Here's Why The Honda VFR1200F Motorcycle Flopped

On the surface, the Honda VFR1200F had a lot going for it. For starters, it was a Honda sport bike which, just by name alone, means that it won't be an absolutely dismal bike. A company as large and well-established as Honda in the motorcycle world likely wouldn't release a bike that was truly reprehensible without major and immediate backlash. Second, it was equipped with a competent and wonderfully loud V4 that reviewers absolutely adored. And lastly, the VFR1200F was available with a dual-clutch transmission (DCT), something that would be more at home in a Porsche 911 than a sportbike. According to Honda, the 2010 VFR1200F was the first-ever commercial bike to feature a DCT. DCTs allowed the bike to shift more quickly and significantly smoother than standard manual transmissions.

The Honda VFR1200F sounded great on paper and reviews from its first year on the market (2010), were generally positive. But not every Honda can be a smash hit like the CBR1000RR. The VFR1200F didn't quite fall flat on its face, but it missed the mark in a few key areas that made it fall short of superbike stardom. There were no glaring issues, but a lot of little undesirable quirks added up to disappointment.

Not Honda's best

When the bike launched in 2010, it was flat-out too expensive for what it had to offer. It had a base price of $15,999 without any options. That's $22,072 in today's money which is a hefty price for a sport bike. The Honda's arch-nemesis, the Kawasaki Concours 14 from the era carried a tag of $13,499 ($18,623 in 2023). That's a huge difference in the sportbike world. Weight was also a small concern as the bike was just plain heavy at 588 pounds. 

To tip the scale away from the VFR1200F's favor, there was a recall affecting 1,825 bikes that concerned the driveshaft (the VFR1200F used a driveshaft instead of a conventional chain). Apparently, the driveshaft's u-joint could break under load and could possibly cause the rear wheel to seize, according to 

All those factors added up to besmirch the otherwise good name of the VFR1200F. It wasn't an outright failure and a decade-plus of hindsight paints the bike in a better picture than when it first rolled off the line. But there were just better options from the era given the heft of both the bike itself and the price tag. Still, if that doesn't bother you, there are worse bikes out there if you're shopping for something a little different than your average used sport bike.