Honda Interceptor VF750F v-four memories

By: On: November 21st, 20090 Comments »Updated: October 14, 2012

HondaVF750FBack in 1987, I purchased a used 1984 Honda Interceptor VF750F as my first street bike, as shown in my front yard here.

In the January 2010 issue of Rider magazine article, “V-Forward”, about the 2010 Honda VFR1200F, it discusses the evolution of the Honda VFR motorcycles and the v-four engines. The article, by Greg Drevenstedt, says that the 1983 Honda VF750F “launched the modern sportbike era”.  I guess I picked a good one!

I had been on dirt bikes of all sizes, including a CR500, and had tried a single cylinder Yamaha 500cc street bike, but I had never actually had my own street bike prior to this one. I think I picked a good one to graduate to in the VF750F.

I remember paying $3000 for it and bringing it home the Interceptor in my Chevy S-10 pickup. Man, was I excited! It even came with a pair of aftermarket aluminum slip-on mufflers that were just like new, but since so many years have passed, I can’t remember the brand of those. I put the slip-on mufflers on only a few times because I thought the shiny black factory exhaust actually looked better and sounded just as good.

When I got my Honda Interceptor home, I remember being more intimidated by it than I thought I would be. At that time, it was the largest motorcycle I ever tried to ride. Not only that, I thought it looked as fast as a rocket. I didn’t know what to expect from the power. I took it for a short ride and discovered the power was very easy to manage, not bad at all. Thankfully, there was no sudden powerband kicking in like the 250cc and 500cc 2-stroke motocross bikes I was used to.

HondaInterceptorVF750FI had to get a matching helmet. I bought a full face Bieffe helmet that was red, white and blue. The red on the Honda was actually a darker red. Apparently, Honda called the Intereceptor colors “Pearl Shell White” and “Candy Bourgogne Red” or Burgundy red. I already owned a Brooks leather motorcycle jacket (which I still have today), so I was just about all set to ride.

I went and got my motorcycle permit, which at the time in New York, wasn’t worth much due to the restrictions, but it was better than nothing. Finding motorcycle insurance for a bike named “Interceptor” was not so easy. Back then it seemed that any fast sounding motorcycle name would instantly put it in a high priced category, or on some sort of black list. I risked it with some no-name insurance company and fortunately I never had to use it. I probably should have picked a more popular motorcycle insurance company like, but remember, this was in 1987 and we didn’t have access to the internet for free online motorcycle insurance quotes like we do today.

I remember there were way more of the Interceptor 500 on the streets of central New York than there were the 750 or the  700. The 700cc version came out in 1984, along with the 750cc due to the new tariff laws that were passed on bikes larger than 700cc.  Honestly, I always felt that the Interceptor 500 was more for punks and that the 750 was for motorcyclists. Crazy, I know, but that was my feeling because I had the 750!  Better yet, it was not a 700 either.  I definitely wasn’t ready for the 1100 Interceptor though.

The four cylinder liquid-cooled V45 engine was very smooth. I never had a problem with it. I believe it was basically the  same engine Honda used in the popular Sabre and Magna motorcycles.  Some of the VF750F features I remember appreciating were the adjustable suspension, adjustable handle bars, and the lockable hinged seat which was great for keeping your wallet or insurance card under it.

I also liked the racing style fuel petcock that was built into the tank. That oversize fuel valve actually was useful because it was easy to reach and easy to use with gloves on, even though it really was a styling gimmick. The seat and passenger foot pegs were also user-friendly, not like the bare minimum sized items found on most sportbikes today.

Speaking of motorcycle styling gimmicks, how about that small diameter front tire and large diameter rear tire combo that Honda Interceptors had back then? I think it looked racy, but were those motorcycle tires really of any practical use on the streets? I was new to street bikes, but I felt the bike handled extremely well. Keep in mind that I had little to compare to.

Honda Interceptor Repair Manual by ClymerI remember twice almost getting into trouble. One time I was making a very slow and abrupt left turn as I left a traffic light. Because the bike handles so easily, I leaned it way over without enough speed and almost went down. That really woke me up because I was getting over-confident with it. The other time was when I gassed it too hard in a sweeping turn and broke the rear tire loose. That slightly flat-track style turn again made me realize I was getting overly confident on the Interceptor.
I had a friend that had a ’87 or ’88 Kawasaki Ninja. That Ninja screamed compared to my Interceptor. Of course, I was a little jealous, but in reality, I knew I had no business riding a faster sport bike then.  The motorcycle insurance for a Ninja was quite expensive then too.  Honda eventually fought back against Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki with the VFR750F and ongoing development of the VFR motorcycle series.

In upstate New York, the riding season was short. The sand and salt messes up the roads so much after freezing rain, sleet and snow, that even on nice days the roads are not good for riding. Unfortunately, I sold my Honda Interceptor after just 2 summers of riding. I decided to use the money towards a new car as I had graduated college and needed more practical, year long transportation.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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