The Honda VFR800 was the natural evolution of the mythical VFR750.
The VFR800 is an elegant and comfortable yet versatile build, handling agile enough for highway or town commuting while also being dressed, bagged, and cozy sufficient for high-mile touting.
The VF 800 left the Honda factory floor just about 20 years ago; its dedicated niche claims it maintains its legendary dependability, even against more contemporary designs, but just how long does a Honda VFR800 last?
Let’s find out in this article.
Here’s the Short Answer to How Long a Honda VFR800 Lasts:
The Honda VFR800 can operate faultlessly for over 80,000 miles. Most mid-range luxury tourers are ridden for an average of 3,000 miles a year; a well-kept VFR800 could last well past 20 years. The first-gen VFR800 was released two decades ago. Many are still running strong.
How Many Miles Do You Get on a Honda VFR800?
As with any moto, a Honda VFR800’s lifespan hinges on its previous owner’s focus on upkeep, but a well-maintained VFR can last for more than 80,000 miles without issues.
I found one article in France that celebrated a VFR owner for hitting 500,000 all-original miles without an engine rebuild.
This owner, and several others, attribute the VFR800’s impressive longevity to Honda’s crack-squad of engineers—the VFR’s motor is a beacon of reliable performance that lasts for decades if well kept.
Although released over 20 years ago, the Honda VFR800 was a longevity-enhanced upgrade of the VRF750. Honda blessed it with a longer-stroke power plant founded on the fuel-injected engine. Rather than just replicating the same motor, the more significant displacement VFR800 motor was detuned rather than repeating the same motor.
Fuel injection means less routine maintenance and, you guessed it, a motorcycle that can last for over 100,000 miles, and in some cases, way over.
Below are some consumer reviews based on data and testimonies from real-life Honda VFR800 owners.
1. The V4 is legendary; its 107bhp is tractable, flexible, and perfectly suited to the bike. Although the VTEC is described as Variable Valve Timing, this is a misnomer. In fact, there is no variation at all. It works simply by shutting off an inlet and exhaust valve on each of the four-valve heads at low revs. So below 6800rpm, the VFR runs an eight-valve head, and above that, it runs on 16 valves. Subsequent models did have changes to the way they worked. But nevertheless, the V4 is still engaging, providing great flexibility.
2. With a V4 engine that traces its lineage back to the complex-but-characterful 750s of the mid-’80s, the 2002 launch of the VTEC-enabled 781cc version proved Honda were back to their cutting-edge best. Or so they thought.
3. Sadly, they’re in danger of being able to say `told you so’ to owners who have had the Honda VFR800 VTEC recalled for cam chain associated work under warranty. Apart from that, the Honda VFR800 VTEC is built to last 100,000 miles but does need some expensive servicing along the way.
4. 90k miles on [my Honda VFR800]. Simply put, it will last as long as you want it to. Stop giving a crap, and it will too.https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/honda/vfr800-vtec/2001/
On a Honda motorcycle, mileage is less pertinent than frequent service upkeep. Be sure you snoop into the bike’s history if you’re in demand for a used VFR800.
What Is Considered High Mileage for These Models?
People may look twice at a Honda VFR800 with over 40,000 miles on it, but that doesn’t necessarily imply the motorcycle doesn’t have a lot of life left. Again, the crucial thing is how well the last owner or previous owners serviced, stored, and rode their VFR.
The used market blue book value on any hard-bagged bike is that it’s considered high-mileage after 40k-45k, but only because it’s inferred that the motorcycle spent a bunch of time highway-ripping coast to coast.
Whether it’s considered high-mile has little bearing on how long the motorcycle lasts.
We turn to more real-life VFR owner testimonials for a more accurate account.
5. The Viffer is one of those pivotal bikes that Honda produces every so often to show they can still do stuff correctly. In the case of the VFR, it was in response to a slew of cam chain issues plaguing the CX 500 and first-gen V4s.
Consequently, the VFR had gear-driven cams, usually an expensive option. The 5th generation [VFR] engine… is the last VFR to use these geared cams.
It has a longer stroke than earlier engines, VTEC, and crucially, closed-loop fuel injection. In other words, it is highly reliable and won’t go out of tune.
[The VFR will last longer than projected if you keep up with maintnence].
The recommended oil for your engine is a 10w-40 SG (1989 ) spec.
The BEST oil for your engine is a base four 0w-40 like Mobil 1. Use that oil in your engine and change it at the correct intervals, and [the VFR800’s] engine will outlast you!
How Many Years Does a Honda VFR800 Typically Last?
The Honda VFR800 is a luxurious but pragmatic motorcycle, typically ridden for around 3,000 miles a year. Based on that average, one can figure that a bike that stays reliable for 80,000+ miles can last for 20+ years if well kept.
