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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2012 VFR1200F What's New?

The plight of the Early Adopter... For the privilege of being first you get to suffer through the teething period as an unpaid beta-tester.

Honda have just announced an updated and improved 2012 VFR1200F.

Changes include:

  • Increased range from a larger fuel tank
  • Improved low-end torque from 2000-4000RPM
  • Traction control
  • Trip computer
  • Improved comfort from an updated seat
  • Revisions to DCT transmission
  • LED indicators
  • New colours
  • Chromed headers

So what does this mean for owners of the 2010 and 2011 VFR1200F? How many of these updates can I take advantage of?

  • -Bigger tank: The increase is only about 400mL. That might mean an extra 4 or 5 miles. Don't bother.
  • -Improved low-end torque: Basically amounts to different mapping. With my de-restriction and PC5 I would gain nothing from this. If you don't have a PC5 and haven't de-restricted, Honda UK is offering a re-map to their customers which probably gives you the 2012 mapping
  • -Traction control: DAMN! I wish I had this. Not that I've really needed it, but it would be a great gadget to play with. I don't think it's going to be practical to try to retrofit to my 2010. I would likely need a new ECU, new instrument panel, plus the switch and module. It could turn into a hell of a project.... expensive too. I'm wondering if the 2012 still has the 1st and 2nd gear restriction or if they ditched it out of redundancy with the TC?
  • -Trip computer: Tells the rider average MPG and DTE (distance to empty). My 2010 gives pretty consistent range so I have no problem relying on my trip odometer for this information. Nice gadget but don't need it.
  • -Updated seat: It appears that the contour or foam haven't changed, just the surface texture. I like my seat just fine, don't need a new one.
  • Revisions to DCT: I'm sure this brilliant technology will just continue to evolve and improve. Mine's a 6-speed. ;)
  • -LED indicators: Probably an easy retrofit if you want to spend the money. Don't incandescent bulbs just feel so.... 20th century?
  • -New colours: I LOVE the new "Titanium Blade" metallic. It's sort of a sexy greenish-grey. The blue looks a little nerdy to me. Black is black... white is white. Unfortunately Honda Canada never gave me a choice of colours otherwise I would almost definitely have a white bike instead of red. If I ever crash my 1200 and need new plastics, it's going to end up as a Titanium Blade bike for sure. Even if I have to change the panniers. Or as my friend Dave Solo likes to say "They got this shit called "Paint"...
  • -Chromed headers: I've said here before, chrome has no place on this bike. I like my stainless head pipes and titanium muffler just fine.
Now I know how SP1 owners must have felt when the SP2 came out.

Traction control switch, located on top of left fairing. On/off only, no settings

Titanium Blade.... yummy.

Snippet from Honda's press release:

2012 VFR1200F
Refined 1200cc V4 Sports Tourer

Release date: 8 November 2011
Model updates: Increased engine torque; greater tank range; Traction Control System; revised styling; more comfortable seat; Dual Clutch Transmission (Optional); new LED indicators
Last updated: 16 September 2011

1 Model overview
2 Key upgrades
3 Model details
4 Colours
5 Model history
6 Optional equipment
7 Technical specification

1. Model overview
The distinctive VFR1200F has been developed for 2012. The engine now offers even greater performance, with significantly more refined torque between 2000rpm and 4000rpm. Changes to the PGM-FI fuel injection system, combined with increased tank capacity, mean the VFR1200F can now travel more than 186 miles on a single tank of petrol. The optional Dual Clutch Transmission has been improved, with new functionalities. The adoption of a reassuring Traction Control System and along with a more comfortable seating position, further enhance the bike’s all-round capabilities.

Launched in 2009, the VFR1200F was developed
to deliver a blend of sports and touring capabilities using the latest technologies. It was a clean-sheet interpretation of the ultimate road-sport machine – a concept driven by extensive understanding of customer needs and the adoption of state-of-the-art technologies.

In pursuit of heightened levels of control and feedback, the VFR1200F adopted the latest race-track bred technologies, adapted and evolved to create a machine that can be many things to many riders. The harmonic growl of the flexible and responsive V4 motor rekindles the emotions inspired by previous iconic VFRs, with its unique ‘heartbeat’ engine feel and an unrivalled level of refined performance.

2. Key upgrades

2.1 Engine 
Stronger torque NEW
For 2012 the V4’s already impressive torque has been made stronger still, with increased drive between 2000rpm and 4000rpm.

