey. Quick release tabs allowed us to pop open the Hayabusa’s distinctive rear bump (under which the Cortech bag straps would rest) pick up the bags and walk inside our lodging for the evening. Reversing the trick made putting the bags back on just as easy and hassle free.

The Cortech Sport Tailbag was even easier to affix to the Honda VFR1200F. All it took was four mounting points for the built in bungees. The Tailbag offers quick connectors to the Sport Saddlebags, which we didn’t make use of, but would have further secured the bag. As it stood, the quick bungee was simple, fast and effective. The tailbag was roomy enough to secure a laptop with plenty of room to spare, making it a convenient, easy-to-remove piece of luggage for commuters and travelers alike.

Login or sign up to comment.

Comments
Obie01 -john  August 13, 2010 03:35 AM
I look at all these bikes I had to go with the Hayabusa somehow, I find it real nice to ride refined it has its own style and it behaves like a sport bike and with a more relaxed ride position.
It has good Seating for 2 up riding and it will offer all round feel for the road and has its own character hopefully Suzuki will continue in the development of the hayabusa and make the next model even more refined
The Gen III

hmmm -r wonderful  July 28, 2010 01:15 PM
am i alone in thinking the 'busa about the ugliest cyclops of a bike ever made?
JimBobWay -I get the comparo now  July 25, 2010 10:23 AM
At first I thought this was a stupid comparison, but I got it after reading on. I have been riding a cruiser for over 2 years and am getting the itch for something different. The criteria are: good torque and sufficient HP, good handling for curvy roads, nimble for commuting, comfortable and accomodating for occasional 8-10 hour/day touring trips, upright riding posiiton, out the door for under $12k. I don't think I am the only one in this boat and the choices get confusing for a person who can only afford one bike at a time. I think this comparo represents the tortured choice that a lot of guys like me have to make. Every bike has areas where they excel, but others where they fall short. The Busa and the Connie are at opposite ends of the spectrum but the VFR is not really in the middle. With its price tag, short range, and middle-of-the-road riding position, I think it will primarily be a commuting and weekend twisty-riding toy for people with considerable amounts of discretionary spending. I doubt they will sell a ton of them. If price was not a barrier for me, then I would probably buy a Connie AND a Z1000.
Robert Arthur -Honda misses their market again  June 3, 2010 12:55 AM
Why do why only get harley copies and beginner bikes from Honda here in the USA? This bike, along with the dn-01 proves that Honda has no idea what the US consumer wants. A hint; the generation that rode kz1000's and cb750f supersports are now the guys with the money; and we're screaming for the cb1100f. We are being ignored however. Give me an air cooled, inline 4 ,100hp,sit up straight like a human being, easily maintenanced, UJM, under 10 grand and I will show up with cash at Dreyer Rhinebolt tommorow..
Terry Davison -Well worth the wait!  May 11, 2010 07:51 AM
I just sold my BMW R1200 GS and bought the new generation VFR. This bike is so impressive! My only complaint is the small fuel tank, and I cannot get the factory hard bags until August.
Pedro Gordo -Nice job Motorcycle USA  April 23, 2010 07:21 AM
I've a GTR 1400'09 and was waiting something like this comparo. Of course we all know that a GTR is diferent (far better... ;o) from the hayabusa, but the VFR tryes to mix them. That was the chalenge! I just like to say that the GTR 1400 is a fantastic bike. In the real world, you don't need more power or handling. In my opinion, the GTR is currently the best offer in the market, for those who want a confortable and sportive bike. A Hayabusa with confort, no doubt! Regards.
Deflated -VFR1200F Test Ride  April 11, 2010 08:23 PM
I had a test ride on the new VFR1200 on Saturday 9th and was very impressed, currently having a 98 VFR800 I was concerned about the size of the new beast.
Standing back it looks bigger and very similar to the BMW, looks good and sleek. once I got on it it felt very comfortable and easy to handle not heavy at all, and the power was fantastic to control and put the smile on the dile, it didn't rip the grips out of my hands but the grunt from 3500 rpm was great but wait there's more when it got to 6000 rpm it felt like the after burners engaged but it was all controlable.
