• Honda Press Release Model Year 1999

    While the European motorcycle market offers a broad range of classes and styles of machines, from high-powered, narrow-focus Super Sport bikes to cruisers and touring bikes of various sizes and shapes, European riders have been especially drawn to a unique class of motorcycle that combines strong, assured on-road performance with elements of off-road adventure.

    These uniquely styled, on-road-oriented dual-purpose ‘Adventure Sports’ machines—as this class of Honda bikes are called—generally feature high-torque single or twincylinder engines, comfortable, long travel suspensions and dramatically
    styled half-fairings integrating the fuel tank into their designs. Besides offering an excellent form of transport over the wide range of road surfaces one encounters in the cities and countryside of Europe, these motorcycles amplify the enjoyment of motorcycling by giving riders the impression that they really can go anywhere, even if for most riders ‘anywhere’ remains close to home.
    Honda research has found that most buyers of large, touring class motorcycles are older, usually married, and would prefer to share the pleasures of riding with their spouses whenever possible. Therefore, these riders are naturally mindful of the attractions a motorcycle might have not just to themselves, but to their travelling companions as well. Since touring for these riders is a ‘shared’ pleasure, it is important that a motorcycle be geared toward providing strong performance and longterm comfort when ridden by two and loaded with all the gear needed for a few days on the road. With this firmly in mind, Honda’s designers set out to create a large-displacement touring motorcycle that combines a litre-class engine offering powerful low-to-midrange output for quick and easy acceleration, even on steep
    upgrades, with the large, roomy proportions of big touring bikes, yet still offering the remarkably light and easy handling generally associated with off-road machines.
    Until now, one of the largest displacement motorcycles in this unusual ‘Adventure Sports’ class has been Honda’s own Africa Twin, which is powered by a liquid-cooled 52° Vtwin engine based on a design used in Honda’s line of mid-displacement
    cruisers. However, the ’97 debut of the popular VTR1000F, with its powerful new 90° V-twin engine and innovative ‘pivotless’ frame design, sparked the inspiration to create a new contender for the throne of the biggest and best ‘Adventure Sports’
    machine to rule the autobahns and backroads of Europe.
    Taking its name from a famous beach resort on the coast of Cuba, the all-new Varadero now makes its debut as Honda’s newest category of touring machines. Providing breathtaking power in a comfortable long-distance configuration that is much smaller and lighter than it looks, the Varadero is sure to ignite new waves of interest in all the adventurous enjoyment that touring can offer.

    The all-new Varadero’s singularly impressive styling finds its roots in the off-road racing machines with which Honda briefly challenged and won the Paris-Dakar and Pharaoh rallies over a decade ago. The motorcycles involved in these rallies began an enormously popular styling trend that resulted in an entirely new class of motorcycle, which Honda labeled ‘Adventure Sports.’ These new machines combined the fundamental features of Honda’s finest off-road machines, such as strong low-tomidrange power deliveries, tall chassis with long-stroke suspensions and upright riding positions, with such on-road-oriented features as integrated fairings, easy starting and handling, responsive disc brakes, and wide, comfortable seating.
    The all-new Varadero takes the ‘Adventure Sports’ concept into a new generation with its big, boldly aggressive front cowl punctuated by ‘big-eye’ dual multi-reflector headlights providing superb weather and high-speed wind protection for both rider and passenger. With the look of a world-conquering rally machine, the Varadero’s monstrous fuel tank gives premonitions of wide-ranging adventures and unpaved roads through exotic foreign lands. And, while its fully integrated meter panel exudes the comfortable quality of a sports sedan, its thoughtfully designed seat and other accommodations ensure many hours of comfortable high-speed touring and exhilarating adventures for two. Visually, the Varadero strikes an imposing figure of power and far-ranging potential, but once aboard, its comfortable, easy manners will certainly win new converts to its unique style of riding and touring pleasure. With its uniquely impressive styling and massive proportions, the Varadero projects a look of goanywhere confidence that could realistically see it travelling to the four corners of the globe.
    Its colouring design also projects a sense of world-travelling adventure with a uniquely attractive colouring layout. In all the Varadero’s three colour variations, its main colour extends only to the fairing’s large side cowls and the rear seat cowl.
    The Varadero’s gigantic fuel tank plays a central role in its overall design, and its enormous proportions are highlighted with a bright metallic silver colouring that focuses attention in all three colour variations. Further unifying the look of the three machines are black resin front fender, upper fairing cowl, lower engine cowl and sidecovers, which all feature a rough, moulded-in matte finish that effectively accentuates the brilliance of the bodywork’s painted parts. In metallic gold, the Varadero projects a look of imposing luxury that provides a striking contrast to its
    other matte black and silver body parts. A vivid candy orange also stands out against the Varadero’s black and silver background with a lively southern European flavour,
    while a deep pearlescent black contrasts its luminescent reflection against the flat matte finish of the other body parts to provide a strong yet chic urban appeal.
    While the Varadero’s wheels are painted in a rich metallic silver, the engine’s case covers are finished in a titanium-like, matte-finish metallic brown that accentuates the engine’s look of high performance.

