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Honda VTR 1000 F endurance test

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50,000 kilometers in 15 months: the Honda VTR 1000 F completed the MOTORRAD endurance run in record time.

Superior engine performance, excellent wind protection, relaxed seating position, space for luggage, generous fuel range – characteristics that make a motorcycle a coveted challenge cup within the long-distance test fleet.


The VTR 1000 F, which was bought and put into service at the end of March 1997, does not offer such prerequisites for quick kilometer-gathering, apart from the performance of the 114 hp machine, which is well in the drilling. Its small tank, which does not even hold 16 liters, together with its not exactly modest fuel consumption, restricts the operating range in a sometimes frightening way. In extreme cases – when driving at a brisk motorway – there is a stop-and-go penalty every 45 minutes. A fact that committed smokers may consider a plus point.
The conditions on board do not seem to make the VTR into the shortlist of avid kilometer eaters. The low upper part of the fairing with almost nonexistent wind protection and the handlebar stubs at an inconvenient angle will drain your stamina in the long term. Finally, the machine’s reluctance to have luggage thrown on it (no hooks, no eyelets) does not encourage the choice of the Firestorm as a travel companion.
So a goal that goes on tour with VTR? Not at all, Annette Johann will object, who as the boss on the “road” must know. Traveling all over the Iberian Peninsula, the Honda doesn’t seem Spanish at all. »Fast country roads are simply a pleasure with this draft, the good brakes and the sporty, comfortable seating position. Actually the perfect sports tourer, ”she notes in the logbook. Of course, without – see above – critically assessing the points of consumption, range and luggage storage. She unwinds around 4,000 kilometers in ten full days – a spectacular individual case of enthusiasm for travel and commitment. But just an isolated case and no justification for the speed with which the Honda brings the 50,000-kilometer mandatory distance behind it.
People like test colleague Matthias Schröter deliver them. As a commuter between the Black Forest and Stuttgart, he uses the long-distance test machine to the best of his ability. 200 kilometers a day, half on the motorway and half on a winding country road. Without luggage, without annoying stopovers, and always quickly, quickly. It seems to be so much fun that at some point the motorcycle has to be taken from him under threat of violence.
After all, others want to move the yellow lightning bolt. Mostly for the way to work or for a few hundred enjoyable kilometers over the weekend. Or for a few quick laps on a closed track: Tester and amateur racing driver Jörg Schüller fulfills a heart’s desire and spends the Christmas days in the roundabout in Cartagena, while Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch, an instructor in the ACTION TEAM perfection training, is the endurance runner on the Nürburgring gets you moving.
However, no new findings emerge: The suspension elements, especially the fork, are too soft and the brakes could bite harder. No question about it: when it comes to sporting use, the VTR chassis becomes a playground for those who like to experiment and tinker with it – an assessment that is confirmed by the letters received from readers.
The long-distance VTR is spared such doping measures, interventions are only made with the aim of improving everyday usability. With great success: A pair of Tarozzi handlebar stubs (Wilbers) prove to be much more gentle on the wrists than the original parts, a dome-shaped disc (Hein Gericke) improves the wind protection sustainably, but is removed again immediately for aesthetic reasons . Finally, a Scottoiler takes care of the lubrication of the secondary drive so lovingly that the chain only has to be taken out of service after 45,000 kilometers.
Fill in gasoline, replace tires, bring the machine to the regular inspection – no exciting life for the VTR representative in the editorial office. So there was nothing except expenses? Goal. At the beginning of their kilometer marathon, the VTR sometimes refuses to work after a visit to the gas station with the engine spitting. The fault is a badly laid tank ventilation hose – a problem that Honda quickly finds out about. Finally, towards the end of the test distance, the front brake attracts attention with an unattractive scratching. Result: two new windows and certificates of innocence from the importer (see box "Honda comments").
Whether there will be any need for further clarification in terms of durability must ultimately be shown at the operating table of the MOTORRAD workshop. Thanks to the bridge frame, the complete landing gear can be lifted off the engine block after loosening the corresponding screws. The rear swing arm, which is mounted in the engine housing, must of course be removed beforehand.
Without having to use special tools – apart from a flywheel puller, the V2 unit is dismantled in no time. First impression after looking at the spread out parts: It’s just a Honda. Of course there are traces here and there that tell of the eventful past of the motor-gearbox unit, which would be even nicer. But no signs of excessive wear and tear.
Zfurther impression after the measuring devices have moved back into their cases and the inventory is in bare numbers on the paper: It’s a Honda. In other words: the engine, clutch and gearbox passed the endurance test with flying colors, the complete drive unit can be reassembled without having to go to the spare parts shelf (apart from the seals). In a chassis that has coped with the constant stress – except for the matter with the brake discs – just as easily. So bad cards for the VTR to come to rest in the foreseeable future.

