All Comparisons – VFR800F, Z1000SX or CBF1000F: Each His Way! – VFR, SX and CBF attack hard in the Doubs

VFR800F, Z1000SX or CBF1000F: each his way !

All Comparisons - VFR800F, Z1000SX or CBF1000F: Each His Way! - VFR, SX and CBF attack hard in the Doubs

Two new motorcycles meet the same specifications in 2014: the Honda VFR800F and the Kawasaki Z1000SX, designed to cut the road quickly. Site compared them over more than 1000 km, in the company of a surprise guest: the CBF1000F…

VFR, SX and CBF attack hard in the Doubs

The Z1000SX and the CBF1000F compete in simplicity when it comes to detaching suitcases to go for a ride. But to inspect the bindings of the VFR800F, we imagine that the balance sheet should be as good. The CBF must finally bow on this point because of its heavy and ugly steel tube reinforcement system….

We note in passing a big flaw on the Kawasaki: the lock that allows to open the – small – storage space under the passenger seat is under the wheel arch … Exposed to dirt – our lock was also recalcitrant – it is very difficult to access and dirty, especially when the suitcases are installed. The two Honda’s are much better thought out.

Fortunately, the Zed is forgiven from the first rotations of the right handle! The deep sound of his airbox is enough to bring back a smile. In addition, the sun is shining and the roads are dry … Suffice to say that once again, the task of the K-TRC traction control is simplified (read our) !

The first kilometers are made on narrow and old Franche-Comte roads, strewn here and there with gravel. Under these conditions, the CBF1000F still wins the pawn of its little comrades thanks to its ultra natural and instinctive behavior..

The "Cebe" is handled efficiently by means of a handlebars ideally placed for this gymkhana session around the many holes, bumps and gravel. The 160mm rear tire and the long wheelbase (5cm longer than the Zed, 3.5cm longer than the VFR) combine to make this Honda easy to put on the corner, then perfectly stable..

In comparison, the Z1000SX’s front axle engages and requires a short adjustment period. While the new Bridgestone S20 has made it possible to erase this tendency of the Kawasaki to fall slightly inside the bend, but it remains sensitive at low speed and must be integrated by the rider..

Perfectly neutral, the front end of the VFR800F seems a little heavier than that of its brother CBF: the fault of its low half-handlebars – but not narrow for all that – which require a little more engagement of the arms and the top of the body to jump from one angle to another at the option of turns … and cow dung !

The ride continues gently – for now … – and the CBF continues its seduction operation thanks to its soft controls: its clutch levers, selector and brakes are the most pleasant to handle and its engine bends at will. the biker.

On this point however, the Z1000SX manages to raise the level of play: like the Honda, the Kawasaki inline 4-cylinder accepts to trot at less than 40 km / h in the last gear – which the V4 is incapable of -, but he leaves with more vigor !

From 3500 rpm, the Zed delivers a first kick that propels its pilot at the head of the procession. The absence of the gear indicator light (as on the Cebe) is not a problem: the Kawa can do everything in 6th gear! Behind, the CBF follows discreetly but effectively, while the VFR must engage fourth gear … in fourth gear !

The rider perched on the VFR800F realizes that his clutch lever requires a little more grip than that of the CBF1000F (as much as on the Z1000SX) and that the selection of the box is a bit rougher than on the two other. But what he perceives and remembers above all is the change in tone of his engine !

Bass and muffled below 6500 rpm, the sound of the V4 becomes more acute and metallic when the VTEC system kicks in. After the pilot of the SX, it is the turn of the pilot of the VFR to wear a very large banana under his helmet – even in his underpants … The signal has been launched: hostilities are open !

The wider and better paved roads effectively allow Site testers to pick up the pace. And from the first corners, the CBF1000F shows its limits: the suspensions which absorbed the slightest bumps wonderfully now plunge a little too much under braking and acceleration..

The difference is striking between the Cebe and the Zed, whose suspensions were previously considered a little too dry. By gripping the right lever of the Z1000SX, the pilot benefits from more powerful braking, which nevertheless disturbs less the balance of the machine and its trajectory..

The control of the front calipers of the Kawasaki is also less firm than that of the "big" Honda, which allows to measure even more precisely its actions … and to make the brakes more easily to the little comrade who is on the CBF !

That of the other Honda will be harder to overtake, because the front brake of the VFR offers a feeling and efficiency comparable to those of the SX … Regarding the rear brake, however, it is much more pleasant on the VFR800F.

