Gear / Parts Honda VFR: HeliBars Review

Honda VFR: HeliBars Review

VFR Budget Build: Part 2, Heli Bars

The smallest changes can make all the difference when it comes to comfortable sport touring, especially at the motorcycle’s controls.

And when I began my 1998 Honda VFR budget build, taller handlebars were immediately destined to be the second installation following the Sargent seat.

I researched the market, and quickly decided on HeliBars for my fifth-generation Honda VFR. The reason? The company, which is in its 23rd year of production, took the time to analyze some VFR riders’ feedback before designing the HeliBars.

Once the data was compiled, Heli Bars, of Cornish, Maine, decided to craft the controls 1.25-inches taller and 1.50-inches rearward than the stock bars. These dimensions may seem minimal on the screen, but they maximize comfort and enhance control.

The VFR is a comfortable machine to begin with, but now trips over 100 miles are much soother with the HeliBars. The higher handlebars keep your posture in the more upright position, allowing the shoulders and back to be in a relaxed, natural state. Although the difference is drastic in the shorter trips, it’s after a few hundred miles when you’ll ask yourself why this wasn’t the first aftermarket part installed on your machine.

HeliBars further enhance comfort because the bars are built with “a new riser tube with a smaller diameter and a thicker cross section was engineered to increase rigidity and strength while reducing the transfer of what little vibration emanates from the V-Four.”

Vibrations have always been minimal on my VFR, and I haven’t observed a huge difference in this aspect. But for the riders that do, it’s just one additional benefit of fitting your bike with HeliBars.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, plan on about an hour to install the HeliBars. Pay strict attention to the directions that are provided, and the job will be painless. And remember that the new bars are marked with an “R” for right (throttle), and “L” for left (clutch).

The hardest part of the installation for me was the adjustment; I’ve since re-adjusted the HeliBars three times, having (finally) settled on my latest positioning. Once you’re satisfied, make sure that the cables don’t bind when the bars are completely turned to the left or right, also checking the clearance when the bars are nearest to the gas tank.

Then gear up and make sure you have a full tank of fuel…you’re going to enjoy the ride.

About the VFR Budget Build

I purchased the 1998 Honda VFR for $2300, which was by far the best deal I’ve ever received on a motorcycle. The bike had 14K on it, and the seller had it listed for $3800 on Craigslist as a “beginner’s sportbike,” obviously not knowing what kind of sport-touring machine he had.

When I first laid eyes on it in his warm basement, I couldn’t believe the shape it was in. I knew this was the perfect platform for my budget sport-tourer build, one that I can mod to match the performance/comfort of a newer sport touring bike that costs quadruple the original asking price of my Viffer.

Plus, it was a fifth generation model, which has the mechanical cam gear that gave the V4 that muscular sound. And of course, I had to get it a bit cheaper, finally snagging it for $2,300.

VFR Budget Builder Tally: 

Total Investment: $2989.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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