If you’re looking for a used bike that’s absolutely dripping in authentic, ‘80s-era sportbike style, you should probably consider checking out this 1987 Honda VFR400R NC24 being auctioned off by Iconic Motorbike Auctions.
The late 1980s were a wild, untamed time in the world of production sport bikes. Full fairings on road-going motorcycles were still a new thing, racing was at a zenith (see Rainey, Lawson, Schwantz, et al), and the World Superbike Championship was set to debut the next year. Sport bikes during this era were a product of big budgets and carte blanche for engineers and designers. The results were some of the most archetypal sport models we’ve ever seen, from the original Gixxers and ZX Ninjas to Honda’s RC30 and this 1987 VFR400R NC24.
The NC24 was the second generation of the VFR400 (after the NC21). It came in three colors, including the very ‘80s four-color design you see here. Manufacturers had a habit of printing a bike’s most important features on its bodywork, and this Honda is emblazoned with the terms PRO ARM and CAM GEAR TRAIN.
Pro Arm was Honda’s single-sided swingarm design; the NC24 was the first VFR equipped with what would become a staple of the model designation. “Cam gear train” refers to the gear-driven nature of the VFR’s cams, which gives the engine a distinct, mechanical whine.
The VFR400R’s race-derived, 399cc, V-Four engine makes a factory-claimed 59 horsepower and redlines at 14,000 rpm. A twin-spar aluminum frame is mated to a 41 mm adjustable upside-down fork and adjustable monoshock. The wheels are 16 and 18 inches, front and rear. The rear wheel, with eight curved spokes and a four-bolt hub pattern, is exposed by that single-sided swingarm and remains a visual highlight. Dry weight is listed at 165 kg (363.8 pounds).
The unit pictured here is for sale in Santa Monica, California. It’s only got 13,967 kilometers (8,678 miles) on it, has a dual headlight conversion, an aftermarket seat, new battery, and just-cleaned carburetors. There is a crack in the front of the fairing, some dings in the muffler, scuffs on the seat, and it sits on a set of old-ass tires from 2014. The listing indicates a recent front fork rebuild with a cartridge emulator set, new .90kg/mm springs, and OEM Honda seals. The bike has a clean Texas title.
Speaking of clean, that’s precisely what this little mini-superbike is. That’s rare in itself, not only because it’s a 34-year-old motorcycle, but also because the VFR400R was essentially a race bike in street clothing; it was typically ridden hard, raced, or crashed (and, often, all three). It may not be the more desired NC30 edition that followed, but this NC24 is a timepiece guaranteed to go fast and garner looks all day.