History of the Interceptor: Iconic and More Compelling than Ever

  • AUTHOR
    American Honda
  • POSTED
    Mar 12, 2014
  • POSTED IN
    Street

The Interceptor® has been one of Honda’s most iconic, enduring motorcycles, and for 2014 there are two new members of the family, the Interceptor and the Interceptor Deluxe.

Both models still feature that broad, supple powerband Honda’s V-4s have always been famous for, with a compelling combination of right-now torque and a thrilling rush of power as the tach needle sweeps toward redline. That comes courtesy of Honda’s unique VTEC system, which uses two of the four valves per cylinder at lower engine speeds, then switches to four valves per cylinder as revs increase. In this latest VFR®, the transition has been smoothed for a much more linear transition as revs climb.

These latest Interceptors retain the previous VFR’s triple-box-section aluminum twin-spar frame with its tuned, pivotless design, but have a new, single-side Pro-Arm® swingarm for both excellent sport performance and ride comfort, a combination for which Interceptors are renowned. The 43mm front fork features spring-preload adjustment (plus rebound-damping adjustment on the Deluxe), along with new, radial-mount front calipers. The chassis also includes revised, more-upright ergonomics for improved long-term comfort, plus a saddle adjustable to either a 31.0-inch or 31.8-inch height.

The Deluxe features all of that, plus ABS for added confidence in stopping in less-than-ideal traction settings and changing weather conditions, as well as Traction Control to limit real-wheel slip under hard acceleration as well as on low-traction road conditions. There also are heated grips, a centerstand and self-canceling turn signals that monitor wheel speed, distance and time.

It all adds up to a pair of new Interceptors that build on the model’s remarkable legacy of being one of the most balanced motorcycles on the planet, one capable of sport riding as well as long-haul sport touring, and two-up rides plus commuting.

It’s also a great opportunity to take a look back at the features and technology of past Honda Interceptors and other significant V-4 machines. So take a trip with us down memory lane. …

1983 VF750F Interceptor

The first, original VF750F Interceptor simply redefined sport bike performance. There was nothing like it at the time: a liquid-cooled 90 degree V-4 provided an incredible powerband, accessible at any throttle opening, while a race-bred chassis offered handling never before available on anything short of a pure racing machine. Yet, despite its sporting capabilities, the first Interceptor also had what has become a signature of Honda motorcycles: balance. It was a balance of performance, comfort and versatility that has always been a hallmark of the Interceptor line, and Honda’s V-4-powered motorcycles.

1986 VFR750F Interceptor

The second-generation Interceptor was even more impressive than the first, boasting an aluminum twin-spar frame and all-new V-4 with gear-driven cams, as well as being almost 45 pounds lighter. The changes made the VFR’s sporting and racetrack capabilities sharper than anything else available, while it still retained the comfort and all-round perfection of the original. While the original Interceptor was truly remarkable, its successor was doubly so.

1990 VFR750F and RC30

Introduced together, the VFR750F and RC30 were two incredible expressions of Honda’s engineering power. The VFR managed to broaden the versatility of its Interceptor predecessor, while the RC30 narrowed its focus to pure racetrack ability, while remaining a compelling ride for the street. Although they shared many features, such as a twin-spar aluminum frame and Pro-Arm single-side swingarm, the RC30 is arguably more desirable, a handmade-by-HRC jewel.

1994 VFR750F

All-new bodywork framed the third-generation VFR750F, with alterations to the 90-degree V-4 and aluminum twin-spar frame that improved power and sharpened the bike’s already impressive handling, yet also slashed weight by an incredible 20 pounds. Such breakthroughs retained the VFR’s customary wide-range versatility and balance, carrying on the Interceptor tradition with ease.

1994 RC45

An HRC masterpiece, like the RC30, the RC45 was even lighter, faster and more sophisticated. An all-new engine with the same formula of a 90-degree V-4 now featured programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI) to increase power and improve throttle response. A new twin-spar aluminum frame offered sharper handling to match the engine’s power. While the RC45 didn’t try to match the all-around capabilities of other Honda V-4s, what it yielded it made up for with sheer prowess on the racetrack.

1998 Interceptor

1998 saw another complete redesign of the Interceptor, one that reinforced its sporting capabilities considerably. The new bike even exceeded the technical specifications of Honda’s RC45, with aluminum/graphite/ceramic composite cylinder sleeves, and introduced the pivotless Pro-Arm frame to the Interceptor legacy. There was also a third-generation version of Honda’s linked braking system (LBS). Yet, despite the tighter focus on sporting prowess, the Interceptor lost none of its balance and versatility.

2002 Interceptor

For 2002, Honda revamped the Interceptor, some ways subtly, and other ways not so much. There was a new frame with thicker walls for the aluminum twin-spar frame, and a longer single-side swingarm with pivotless design. ABS with revised linked brakes completed the chassis changes. The fabled V-4 powerplant got Honda’s VTEC for a broader powerband and better fuel efficiency, and chain-driven cams for lighter weight. The changes broadened the Interceptor’s capabilities and refined its existing ones.

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