Let me now leave the handling bit aside and look at what really is staggeringly awesome in the VFR1200F. The powertrain is not just innovative and technologically advanced, but also immensely impressive and astonishing. Honda have equipped the VFR1200F with a V4 1,237cc engine that has its front bank of cylinders at an angle of 76º with the rear bank of cylinders. More interestingly, the front bank has its cylinders spaced wider as compared to the rear bank. They have also used the UNICAM instead of a regular DOHC. Why all these efforts? Simply to make the engine compact and slim. And believe us, they have achieved brilliant success in the required job. If you compare the current 1.2-litre engine to the 800-cc engine that powered the previous VFR, you will notice that the new motor is more compact, though it displaces about 1.5 times more volume than its earlier version.
The beauty of this new motor lies in the Honda trademark power linearity. Mind it, the typical V4 grunt and mammoth torque are not absent and yet you get an absolutely linear power delivery. With 170 PS of peak power and 129 Nm of peak torque, the VFR1200F is a beast if you go by numbers. However, given the smoothness and decency with which the bike accelerates, there is no chance you will be intimidated. It is a tamed and disciplined machine that befriends its rider at the earliest. After about seven laps of acquainting myself with the bike, I decided to start pushing the motorcycle to my limits. Coming out of the never-ending right-hander, flicking the bike from right to left through the fast left-hander, I went gunning down the back straight and glanced at the speedometer before getting on to the brakes for the upcoming 90º right-hander. The speedo had read 191 km/h before my left hand’s fingers subconsciously started hunting for the clutch lever and my left foot for the gear lever.
Those were the fractions of seconds when I missed a beat or two as I realised that I had come down too fast into the corner and didn’t really have manual gears to downshift and apply engine braking to aid the disc brakes. Grabbing the front disc and smartly using my left hand’s thumb, I slowed down enough to take the right-hander and hurried back to the pit lane. I sat there wondering what the new motorcycle exactly is. On a regular motorcycle, I would have shifted down a couple of cogs at the end of the back straight, got onto the brakes moderately and entered the corner. However, it’s a different story with the VFR1200F that comes with an automatic gearbox. First of all, I got onto the front brakes a bit too hard and the amazingly effective ABS kept the bike composed. Secondly, the left thumb had pressed a button on the left switchgear on the clip-ons and downshifted seamlessly.
Yes, button shifter for transmission!
And if that is not enough, the gearbox sports the dual clutch system. Yes, it’s like the DSG that you get in Volkswagens or the PDK that you get in Porsches. Trust me, this dual-clutch transmission shifts through the cogs seamlessly, smoothly and briskly.