VTR1000 with Hindle pipes at Phillip Island Why have a big twin? Grunt. Pure and simple. Where four-pot screamers provide a top-end rush, the twin gives you mid-range punch. And if Australian registration figures for 1997 and 1998 are any guide, then Honda's VTR1000 has proven to be the most popular punch in town.

While the VTR is more in the sportstourer mould, perhaps lacking the racetrack refinement to put it in the pure sports category, Honda has provided some HRC power-up bits to give it some extra oomph.


We tested the bike with the CDI unit, jet kit and close-ratio gearbox last issue (Vol 48 No 17) and found the kit didn't make a great deal of difference on its own. What was needed was a pipe (or set thereof) to go with the HRC kit, and since then we've settled on a unit that has given some pretty impressive results both on the dyno and in the real world.

We opted for a set of Hindle pipes, which gave an extra 10 horses at 5800rpm right in the mid-range where you want it and a spread of about three extra horses through to a peak of 109 ps.

HRC close-ratio gearbox, and other goodies for the Honda VTR 1000
The exhaust system transplant also increased the grin factor, with the VTR's rorty V-twin grumble suitably amplified and the oval carbon-fibre Hindle cans looking trick.
Around town the VTR turned heads with its new meaty drone it was the perfect tool to head down to the local cafe on a sunny Sunday afternoon. However, if you're going to spend this much money then real performance is what you want, and the lunge forward experienced when tapping open the throttle from as low as 60 kph in top suggests this goal has been achieved.
Not only did we beef up the mid-range in power, but the torque curve has gained an impressive bulge as well, peaking at 10kg-m at 6000rpm, up from 9.5kg-m at 6900rpm.
VTR1000 with Hindle oval-muffler exhaust While checking out the accompanying dyno graphs*, you'll notice a third curve. This is Paul Childs' hotted-up VTR, which has high-compression pistons, cams, carb kit, exhaust and a port job. Childs' bike has gained plenty in the upper end of the rev range, giving it more four-cylinder-like characteristics. The Childs bike loses out on mid-range to get more out of the top-end, and falls 12ps short of the Hindle-kitted bike at around the 5600rpm mark. But it makes it up in spades to peak at 119ps at 9400rpm.
It's a matter of how much money you're prepared to spend and the sort of end result you're after, but Honda has got the right idea in enhancing the V-twin's natural characteristics with its HRC kit. So how's it go? The next step was to take the bike to the radar-free Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and find out. Launching off the mark, the VTR threatens to rip your arms off and climbs quickly to terminal velocity. Hook into a tight turn and on the way out is where the transformation is most noticeable.
We were lucky enough to be testing the VTR with a few other late-model sportsbikes on the track and the extra mid-range mumbo showed through against the four-cylinder opposition. The VTR would pull away from the fours exiting the turns, pulling hard up through to the 9500rpm redline. Around through Phillip Island's Turns 11 and 12, the VTR rapidly picks up speed and is still pulling hard on to the straight to a top speed of around 235kmh before backing off for Turn One.
If you're into monos, this is the bike that will keep you satisfied, the extra mid-range making it relatively easy to loft the front wheel. Well, that's according to Porty, who is turning it into an artform. As for fuel consumption, it depends how heavy you are with your right hand. The pipe and HRC bits don't chew any more juice than standard when tooling around, but they do tempt you to explore the increased power options - expect an average of around 14km/lt in normal use and don't go places more than 200km between fuel stations.
VTR1000 blasting The Island
Now, the crunch. We went top of the range with the pipes. A set of oval Hindles retail at $1890, while the CDI unit costs $749 and the jet kit $404.10. That means not much change out of three grand. The HRC gearbox at $1770 is sheer luxury, and while the close ratios aid a little bit when trying to bring down your lap times, they are superfluous for normal road use, particularly with the fat spread of power achieved with the rest of the kit.

Oh, and if you're quick, you might be able to crunch DynoBike (03 9596 8299) on the Hindle system we used for this test.

Article: Justin Law
Photos: Paul Barshon
First Published AMCN (Australian Motorcycle News)
Reproduced with kind permission of the author and the publishers.
* Graphs omitted for brevity.

See Also: VTR Tuning Tips

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