Video: making Shamu

Dailies -


Making_Shamu.jpgBeen wondering how the Honda VFR1200 is put together? This video shows the bike’s 130 meter long production line that’s capable of producing a finished bike every 90 seconds. Been wondering why Honda decided to make a 591lbs sport tourer with a 160-mile tank range? Sorry, no answers here.  >

  • Cameron Baum

    That’s probably about 40 more per hour than will sell…

  • tedman

    @ 0:38, shamu has an I-4 and a chain drive

    too funny

  • Sloan

    I wonder what else they make there? I saw inline fours and chain drive models in the video too.

  • Salad Shooter

    “Been wondering why Honda decided to make a 591lbs sport tourer with a 160-mile tank range?”

    Empty rhetoric if you haven’t even ridden the bike yet. FWIW, the Kawi ZX14 and the BMW K1300S both weigh 570 (wet) and the Suzuki Hayabusa weighs 580 lbs with a full tank. All three of those have a useful range of approximately 180 miles. Honda is hardly that far off the mark. It’s not a CBR, get over it.

  • Core

    Wow, that’s amazing. There super efficient.

  • Zirq


  • RTRider

    This is the only motorcycle that I know of that I can not put a classification on. It sure is not a sport bike and it is not a sport touring bike. I sure do not know what Honda is up to with this thing. As a sport tourer the seating position is wrong, windscreen is terrible, gas tank is too small, side cases are too small and worst of all the the ugly muffler. Spend big dollars to buy the bike and then more money to buy a decent looking muffler. I would not ride that bike across the street with the stock muffler. The rear of the bike looks like they gave up on design and just went with what they had. It is ugly.

  • Sloan

    I wonder what else they make there? I saw inline fours and chain drive.

  • Isaac

    You know what this bike is? It’s a sportbike that was made for rich people who are too afraid to ride a real sportbike. Basically, it was made for in-experienced riders who want to pretend to claim they have a sportbike.

    • DoctorNine

      Well, I’ve read reports of dyno’d HP from 146 to 180.

      So obviously, it’s not for people who are afraid of power. I think the riding position is head and shoulders above the standard racing crouch of most big sportbikes these days. And for guys like me in their 50′s that’s an issue. It looks like it’s a good commuter, that would be interesting at the top end, and still have integrated luggage for occasional use touring. While I would like to see a range of 200 miles or better in a touring dedicated machine, I suspect that the engine management system in this thing will get you that if you relax with the throttle. Doesn’t it have cylinder deactivation? This is a machine to make people think twice about the assumptions of what a sport touring machine is, that we have developed over the last decade or so. That’s what Honda does best. Build game-changing machines.

      Well done Honda. Can’t wait to test ride one.

      • Wes Siler

        Crank figures are 172.72bhp at 10,000rpm and 85lb/ft of torque at 8,750rpm. There’s no cylinder deactivation and only a 4.8 gallon tank. The outgoing VFR800 had a 5.8 gallon tank and weighed over a hundred pounds less.

        If you need something for commuting, leisure riding and light touring look at a used 919 or one of the current CBR600RRs.

        • DoctorNine

          I haven’t ridden/examined the bike yet. But last I heard, Takeo Fukui said it was going to have cylinder deactivation.

          Thanks for your recommendation on the CBR600. I agree with you on that being a nice ride, but it still has the racer’s crouch issue. The 919 is OK if you get an aftermarket fairing for it, but if I am going that big, then the FZ1 is better balanced, in my opinion. Maybe the FZ8 will be a middleweight replacement for the old VFR800. You can however, still get the 919′s for a song in the States. They’re just about giving them away. So they are a great deal.

          In contrast, his new VFR looks like a technological powerhouse. I will have to tell you what I think after I ride it.

  • LADucSP

    that is one ugly mutha…

    looks like it weighs 10,000 Lbs!

  • patrick

    I guess I’m a lucky man, I really love how VFR1200F looks.
    Same designer from CBR1000RR, which I think is the most beautiful bike on earth, his design seems to be my sweet spot.

