• 1986 Honda Interceptor 500 (VF500F)

    I've had my Miniceptor for almost a year now. Technically, it's my second bike, though I spent only a few hundred miles on my first, a '92 Suzuki GS500E (which I still own). Though not normally drawn to red, white and blue coloration, for some reason I always like the look of the little Interceptor I used to see people riding around on when I was in high school. I tried to convince a friend to buy one I saw for sale locally, but when I tired of his hemming & hawing on the decision, I realized it would make me too jealous so I just bought it for myself.

    I don't have very much to compare it to, since I've only been on the GS and the DR200SE in MSF. Mine has Vance & Hines pipes, I assume it's been jetted, but I don't know that. The pipes make for a great throaty sound you wouldn't expect from a little engine and gets raspy in a fun way at high RPM. It had 27k miles and I paid $1500. Other than some faded black plastic, the cosmetics were great as well.

    The bike is very SMOOTH. It has good power at low RPM and stays powerful past 10k on the tach. I suppose that's a characteristic of V-Four engines. While it is easily more powerful than the GS, I don't find it more "scary" as it is easily controlled. The first time I romped on the throttle on the GS, I scared myself. I have yet to scare myself with the Interceptor. It feels very maneuverable, as it was one of the best cornering bikes of its day. Skinny tires (110 rear, 90 front) only enhance this feeling. I have a desire (not sure of this is rational or not) to do the F2 modification to it so I can use fatter tires from the CBR F2 in front and rear.

    Braking is very nice, I am used to the single disc of the GS, the VF definitely stops quicker and feels smoother in doing so. I think because of the skinny tires making the contact patch smaller, it is pretty easy to lock the rear in a panic stop. It shifts smoothly as well, not like the stomping I do on my GS. It's six speed, but I don't feel the need to really go past fourth gear. I do it on the freeway just because I feel like I'm supposed to, not because the bike is asking me to.

    The riding position is fairly straight-up, standard. I am 6'2" and I can sit up almost straight. I can certainly straighten my back all the way and reach the bars with ease. I happen to be a sloucher by nature so I am constantly reminding myself to straighten up. I think the bike can accomodate a large range of biker sizes, much like the GS. It has a little windscreen that doesn't do much unless you tuck way down. I think long rides would likely be tiring, at least for someone of my height. The longest I've been on the freeway so far is about 15 minutes.

    Maintenance can be tricky, as I don't believe they've made the 500 V-four for many years and dealers don't have much in the way of parts left. Also, the engines were quite complex as compared to the inline fours the next wave of sportbikes had. Quite a few were made, but I do fear something going wrong. That's probably why I still haven't sold the GS500 yet. Also, the gas mileage isn't as good as I expected it to be. I probably get in the low-mid 30s for MPG, but I have exlusively been commuting on city streets.

    While I think it makes a great first bike, I don't think I will ever sell it. The VF500F has become something of a cult-status collector's item and finding one in great condition isn't all that easy. Honda made them from '84-'86, with the '86 having some modifications that should be considered "bug fixes". Top-end oiling kits are suggested addons, though not as necessary as they are for the earlier, bigger VF750.

    In short:

    Pros: Great handling, smooth power delivery, shifting and braking, comfortable seating position, just and all-around fun and confidence-inpsiring ride. It's a bike that will hold a beginner's interest longer before feeling the need to "upgrade". Nerd bikers think they're cool.

    Cons: Somewhat hard to find, difficult to repair as compared to traditional beginner bikes, skinny tires look out of place these days, and are harder to find a good selection. Good luck finding new pipes for it.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1986 Honda Interceptor 500 (VF500F) started by SGIndigo View original post
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