Reader experiences – Honda VTR 1000 F

A high level of satisfaction with the basic concept of the VTR and the willingness to tackle the weak points of the machine with craftsmanship are the hallmarks of the readers’ letters on the »Firestorm«.

I only drove about 5000 kilometers plus a race training session in Cartagena, but I’ve already had some interesting experiences. A White Power Emu shock absorber was added to the VTR for the race track. I also installed the White Power fork springs. I can only advise against the springs, you don’t notice any change. Now I have installed Wilbers Promoto fork springs from the CBR 600 from 1997. The VTR now has significantly more remaining spring travel when braking or on poor roads, and it also responds a little more sensitively. The rear suspension strut is a bit tight for road use, but okay for the racetrack. From the beginning I didn‘t find the brakes snappy enough, so I installed the pads of the CBR 900 RR in the front and also steel braided lines. Now I have a clean pressure point and better braking performance. I only have the Vegaser with Dynojet kit and K on the engine&N air filter changed. In the middle speed range, the engine is now a bit more agile, and fortunately the VTR now consumes about one liter less fuel. The VTR is ideal for hunting country roads, is quick as a pace thanks to the high-torque engine and the chassis is very manageable. In the long run, however, you notice the inadequate handlebar offset and that too much weight is on your hands. In addition, the range of the tank that is too small and the windshield of the very tightly cut windshield are a joke. Otherwise, I’m more than satisfied with my VTR, it was the most fun of all motorcycles and I still have my RC to compensate 30 and a Hawk.Joachim SnethlageFor me, the purchase of the VTR was worth it. An absolute fun motorcycle. With some changes (MRA windshield, Dynojet kit, Remus exhaust) you can really turn the VTR into a little firestorm. Weight and handling like a 600 and the thump of a 1000 with so much torque. The drawback is perhaps the tank that is too small, but it can also be pleasant to take a break after about 200 kilometers – the passenger will thank you for it. Consumption is six to seven liters, although it doesn’t really matter whether you are in a low one or higher speeds. The pressure point of the front brake is a bit muddy, but if you don’t have to brake constantly on the last meter, you can live with it. Frank GarncarzI ordered a VTR in red after the IFMA 1996. To step out of the crowd of the "standard" ones, Some changes were made: Spiegler steel flex, White Power clip-on handlebars, Shark exhaust system, Lucas brake pads in racing mix, shorter gear ratio (43 chainring). The combination of steel flex and racing pads brought a significant improvement in the pressure point and braking effect. The exhaust system (with ABE) brings a great sound in addition to the optics. In conjunction with a K&N-air filter subjectively revs up the VTR more freely in the upper speed range. The shortening of the gear ratio leads to a never-ending advance: In sixth gear 9600 / min, about 240 km / h (according to the BC 700 bicycle speedometer). 1998 a total conversion was in the specifications. The fairing, rear, tank and fenders were replaced by Kevlar / carbon counterparts from Carbo Tech. The weight saving is around six kilograms, and thanks to the three-liter larger tank, you can easily travel over 200 kilometers without constantly looking at the warning light. All in all, a great motorcycle. Previous defects after 15 months and 12,000 kilometers: Zero! Axel Schwarz I bought my VTR in January 1998 in yellow and of course with a cat. A great bike with character and unfortunately a few peculiarities that can be eliminated on the one hand, and this one on the other give a certain character. Steel-flex cables help against the spongy pressure point of the brake, and you can just as easily move the fork with more fork oil. But what drove the Honda people to build such a filler neck. Refueling becomes an ordeal and usually ends with giving up after a few liters. According to Honda Germany, you have to live with it: "You get used to everything" (original sound on the phone). And speaking of fuel, nothing goes below 6.5 liters; once you let it fly, nine liters are nothing at all Problem. This is not uncommon because the engine and chassis are great and made for the country road. Up until now, after the ZZR 600, CBR 600, VFR 750 etc., the absolutely best bike that I will have fun with for a long time In 1997 I bought a new VTR 1000 in red; I had previously driven the VFR 750. The following warranty work has now been carried out after 14,500 kilometers: two water pump damage (water leakage at the ventilation hole and mechanical noises) at a mileage of 1000 and 6000. Recently, noises occurred again after driving about 15 kilometers at full throttle on a motorway, but they disappeared again after a 20-minute break until now (after 1000 kilometers) has not appeared again. The fork sometimes breaks through on bad roads. An MRA spoiler screen (better wind protection) and a Bos-EG carbon exhaust system were installed as accessories. The rims were polished and the front spoiler was painted in motorcycle color. After a total of 60,000 kilometers of VFR and now 14,500 kilometers of VTR, I would buy the VTR again at any time, but you can’t compared the two machines.Edo FrielingMy VTR first came into traffic in March 1997 and has spooled a full 20,600 kilometers to this day down. The engine works reliably with the character described everywhere, which was the decisive factor for the purchase. It’s just a fun bike, although it can be argued whether one or the other additional detail is useful or practical in order to curve around the landscape even more pleasurably. My "yellow racing roll" naturally also has a few quirks, like that for one heard a decent motorcycle, although I am very dissatisfied with the consumption, which goes up to 10.3 liters. Nor can I understand the testers’ statement that practically no oil consumption is measurable with the VTR, which I cannot say about my machines and those of my friends. Everything else, like the weak suspension of the forehand and the unfortunately inadequate wind protection at speeds over the 200 mark, can be got over. At 18,000 kilometers I noticed a crack in the weld seam at the junction of the manifolds, which in my opinion is a consequence of the Vibrations and the thermal load would have to be. Honda has not yet commented on this and I am waiting for the damage to be repaired under warranty. All in all, the VTR 1000 passed my high school with 2.5. Ralf wellsandt

