How high of a mileage do you need to have for your bike to actually be considered high-mileage? Is it 20,000 miles, 50,000, or maybe even 100,000 miles? The answer depends on factors such as what kind of bike it is, the way it’s been ridden, as well as the maintenance record. Some people would very much rather have a 60,000-mile Yamaha Tracer that’s been ridden on the street than a 3,000-mile Ducati Panigale that’s seen nothing but track abuse.
Speaking of track abuse, what if you put a 2001 Honda VFR800 that’s clocked in 100,000 miles in the hands of a professional racer – but not just any professional racer. Those of you familiar with the notorious Isle of Man TT would definitely know the name John McGuinness. The English motorcycle racer is one of the legends of the TT, and is regarded as one of the best when it comes to mastery of the road racing circuit. McGuinness holds a 23 wins at the IOMTT, and sits in 3rd in the all time win list. With all those achievements to his name, it should go without saying that putting John McGuinness on any motorcycle on the Isle of Man will surely be spectacular.
2001 Honda VFR 800
This is exactly what UK's Bennets BikeSocial did, as John Milbank, Bennets BikeSocial’s Consumer Editor, wanted to celebrate his 2001 Honda VFR 800 hitting 100,000 miles on the clock. Usually, when a bike hits this mileage, you’d probably be thinking of replacing it – or at least the engine – but not this one. According to the video, the 2001 VFR 800 was purchased for just 500 pounds – or about $639 USD. Despite its advanced miles, the valve clearances were never done by the previous owner, but Milbank did perform the service before turning it over to McGuinness
What better way to send it off with a (literal) bang than to have IOMTT champ John McGuinness ride the VFR 800 on the Snetterton Circuit? Milbank explicitly asked McGuinness to ride it hard and flat out, and we’re treated to onboard footage showing multiple angles, as well as the iconic howl of the Honda V4 engine. We even see it pass what looks like a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, as well as a track-prepped BMW S 1000 RR, on the outside of multiple corners.
Back in its heyday, the VFR 800 made 110 horsepower and 60 pound-feet of torque, however, it’s unclear whether the hands of time (and reported lack of maintenance) let a few of those horses out the stable. Nevertheless, the 500-pound VFR sang its song and danced on track with absolutely zero issue.
After taking it out for a spin, John McGuinness was all praises for the bike, saying that it could handle long-distance trips in its current state with ease. Even more interesting is McGuinness’ mastery over a bike which he had ridden only for the first time. Data from the Sizzap tracker installed on the bike showed how consistent McGuinness was when it came to his top speed and average speed throughout the track. The old VFR was able to hit a top speed of 132 miles per hour consistently on multiple laps – mighty impressive for a bike of its age.