  • betarace

    thanks for deleting my comment! Didnt know this site was sponsored by Honda. WEAK!

    • Grant Ray

      No one erased your comment, betarace. And if HFL was actually sponsored by Honda, then we’d actually get invited to launches, actually get offered to properly run Honda’s ad campaigns, write nothing but sycophantic features about teh awesomeness of Honda!!!111!!! and, you know, actually make money doing HFL instead of just two guys doing this in their spare time because we genuinely love bikes, running Google ads to cover the cost of site fees so you can have free content.

      • Papasan

        Thank You Very Much for all the invaluable information!
        The real bike riders that read this blog daily appreciate your hard work.

  • Jordan

    I want to see this bike succeed because, well I like motorcycles.

    However this video doesn’t trump Triumph and its bucket of power video.

  • RagMan

    Who needs an automatic transmission on a motorcycle. Maybe Harley Davidson on the lead sleds they produce but on a sport bike? This bike has to be some kind of test platform for Honda. What the hell is it? One thing for sure it is not very good looking. I agree on the muffler. It has to be the worst looking muffler or maybe tied with the new Kawasaki Z1000. I ride sport touring bikes and this bike would not work for me. Seating position is all wrong for sport touring, gas tank is too small, automatic transmission,- maybe when I am 65 years old, rear fender is ugly and the side cases look like an afterthought. Well done Honda.

  • Papasan

    This bike is a “winnebago”…

  • Kevin

    Hate all these couch potato bike judges who have never ridden this bike yet. The whole idea of this bike is the fact that is doesn’t fit into any one catagory. Not everyone wants a Superbike with horrible ergo’s, or a heavy weight Sport-Tourer. This looks to me as a modern idea of the universal japanese motorcycle! A do it all motorcycle with a reasonable riding position, but with full modern power/suspension/technology applied to it for the modern rider. Now looks are in the eye of the beholder, definately a love it or hate it motorcycle, just like my current ride which is a B-King. Another polarizing motorcycle in the looks department but works well in the real world. A current VFR800 was not 100lbs lighter than this motorcycle, and the power to weight ratio of this motorcycle will be far greater than the “old” VFR800. Put some hard bags on this bike, and a higher-bar kit and it could be the ultimate back-road “streetbike”/sport-tourer! Reminds me of bike of the 80′s like the 900 Ninja, FJR1100, FZR1000, which while then were considered “Superbikes” but later on were realized to be just great all-around sportbikes that you could actually ride some distance comfortably. Personally I am happy with any bike that can at least do 150 miles to a tank or greater (by then I am happy to do a stretch!). After recently moving from So. Cal to North Carolina, I can now appreciate those bikes with more comfort than traditional super-sportbikes which are too narrowly focused for real world multi-use. In So Cal you can get away with just a super-sportbike with so many canyons surrounding you to ride on and enjoy, but most places like where I am now, usually requires a hour or two to get to any real nice roads to ride on, so something that has decent comfort yet still offers superbike performance with state of the art suspension, chassis, power, and brakes works for me!! VFR guys wanted more power! Their is always a sacrifice for all that power, especially when it is almost 80% more power!! Plus were not even comparing the Torque difference! I see this as Honda answering the call for a lot of us older Sportbike guys who demand big performance coming off of Superbikes for many years but want more comfort, yet are not ready or willing to go onto some near 700 lb sport-tourer with limited sport capabilities comparatively. I do see this option as a nice middle ground and can’t wait to ride one! Always love V-4′s! Now hear is hoping Aprilia will get on the ball and make some more comfortable options wrapped around their awesome RSV4 V-4 Motor! Nuff said. :)

  • Skip

    Kevin you already ride an ugly bike so this should fit right in with your taste. Where in the hell are you living that they sell 700lbs sport touring bikes? Sounds like you need a Harley Davidson with your taste in motorcycles.

