Presentation of the Honda VTR 1000

Presentation, Honda VTR 1000 F Firestorm

Honda VTR 1000

Italy’s sport twins were sole rulers. Forza Italia. Now the world power Honda strikes back, and their VTR 1000 will annoy not only Ducatitsti.

D.he guesswork about one of the alleged IFMA stars has come to an end: After speculation about Honda’s sporty two-cylinder engine first rolled over, then technological will-o’-the-wisps flared up on the basis of apparently secured information, MOTORRAD can now exclusively provide tangible information.

Two things in advance: The new one will not appear as radically sporty as Ducatis 916, nor will it do without a main frame. But if you have eyes to look, you can see from the first photos that this reluctance certainly increases the number of those who could fall for the VTR 1000 Firestorm. “All over all,” is how Honda Germany describes their character and sorts them seamlessly into their own top sellers la CBR 600, who renounce tough sportiness, but whose sporty facilities are convincing even in everyday life. Because the brand-typical foursome still leave something to be desired acoustically and in terms of power delivery, Honda’s engineers have been planning for years to create something light and sporty around a strong twin. The continued success of the classy Ducati may ultimately have tipped the balance, as not only indicated by the color variants of the VTR, which will crown the IFMA stand in pure yellow, black or red. The technical key data also reveal whose terrain it is supposed to raid: If you add 12 kilograms for 17 liters of petrol to 192.5 kilograms of curb weight, you end up pretty much exactly where the scales on the Ducati oscillate. 107 HP rated power are against 108 Cavalli, but the Honda needs 1000 more crankshaft revolutions than the Duc. In return, the Japanese 90-degree V-Twin shines with an enormous torque of 104 Newton meters at 7250 rpm. For comparison: the Italian brings it to 86 at 9000 rpm, the open-top CBR 900 RR to 91 at 8800 rpm. All the power and magnificence are produced by two slipper pistons measuring 98 millimeters in length and attacking a crankshaft journal, the stroke of which in the water-cooled cylinders is 66 millimeters, as on the Ducati. Four valves, actuated by two chain-driven camshafts, hang in the two completely identical cylinder heads, and that in turn means that the camshaft drive is from the left in the front cylinder and from the right in the rear cylinder. In the V-neck of the engine hang two carburettors with a full 48 millimeters passage, which draw their breathing air from an eight-liter air filter box. A map ignition registers the opening angle of the throttle valve as well as the engine speed – and at 10300 rpm, which is exactly above the nominal speed, it simply locks it off. Two in one in two, that’s the construction of the close-fitting exhaust system, the routing of the rear manifold between the pivot point of the swing arm and the shock absorber saves overall width. The engine’s heat balance is regulated by two radiators, placed at a flat angle to the left and right of the front cylinder. This arrangement, incidentally also provided for in the MOTORRAD study LOGO 500 (see issue 11/1996), enables a narrow cladding silhouette and thus guarantees low air resistance. At the same time, the negative pressure on the cladding surfaces ensures that the air is practically torn out of the lateral outlet openings. At low speeds, a fan assists the supply, and kindly it blows the hot air not on the driver’s shins, but against the normal flow direction. The rather massive motor takes on load-bearing functions; one of the reasons why the tiny aluminum bridge frame including lattice tube beams only weighs seven kilograms. Both footrests and side stands are supported against the horizontally split engine housing, which at the rear still accommodates the two-arm swing arm. Their shock absorber, in turn, has its upper abutment in the outermost corner of the frame and is controlled by Honda’s own Pro-Link lever system. As with the conventional fork with 41 millimeter thick stanchions, spring preload and rebound damping are adjustable, the spring travel is 109 and 124 millimeters. It would be premature to conclude that this would mean heightened sportiness after all, because the original tires set a clear signal in the direction of touring: the two alternatives are called the Dunlop D204 or Michelin Macadam 90X. The narrow upholstery behind the deeply retracted driver’s seat also indicates multifunctional use, although it was thought for a long time to interpret the VTR as a single-seater. The braking system will not have long been discussed, because two floating discs are now standard. With the Honda you can be gripped by two four-piston calipers, while a single-piston caliper does the job at the rear. The builders are still silent about more intimate equipment details, but there is one confusing emblazoned front of the VTR – a free-form headlamp in which the reflector arches in several levels and thus guarantees a higher light output. So finally a light source in the motorcycle that seems equal to sporty driving performance. It should be on the same level – of course – the Ducati 916, but the best is yet to come: The price remains significantly below, and a look at the Honda price list should reveal how clearly. The VTR must not be more expensive than a 900 RR. But it also needs a certain safety distance to the CBR 600. Makes 18,000 to 19,000 marks.

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Presentation of the Honda VTR 1000

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Honda VTR 1000

Ducati 916 in sight (archive version)

This is how it started: Ducati’s super sports offensive opened everyone’s eyes. In the everyday version of the Strada, the light, 108 hp 916 drove away from most four-cylinder engines, the expensive SP with 1 … hp served as the base motorcycle for racing. In order to drive away from the competition, including Honda’s RC 45, in the Superbike World Championship, Ducati exploits the full potential of the Desmo hammer and elicits a good 150 hp from it. Honda wants to withhold a similar career from VTR.

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