Honda's V-4 History
The new VFR1200 has a lengthy legacy of V-4 heritage
As Honda prepares its new VFR1200 for its official unveiling, the red-wing company has set up a website detailing its long involvement in V-4 engines. It began back in 1979 with the introduction of the NR500 grand prix racebike. Rather than fielding a 500cc two-stroke engine, Honda used a four-stroke oval-piston V-4 motor – essentially a V-8 with four cylinders that could be revved to 19,500 rpm! The oval cylinder area was so large that it used eight valves in each!
The V-4 engine made its first appearance in a Honda streetbike in the 1982 V45 Magna cruiser and V45 Sabre standard, then made a big splash the following year with the debut of the game-changing VF750F Interceptor sportbike. A VF1000F and VF500F Interceptor rounded out the lineup in 1984.
The legendary RC30 sportbike surfaced in 1988 and set new levels for superbike power and handling while the VFR750 evolved into a sporty all-rounder rather than a hardcore sportbike. The sport-touring ST1100 showed up two years later, later transforming into the ST1300 and still with us today.
With the ST1300 and VFR800 Interceptor, Honda has an uninterrupted history with V-4 engines that will expand this fall with the introduction of the highly anticipated VFR1200. Big power and high technology are on the way, including the availability of a dual-clutch gearbox as reported here. We’ll have lots more on the most powerful VFR ever during the next couple of months, so stay tuned.