Shed time with the VFR400

As Helen put it, you’ve only had it 5 minutes and you’ll already got it apart ….Problem is i’m neglecting the Transalp a bit and not sorting out the oil leak that its got. Work to be done

After a quick foray into the internals on the bike on Friday, whilst on the top-deck of the Red Hat car park, it was back to the countryside to do some further investigation. The weekend weather was glorious so out at 06h30 for a fresh tank of fuel and a blast on the A road and then back via a twisty B-road.


First impressions were promising and belied the 7000 rpm limit we’d encountered on Friday. The bike had no problem in pulling well once the revs had been raised and seemed to hint that it was infact a problem with the tachometer no reading correctly. Given the bike hadn’t been on the road for at least two years, took it easy and waited for the bike to warm up before opening her up.

Handling on the twisty’s on the way back was okay, but not sure what to expect given than my cornering experience is limited to the KTM (which isn’t bad for a trailie).

Into the shed and after mowing the lawn and gettings a few other jobs out of the way, removing the fairing sides and top and took out the airfilter and had a look at the carbs. The air filter was pristine, though the externals of the carbs were a bit messy. Decided to remove then and do some cleaning with the carb cleaner..


Removing (and significantly refitting them) is meant to be a pain-in-the-arse) but wasn’t too bad. Undo only the top jubilee clip on each of the four inlet rubbers, pull out the rear two first, before pulling out the fronts. You’ll need to disconnect the throttle mount before doing this, whilst disconnecting the choke cable after you’ve moved them out slightly.

To refit them, reverse the procedure, after reconnecting the choke cable, drop in the front inlets first, pushing firmly and then with the assistance of a flat-headed screwdriver, ease in the rear carbs. It gives a firm fit so you know when you’ve got it right. Don’t forget to refit the throttle.

I then spun up the bike with the fuel in the carbs and dropped in about 1/4 bottle of Redex evenly distributed between each carb. Plenty of white smoke, but hopefully helped in clearing some of the stale fuel.

VFR + Redex = white smoke

Put the bike back together but in the process forgot to reconnect the vacuum tube from the rear LH intake to the fuel tap; if you’ve not been round the bike in detail, it can be a PITA to find. 45 minutes later, after some diagnosis and removal of tank and fairing, the bike was up and running. Some of the hesitation from pilot had gone and seemed to rev cleanly.

Front Fairing

The bike came with a new screen as the original had gone off colour and was scratched. Drilled out the pop-rivets holding it in place and replaced using a set of allen bolts though the ones supplied were not all the same size.

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny as Saturday and decided to go for another test spin at ‘chicken-O’clock [[The time our chickens are waking up during the summer months, and its before 06h00]]. Reversed the route and got more in control of the bike (ie the revs) when cornering. Out on the A-road, bike seemed more responsive and pulled well; the tacho must have been wrong given the speed….need to calibrate in top really.

Current lists of jobs to be done, potentially in prep for a track outing on 12th June (we ‘ll shall see)

|Carb Balance|I’ve only got a twin Carbtune, but should in theory be able to balance the carbs up|
|Fork Seals|One is leaking a lot and needs replacing; will probably do the oil and dust seals on both sides and new oil|
|Fork Springs|My 13.5 stone (82kg) is heavier than the average Japanese rider, so may look to put some Hagon progressive springs in the front|

What’s this ! a sports bike ?

Always liked these bikes and after putting a CBR400 back on the road a few years ago, always fancied having one of these.

Roger (and I blame him completely) found a poorly listed VFR 400 NC24 on ebay. These were all grey imports in 87-88 and pre-date the later (and more sought after) NC30 VFR400’s, which had the same single sided swingarm but were lighter, had more power and the twin headlight arrangement.

Anyway, I was only the bidder on the bike and picked it up for < £600, which was good, though buying blind always has its risks. The Transalp has turned out to be an excellent bike for £650 and though there is an oilleak its covered 4000 miles with not too much problem.

The seller, John, hadn’t really used the bike in 2 years since he’d bought and although there was a current MOT (from July 2008) it hadn’t done too much in the way of mileage. Early start from Hereford to pick the bike up and arrived in Peterborough at 08h00.

The bodywork on the bike was all good, but not sure if the paintwork was original; if it had been resprayed then it was a good job. The engine also sounded spot on, after 10 minutes of warming up, and when it started running on 4 cylinders. No noises and rattles, tyres in good nick and overall pretty good for a 22 year old bike.

Did the transaction and after sitting for 1.5 hours on the M3 waiting for an accident to be cleared got down to Farnborough and the office. (oh, Little Fluffy Clouds on the radio). round 18h00, Roger, myself and Nick decided to check out the VFR as well as Rog’s new Yamaha XJ750 Seca which he’d bought on the weekend.

Though the roads on the Business Park are not ideal, took the VFR for a first spin. All seemed together though after Roger had had a quick blast also, something wasn’t right with the revs and power from the bike. A quick trip to the end of the runway and away from the offices and it became clear that 7000 rpm was the meaximum revs. Disconnecting the tachometer didn’t change things (except for disabling the rev counter obviously).

Hmm, despite indications to the contrary, the bike was indeed still restricted. Some google research came up with a couple of links including:

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Some good comments on the speed limiting (and assocaited rev restriction)