    • Cameron Baum

      Or maybe his tastes run to just a heavy scooter with automatic transmission and only 140 miles range before you have to lift the seat up and fill up the tiny toy tank…

      Anything with less than 200 miles range isn’t a sport touring bike -it’s a toy to run down to the Pizza Hut and back.

      I’m surprised that Honda didn’t put a step-thru frame in the new VFR Shamu.

    • Salad Shooter

      “Where in the hell are you living that they sell 700lbs sport touring bikes?”

      Fill up the tank on a Concours 14, FJR, ST1300 or the like and you’re there. And sorry kids, I don’t care how you slice it–the CBR600RR is not a sport touring bike. Neither is the 919, at least not by any conventional definition.

  • RTRider

    My 2008 BMW R1200RT weighs in at 571 lbs with fuel and that is a 7.1 gallon fuel tank. I have heated seats & grips, traction control, electronic suspension adjustment, electric windscreen, tire pressure monitor, AM/FM/CD radio, side cases and top case, auto stability control and a few other goodies the this Honda will never have. The RT BMW is a true sport touring bike. I am not knocking this Honda but I can not see how Honda can call this a sport touring bike.

  • Loud pipes are annoying

    Hey RTRider, I got a question for you;

    On the new 2010 R1200 BMW is now using those fancy dual overhead cam heads from the HP2 superbike. No one seems to know what the maintenance schedule is for adjusting those valves, or if it can be done by the owner. Have you heard anything about that? Also, is it true that you have to take the bike in to have the oil change due idiot light reset (I read some guy with a GS bitching about that).

    Sorry all for going off topic but maintenance costs is a big consideration for touring bikes.

    • Cameron Baum

      If you can afford a BMW you don’t care about how much it costs to repair them.

      I know a guy who has a small independent shop for BMW’s in Chicago and he won’t even work on the newer ones because he doesn’t have all the computer diagnostic equipment and special tools for the new bikes.

      If you want a bike that is cheap and easy to maintain yourself buy a pre Y2K Honda. With these modern bikes, and all the CARB-mandated bullcripe that they have to throw on them to get them to pass the emissions tests while still having enough power to get out of their own way it causes the complexity to become crazy.

      This new Shamu-VFU is just the latest iteration of this problem. Honda isn’t even allowed to make something that can compete against the bikes it made in the late 90′s anymore. So they just keep getting bigger, fatter, more expensive, and more complex.

      That’s how you get this VFU-Shamu 1200000cc monstrosity that can’t even go more than 140 miles between fill-ups.

      Who needs 180HP? 100 is plenty for any sport-touring bike. Most riders can’t even push an old 80′s era 600 to the limits of power on twisty road. 180HP is for geriatric posers who only know how to twist the throttle in a straight line and can’t even figure out how to shift. Last I saw, there aren’t many roads that have a speed limit over 75MPH and that is only on the interstates. Most twisty 2-lanes are at 55MPH or below. 100hp is plenty enough for real street riding and sport-touring.

    • Owen

      Hey man, the 2010 DOHC boxers have unique hemispherical shims in between the cam and the valve. These are supposed to be easy to replace on the road (if you have the correct thickness hemi shim with you of course) and I believe valve adjustments (checks) become similar to current K bike intervals which I believe to be 12K miles or so. While I am not sure about having to take it to the dealer to reset the engine oil light, diagnostic tools like the GS911 should be able to do that and more. BMW’s are really not that intimidating for maintenance.

      • RTRider

        The new boxer valve adj are indicated at 12K and are very easy to do yourself. I do all my maintenance on my 08 R1200RT. The change engine oil is not a light. On the lower left corner of the screen the word “service” will show if you do it yourself. I just leave it there and the next time I am at a BMW dealer I have them switch it off. There are a lot of motorcycles today that have that feature. My Moto Guzzi Norge did and my friend has a new Honda Lead Wing and it is the same.

  • Justin

    Thanks Honda. You just made my 2000 VFR800fi worth that much more.

    I will sum up the new VFR1200 in two words: