Honda VFR400

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Honda VFR400R NC30
A heavily modified VFR400 NC30.
PredecessorVFR400R NC24
SuccessorRVF400R NC35
Class400 cc Superbike
Engine399 cc 4-valve V4

Bore x stroke: 55 x 42 mm
Power: Template:Convert/hp @ 12500 rpm (Euro spec 65 hp)
Torque: Template:Convert/Nm @ 10000 rpm

Rev limit: 14500 rpm (with HRC-kit 15500 rpm)
Transmission6-speed, chain drive
electric starter
SuspensionFront tyre: 120/60R17
Rear tyre: 150/60R18
BrakesFront: dual discs with 4 piston calipers
Rear: single disc with dual piston caliper
Wheelbase1345 mm
Seat height755 mm
Weight164 kg (dry), 182 kg (wet)
Fuel capacity15 L including 3 L reserve
RelatedHonda CBR400
Honda RVF400
Honda VFR750

The Honda VFR400 series of motorcycles were a related series of 399 cc V4-engined motorcycles, which were essentially scaled-down versions of the larger VFR models of the day. They were mainly developed for, and sold in, the Japanese domestic market, in part due to the restrictive motorcycle drivers' license restrictions in Japan at the time.

Outside of Japan, the VFR400R (NC30) was officially imported to the United Kingdom for four years, but with a price tag of £5899 (similar to that of the 1000 cc bikes of the time and actually more than Honda's own VFR750F), failed to sell well. This model was also officially imported (in very limited numbers) and sold in Austria, France and Germany for a few years.

Although mainly produced for the Japanese domestic market, VFR400s have been popular as grey imports in other markets (especially the United Kingdom, and also for racing purposes in the United States) in the "mini" superbike segment.

VFR400 engines produce a noticeable whine when the engine is running, due to the cams being driven by straight cut gears, rather than chains or belts.

Model history

The first generation of VFR400R was the 1986–1987 NC21, which had replaced the VF400F when the Honda VF series was phased out (mainly due to reliability issues). This model had a full fairing, single rectangular headlight, a conventional dual-sided swing arm and was offered in three colour schemes. The NC21 was also available as the VFR400Z, a semi-faired version, and as the VFR400P, a police-specification version.

The next generation of VFR400R was the VFR400R NC24, produced for the 1987 and 1988 model years, the first production Honda motorcycle to utilize an ELF-designed Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm (which later became one of the trademarks of the Honda VFR series). The NC24 was available in three colour schemes in 1987 (including an official Rothmans replica), and one in 1988.

The third generation of VFR400R was the best known, the VFR400R NC30, which was also officially sold in limited numbers in several European countries. The official European models were sometimes companied by a different CDI (ignition device), no 180 km/h (110 mph) restriction, speedometer that reached to 240 km/h (150 mph), larger headlights (Germany) and larger carburettors to produce 5–6 hp more. The NC30 was produced between 1989 and 1992, though unsold bikes were still available to purchase from Honda dealers for several years thereafter. The NC30 reflected the styling of its iconic bigger brother, the VFR750R (RC30), right down to its 18-inch rear wheel. Japanese-spec NC30s were available in a total of eight different colour schemes, produced with three different model year specifications (1989, 1990 and 1992). Export models were made in two different colour schemes, and carried model year designations L and M (1990 and 1991).

The Honda VFR400R NC30 is widely known to be one of the best handling roadbikes ever made. The engine has a very wide powerband for a 400cc engine, which made it a perfect beginners-superbike. It has a hardcore fanbase, especially in Japan and the UK, where the NC30 is a popular track-day bike.


As the RC30 was eventually replaced by the RVF750R (RC45), the VFR400R NC30 evolved into the RVF400R NC35, which was produced between 1994 and 1996. This model featured inverted forks and an updated racing-style fairing.

Speed restriction

In the Japanese market, 400 cc motorcycles were once restricted by top speed, but these restrictions can be removed through various means, including the fitting of an ignition "black box". The VFR400R NC30 is restricted by means of an optical sensor inside the speedometer, and a black sector attached to the indicator needle shaft. When needle swings round to 180 km/h (110 mph) the sector starts to block the sensor, ignition is cut to the front two cylinders thereby reducing power such that the motorcycle can not accelerate further. Later models were restricted by power, with 59 PS (44 kW) being the limit for 400 cc motorcycles, but this kind of restriction generally requires much more difficult power-increasing techniques to circumvent.

Technical specifications


Top speed: 130 mph (208 km/h)
Acceleration: 0–62 mph (100 km/h): 4 s
Braking: 62–0 mph (100 km/h): 3 s

Acceleration + Braking - 0–100–0 mph 22.1 s ( As claimed by Performance Bikes magazine )

See also

External links