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Modern Classic Bikes - The Honda VF750F

With their emergence of the CB750 in the late 60's and the maelstrom that was Japanese superbike development in the 70's, where cubic capacity, power and straight line speed was forever being increased, the early 1980s saw Honda once again dominate the 750cc niche. The new and innovative liquid cooled 90 degree V4 engine with what was then a staggering 86bhp made it the fastest bike of its class, and it also had power all the way through the rev band.

But there were a host of other developments that made this bike the complete package. Whereas Japanese machines had, in the past, been about absolute power, whilst European bikes were designed to handle well, the VF750F was possibly the first Japanese bike to combine both. The new V4 engine was housed in a rectangular section perimeter frame, and the half fairing was designed to fit aerodynamically with the rest of the bike, rather than just bolted on the front of the bike. The front end was equipped with a 16 inch wheel and anti dive suspension, and the triple discs (two on the front, one on the back, were considered state-of-the-art and by far the best of any standard motorcycle.

In racing format, the bike was 70lbs lighter and came in just as the American superbike racing rules changed to insist that any bike racing had to be derived from a road going version, rather than specially built as a race machine. In its first year racing in America and with its increased power of over 125bhp, the Honda won over half of the races, which was to lead to Honda's dominance in v4s in later years. The technology and philosophy behind the VF750F can be traced right through to today's bikes which remain as they were then, agile, comfortable and incredibly well balanced.

At the time of its launch however, this was a bit of a shot in the dark for Honda, and the bike had its downsides to. Outside the States where the bike had cast alloy wheels as standard equipment, the wheels were riveted and suffered from metal fatigue - not nice. Also the bike was not very reliable early on, but the sheer joy of the handling and V4 power and power delivery meant that these were put aside, leaving the VF750F as one of the best all round bikes of it's time, and the grandfather of some of the best bikes available today.

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