The breaks were fantastic when you heaved them on it stopped on a pin head but if you just put your foot on the rear break there wasn't enough stopping to feel effectiveness on its own Front 90% Tops, rear 10-20% OK but not stunniing.
Cornering and weaving left to right was very easy and you felt quite comfortable in the seat with no sence of an over bearing bike, The shaft drive was outstanding no noise or that delay from chain slop, I was looking for a New bike Just because I wanted a New shiney one but on reflection $26,000 Drive away was two much for me to cope with
I can buy a Triumph Sprint ST with panners for $16320 ride away
Hope this helps Guys, Me I'm still thinkin about it.
benroe -vfr  April 8, 2010 11:32 PM
honda needs to do alot of demo days touring the country with this bike so it will get in the hands of the people and possibly gain some converts. I love the idea of this bike, but then again, I love the SprintST too..This bike is def. a contender with the Sprint and one of beemers K bikes. They are all aimed at the same customer. It was a good test..
Frak! -re: Eric - 2 Up?  April 8, 2010 10:33 AM
I dont recall reading anything about that in the article, but I spent alot of time on one of the new VFR's at the Cleveland Motorcycle Show, & of course, part of that is getting my GF's pieces parts in place, so I can gather her opinion. Frankly, she wasnt overly happy on back of one, & flat out TOLD me, she wants me to get an FJR.
Baily -Gunther  April 7, 2010 06:47 PM
The new vfr does what the old one did:” This is true and the VFR800 sold about as well as five day old bread. This is my whole point that the VFR1200 like it’s ancestor the VFR800 and bikes like the 1100XX sold poorly because there aren’t enough, key word enough not none, riders who fit “but this really is a concept a lot of bikers are looking for”. If this concept is what riders are looking for then other bikes similar to the VFR1200 would have sold well but they didn’t and won’t at least not in this country. “For a lot of bikers it probably hasn't sunk in that they are not valentino rossi, and that riding a GSXR1000 on the streets is just overkill,” In some cases this is correct but making a bike like the VFR1200 will not change those riders personal image and wants. If those riders want a GSXR1000 they will buy a GSXR1000 regardless if the VFR1200 exists. The reality is the VFR1200 is overkill 144 rwhp!! Remember the last generation of the Kawasaki ZX-9R? It was a great bike but did not sell well and was replaced by something much more sport orientated. Or how about he Suzuki RF900, same thing decent bike did not sell well. The one year only, in USA (1997) YZF1000R, good bike poor seller. For what ever reason if the bike is not a full on race replica or a very capable sport tourer the sales numbers are low. To me it is a shame because some really good bikes get the ax because of this reason. It seems like to me that the only time manufacturers can somewhat successfully sell “tweener” bikes is when they are inexpensive like Kawasaki’s 650R, Suzuki Katana, etc. If there was a profitable market for bikes like the VFR1200 and others like it, the market would have been exploited years ago. I am not saying the VFR1200 will be Honda’s “B-King” but it will languish just like other bikes before it.
john -i like it.  April 7, 2010 01:05 AM
That VFR is growing on me more and more. I'd like to see what it looks like with the optional bags on. Agree with others the BMW K sport would have been more applicable in the comparo wit its shaft drive, kinder ergos and technical doo dads. Or maybe compare it to the new multisrada or the yamaha 2010 tenere.
Gunther -Good move by honda  April 6, 2010 11:56 PM
I don't understand what a lot of these comments are about. The new vfr does what the old one did: it's a sportbike you can tour on. Or a tourbike you can ride sporty with. For a lot of bikers it probably hasn't sunk in that they are not valentino rossi, and that riding a GSXR1000 on the streets is just overkill, but this really is a concept a lot of bikers are looking for. Comfort to go somewhere and then the sporting abilities to have some fun when you get to your destination.
If you make short weekend ride outs to your local twisties, this is not your bike. If you want a tuddle along the coast for a few weeks with a shedload of gear and the wife, this is not your bike either. If you use your bike for long trips and/or work and also want to have some fun when the road is clear and twisty, this just might be it.

