new 2010 HONDA-VFR1200F

    It feels just like your stereotypical Honda motorcycle. Slick, incredibly polished, with a refined feel and user-friendly character that endears itself to novice and expert rider alike. The engine is responsive and smooth, while the surprisingly nimble chassis can handle both a trot and a full gallop with equal aplomb.

    There's something missing, though. Well, actually two things: a shift lever and a clutch lever, to be precise.

    "Revolutionary" is a buzzword that is thrown around far too frequently, but I have to say that after riding Honda's brand-new 2010 VFR1200F around the Sugo Circuit outside of Sendai, Japan, as well as on public roads nearby, this bike truly defines that expression. Only 12 months after showing the V4 Concept at the Intermot show in Germany, Honda has brought to market this radical new machine with an optional, industry-first Dual-Clutch Transmission.

    new 2010 HONDA-VFR1200F

    The cylinder head adapts a design introduced by Honda's four-stroke motocross bikes that features a single overhead cam that actuates both the pair of intake valves and the pair of exhaust valves. And finally the programmable fuel injection has a drive-by-wire throttle, the first time this feature has been seen on a Honda motorcycle (though other manufacturers have been using this tech on bikes for some time).

    new 2010 HONDA-VFR1200F

    First, let's get into basic architecture shared by both models: At the core is a brand-new, liquid-cooled, 76-degree, 1237cc V-Four engine with CRF450R-inspired Unicam four-valve heads. The forward cylinders are splayed wide on the ends of the crankshaft while the rear pair is located side-by-side, closer to crank center. This allows the engine to be very narrow between the rider's knees. No balance shaft is necessary as the crank uses 28-degree-offset throws for perfect primary balance.

    Instead of trying to figure how to equalize exhaust-header length between the front and rear cylinders, Honda's engineers—led by project manager Yosuke Hasegawa—decided to allow each bank of cylinders to make its own unique power characteristics. According to Hasegawa-san, the combined effect is that of a paired set of parallel-Twins sharing a common crank, the front cylinders and their longer exhaust headers providing ample bottom-end torque and the rear with much shorter headers for good top-end punch. The result is torquey low-rpm delivery reminiscent of previous V-Fours combined with the rush of an inline-Four as revs rise toward redline.

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new 2010 HONDA-VFR1200F

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