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Honda VFR1200F Launch: Tokyo (no) Show

Wed, 21 Oct 2009

IF YOU'VE never been to the Tokyo show before, let me tell you this: you’re missing nowt.

‘You picked a bad year to come,’ said the Yamaha designer and he was spot on. Three halls of mainly Japanese car manufacturers and lots of empty spaces wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Maybe my expectations were too great, maybe I should have been expecting my glass to be half empty? Maybe the recession has gripped here harder than it has in Europe? Your pilgrimage to the NEC in November will be a damned sight cheaper and probably a lot more entertaining.

New bikes? Most of the action was on the Big H’s stand. Firstly there was the chance to view their new VFR1200F in the flesh (the whole reason we’re here in the first place). It looks really European, possibly more BMW than Honda but the attention to detail and quality stands it apart from its Bavarian oppo’. I’ll reserve judgement until we ride the thing tomorrow but, take it from me, it looks much better in the flesh than it does in pics. The paint looks a foot thick and the optional hard luggage looks ace. Looking forward to trying the DCT version with push button gearshift. How odd is that going to be without a clutch lever?

And then there was the achingly cool CB1100 which, as frustrating as it may be, won’t be making it to our shores in 2010. Write to your local MP, burn your bra, pester your local Honda dealer with hate mail or something. Honda UK need to be told that their decision not to bring in the coolest Honda for yonks is a mistake. I want one and so should you.

Also on the Honda stand was the electric Cub. I shouldn’t like this because it’s lacking a proper engine but I have to admit it looked really trick and would be perfect here in Tokyo for slipping about your business quietly.

It was a bit sad to see Buell on the Harley stand. Obviously a bit late to cancel...

In Yamaha land there was a big fuss about a load of chrome and cloth – the new Super Tenere concept. It was a nice idea and it was kinda trick but at the same time totally pointless. Much more interesting was the reverse cylinder YZ450F (carb at the front, pipe at the back) and the resurrection of the 30 year-old SR400 – now with fuel injection and just the same amount of bulb-blowing vibration as it had in 1977. And I know, I own three.

So that’s it. That’s the 41st Tokyo show. Gotta dash: I've a 190mph train to catch…


By Mark Forsyth

See also: Is this Honda's inspiration for mass-centralisation, Honda VFR1200F launch: Even the toilet has ABS, Geeky snippets ahead of the Phillip Island MotoGP.