In the second instalment of tips for buying grey-import motorcycles, CARtoday.com motorcycle correspondent Darren Ravens discusses the Honda VFR400 (NC21, NC24) and VFR400R (NC30).

In the second instalment of tips for buying grey-import motorcycles, CARtoday.com motorcycle correspondent Darren Ravens discusses the Honda VFR400 (NC21, NC24) and VFR400R (NC30).


Darren surveyed grey-bike owners around the world to find out exactly what these bikes are like to live with. Look out for the feature on the RVF400 (NC35) and Honda CBR400RR (NC23, NC29) tomorrow!.


The majority of the respondents to our online survey on www.400greybike.co.uk were from the UK and South Africa, but a fair number from the US and Australia contributed too. Respondents have owned different models so are in an excellent position to give a comparative view on the bikes. In this article we look at what these owners had to say and what it’s like to ride these bikes.


Here are some of the trends that emerged:


Most owners paid cash for their bikes, alluding to the fact that these are fairly cost-effective and accessible little sports bikes.


Most owners are happy to use the bikes for a wide range of uses from track-day fun to everyday commuting. This suggests they make pretty good all-rounders.


With regard to parts, information and servicing, there has definitely been an improvement - especially with the more popular bikes. Many second-hand dealers will now carry most spares except it seems for the cosmetic stuff like plastic fairings and tanks, which are nearly impossible to get new and very expensive used.


The internet has emerged as a invaluable tool for information-sharing about the grey bikes and the abovementioned site seems to be an international meeting ground for the owners of 400s. Many of the owners who responded to the surveys prefer to service their own machines and highly recommend getting a service manual. However, service manuals are only available for models that were at some stage officially imported into the UK, like the VFR400 and ZXR400, for example.


Some owners had no idea when their bikes were manufactured. Most of them assumed the first registration date was the same as the build date and were surprised to learn there was a difference. We found an owner who had purchased a bike on hire purchase thinking it was a 2000 model when in fact the VIN showed the bike was built in 1991. This was a common practice with some unscrupulous dealers, who arranged finance based on the registration date and charged a fair bit more than some bikes were worth.


As far as the individual models go, here is what the survey respondents said about some of the popular bikes:


:: Honda VFR400 ::


:: Honda VFR400R ::
Honda VFR400


The first VFR400 was the NC21, a complete departure from the unreliable VF400, as Honda over-engineered its new generation of 90-degree V4 Honda VFR400R


Having long been a fan of these mini-RC30 race replicas, the feedback I got from owners came as no surprise. It is widely recognised as th

Original article from Car