’17 Honda VFR800X Crossrunner
Athletic adventure styling meets thrilling V4 performance to make an all-rounder with attitude.
Having ridden both older models of the VFR800 and VFR800X for some time, and getting on this new VFR800X had my heart beating like a Very Fast Racer. Thanks to Roy at Honda Wing Umhlanga, I spent a few days testing this well-deserved upgrade to a very popular Honda model.
The VFR800X Crossrunner, which first went on sale in 2011, was the first model in Honda’s Crossover ‘X’ range. The new VFR800X Crossrunner strongly pushes the concept forward, with a clear focus on performance and technology. Its revised engine and chassis, HSTC, LED lights, refined, more upright riding position and sharper styling improved both function and form to create a practical all-purpose motorcycle with sharp V4 edge for excitement with every ride.
Core of the VFR800X Crossrunner is its 90° V4-VTEC DOHC 16 valve engine. It packs boosted low and mid-range torque for fluid, effortless drive plus improved top-end power compared to the previous model, and features a new 4-2-1-1 exhaust similar to the new VFR800F. The “kick-in-the-back” feeling when the revs hit 6500rpm, and the VTEC lunging you forward is one hell of an experience – I loved it!
In addition, the VFR800X Crossrunner rider benefits from Honda Selectable Torque Control system (HSTC) – similar to that fitted to its big-brother VFR1200X Crosstourer. If the system senses an imminent loss of rear wheel traction it seamlessly reduces torque to allow the tyre to grip. Two levels of HSTC are available (plus off) and mode selection appears within the LCD instrumentation.
The suggestive aluminium twin-beam frame features a revised sub-frame, with a stiffer and lighter single-sided aluminium swingarm. Visually identical to the VFR800F, the VFR800X Crossrunner’s suspension has longer travel. ABS is fitted as standard and the front 17-inch hollow-cast aluminium wheel is fitted with dual 310mm discs, worked by radial-mount four-piston callipers.
The VFR800X Crossrunner is a true VFR – a motorcycle designed for hard riding fun, but with style, comfort and practicality. Accordingly, the seat is adjustable, offering two height options, and 5-stage heated grips and Honda’s self-cancelling indicators, ABS, DC Charger, and adjustable screen are all fitted as standard. Full LED lighting adds a distinct presence and effect.
Styling & Equipment
Purely a street-focused machine, and with a strong hint of VFR800F around the ‘X’’ signature ‘white light’ LED headlight, the VFR800X Crossrunner’s overall design follows a theme of ‘tough sophistication’ and its minimal style puts the muscular V4 form firmly on display.
Styling gets its adventure sports DNA from the VFR1200X Crosstourer, with an efficient screen and fairing and fixed beak-like front cowl above a short front mudguard. There’s plenty of room for a pillion and the rear grab rails and pannier mounts integrate into the tail unit; a sump guard protects the engine underside from debris.
Seat height can be adjusted to either 815mm or 835mm to help suit a wider range of riders. The seat itself features a slimmer frontal area, making ground reach easier and providing greater comfort whilst the upright riding position gives the rider great all-around visibility. Combined with the comfortable seat and footpeg positioning, the wide 683mm handlebar puts you firmly in control and ready to whack any corner. The VFR800X Crossrunner is easy to handle in all situations and quick to respond to more aggressive input whether hitting a few bends or riding through the urban jungle.
The VFR800X Crossrunner features Honda’s self-cancelling indicator system. Designed to work unnoticed by the rider, it compares front and rear wheel speed differential when turning (via the ABS wheel sensors) and calculates when to cancel indication when going straight again.
A redesigned LCD dash uses a reverse display against the white LED backlight. The speedometer/tachometer are located together; there’s also a gear position indicator, fuel consumption and cruising range indicator, clock, ambient temperature gauge and twin trip meters. An indicator is included for the 5-stage heated grips. A compact ‘wave’ design key – with internal grooving – reduces the chance of breakage and adds to the overall premium quality feel of the bike.
As important as the agile chassis, a willing and responsive powerplant is a major part of the VFR800X Crossrunner’s appeal. And its 782cc, liquid-cooled 16-valve DOHC 90° V4-VTEC engine served up to improved performance, generating more low-to-midrange power and torque. Boosted peak power of 78kW is delivered at 10,250rpm, with an immediately noticeable increased torque output through the bottom and mid-rpm ranges. Peak torque of 75Nm is delivered at 8,500rpm.
HYPER VTEC operates only one pair of inlet/exhaust valves per cylinder at low rpm, switching to four as revs rise. The transition from two to four valve operation was refined, producing a strong and completely linear power delivery with instant acceleration.
The dual radiator units were made smaller, with increased core density and sited at the front of the engine rather than either side as before, making for a slimmer feeling motorcycle that’s easy to manage.
Honda’s Selectable Torque Control system (HSTC) compares front and rear wheel speeds via the non-contact ABS sensors; when the slip ratio of the rear wheel exceeds a pre-set amount the ECU restricts fuel injection and ignition, reducing torque to smoothly maintain grip.
The system is operated from the left handlebar and features 2 modes of operation, plus off. The default setting when the ignition is turned on is mode 2 – the maximum amount of torque reduction. From this start point mode 1 can be selected; it offers less system intervention and the HSTC can be switched off completely if desired. If HSTC intervenes you will receive an alert from a flashing high-intensity ‘T’ indicator located on the dash.
A quick-shifter is available as a Honda Genuine accessory. Operated by a shift switch attached to the gear lever, it plugs directly into the ECU and on detection of an upward gear change momentarily restrains the engine’s fuel injection and ignition, allowing the next gear to slot instantly home. It works seamlessly in everyday riding and touring – reducing fatigue – and offers faster gear changes during sporty, full-throttle upshifts.
For 2017, the engine is EURO4 compliant. With a 2-year warranty and 12000km service intervals, you can be sure Honda has your back.
Built to deal with whatever the road ahead has to offer, the VFR800X Crossrunner’s muscular and minimal adventure-sport style puts the hardware on display, showing off the V4-VTEC engine and aluminium twin-beam frame. Increased suspension travel – front and rear – smoothes rough road surface, while the upright riding position and wide handlebars deliver razor-sharp steering response and agile handling from city block to mountain pass. It’s made to handle long distances too, with a seat height that adjusts to either 815mm or 835mm for optimal comfort.
“We’ve spent years developing technology that makes your ride effortlessly enthralling. And we believe a greater awareness of the road should come with greater control” says Honda.
Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC)
The Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) system carefully monitors rear wheel traction, using smooth engine management to ensure that the tyre maintains grip in slippery conditions. Controlled from the handlebar, it features three modes of selection, which appears within the LCD instrumentation.
The VFR800X Crossrunner’s distinctive x-shape headlight uses a bright ‘white light’ LED for improved visibility and beam penetration. This unique design is combined with the led taillight to reduce the electrical drain on the engine.
Dimensions & Weights
Claimed KERB Weight: 242kg
Seat Height: 835/815mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 20.8L
Fuel Consumption: 18.8km/litre (WMTC)