Indeed, the rear brake of the Z1000SX is as bad as its front brake is good: the pedal, hard, activates a rear caliper far too timid. We are 1000 places from the satisfactory rear brake of the VFR, and 10,000 from that of the CBF1000F combined with the central piston of the front left caliper.

When the mood is for the ride, the driver of the CBF1000F and his possible passenger will greatly appreciate the aplomb and smoothness of the C-ABS that Honda tends to give up on its mid-displacement: its engineers recently assured us that customers prefer manage the front-to-back dosage themselves (read our).

But today, MNC is driving solo and has decided to put on the gas and brake late … In this game, the Z1000SX has certain advantages. In addition to its excellent front brakes, the Kawa has an engine that is as flexible as it is explosive. This character is also increased by the pull of its handle, damn short! Traction control (standard K-TRC) could save some in the wet…

Although she had to leave at the border – but what border anyway ?! – no less than 36 horsepower, the Zed does not lack peps at mid-range, nor extension in the towers. The bitch even gives us a good ladle of torque around 6000 rpm and, strangely, the pilot no longer complains at all about vibrations, too focused that he is fine-tuning his trajectories !

The wear strip on the sides of the S20s proves that the big in-line 4-cylinder is pulsating badly. By way of comparison, the T30s of the VFR800F and the Road Attacks of the CBF, which were not spared as they were driven at the same speeds, suffered less..

Another advantage of the Zed on departmental: its handlebars placed at mid-height, between that of the VFR and that of the CBF, offers a formidable compromise … The "païlotes" perched on their Ninja, Fireblade or Panigale may have difficult to follow in the winding. Ditto for those sitting on the new VFR !

Like the "real" sports cars, the VFR800F and its pilot are indeed more at ease in large curves than in small virolos. The more compact driving position will seem more natural to some, confused by the more vertical posture induced by the SX.

Likewise, the need to keep the V4 above 7000 rpm to take advantage of the work of the four valves and their exhilarating melody – or even beyond the 9000 to follow the Zed – will perfectly match the temperament of some excited fans of the handle.

They will be able to give it to their heart’s content when exiting a curve as the VFR800F drives perfectly, better than the Z1000SX whose rear axle ends up waddling … if you really seek it! On the other hand, it is difficult to fault the ground clearance of the three motorcycles: even the CBF1000F accepts an impressive angle (seen from behind, it seems!).

Note that this comparison took place on dry roads and that the electronic assistance (ABS and traction control on the VFR and SX, C-ABS on the Cebe) did not have to intervene. Likewise, MNC only tested once the "Low" mode of the Kawasaki which restricts the engine "at about 75% of its power, on the French version as on the original one", specifies Kawasaki France. A Z1000 at 80 hp? And then what else? ?!

At the end of our arsouille in the beautiful region of Ornans (25), the refueling was again carried out and the consumptions calculated: the VFR burned on average 6.3 l / 100km, while it was satisfied with 5.8 l / 100km during our descent to Besançon.

Sober in "2-valve" mode, the "4-valve" V4 is more greedy than the in-line 4-cylinder of the CBF whose consumption (5.9 l / 100 km on the motorway with suitcases and top box) is limit on small roads to 6.1 (always with top box). On the Z, there is a comparable increase: from 6.2 with suitcases on the motorway, it goes to 6.5 without suitcases on small roads.

During its return to Paris, Site sought to limit its consumption, each testman taking the best advantage of his bubble. By carefully taking the suction of the Cebe (5.7 l / 100 km), the Zed managed to land a reasonable 5.6 l / 100, while the VFR fell to 5.3 liters.

When it comes to autonomy, therefore, the VFR800F obtains the maximum score: considering the average consumption of our test (5.8 l / 100 km over the 1400 km traveled), the bright red Honda can travel 371 km before emptying its 21 tank, 5 liters.

By fetching the last drop of gasoline, the CBF1000F (5.8 l / 100 km also, but loaded) can travel 345 km thanks to its 20-liter tank, while the Z1000SX will stop after 317 km ( 6 l / 100 km over the whole of this test and 19 liters in the tank).

In a hurry to return – to publish this comparison! -, Site joined the capital by the motorway, to the great joy of the CBF1000F, delighted to quickly survey the terminals. The Z1000SX would have preferred to set fire to small and large departmental and the VFR800F to rocket on nationals … "To each his own way", as the song says !

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