1984 Honda VF1000
In the early Eighties we sportbike riders certainly had the mindset of “bigger is better, faster is better still” and our friends across the Pacific were more than happy to oblige. We get to blame Honda for this thirst for power starting back in 1969 with the CB750, that motorcycle lit the wick on the dynamite. Through the 70’s some incredible motorcycles (and some less incredible) were built to test the limits of power…handling on the other hand seemed to always take a back seat, it wasn’t until the very late 70’s and into the eighties that the Japanese manufacturers started paying attention to what the aftermarket was doing to get these two wheeled rockets to go around a corner without causing you to change your underwear after three corners…or even the first one!?
In 1984 I was working at a motorcycle dealership and through friends at other dealerships, I got to ride a lot of different bikes. We were all riding sportbikes at the time and would take the Monday day off (motorcycle shops were all closed Sunday and Monday back then) and go for a ride. Why Monday? Because Sunday is when all the squids were out and the CHP had a field day. Monday was a much better day to explore your favorite roads at a little faster than legal speeds.
I was riding a Suzuki GS1150ES at the time and loved it. That motorcycle was just pure brute power and it got my heart pumping every time I had a chance to really push it (it was a big bike, you had to PUSH it). One Monday, I had the opportunity to ride the VF1000. I liked the look of the GS1150 but I fell in love with the styling of the big Honda. Somehow Honda, in typical Honda fashion, put all the pieces together just right. The power was smooth, loads of torque (the Suzuki was beefier in that area though) and the handling was significantly better. I wished I was working for a Honda dealer. If you really want to see the VF1000 in full flight, find the move V4 Victory. Shot at the Isle Of Man TT, it is spectacular.
The V-4 Honda’s have quite a history that you can find yourself, but I’ll throw in a few pieces here. The V-4’s came out of racing which is no surprise, but the first street going V-4’s were the Magna cruiser and the Sabre standard. Shaft drive, moderate horsepower, good styling…standard Honda. To build the sportbike the engine had to be built a bit different. The V angle was changed to accommodate the 16″ front wheel which was popular in racing at the time and in the case of the VF1000, another radiator up in the fairing. The early V-4’s had a cam problem that turned out to be an oiling issue that Honda addressed. Later models switched from chain driven cams to gear driven cams and problem permanently solved.
The VF1000 wasn’t the fastest or best handling of its time but it was a really great motorcycle that would suit 95% of us 99% of the time. I have even seen the big VF turned into a pretty decent sport tourer…really. I found one on e-bay today that looks to be a very good value for a completely stock ’84 VF1000. It has only 16,000 miles on the clock, has been well maintained and though it does show its age and life a bit, it looks good. I would ask the buyer if he knows if the mods were made to the cam chain towers to eliminate the problems of time.
The VF1000 is a unique bike and if you are looking for a big bike that has loads of power and carries its weight well, give this big VF a good look. Click on the pics below for more info. Oh, and the guy says the reserve is really low…like below market value. This could be a steal for somebody.