“Old School” Retrotest: Honda VFR750F RC36 II

Three seasons had to pass since Honda presented the first generation of VFR750F RC36, until he decided that the time had come to take over in the form of a new variant.

On the other hand, it is not a simple company after the good reception by the public of the sport-tourism of the Japanese brand, its darling above all and a practically unparalleled benchmark within direct competition.

By 1994 the Honda VFR750F RC36 II It came to turn the category upside down again, improving its predecessor in practically every aspect, but keeping the philosophy and concept that was born with it in 1990 completely unchanged: “Change everything so that everything stays the same.”

Precisely in this task of keeping some technical aspects unchanged, Honda continued in its thirteen of self-limiting the commendable power to 100 HP. 748 cc 90º V4although in practice it seems that it had a more pronounced “punch” in the upper part of the tachometer.

However, it continued to delight us with the model’s intrinsic softness and a balanced power band of forcefulness and linearity, a fact that had made it one of the crown jewels within the golden wing brand.

In short, Honda knew perfectly what to do, and what not to do, to correct the few, but well-known defects of the first generation RC36.

Honda VFR750F RC36 II: The technique

We have already put into context what the presence of the Honda VFR750F within the brand’s range in the 90s. The Japanese firm entrusted pure performance or search for track times to other models such as the CBR600F and CBR900 Fireblade of the moment.

The Honda VFR750F perfectly represented the exact measure of performance, comfort, dynamism and ergonomics, all seasoned with exquisite manufacturing quality and the exclusivity of its V4.

Mechanically, it continued to use the same engine as the previous generation, highlighted by technical aspects such as a cascade of gears, a 180º crankshaft or a 16-valve cylinder head. Now 4 Keihin 34mm carburetorsthe same ones we found on the CBR900, were in charge of the power.

These were faster in operation, compensating for the loss of power that occurred at mid-range, in favor of a more forceful upper part of the rev counter.

On the other hand, Honda worked on a fundamental aspect to be able to offer that extra sportiness that the brand’s followers demanded: The cycle part. The suspensions were now firmer, thanks to new settings, in addition to having a closer steering angle.

They also managed to minimize the maximum curb weight to 235 kilograms, reducing this figure by more than 5 kilos compared to the first generation RC36. Likewise, the braking remained unchanged, with a double 296 mm disc and double-piston calipers at the front and a single 256 mm disc at the rear axle, also powered by a third parallel double-piston caliper.

All of this anchored in a set of newly made 17” 5-spoke wheels, shod with 120/70 and 170/60 tires, front and rear respectively. In addition Sling It continued the beautiful rear single arm, joined to the well-known double beam aluminum chassis and removable rear subframe.

Backtest "Old school": Honda VFR750F RC36 II

Honda VFR750F RC36 II: On the road

Many years after falling deeply in love with the acronym VFR and in particular with the RC36 II, among other things because of its design inspired by the legendary Honda NR750, I was able to get the copy that we show you in the photographs today.

Furthermore, this Honda VFR750F It would become the third unit, of the iconic model, that I would have the pleasure of putting myself behind the controls (previously an RC36 I and an 800 VTEC example). Of course, the dynamic differences come to light if we compare it with the first generation, which by the way we will also bring to the section very soon.

Mainly in its driving position, which now invites you to seek the limits in a more natural way. Although the RC36 I seems like a train on rails, with a frontal poise that was almost unmatched at the time, the adjustments made in this second generation lighten the steering noticeably, turning it de facto into a much more agile and easier motorcycle to ride. in sports driving.

Backtest "Old school": Honda VFR750F RC36 II

On the other hand, there are the geometries Honda VFR750F RC36 IIwith a somewhat steeper rear part, as well as a more rounded and less elongated tank that welcomes us in a different way than its predecessor used to do.

As a detail, in this second generation, the seat extensions that covered the sides of the fuel tank are lost, so it visually shows us its intentions, highlighting the sport aspect, although keeping its touring capabilities practically unchanged.

Likewise, and as a point to note, there is its very well-equipped instrument panel where, once again, they try to make this RC36 II “sportier” by placing the tachometer centrally with a white background. Around this is endless information given by elements such as the speedometer, temperature and fuel gauge, as well as the time clock.

Backtest "Old school": Honda VFR750F RC36 II

Once underway, our suspicions are confirmed and the VFR750 RC36 II gives us the sensation of being faster than its predecessor in any circumstance. In addition, that feeling of confidence is rekindled that supports the initial theory of being able to seek the limits of the motorcycle in a simpler and safer way.

This may be helped by the extra 5 HP offered by this variant, although the brand continues to declare 100 HP of power at 10,000 rpm and a maximum speed of 238 km/h. For its part, the braking continues to suffer from a little more bite when it comes to riding at the limit.

In any case, it is clear that Honda was never concerned about this aspect, taking into account where it placed the model by philosophy and conception. The general balance of the set makes up for those small deficiencies that ultimately do not always appear as such, depending on who is in charge.

Backtest "Old school": Honda VFR750F RC36 II

Ergonomically speaking, despite the small changes made to the geometries, it is still very comfortable, not giving rise to fatigue on short and medium distance rides.

In addition, the aerodynamic protection offered by its front dome helps to divert air efficiently, not allowing the neck and shoulders to become overloaded. Both legs and arms are supported without forcing, with a stretched position that transmits naturalness.

Although we notice how when accelerating it loses some forcefulness at mid-range, compared to its predecessor, this RC36 II enjoys a more pronounced thrust until the final phase of its maximum rotation speed.

This helps us when accelerating, overtaking or looking for the limits on our favorite curvy road, without having to constantly resort to shifting. Perhaps that electricity of the previous version has been lost, to the point of reaching the cut and not even noticing it, but a new benchmark is established in sporting terms.

Photos: Retrotest "Old school": Honda VFR750F RC36 II

Honda VFR750F RC36 II: Currently

If you are thinking of getting one of these these days, arm yourself with patience and calm because not many usually go on sale. The reason is none other than that at the time it did not precisely become a top seller for the Japanese brand.

Basically, because its launch price, 1.6 million of the old pesetas, about 20,300 euros today calculating the inflation accumulated since then, was not exactly a bargain. A CBR600F of the time cost 1.2 million or for a CBR900 of the same year we only had to pay 60,000 pesetas more, 360 euros today.

In any case, currently we can find units of the model starting at around 2,500 euros, although the vast majority of them will be quite loaded with kilometers, all of them above 100,000. This should not be a problem, a priori, to get one of them, as long as they show us that they have been maintained in a constant and efficient manner.

Photos: Retrotest "Old school": Honda VFR750F RC36 II

If the VFR750F RC36 stands out for one thing, in any of its versions and years, it is precisely for its reliability and manufacturing quality, making it a practically eternal motorcycle if it has minimal care.

Furthermore, and if we talk about this second generation, it continues to maintain a really high charm for a good part of the fans. Its lines inspired by NR750 They continue to be a stylistic reference of the time that remains undaunted by the onslaught of time almost 30 years after their conception.

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