I have a Corbin seat, a Ventura luggage rack, Givi windscreen, Heli Modified handlebars, and Russell braided steel brake lines on my 1993 Honda VFR750F. (Not surprising, if you consider my previous bike.) I also had the front suspension reworked in 2006. That was followed in the spring of 2007 with a reworking of the rear shock. Product reviews are below.
The first photo is the right-hand-side of the bike backlit with late afternoon sun. The Givi windscreen, Corbin seat, and Ventura rack are installed. Those of you with very sharp eyes will notice that I have also lowered the muffler about an inch, for more clearance with saddlebags. That pivoting joint is a convenient feature.
The second photo is the left-hand-side, from a low angle, mostly to show the profile of the Givi windscreen. The Ventura rack is also installed. The tall sissy-bar is really for use with their soft luggage, which has a sleeve that slips over the sissy-bar. I rather like this system. The black metal strips hanging down from the Ventura rack are extras that I had custom-made. They keep my soft saddlebags from touching the sides of the bike. Gotta keep that gorgeous pearl white paint looking good!
In the third photo I have removed the Ventura system and restored the stock grab-rails so the bike looks a little less goofy.
You may have heard that VFRs have a slight tendency for regulator/rectifier failure. This is not necessarily a frequently-occurring problem but it would be a pain if it happened, so I followed the excellent instructions from Andrew in Canberra, Australia to install a cooling fan and heat sink from a PC-type computer. Andrew's original page at http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Speedway/6198/reg-rect.html is gone, but fortunately there are copies around the net, like this one . So far so good! (Addendum: my original reg/rec finally croaked in 2008, along with the battery, and the cooling fan. I don't know which failed first. This was after many years with this cooling fan in place. The battery was 13 years old. Not bad.)
Others have reported success using RM Stator regulator/rectifiers and rebuilt stators. This company is located in Quebec. Also, there's a reg/rec article on the Triumph Rat web site that is reported to be quite good. And there's a bunch of VFR-specific electrical information and wiring parts kits at wiremybike.com.
Corbin is a huge name in aftermarket seats and for good reason. I had one on my Sabre and it made the difference between severe butt-ache after a couple of hours versus week-long tour-ability. Corbin's VFR seat is similarly successful, but not without a few problems.
True to form, the Corbin is wider, flatter, and firmer than stock. This makes a much better platform for extended riding hours. I used to get quite sore from the stock seat after a couple of hours but I can spend all day in the Corbin saddle with little discomfort.
The standard Corbin VFR seat is a little lower than stock, and at 6 feet tall, I miss that extra bit of leg-room. Another minor complaint is that the edges of the passenger portion of the seat are a bit too wide, and thus they obscure at least one of the slots in the tail section's plastic, preventing me from installing the VFR's solo seat cowling. Finally, the cutouts in the rear-most edges are positioned to suit the 1990 model's grab rails. It looks to me like Honda changed them by the time 1993 rolled around, and Corbin didn't keep up. At least, the cutouts are larger than they need to be on my bike, whereas they lined up just right on a 1991 model I saw.
Overall, I'm very happy with this seat. If I were ordering one again, I would probably custom-order it a half-inch or so higher than their standard, in order to get the leg-room back. One tip to the new seat owner: be patient in making it fit on the bike the first few times. It seems like it won't go, but it will. Don't go modifying anything -- be patient.
Together with the Corbin seat, the Heli bars make it possible for me to survive riding the VFR. The stock bars are so low and downward-sloping that I developed very sore neck and wrists. There was too much pressure on my wrists, and against the thumb and forefinger of my right hand. I couldn't stand more than a couple of hours riding at time. The Heli bars are about an inch or more taller and closer to the rider, and they are not nearly as downward sloping. Now I can sit up enough to take weight off my hands, and the flatter slope relieves the pressure on the thumb/forefinger, spreading it across the whole palm.
Heli seems to have moved the bars as high and rearward as they can within the limits imposed by the lengths of the various cables and hoses that attach to the bars, and without allowing the bars to strike the gas tank or the edges of the fairing.
The Heli bars are extremely well made, with excellent finish. The finish is so good that you'll think they are the stock Honda item. An essential item that allowed me to make a long-distance bike out of my VFR.
In recent years I began trailering the bike to various destinations, and unfortunately I seem to have been tying down the front end too tightly. The Heli bars bent under the strain, and I've had to go back to the stock bars. Now I tie the bike down using the lower triple clamps as an anchor point rather than the handlebars.
Especially after modifying my riding position with the Corbin seat and Heli bars, I found that the windstream off the stock windscreen hit me across the chest and base of my throat. My jacket pressed uncomfortably across my throat, and the heat was sucked off the back of my neck in cool weather. The GIVI windscreen is taller and longer than stock, with a flip-up profile. It raises the windstream a couple of inches, relieving the pressure against my throat and chest. The wind now hits my shoulders. I still have to wear a scarf in cool weather, and I have to wear turtlenecks more often than I did on the Sabre, but the GIVI has made things more comfortable.