Traction Control System NEW
For 2012 the VFR1200F also benefits from Honda’s Traction Control System , which helps ensure the power is put down optimally, safely and securely, even on surfaces with limited grip.

Dual Clutch Transmission (optional) NEW
The VFR1200F was the first motorcycle to feature Honda’s innovative Dual Clutch Transmission, which has been significantly developed for the 2012 model.  Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission ensures even smoother and seamless gear changes in any of its three riding modes. Using two electronically controlled clutches, the system offers the choice of manual gear shifting and two fully automatic modes, one for general use (D-mode) and another for high performance riding (S-mode). The VF1200F’s Dual Clutch Transmission also features new software logic with added functionality.

2.2 Ergonomic Design 
Greater comfort NEW
The new seat design features new stitching and a new coating finish for improved seat grip and improved quality.

3. Model details

3.1 Styling
Designed in Europe
The designers of the VFR1200F
drew on two threads of Japanese culture through the design process. The Japanese word ‘Ma’ can be described as ‘the space between things’. It is perhaps easiest to understand it in relation to music. If one thinks of the intrinsic importance of a measure of silence or the pause between movements in a classical symphony, and the effect on the performance if someone accidentally applauds or disturbs the silence. That illustrates the importance of ‘Ma’. The other concepttsuya’ describes the shine or vitality of an object, its charm, and the way it attracts and holds the eye. Focusing on tsuya gives a new significance to every line, curve and angle. Both these elements were of paramount importance to the design philosophy. The LED indicators used for the first time on a large capacity Honda motorcycle, ensures optimum visibility.

Form follows function
To a large degree; pure function determined the VFR1200F’s form. Mass centralisation, consummate rider control and aerodynamic efficiency provided the key underlying design criteria and from this starting point the machine’s form evolved. The remarkably narrow cylinder heads and clever cylinder spacing allowed a very narrow waist, effectively lowering the seat height and thus making it easier for the rider to place both feet flat on the ground at rest. This wasp-like waist also gives the rider the feeling of being ‘in’ the bike rather than perched on top – crucial for feedback and control. The fuel tank’s elegant yet complicated contours support and assist the rider to add extra elements of control and heightened levels of feedback whatever the riding situation. The ergonomically styled fairing works in harmony with the fuel tank to provide extra support and efficient weather protection for the rider and pillion. Even the hand controls and switchgear are engineered to ergonomic advantage.

Layered fairing technology
The patented layered fairing design of the VFR1200F is a perfect match of form and function. Designers and engineers worked together to create a uniquely beautiful shape and, at the same time, optimal air flow and heat management. The fairing design incorporates two layers, which harnesses the benefits of flowing air to the machine’s dynamic and mechanical advantage. This has two functions: air entering between the layers and through two oval-shaped spaces in the front of the fairing is channelled in exactly the directions needed to enhance the bike’s stability at higher speeds. Secondly, by effectively increasing the speed of the air by channelling it through smaller apertures before it reaches the radiators, engine cooling is optimised and the hot, exhaust air is channelled away from the rider and passenger. The heat generated by the powerful V4 engine is also channelled away to keep hot air away from the rider.

Attention to detail
A balance of positive and negative surfaces gives the front of the motorcycle a light, open look while also creating a profile that slices through the wind with minimal resistance. A strongly defined X-shape characterises the front of the machine. Concave surfaces direct the eye and air up towards the windscreen, which incorporates another air-directing aperture at its lower edge. Even the edges of the screen have been crafted to enhance stability at speed. The light from the powerful single line-beam headlight streams into two tinted LED-look strips that frame it, increasing the feeling of lightness and space.

The cowl and body are fused together, creating one smooth, unified, aerodynamic surface. The compact rear tapers upwards, emphasising the bike’s lightness and dynamic shape, while the tail-light and rear indicators subtly mimic the frontal design.

Luxurious finish
The 2012 machine continues to benefit from painting technologies specially developed at the hi-tech Kumamoto factory, focused on creating top-quality colouring with the most uniform coverage. A deep clear-coat finish enhances the bodywork colour, creating a luxurious, high-class shine. The mirror-like surfaces create a sharp, memorable profile that attracts attention even from a distance.

3.2 Engine
Even stronger midrange performance NEW
The VFR1200F engine was designed to provide its rider with strong power and torque, for a power delivery that is both responsive and exciting. It also delivers the invigorating engine sound and feel that have characterised Honda’s previous V4 machines. The VFR1200F has already established a reputation for delivering both effortless travel and an invigorating riding experience;  the V4 engine’s performance has always been most impressive at the engine rpm that matter most, in the low and midrange, making it possible for the rider to simply roll on and off the throttle while powering through bends. For 2012, low-rpm torque has been made stronger still, with increased drive between 2000rpm and 4000rpm to make the bike even more fun to ride.