Condition – Honda VTR 1000 F

Pistons, cylinders and crankshaft drive: Pistons within the operating tolerance with small tracks and few carbon deposits, also on the webs. Piston pin without discoloration in very good condition. All compression rings with slightly increased joint clearance, but within the operating tolerance. The cylinder liners are slightly oval at the top (0.06 millimeters) and the coating shows slight grooves. The wear is within the operating tolerance. Timing chain rails with minimal marks. Connecting rod bearings with slight tracks, but within the installation tolerance. Connecting rod eyes in very good condition. Crankshaft bearing clearance within the installation tolerance, right upper bearing shell however with unequal contact pattern, left bearing 0.02 millimeters larger than right. Camshafts without wear, camshaft bearing seats with slight tracks. All valve guides within the installation tolerance. Clutch: clutch friction and steel disks in very good condition. Measured in terms of mileage, the clutch basket has only minimal chatter marks. Gear: Traces on the flanks of the gear pairing of the first gear. Bearing seat of the gearbox output bearing with slight marks. Otherwise in very good condition. Exhaust: The dirt is burned into the unprotected stainless steel exhaust. Chassis: Frame without visible damage and with a very well-preserved anodized surface. Steering head bearing in very good condition. Swing arm bearings partly without lubricant, slight running marks on the bearing pin of a reversing lever. Telescopic fork without traces of wear. Brakes: The front brake discs had to be replaced shortly before the end of the long-distance test due to severe rubbing.

Honda takes a stand – Honda VTR 1000 F

…To the small tank A range of 200 kilometers seems appropriate to the purpose of the vehicle … to the high fuel consumption When setting up the engine, our development engineers paid great attention to powerful acceleration from low and medium speed ranges. The fuel consumption achieved is within the class average … to the oval cylinder liners The measured out-of-roundness of 0.06 millimeters is no problem with a wear dimension of 0.1 millimeters … to the uneven contact pattern of the crankshaft main bearings This is an optical phenomenon, which is caused by the particular load on the bearing point. The measured values ​​confirm the excellent condition of the crankshaft bearings. It is not necessary to change the plain bearing …. to the tracks in the connecting rod bearingThese are still visible traces of machining that are by no means a problem …. to the tracks on the gear wheel pair of the first gearThis is an optical phenomenon that has an impact on reliability and service life of the transmission has no influence. It is not necessary to replace the gears … to the pressure points in the swing arm bearings This is an optical phenomenon. It is not necessary to change the bearing journal …. regarding the rubbing brake discs Our investigations have shown that a manufacturing error can be ruled out with a mileage of well over 40,000 kilometers. Rather, it is reasonable to assume that there is a connection with the brake lining tests carried out by the editorial team. In the case of an unfavorable friction pairing due to unsuitable accessory brake pads, overheating can lead to brake disc distortion.

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