A drawback is that the windstream is noisier now because it is closer to the lower edge of my helmet. I always wear earplugs anyway so this is not of major concern to me.
The fit and finish of the GIVI windscreen is very good. It fits perfectly, all the screw-holes line up just right. Optics are very good. A laminar flow vent is included in the base, just like the stock screen. The small GIVI logo etched into the side of the screen is a little rough-looking.
The GIVI screen for 1990-93 VFR750F is part number 46-D183S. Price was roughly $90 US dollars in about 1996. I ordered direct from the GIVI distributor in North Carolina.
Ventura luggage system
This product comes from New Zealand. The manufacturer subscribes to the theory that it's better for your luggage to be behind you on the seat and over the tail, hidden from the windblast, than for it to hang off the sides of the bike where it can damage the bodywork, foul the wheel, and sit in the windblast. The kit consists of model-specific mounting brackets, two generic rack/sissy-bars, and two bags of differing sizes. I have the taller "pack-rack" and the smaller of the two bags. Each bag has a sleeve which slides over the sissy-bar to secure the bag along with two tough "fastex"-style clips. (The shorter "sport-rack" has no sissy-bar and thus does not hold a bag.) The rack can be installed facing forward, over the passenger portion of the seat, or rearward, over the tail. If you have only one bag (and no passenger), Ventura recommends facing the rack forward so the weight of the bag is more centralized. If you have both bags, face the rack rearward, so one bag sits on the rack and one on the seat. The two bags zip together to form a unit that slides over the sissy-bar. It should be noted that the sissy-bar is intended solely for holding the luggage, and is not a backrest.
I use regular soft saddlebags in conjuction with the Ventura system. As you see in the photos above, I made extension brackets that attach to the Ventura system and hold my saddlebags away from that nice white paint job.
The Ventura mounting brackets attach to the passenger grab-handle bolts under the seat at the back, and to the forward solo cowl securing bolts at the front. Thus you cannot use the grab-handles or the solo cowl with the Ventura system in place. I found that on my bike, things didn't quite line up properly. If I installed the brackets individually first, then the rack wouldn't line up with the brackets. If I assembled the rack onto the brackets and tried to mount the complete assembly to the bike, it didn't line up with the mount points. I solved this by slightly elongating the brackets' bolt-holes, giving better exposure to the grab-handle mount points.
I have the smaller of the two available bags. It's made of heavy cordura with what appears to be a plasticized lining. A large pouch is provided on the front, and a thin strip of reflective material crosses the back. A large tough-looking plastic clip is sewn into the top, and padded shoulder straps are included so you can convert the bag into a backpack when it's off the bike. The bag's wide handle is thickly padded and securely sewn. I've stuffed this bag with heavy loads and it shows no sign of distress. The black fabric has faded a bit over several seasons of use. Overall, a high rating for the bag.
I'm happy with the Ventura system. Together with my regular bags I have lots of luggage capacity for travel. I'm loathe to use a tankbag, and it sure is handy to be able to toss the Ventura bag onto the rack for quick errands.
Russell steel brake lines
At long last I have installed steel brake lines. Here are some ideas for making guides for steel lines, courtesy of Kevin Courter. I ended up taking the easy way out though.
I chose the Russell Cycleflex 2-line "racer" kit, part number 51-R09546 "90-97 VFR750 FRT RACE", approximately $115.00. This kit comes with clear plastic-coated braided steel lines that have angled banjo fittings on all ends. The banjo fittings are nice low-profile crimped ones, which is perhaps one advantage over do-it-yourself kits.
I chose this kit because of:
The Russell lines fit fine, even with my slightly taller Heli bars. The angled banjo fittings work well at each connection point though I did have a bit of a twist in one line to get it aligned properly at the caliper.
I made use of stock parts as hose stays. On the right side, I disassembled the stock brake pipe from the reflector clamp and the short hose that goes to the caliper, then ran the new hose through the reflector clamp after enlarging the opening a wee bit with a file so the banjo fitting could pass through. A short piece of rubber wrapped around the hose gives a snug fit in the opening.
On the left side, the stock pipe simply unbolts from the reflector clamp, and a zip-tie through the little bolt hole secures the new hose. I used more rubber wrap, secured with a zip-tie, to bundle the new hoses together and stuff them in the stock C-shaped guides in the brackets by the horn and steering head.
Overall it seems to have worked out well. A recommended product if you're looking for braided steel lines at an affordable price.
Custom front suspension
In 2006 I had some custom work done on the front suspension. This included new springs, MX-Tech valving, a custom mid-valve, and adapting some CBR600 parts in order to get adjustable rebound. Read all the details.
Custom rear suspension
Naturally, the improved front end left the rear end somewhat lacking, so in 2007 I had some custom work done on the rear shock. This again included MX-Tech valving. Read all the details.
In December 2019 I had the rear suspension serviced again, including refreshing the shock and replacing the bearings and seals in the linkages.
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