Improved fuel efficiency NEW
For 2012 the VFR1200F’s advanced PGM-FI fuel injection has been revised to improve fuel efficiency. This, in conjunction with an increase in tank capacity of half a litre to 19 litres, means the VFR1200F can now cover more than 186 miles on a single tank of fuel.

Smooth delivery  
There were several challenges involved in tailoring the strong V4 power for use in an all-round machine that can be used for weekend enjoyment, commuting and long-distance touring. Key elements of the VFR1200F’s power characteristics are its response and strong torque delivery. To allow full enjoyment of the engine’s power while still providing a high level of comfort, vibration needed to be carefully managed.

A unique cylinder layout was developed for this purpose. Instead of the traditional V4 cylinder configuration, with the cylinders evenly spaced front-to-rear, the VFR1200F adopts an ingenious solution in order to centralise mass and at the same time achieve a compact, space-saving solution. The rear cylinders are placed side by side but close together, while the front cylinders are more widely spaced. This layout allows for a slim, compact ‘waist’ that fits comfortably between the rider’s legs. It also supports mass centralisation, thus contributing to the bike’s balanced feel and ease of control. With no right-left couple imbalance, the need for a balancer is eliminated and friction is reduced.

A Phase-shift Crankshaft complements the advantages of the cylinder layout. Operating with a 28° throw, it effectively reduces primary vibration and noise, eliminating the need for a power-sapping balance shaft. The V4 is characterised by very strong low-rpm torque. To allow the rider to comfortably take full advantage of this torque, delivery is smoothed by four drivetrain dampers, which further eliminate uncomfortable vibration and backlash.

Racing technologies  
The VFR1200F utilises the UNICAM single overhead camshaft cylinder head design from the world-class CRF off-road machines. The logic was straightforward: in an environment where space, performance and weight are at a premium this technology was perfect for a project where mass centralisation and ergonomics were prime design criteria. Also borrowed from the CRF range and the RC211V MotoGP racer is the sealed crankcase system that reduces the pumping loss created through piston movement, and air density. This system had never been used on a road machine before but the gains for the rider are identical - electrifying throttle response and improved fuel consumption.

Refined control 
A throttle-by-wire system maximises the rider’s feeling of connectivity with the VFR1200F. Providing light, precise fuel metering at all engine parameters, this highly developed system gives the rider heightened levels of control, whatever the situation. To aid control under intense deceleration a slipper clutch is fitted, similar to the system on the CBR1000RR Fireblade. When the rider downshifts early the clutch is designed to slip, thus preventing the rear wheel from inadvertently locking up, allowing the rider to stay firmly in control.

Innovative transmission layout and ground-breaking shaft drive system  
A compact transmission layout contributes to high-speed stability with good handling and excellent traction capability. The highly developed shaft drive system features an offset propeller shaft and a pivot that expands vertically as well as a sliding constant velocity joint that takes up any variations in length during the rear wheel’s arc of travel. At the output shaft a clutch damper absorbs backlash effectively. Thanks to the rigidity of the pivot, stability is improved and throttle-to-drive delivery is much more direct.

Unique exhaust and exhilarating sound  
Engineers and designers alike focused not only on the engine’s power and delivery, but also on its feel and sound. They chose a configuration which would emulate the briskness of a typical inline-4 engine’s performance but deliver this with the beat and feel that are pure V4. The exhaust layout was made as compact as possible with the assembly of catalyser-containing exhaust pipes placed on one side of the sump and the exhaust pipes of the rear cylinder bank placed on the other side. On the bike’s right flank a triangular-shaped muffler highlights the styling lines of the bodywork.

The combined induction and exhaust notes create a raw, compelling sound that is authentic Honda V4 and distinguishes the VFR1200F from any other motorcycle. At idle it pulses smoothly, hinting at the engine’s huge performance potential. Each twist of the throttle releases a burst of instant V4 aggression that becomes a thrilling howl as it rises quickly through the revs. The sound and beat of this engine contribute to the unique character of the machine and are as essential to the design as the bodywork or riding position.

