As part of our Real Life Road Test series, our man Scott Redmond spent a couple of days with Honda’s VFR800X Crossrunner, which was often overlooked. But after taking the V4 in adventurous style on a date in Dorset, was it love at first sight or a night to forget for Scottie and the Crossrunner? Take it away, great man …
Every now and then you come across a motorcycle that is greater than the sum of its parts. On paper, the second-generation VFR800X Crossrunner is a truly special parts container. The ‘new’ model is basically a clever reworking of what is basically a ten-year-old VFR800, and after riding the current VFR800 in early summer, it was suggested that I give the Crossrunner a try to see what I thought of it.
When I got to pick up the motorcycle, I was sitting surrounded by several Africa Twins. They looked very loud compared to the quiet appearance of the Crossrunner. The Africa Twin is a healthy seller in the 2016 Honda range, but what about the Crossrunner? How’s it going? I spoke to the guys at Wheels Honda in Peterborough to find out who buys the Crossrunner. I was informed that they sell them to a wide variety of people, from commuters to leisure cyclists.
But what is a Crossrunner? I have not ridden its predecessor and had only heard lackluster reports on its abilities. I approached my time with Honda’s ‘take two’ with an open mind.
From the moment I swung my leg over its 835mm high seat, I felt right at home. With 22 liters of gasoline to convert to greenhouse gases, I wanted to get a good handle on this intriguing motorcycle. Let’s go to Dorset!
Motorcycle nights are great, a brilliant way to break up your workweek if you’re a wage slave, or a good excuse to go for a ride if you have a lot of time. Poole Quay is one of the largest in the UK. It takes place on a Tuesday night during the summer months and is located 180 odd miles from Peterborough. The Crossrunner comes with a few extras to help convince you to buy one. It’s called the Rider Pack and it includes a color-coded top box, center stand, Akrapovic muffler, and a Tom Tom sat nav kit. With the BH15 zip code entered on the Tom Tom, I set off.
The Crossrunner makes you want a long distance ride. Its riding position is quite perfect, and the comfortable saddle and wide bars complement each other perfectly. Only when I started shooting did I find my first problem. The saddle is adjustable by 20mm so I assumed the display would offer me the same luxury of adjusting it to make my progress less noisy, sadly not. There are a lot of aftermarket screens out there, but it would have been nice if Honda had considered some basic means of adjusting the screen height. Over 50 mph, the wind noise drowns out any “music” edge the Akrapovic exhaust muffler provided. I’d happily live with a standard muffler and instead have Honda treat the Crossrunner with a better screen system, and maybe some handguards to aid hot grips. Despite it being late summer, I still used the standard equipment hot grips as it was a bit chilly when I got going, the icy wind pinching the tops of my hands while the grips kept my palms warm.
Like a school dinner, I like to get the bad stuff out of the way first. Beyond the screen issues, my only other real issue is left to the bullshit that ruined my enjoyment. The auto-cancel indicators mostly didn’t work, which isn’t a big deal. Manually disabling the gauges is not something I have a problem with, but on the Crossrunner this comes with an added pittance. Honda has changed the position of the indicator and the horn buttons. I lost count of how many times I called people when all I wanted to do was turn off my turn signals. In recent years, the need to fit a gear indicator is another crazy thing I can happily live without, which was helpful because the Crossrunner’s digital gear display had a habit of disappearing. The constant blinking of clocks when this happened was aggravating.
The good things left on my plate far outweighed the broccoli Honda. The Crossrunner offers you plenty of meat and vegetables to enjoy. It is not the most powerful motorcycle in its class, with a mosquito cock of over 100 hp to use, nor is it the lightest, weighing in at 242 kilos. However, the motorcycle does not …