I think it's a good review that puts things in perspective. Too bad there was no two up comparison, and a few rounds around a track might have given a good insight as well.

Now all I have to hope for is they make it cheaper and less ugly :)
TG -Bailey - nicely put  April 6, 2010 12:53 PM
This does seem to be yet another example of Honda's over-engineering for the sake of saying "we made it." At $15,999, if I wanted a v-4 sportbike, I could get an Aprilia. For about that, I could get another automatic sport tourer with more power and bags (FJR13 Auto). No one even knows the VFR1200 DCT cost yet, most likely because it will be insane. It seems Honda is rsting on their laurels believing people will buy their products because "it's a Honda." Sadly, I think they are mistaken.
Baily -Honda  April 6, 2010 12:25 PM
The 1100XX was not a huge success because it was too sporty for touring and it was to “unsporty” for sport ridding. In Europe bikes like the 1100XX are categorized as “grand sports”, GS. Bikes like that do okay in other markets but do not do well in the U.S. A motorcycle does not need to fit a particular category but motorcycle shoppers shop for bikes in certain categories. These categories sometimes help us determine what we want, how much we should pay, what its competition is, compare for price/value and of course label ourselves and other riders. Food is categorized, music, cars, race, income, jobs, almost anything is categorized…this web site has all the different categories of bikes neatly separated. All this did not happen by chance. Honda knows better but are just plain stubborn. I guess if you are the worlds largest moto manufacturer you can entertain yourself with pet projects like the VFR1200, Big Ruckus 250, Rune, DN-01, NR 750, Hondamatic (H2). I guess it must get boring always building bikes that riders want so now and then Honda builds what they want to build; regardless if the bike is going to be a failure or success whether it fills a need or answers a question…Honda is just going to build it anyways. Sometimes Honda does build a sensible, likeable and needed bike like the NT700 but then Honda puts their premium tax on the bike and charges about $2K too much. Luckily for us, other people make motorcycles thus leaving us with choice.
Eric -2 Up?  April 6, 2010 11:16 AM
Was there any 2 up testing? I believe that is more normal test for the sport touring segment. I agree with deflated as this bike seeming like a close competitor to the Sprint St...
MCUSA -HP Chart  April 6, 2010 09:40 AM
Stew, we charted the Hayabusa's horsepower curve incorrectly. Corrected hp chart now inserted.
Mark -So, here we are again: is the VFR a sportbike or a touring bike?  April 6, 2010 08:41 AM
To anwser your question. NO. It is a compromise. A major disappointment! As a former VFR and XX owner, the new VFR1200 misses the boat. It is yet another Honda that leaves me wanting and wondering what could have been. Honda lost me about 5 years back and has no chance of getting me back with this bike.
Kevin -Some of you are missing the point of this review  April 6, 2010 06:58 AM
It wasn't about a sport tourer comparison. It was about findig out what category to VFR fits. Is is a big power sport bike, aka Hayabusa. Or is it a sport tourer, aka Concours.
Stew -Torque Chart is mislabled  April 6, 2010 04:38 AM
If your horsepower chart is correct in that the C-14 dominates the other 2 bikes below 7000 rpm then mathematically speaking it should also dominate on the Torque chart. I believe that you have miscolored your torque chart. The strongest torque curve on your chart should have been colored green for the C-14.
tik -Kawasaki  April 5, 2010 11:45 PM
I've ride Kawasaki GTR 1400 before,It's really comfortable for a long distance travel,where as Hayabusa makes my back feel pain after a long day ride.
Aureldeen -Lousy comparo  April 5, 2010 08:47 PM
Why compare apples to oranges? You essentially just wrote a review for 3 different bikes and hodgepodged it all togeher. If I was a buyer looking at the VFR1200, then an ideal comparo would consist of the BMW K1300S, ZX-14, and the VFR1200. Now THAT would be a comparo worth reading. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the VFR falls in the middle ground of the three bikes you're comparing, and I certainly don't need a huge comparo like this to explain the difference. I want to know how the VFR stacks up against it's direct competition.
Deflated -New Honda VFR1200  April 5, 2010 08:30 PM
I have a VFR800 1998 model and I was going to buy a 1200 but it seem a little over priced, still waiting for the thing to show and to big for my liking so I am looking at a Trimph Sprint ST for a lot less and more within my size range of bikes
tik -hayabusa  April 5, 2010 08:05 PM
I think the Kawasaki GTR 1400 are the most suitable for touring,VFR and Hayabusa is more to sportsbike.
Andrew -in response to Steve....  April 5, 2010 05:09 PM
While the Busa has what it takes to get through the quarter mile in less time. Suzuki does not offer this with ABS.I don't see the Busa as the ultimate "sport touring" bike. Just a thought.
Steve -Categories  April 5, 2010 04:52 PM
People put too much emphasis on what category a bike fits into. Today's sport-touring bikes are better than supersport bikes were 10 or 15 years ago. All of these bikes are excellent, but my money would would be on the Busa. It is nearly 2 grand less MSRP, it's the only bike in this test you are likely to find in dealers cheaper than MSRP, and with the extra money you can make it into whatever you want. Add bags and tall clip ons and you have the best "sport touring" motorcycle around. Make it lighter and add sticky tires and you get an excellent big bore sports bike.
Andrew -Finally a smart topic about the VFR, Concours and Hayabusa  April 5, 2010 04:46 PM
While reading this article it occurred to me that finally I can read an article that was not driven by pre HP/torque rating. For new riders coming into the market magazines focus on raw power and quarter mile data to satisfy their ego. When motorcycling was new it was about the fun of the ride. I have made my mistakes on a few purchases by relying on magazine data in the past. So after reading this article it was a breathe of fresh air to hear about comfort and all day riding and not how quick can you get to the next stop light. When I look at cycle trader it seems that the race replicas are most available for sale. Certainly when safety and comfort should be at the forefront you only have 2 options. The VFR 1200 or the Concours.
Jim -But....  April 5, 2010 03:47 PM
The real question isn't "is the VFR a sportbike or a touring bike?" it's "Will anyone buy it?" My prediction is No. There are many more compelling choices out there for less or the same $$.
Morvegil -Sprint  April 5, 2010 02:58 PM
Id get a sprint st for that price
Superlight -VFR  April 5, 2010 02:52 PM
On the one hand the new VFR is pretty impressive, but if buyers can't define it, or, worse yet, don't see a fit as a tourer or sportbike, its fate is sealed. An expensive experiment from Honda.
Max -Where is the FJ1300?  April 5, 2010 02:23 PM
What you did not compare it to one of the most versitile sport tourer's out there, the FJ1300? What a sham... You can't beat a shaft drive, optional automatic, and abs brakes etc.. etc.. with the FJ. Come on guys


