07 February 2018

Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer (2016) Real world review

An interesting view on my bike - Honda Crosstourer VFR1200X (2014). I love my bike - fast, capable, all day comfy, but I can sort of see what he (Steve Rose) means. For most people my bike  might as well be invisible! In nearly 4 years, I have only had a handful of people say "Ooo, nice bike mate". However when I'm on Kim's bike - it's all compliments! Still, never mind, I love Holly!

Here’s a question. Does a motorcycle have to be exciting to be good? Here’s another. Is it possible that any 1200cc motorcycle that makes 130bhp and out-accelerates Ferraris can be anything other than exciting?

Honda’s Crosstourer is confusing me. This is the fourth one I’ve ridden. I remember on the press launch sitting next to the project leader and discovering that in his youth he’d been fascinated by two stroke race replicas and had owned a Suzuki GSX-R1100. He wanted to build a sporty adventure bike in the VFR tradition. Sounds good to me, but every time I ride one it takes a while for me to appreciate how much I like it.

And I do like the Crosstourer… a lot, but when I’m riding it, I feel confident, comfortable and glad I chose to commute by bike, but rarely emotional or excited. This is a bike that brings out the sensible in me. My journeys in the last few weeks have been calm and measured, without the usual eye-widening, sphincter-clenching overtakes or holding onto the throttle for an extra half-second just for the hell of it that makes two-wheeled winter riding worth doing.

And yet, this is a bike that makes more power than my old GSX-R1100, has a beautiful, smooth engine, flawless power delivery, traction control, ABS and suspension that does comfort and control like only Honda knows how to. Plus, it’s shaft driven, built to survive a journalist’s winter (non) cleaning regime and much more confident (and therefore quicker from A to B) in the cold, slippy January misery than any 287kg motorcycle has a right to be.

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