Anyway, the bike, which I saw that day in between the host of delivery Honda CD200s, Suzuki B120s and the local pharmacy Vespa Ape, was Honda’s VF1000. Decked out in white with blue-and-red flashes, it looked racy – made even more so by the addition of an aerodynamic-looking headlight cowl and lower bikini-fairing sporting a ‘V-FOUR’sticker. How many sold in South Africa? No idea. But since that first sighting, I have seen very few on the road or at shows. (Any local bike statisticians out there should feel free to send in some sales figures on these and the GPZs.)
What I have seen though is a number of Honda VF750 and VF500 FII models popping up lately. Like a one-piece bathing costume, these are fully faired and have aged better than the high-cut-bikini-and-perm look of the VF1000 I saw 30-odd years back.
Armed with aviators and a bomber jacket, the hunt began. The criteria? Period-correctness, of course. Like it was back in the day, the more powerful 750 version was top of the list. But I had no luck. Any bikes that I found were either missing bits of bodywork or were painted in schemes of lurid metallic purple and yellow. It was this desire for the bigger bikes that damaged VF500 sales figures back in the 1980s, but it is probably also the reason why I was able to track down a very original one today.