Honda VFR 1200F „Lemmy“ – Louis Special Custom Bike
Transforming an opulent sports tourer
Honda VFR 1200F:
Near perfect, and yet the Louis Mechanics Crew still found enough things to tweak.
A cry for freedom
In their search for hidden gems, the Louis Mechanics Crew once again struck gold with Honda. The VFR 1200F is the basis for the new Louis Bike. Its brute of a V4 engine comes with optional racing technology (more details are given in the infobox). Honda packages this engine in a very elaborately designed sports touring outfit to the extent that it is virtually invisible. In fact, it was crying out to be released from its disguise.
No sooner said, than done. The VFR stands stark naked in the Mechanics Crew workshop, and the workbench is piled high with fairing parts, covers and trims. The pensive expressions on the faces are because here is proof, yet again, that beauty is often only skin-deep when a motorcycle is designed from the outset to be fully faired – after all, nobody's going to see what's underneath. The worry isn't the many individual components, such as brake fluid reservoir or electronic boxes with chunky wiring harnesses – they're easy to conceal with some time and effort. The real concern is the incredibly bulky frame, whose sections are considerably more than a hand's width across. No good for the aesthetically inclined, and the only cure is to conceal it again. But that wasn't the plan!
A completely new frame design
To the rescue comes Sam Wassermann from Uno, who is commissioned to build one of his legendary trellis chassis for the VFR. His creation will weigh a whole eight kilos less than the original. Acewell supplies new wheel hubs, complemented with Kineo spokes and rims. These look amazing with the single-sided swing arm. YSS contributes a shock cover, and then the rolling chassis goes off to Italy, where the exhaust specialists at SHARK conjure up a beautiful and, above all, high-performance 4-1-2 system for the engine. The complex manifold routing under the engine is reminiscent of a snake-pit.
Metalworker saves tuner
Tuner Ulf Penner in Bremen was the next port of call. He set to work on the intake tract and fitted it with four open velocity stacks. On the V4 motor, this is a real feast for the eyes, and Ulf was sad that afterwards a tank would be fitted over the top, hiding the stacks from sight. He completely retuned the engine using a Power Commander.
The Mechanics Crew gave Friedhelm Lammers, our aluminium parts specialist for Louis Bikes for years now, the usual tasks of constructing the fairing, tank and seat. But also one more challenge. To make Ulf happy, we wanted the velocity stacks to be visible. Friedhelm did a perfect job, as you can see from the pictures.
The Mechanics Crew then reassembled the entire bike with parts from Gilles, T&T, Xenolen, Highsider, LSL, TRW and numerous others. Many new brackets and mounts had to be built, and the complete wiring harness reconfigured. To complete the transformation, custom bodywork painter Danny Schramm gave the VFR an in-vogue splash paint job, which he enhanced with cubist elements using a sanding disc.
The end result is hellishly loud and pure heavy metal. Classic Lemmy, in fact.
"DCT": Racing technology in the VFR
"Double Clutch Transmission" is the name of the game. So what's the benefit? Well, to start with, you no longer need a clutch lever or gearshift. Shifting is done via a small button on the left handlebar control Or you can let the DCT do it for you – which is highly effective! In sport mode, it powers the bike forward with such force, and with no loss of thrust due to gear shifting, that you feel as if your body is being flattened, and you have to cling on for dear life. Pulling away race-style takes some practice because when you open the throttle, the DCT engages the clutch instantly and you're thrown forwards, or in some other direction if you're not careful.