Rider’s MOTY award is presented to an all-new or significantly changed motorcycle designated with the current model year. Everyone of our contenders has a viable shot at the title, but one stands out for its singular contribution to motorcycling history. Although the BMW S 1000 RR and Ducati Multistrada 1200 have raised the bar of technology, both represent an evolution of programmability we’ve seen on other bikes in recent years. A paradigm shift occurred with the introduction of Honda’s VFR1200F, our 2010 MOTY winner.
The VFR’s DNA goes back two decades, to Honda’s earliest V4 racing engines, and continuing through a model line that set new standards for performance, handling and refinement and won countless awards, not to mention a cult following. For 2010, Honda’s clean-sheet design integrated the very best of its MotoGP and MX racing technology to build a much more powerful and fuel-efficient, yet lighter and more compact, V4 engine than its predecessor. But Honda’s trump card is the optional dual-clutch transmission (DCT), a first on a motorcycle. Available on some high-end sports cars, DCTs provide silky smooth, split-second shifts, and Honda’s does so in two automatic modes (Drive or Sport) or manually with a trigger shifter—no clutch lever, no shift lever. All this on a genteel sportbike equipped with shaft drive, ABS, optional hard luggage, and exquisite fit and finish. We based our selection on riding the DCT-equipped VFR at its intro in Japan and our full road test of the standard model, which has a six-speed transmission with slipper clutch. Look for a full test of the DCT model in an upcoming issue. Our congratulations to Honda for the VFR1200F, Rider’s 2010 Motorcycle of the Year.
Originally published in the July 2010 issue of Rider Magazine