Honda VFR400 NC30
In 1998 one of my friends in the Tees Tornadoes was selling Japanese grey import bikes. I asked him to get me a low mileage VFR400. He got me one 5 years old with just 6000 kilometres on the clock.
We de-restricted it and converted the speedo to show miles per hour but the odometer still read in clicks.
The VFR NC30 is a very small light sports bike only 400ccs but 60bhp from its 16 valve vee four engine it was fitted with the same brakes as a Fireblade so the only limit on stopping is keeping the back wheel on the floor!
The engine revved to 14,500 so if you usually ride a boxer BMW like me its best not to look at the rev counter and just keep changing gears as quick as you can.
This was bought purely as a fun bike but as always it soon ended up getting loaded up and going to rallies. Even fully loaded you could idle about in top gear but if you really wanted to go you needed to be over 10,000 rpm and things got exciting.
One of the reasons I bought it was that at the time the Dean Valley MCC had a meeting in Melton Mowbray once a month. I had worked out a nice route from Bradford on A roads for the trip down but returning mainly by motorway. The little Honda was the perfect tool for the job with excellent handling for the run down and plenty fast enough for the motorway coming home.
Unlike my FZR1000 I felt I could really use this bike to the maximum but even so it always felt like you could have gone faster round most corners if only you were brave enough, the bike handled like a dream.
It is probably the best bike I have been to the TT on. I spent lots of time out on the mountain and could actually manage to ride it flat out without scaring myself too much unlike some other bikes I have ridden over there.
Performance wise it was fast for a 400 it smoothed out and started to really go at 10,000rpm. Unless you were going downhill it was as fast in 5th gear as 6th easily hitting the rev limiter at 15k and an indicated 130ish.
My biggest expense with this bike was tyres I used production racing tyres and only got 4,000 kilometres out of them but it was not a high mileage tourer so why worry?
I kept the bike for 2 years or so and enjoyed every ride on it I have the just checked the DVLA website and it is still taxed so someone is still enjoying it 20 years on.
- Ted Trett