A key element in the raw emotion of this V4’s sound is the exhaust system. Engineered to provide excellent cornering clearance and minimal intrusion to the rider’s and pillion’s feet position, the high-volume, twin outlet high-chrome muffler produces an unobtrusive but fantastically stirring note. At low revs the noise is off-beat and bass-rich. Further up the rev range, once the servo-operated valve is opened, the noise changes to a truly inspiring, hard-edged V4

3.3 Suspension
Peerless handling and stability
The VFR1200F frame, suspension and drive components are brought together in a unique configuration that facilitates both sports bike power and smooth stability. Its strong aluminium twin-spar diamond configuration frame is both lightweight and rigid. The swingarm and driveshaft length are optimised without extending the overall length of the motorcycle. The long swingarm contributes to balanced, confident manoeuvring and exceptional high-speed stability.
The swingarm is complemented by a compliant Pro-Link rear shock absorber with adjustable rebound damping. At the front, sturdy
upside-down 43mm telescopic forks with adjustable preload provide smooth and assured control. Together, these systems ensure a comfortable ride, even with a pillion and luggage on board, and add to the overall feeling of total control.

3.4 Brakes
High-performance braking systems  
The VFR1200F is equipped with Honda’s highly-developed Combined Antilock Braking System. Powerful six-piston calipers for the front and two piston calipers for the rear act on large discs (320mm at the front and 276mm at the rear). The Combined Braking System creates the optimal balance of front and rear braking forces. The addition of a standard-fit compact and lightweight Anti-lock Braking System supports both the motorcycle’s sports riding potential and its touring proficiency.

3.5 Ergonomic Design
Comfortable dual-seat seat NEW
For 2012 the seat of the VFR1200F – a supportive, vacuum-moulded dual-seat design – has been re-designed to offer improved seat grip with new stitching and improved quality with a new seat coating finis.  It features a flat and expansive seating area, with the space to adopt a range of different seating positions. This improves comfort during long days on the road. For the pillion, easy-reach grab handles and footrests ideally positioned for comfort, help create a reassuring sense of security.

Instrument panel  
The VFR1200F instrument panel combines sophisticated styling and practicality. Shielded and at the same time displayed by the tilt of the aerodynamic windscreen, its elegant design fully complements the airy and spacious feel at the front. It also adds to the sensation of total rider control.  A large, sporty analogue rev counter and a digital speedometer are surrounded by LCD readouts which now include actual, average fuel consumption as well as remaining and range of fuel and Traction Control System activation (On/Off). The display also includes a clock, ambient temperature display, HISS indicator and ABS indicator.

Pannier mounts  
To enhance the touring potential of the VFR1200F, the rear is equipped with integrated luggage mounts. These mounting points are unobtrusively cast into the injection moulded under-seat area and pillion footrest mounts. They allow easy installation and removal of specially designed optional panniers without interrupting the motorcycle’s clean styling.

Ergonomic hand controls  
The VFR1200F features a state-of-the-art ergonomic design of the handlebar and switch layout. The designers focussed on meeting the rider’s need to reach controls comfortably and for ease of operation, particularly considering the hand position during cornering. As a result, the VFR1200F received new handlebar switches and a new layout with reversed horn and indicator controls. The indicator switch shape is designed around natural thumb movement for effortless operation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ASV Unbreakable Levers

I was drunk when I ordered these

I stayed up and finished an extra bottle of wine

And stumbled into solomotoparts.com like a drunk might stumble into a whorehouse

They're well-made and all, but they serve no real function and they were expensive.

I guess they look pretty good though.

Kaoko Throttle Control

On my road trip in August I decided that I HAD to have some sort of throttle lock or cruise control if I ever wanted to take a ride like that again. (which I do)

I initially decided that I would look for a Throttlemeister, as I like the size and weight and feel of them. Unfortunately, ordering one wasn't easy, as their website is very amateur and doesn't offer any sort of order system. They want you to print an order form and mail send it in with funds. They're also expensive, so nevermind.

There are alternatives though. After a bit of research I chose a Kaoko throttle lock from twistedthrottle.com. It's not as beefy-looking as the Throttlemeister, but it's well-made (in South Africa) and quite a bit less money.

Installation wasn't the 5 minute ordeal I was expecting. I had a bit of trouble getting the bar-end weight out of my clip-on and the Kaoko didn't want to go in. I realized that the internal diameter of my Helibar clip-ons is very slightly smaller than that of the stock ones. With a little grease and some "encouragement" from a precision tool (claw hammer) I got the device into place where it remains solid and secure. A little tightening on the friction nut and this sucker isn't going anywhere.

My wrists will surely thank me.