Honda engineers started down the path to produce a V4 motorcycle engine in 1978 to compete against two stoke race bikes of the time. Soichiro Honda didn’t like two stroke engines and didn’t want to race them. He was passionate about maximizing 4-stroke technology. He wanted a 4 stroke that could compete. The engineers eventually produced the NR500 race bike. This was an engineering first, having oval cylinders. The oval shape made room for 8 valves per cylinder. Imagine the amount of custom made parts needed to be fabricated for an oval cylinder bike. Insane. Unfortunately the bike was a failure being unreliable, and worse, dangerous to ride. This is not to say the R and D on this project was wasted effort. In fact the same year that Honda threw in the towel on the NR500, they released their first V4, 4-stroke road bike the VF750. Read more on the Honda V4 development and platforms on Bennetts.uk with their article from September of 2015: Honda’s V4 Obsession.
The Honda VFR800, known as the Interceptor in the US, was released in 1998, and the V4 engine that powered it was an all-new design. In order to compete with the liter bikes that were in the VFR’s class, Honda introduced VTEC technology into the 800cc V4 engine. Honda had been using VTEC, or variable valve technology in their cars for a while. The basic idea behind this technology is super cool, and today, super common across platforms. Not to get too bogged down in the details, but once an engine gets to a certain RPM, the valves open up and allow more air and fuel into the cylinder heads. In other words, spin up the engine, and hold on tight.
This 2007 Anniversary Edition is not low mileage, at 22,500 miles, but the seller lists some impressive regular maintenance that tells me this bike is still early in it’s life. In addition, it has factory ABS, factory hard bags, adjustable preload and damping Ohlins rear shock, Power Commander, Leo Vince slip on pipes…the list goes on. On top of all that it has the Anniversary white, red and blue Honda paint scheme. Frankly, it’s a stunning piece of machinery.
Find this Honda VFR 800 in Phoenix, Arizona for $5,400 here on Craigslist.