That’s a well put together Honda, a 155mph motorcycle for less than a bag of sand. Better still, it has just 19,000 miles on it and a long MoT. Yes, cheap modern classics are still out there: but what is the FireStorm’s background story?
The bike first saw light of day in the late 1990s. Back then all manufacturers were trying to jump on the V-twin bandwagon thanks to Ducati’s success with the Monster, the SS range and the eight-valve 916. Oh, and a certain Carl Fogarty was winning world titles on the red V-twins.
Honda introduced the VTR1000 FireStorm in 1997 and this was Honda’s first big sports V-twin which looked rather plain when plonked next to the 916 or even Suzuki’s TL1000S!
Upon release the VTR matched the other bikes in the class performance-wise and copied them in others. Check out that frame and you’ll see a pretty lattice-style layout: that’s a nod to Ducati if ever we saw one! Look closer and you’ll see two side mounted radiators, huge 48mm carbs and a look of proper quality. You’ll also notice the lack of a pivot point for the swingarm through the frame as it was actually mounted through the rear of the engine’s crankcases.
If there was an Achilles Heel on this bike it was its thirst and the small fuel tank. Early models up to 2001 featured a pathetic 16 litre fuel tank but this was change to a 19 litre tank from 2001 onwards. The 2001-on model also featured a number of revisions including comfier clip-ons/bars, uprated fork internals and a new LCD display and fuel gauge.
We know we said this was well put together, but it wasn’t quite up there with the VFRs or RC30s when it came to quality. Problems range from corroding downpipes and easily pitted fork lowers through to starter motor bolts corroding then falling apart, cam-chain tensioners and the odd regulator/rectifier failure.
Thankfully, most VTRs out there were bought by more reserved Honda fans, so – although you will find some out there thrashed and crashed and covered in tat – you’ll also find some minters! Decent accessories include a rear hugger, decent cans (keep the originals or buy replacements on eBay) and braided brake lines (the four pot Nissins were never brilliant.)
For some reason values of VTRs have fluctuated wildly, from our tidy bike for under a grand we’ve also seen some up at almost £4K with low miles on: we’d say you could get a really good one for under £2K. However, we would try and get the post-2001 bike with the extra tankage! Happy days!
|Major changes||2001-on bikes had larger fuel tank, updated clocks, uprated internals to the front forks and different bars.|
|Price when new||£7995 1997-2000