2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
It is Honda's flagship sports tourer: the VFR 1200. The world's largest motorcycle manufacturer is now offering its 172 hp flagship with a dual clutch transmission.
By Thilo Kozik
From June, Honda will be offering its sport touring flagship VFR with an innovative dual clutch transmission. For the 127 kW / 172 hp cardan sports car, 16,200 euros have to be taken into account. This results in additional costs of 1,300 euros for the technology used for the first time in a motorcycle compared to the basic model.
In the passenger car sector, automatic dual-clutch transmissions are no longer uncommon for sporty models; in motorcycle construction, the VFR is the only one to offer this technology delicacy. Here both oil bath clutches are on one shaft axis, which saves space in the motor.
Lack of leverage
With the VFR, the clutches are one behind the other, so the clutch cover protrudes a little further on the right. The DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) -VFR can be recognized on the left by the missing lever for the clutch and the missing foot switch mechanism. Instead, there is a rocker switch on the left handlebar end for manual up and downshifting between six gears, on the left handlebar end the driver can choose between the two automatic modes D for the fuel-saving tour and S for sport or manual gear selection.
The two clutches are operated hydraulically, an electric motor turns the shift gate. All in all, a gearshift takes around half a second, which is a tiny bit longer than in modern sports cars. However, this is not noticed when driving. The liquid-cooled V4 engine with a displacement of 1,237 cc implements its 129 Newton meters of torque and a whopping output of 127 kW / 172 PS with great ease, and the electronic control of the use of gas via the throttle-by-wire system works without delay.
In D mode, the automatic system uses the wide range of revs that can be used to upshift early, so in town you can sometimes even drive through the area in the last gear, quietly and at low revs at 65 km / h. Even on the country road, the D is enough for brisk progress, because the speed for upshifting is not fixed: If the driver turns the throttle more enthusiastically, the automatic transmission shifts up later at a higher speed and allows more powerful acceleration.
With "S", all gear changes take place significantly later, which leads to a sporty driving style overland. In the city, however, you always feel that you are traveling with too much speed that is not even necessary. The big advantage of the DCT is the almost uninterrupted frictional connection between motor and cardan, which minimizes load changes. In any case, when fully accelerated, the VFR spurs like a thoroughbred super athlete.
But the new technology not only has advantages: The additional components and a little more oil add around ten kilograms more to their own weight, and they are not made of cardboard and add to the already lush 267 kilograms. The fact that the gearbox and its hydraulic actuation clacks and rattles when starting off and at low speeds, as in the early days of ABS technology, is only an acoustic problem and therefore bearable. The automatic modes are not particularly fond of the slow turns and roundabouts into which the VFR pilot pokes cautiously. Then the DCT sometimes switches back and forth several times between first and second gear and annoys with noises and small fluctuations in propulsion.
Master of the gear selection
This can be avoided with the manually selected gear steps. Shifts at the touch of a finger and the driver remains in control of the gear selection - with one sensible exception: when you stop in front of the red traffic light, the transmission automatically shifts into first gear and disengages so that you can start off with a simple accelerator when it is green. Because the VFR-DCT is still a normal gear with directly engaging gears - hence the clacking.
In addition to the excellent running smoothness that characterizes the VFR unit, the DCT almost irons out some points of criticism in terms of performance and the response behavior of the normal engine. The engine remains tame around the bottom, from 4,000 revs it pushes forward vigorously, but between 6,000 and 10,000 rpm it really gets going - acoustically accompanied by the typical bark of a V4 engine.
Strong up-side-down fork
When it comes to the chassis, Honda relies on a cast aluminum bridge frame, a powerful upside-down telescopic fork with an elegant single-sided swing arm. The fork in particular swallows asphalt blemishes very sensitively without missing sporty firmness - with the VFR you can gasp or cruise with pleasure to your heart's content. A sporty combined ABS with two 320 brake discs and six-piston fixed caliper at the front and a rear disc with double-piston floating caliper ensure safety. The VFR delays the VFR in a sporty way and inspires absolute confidence in every situation.
Agility, dynamism and driving performance even satisfy sports drivers. When it comes to wind protection and ergonomics, touring riders get their money's worth. However, they would like larger suitcases as an option. And with the DCT transmission, the VFR 1200 F confirms its reputation as a technology carrier - for everyone who has 16,200 euros and something for exclusive features. (mid)
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