One rider claims:
The VFR800 will last long as there are spare parts available, assuming you service the bike according to schedule, replace worn parts and in general not abuse it!
How does the Honda VFR800 last so long?
The VFR800 achieves its power through RPM. It operates and revs smoothly at low revs and up through the high gears.
Accessible RPM power means the engine components aren’t over-stressed, ensuring the VFR800 will last for years.
The bike is set up a bit different from other mid-sized lux-baggers, giving it high power capacity on the highway and offering fast passes without downshifting, putting less strain on its transmission. Its unique gearbox set-up also provides softer shifting, reducing engine wear and helping it last for years.
Is the Honda VFR800 Reliable?
The Honda VFR800 is praised as one of the most reliable machines to come out of the motorcycle industry in the mid-range class. Owners rave about their VFR800’s consistently dependable performance, in some cases even after the bike’s been on the road for 20+ years.
The Honda VFR800’s motor was engineered with intention, not just to last over 100,000 miles, but to spend most of that time on the road and out of the shop.
This legendary Honda-reliability hinges on responsible ownership habits.
Below are more real-life VFR800 owner testimonials. Please take note most of the testimonials cited in this article are from Honda VFR800 owners who are attentive to the storage, upkeep, and riding of their VFR.
7. First, if you want your VFR to [stay reliable], you will learn all you can. My best recommendation is to connect with two forum groups, VFRDiscussion and VFRWorld. There have been eight generations of VFR motorcycles. You have an example of the 5th generation. Many VFR owners of your generation of VFR motorcycles have enjoyed more than 100,000 miles. Some don’t. The difference is proper maintenance and avoiding accidents.
You should expect to address issues in the electrical system, periodically replace chains and sprockets, service the forks, replace brake pads and fluid, and change the oil regularly. At some point, you may need to replace the stem bearings that connect the fork triples to the frame and grease the bearings for the swing arm. Last year, I replaced all of my brake lines due to age. The old rubber lines simply become brittle. If all of this seems like too much effort and expense, there is a ready market for your bike as the last of the gear-driven cam VFRs. But for me, it’s far cheaper to plan on regular maintenance than the regular replacement of my motorcycle.
My personal experience is on a mostly stock, 2002 VFR800 (6th generation).
8. The VFR has a pretty much bulletproof design, so it should easily make it over 100,000 miles. The question is, how long will you get replacement parts for it? How long will you be able to find a mechanic that “knows” vintage VFRs? BMW, who traditionally makes all the parts for the complete bike for 40 or 50 years, is finally starting to list parts as unavailable. Commonly failing parts will quickly get depleted as the bike crosses the 25-year mark, and it becomes less cost-effective to make new spares.
I’d say ride and maintain the bike, but when common new spares get short, and you have to start buying used or remanufactured parts, it’s time to find another “new to you” bike.
There you have it. The Honda VFR is not only reliable; it will run for as long as you can find replacement components.
When writing this article, the VFR800 is still in production. Multiple aftermarket motorcycle-part manufacturers produce parts for all six generations of VFR800s that have come before the contemporary iteration.
In short, the VFR800 is one of the most reliable mid-range lux-tourers around. If you keep up with routine ownership upkeep, it will provide miles of reliable performance for years to come.
Does a Honda VFR800 Last Longer than Other Motorcycles?
While most medium commuters are expected to last between 60,000 and 75,000 miles, the VFR 800 has been known to run dependably for well over 100,000 miles for more than 20 years. There have been cases of well-lept VFRs lasting for over 500,000 miles.
What Typically Breaks First on a Honda VFR800?
The first thing to break on a Honda VFR800 is its Regulator/Rectifier or its Automatic Cam Chain Tensioner. The R/R is the component that regulates and maintains battery charge. Meanwhile, the CCT regulates the engine’s timing.
4 Great Tips to Make Sure Your Honda VFR800 Will Last Long
Here are a few suggestions to enhance the lifespan of your Honda VFR800:
- Check the tire condition and PSI often. When you observe a change in your Viffer’s handling, replacing the tires is most acceptable. Frequent examination will show you when the tread wears down to the mark that signifies its time for a replacement. Under-inflated tires will blister and may fail. Over-full tires will labor to grip the road as reliably as usual.
- Adjust the clutch according to Honda’s Spec. The clutch cable of your VFR800 should have the specific amount of free play outlined in your year model’s owner’s manual.
- Service your motor per Honda’s Spec Intervals. Touch your VFR800 with a thorough service to keep it performing reliably for miles and lasting for decades.
- Ride your VFR800. Letting your VFR800 sit untouched causes the fluid lines to rot and corrode. Frequent use controls corrosion, charges the battery, and enables you to notice any minor issues before they quicksand into more costly problems.