curley -s hhhhaakyyy sundiego  April 5, 2010 12:56 PM
What no K series from Bavaria to compare it too? - BMW builds a 1000cc sport bike,to compete with the rising sun, then Honda builds a sport touring GT (VFR1200F)to compete with the beemer K series GT...come on guys close, but no cigar...Suzuki's Bandit is their sports touring model - at least (1) Suzi ownner I know likes the motor better than his last 1200K - should have left the 'busa at home - and brought out the big Bandit.
Chris -Great comparo  April 5, 2010 12:18 PM
This was a great idea to compare these 3 bikes. It was great to hear your comments regarding the Kawi's power and handling compared to a true sportbike and similarly your comments about the comfort and touring ability of the Busa compared to a true sport tourer. It seems like for someone who wants to cover long distances quickly and comfortably, the new VFR is the bike to have but the fact that the Busa is the cheapest/fastest while still delivering above average comfort makes me think it is the one I would get. Having said that, I demoed the Kawi at the LB IMS show and it blew my mind how good it was.
Slippery -No Thanks  April 5, 2010 12:12 PM
The VFR is not a sport touring bike by a long shot and it sure as hell is not a sport bike. Awful looking muffler and a small gas tank and it is way overpriced. Honda seems to be doing a lot of this crap lately with the DNO1 and the Fury. Maybe they think just because it is a Honda we will buy it?
patrick -"Yes, it is."  April 5, 2010 10:39 AM
The smartest punch line I've ever seen. Great stuff, thank you so much!!