Honda VFR1200F - it's official

After months of speculation and spy shots, Honda has officially revealed its eagerly anticipated VFR1200F sports tourer, which hits showrooms in a few weeks time.

At the heart of this futuristic looking motorcycle is Honda's latest 1200cc V4 engine - a brand new, torque-laden yet economical motor with 170bhp and 95lb ft of shove on tap.

It's an ultra-modern unit which Honda claims sets the VFR apart from every other bike on sale. That's so, says the manufacturer, because the new engine emulates the performance and economy of a traditional in-line four but is endowed with the low-down grunt and hearty beat of a V-configuration powerplant.

When it's launched, the VFR1200F will replace the slightly disappointing VFR800 in Honda's UK line-up. And it's been developed in record time, reaching the market just a year after we were teased with the V4 concept bike at the 2008 Cologne motorshow.The production-ready machine looks set to be one of the finest looking bikes in its class. Its fairing has been sculpted to be ergonomically appealing but still offer decent weather protection, while the shape has been specifically designed to be as slippery through the air as possibl, particularly around the front end.

Underneath the skin, its frame is made from rigid, lightweight aluminium, while the swingarm's been extended for extra stability, and a Pro-Link rear shock along with 43mm telescopic front forks are tasked with soaking up the bumps.

The VFR1200F also breaks boundaries by becoming the first bike to offer a fully-automatic dual-clutch transmission as an optional extra. This revolutionary motorcycle gearbox can be left in fully automatic mode or operated by shift buttons on the handlebars. It could revolutionise the way we ride motorbikes. And it could shake up motorbike racing too - the technology used here offers such rapid, seamless shifts that it could give Honda an insurmountable edge in road racing championships.

This isn't just a technology-packed, passion-free sports tourer though. Along with good looks, acoustics have been a vital consideration too, and we're promised a voluble short stub style exhaust tailpipe that keeps clear of both rider and pillion's feet while offering an off-beat and bass-rich tone.It 'inspires emotion,' says Honda. That means it's loud.

Three colours will be available - Candy Prominence Red, Seal Silver Metallic and Pearl Sunbeam White - with 35-litre panniers, Honda's excellent C-ABS system, sat-nav and heated grips are all on the options list.

We think the Japanese firm is about to shake up the market again.
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