The Crosstourer's engine continues Honda's proud heritage with V4 technology, with its uniquely smooth, flexible delivery of impressive power and torque. Offering precise control of this power thanks to its throttle-by-wire system, and an engaging, characterful sound - due partly to carefully-sized chambers in the exhaust - the Crosstourer's engine is integral to its appeal.
The V4 configuration is slim and compact, reducing frontal area and aiding mass centralisation. It also features a very closely set pair of rear cylinders, making the engine narrower at the back. Further contributing to the 1,237cc, 16-valve engine's compact dimensions is Honda's Unicam technology, also used on the CRF range of motocross machines. This SOHC configuration helps reduce the size and weight of the cylinder heads, and optimise combustion chamber shape.
PGM-FI fuel injection employs 44mm throttle bores and fly-by-wire technology for precise throttle control. Peak power of 95kW arrives at 7,750rpm, with peak torque of 126Nm at 6,500rpm.
A combination of a 76° angle between the two banks of cylinders and a crankshaft with 28° phasing between the crankpins virtually eliminates vibration. Since there's no need for a power-sapping balancer shaft the result is higher output, and uneven firing intervals give an intimate connection to the engine.
The Honda Selectable Torque Control constantly monitors front and rear wheel speed; when it senses a certain difference in speed between front and rear wheels, engine torque is momentarily reduced by a combination of ignition cut and modulation of the throttle butterflies through the throttle-by-wire system. As the difference in speed between front and rear wheels reduces, the system transitions into modulating only the throttle butterflies. This ensures a seamless, unobtrusive control. The system features 3 modes of operation for the rider to choose depending on road conditions. It can also be switched off.
3.2 Dual Clutch Transmission
Available as an option on the Crosstourer, Honda's DCT gearbox offers a unique combination of direct riding feel and ease of use. A world first for motorcycles when launched on the VFR1200F in 2010, it delivers consistent, seamless gear changes, and very quickly becomes second nature in use.
The system uses two clutches: one for start-up and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears: the other for 2nd, 4th and 6th, with the mainshaft for each clutch located inside the other for compact packaging. Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit. When a gear change occurs, the system pre-selects the target gear using the clutch not currently in use. The first clutch is then electronically disengaged as, simultaneously, the second clutch engages.
The result is a consistent, fast and seamless gear change. Furthermore, as the twin clutches transfer drive from one gear to the next with minimal interruption of the drive to the rear wheel, any gear change shock or pitching of the machine is minimised, making the change feel direct as well as smooth. The Crosstourer's ride-by-wire technology allows the system to electronically "blip" the throttle on downshift for even smoother, faster gear changes.
With extra benefits such as durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a gear), impossibility of stalling, low stress urban riding, and reduced rider fatigue, over half of VFR1200X Crosstourer customers now choose the DCT version.
Three basic modes of operation are available. MT mode gives full manual control, allowing the rider to shift with the handlebar trigger control buttons. Automatic D mode is ideal for city and highway riding, and achieves optimum fuel efficiency. Automatic S mode is sportier and the ECU lets the engine rev a little higher before shifting up, giving greater performance. It also shifts down sooner when decelerating for extra engine braking. For 2016, within S Mode, there are now three different engine maps to cover a wider range of sporty riding scenarios and preferences.
In either D or S mode DCT offers immediate manual intervention if required - the rider simply selects the required gear using the up and down shift triggers. At an appropriate time DCT seamlessly reverts back to automatic mode, depending on throttle angle, vehicle speed and gear position. The system is also able to detect uphill and downhill slopes and adapt its shift pattern schedule accordingly.
The VFR1200X Crosstourer has relaxed riding ergonomics. Seat height is 850mm but thanks to the narrow profile it's an easy motorcycle to straddle, with good ground reach.
The diamond aluminium twin-spar frame is a hollow unit that employs quartered construction - this enables very precise control over the all-important weight/rigidity balance of each part of the frame. Rake is set at 28° with trail of 107mm and 1,595mm wheelbase. Kerb weight is 277kg, 287kg for DCT version.
Designed to excel on hugely varied road surfaces the front and rear suspension offer generous amounts of controlled, bump-absorbing travel. The 43mm inverted fork offers reassuring control with precise steering and stability, even during hard cornering and heavy braking.
And Pro-Link rear suspension combines excellent traction with refined ride quality. Both the fork and gas-charged shock are adjustable for rebound damping and spring preload, allowing riders to alter characteristics to suit their riding style and intended usage.
For 2016 practicality was further enhanced, with an adjustable screen. The mechanism is simple and user-friendly, allowing the rider to adjust the screen height to any desired level with a single gloved hand.
Spoked wheels are designed to absorb the shocks generated by rough road surfaces and work with the suspension to deliver a comfortable ride quality. Tubeless tyres - 110/80-R19 front and 150/70-R17 rear - balance keen, agile handling with traction.
Combined ABS works between the dual front 310mm discs/three-piston calipers and rear 276mm disc/twin-piston caliper. It delivers balanced braking for more stable deceleration and the extra reassurance of an Antilock Brake System. If either wheel is about to lock up and slide, C-ABS momentarily reduces the hydraulic pressure being applied to the relevant brake and distributes the force optimally between both wheels, ensuring powerful and secure braking in all conditions.