    • Siena Gold Metallic (with Sparkling Silver Metallic)
    • Candy Blaze Orange (with Sparkling Silver Metallic)
    • Pearl Shade Black (with Sparkling Silver Metallic)
    The Varadero’s imposing, muscular look derives from a large, full-coverage fairing designed to provide maximum protection from the elements for both rider and passenger during high-speed operation. With large dual multi-reflector headlights and prominently positioned triangular indicators cleanly integrated into its form, the fairing’s aerodynamic curves and large side ports also play a critical role in the engine’s cooling system by effectively creating low-pressure areas over the outer surface of the sidemounted radiators that draw air through the radiators for
    optimum cooling efficiency.
    While the tall windshield provides excellent high-speed protection, even the massive fuel tank was specially formed with deep knee indents to help keep the rider’s legs
    out of the wind blast at high touring speeds. The Varadero’s large, sportylooking cast resin front fender features moulded-in chipping guards that protect the lower stanchion tubes from damage caused by flying objects like rocks and debris.
    Based entirely on the engine that currently powers the VTR1000F, the Varadero’s liquid-cooled 90° V-twin engine produces a wide band of high-torque power from low in its rev range that builds strongly and smoothly up to its highest performance peak. Its 90° ‘V’ configuration inherently cancels out the engine’s primary vibration to both assure a comfortable ride and permit the engine to be rigidly mounted in the Varadero’s new frame for optimum handling stability and lighter weight. Another
    important factor in the machine’s design is the engine’s crankcase-integrated
    swingarm pivot, which further lightens the frame by eliminating the swingarm pivot plates and the associated stresses that a swingarm places on a conventional frame.
    Powerful 996cm3 DOHC 4-Valve 90° V-Twin Engine
    The Varadero’s powerful V-twin engine first saw the light of day powering Honda’s popular VTR1000F Super Sport twin. Delivering a strong dose of litre-class power, this 996cm3 powerplant features a 90° V-twin cylinder configuration that inherently cancels out most engine vibration. Its flywheel mass was increased to provide smoother and stronger lowto-midrange roll-on acceleration with little of the ‘stutter’ that might
    accompany a similar operation performed with other engines. Modifications were also made to tune the engine’s power delivery for stronger low-to-midrange torque in order to provide both superb highspeed performance and an exhilarating pull of roll-on power. Within the engine’s large, identically cast DOHC cylinder heads, chain-driven camshafts actuate large-diameter valves by way of shimmed bucket lifters for precise operation. Designed to be rigidly mounted as a stressed member within a lightweight surrounding frame, the engine’s cases and cylinders feature stronger castings around its attachment points, especially at the rear where the crankcase provides a direct mount for the swingarm. A smaller oil pan realizes more ground clearance for the Varadero’s intended offroad riding applications, while the engine’s under-4-litre oil capacity results in less wasted, leftover oil after oil changes.
    ‘Nutless’ Connecting Rods
    To reduce reciprocating mass, the Varadero features the same lightweight, skirtless ‘slipper’ pistons used in the VTR1000F. These are attached to the crankshaft by way
    of ‘nutless’ connecting rods that have their endcaps held in place by standard threaded bolts screwed directly into tapped holes in the body of the rods. onsiderably lighter than conventional bolt and nut combinations, the connecting rods are also
    carburized for an ultra-hard outer surface that ensures an optimal balance of strength and durability.
    Map-Type Digital Ignition System
    The new Varadero features the latest in computer-controlled electronic ignition systems. The system monitors engine speed and throttle angle to ensure that a high-accuracy, highoutput spark reaches the cylinders for sharp response, strong acceleration and smooth performance throughout the rev range. A pair of slim-tipped
    NGK VX spark plugs further ensure strong performance and enhanced drivability, while minimizing buildup to maintain long-term peak operation.
    Large-Bore Slanted Flat-Valve Carburettors
    The Varadero’s 42mm slanted flatvalve downdraft CV carburettors are smaller than the 48mm units used in the VTR1000F, but provide the best balance of strong low-tomidrange performance and swift, linear response for the type of riding the Varadero is geared toward. Fed by a free-breathing, large-capacity aircleaner, they provide instantly responsive acceleration from virtually anywhere in the engine’s wide powerband.
    Low-Emissions Air Injection System
    Similar to the systems recently introduced on several other Honda onroad machines, the Varadero features a new solenoid-controlled air injection system that directs a stream of fresh air into each exhaust port, just behind the exhaust valve. This shot
    of extra air during the exhaust stroke extends the burning of the exiting unburned gasses into the exhaust port for more complete combustion and reduced exhaust emissions.
    Dual Side-Mounted Radiators
    Pioneered on the VTR1000F and featured on the VFR, the Varadero’s large, side-mounted radiators provide exceptional cooling capacity, as air scooped inside the fairing at speed is literally sucked out through the radiators by the wind rushing over
    the large, specially designed ports in the side cowls. This positioning also frees up space behind the front wheel—where a conventional radiator would normally be located—to allow air to flow freely back to the cylinders and exhaust system, further
    enhancing cooling efficiency. The lack of a radiator here also permits the engine to be optimally positioned for a shorter wheelbase, since the front wheel can be positioned in closer proximity to the engine. A large, thermostat-activated fan
    is mounted on the inside surface of the left-side radiator to maintain efficient radiator operation when coolant temperatures rise at low operating speeds, such as those experienced in stop-and-go city traffic. In such cases, the fan automatically
    switches on to pull cool air directly in from the side and into the fairing cavity, away from the rider.
    Stainless Steel Exhaust System
    Designed to optimize the engine’s midrange torque while providing a stirring V-twin sound, the Varadero’s impressive-looking stainless steel 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust system reaches up under the seat to terminate into a pair of large 4.5-litre
    oval-shaped canister-style silencers. Besides reducing the width of the rear seat for a more comfortable pillion ride, the silencers’ oval shape permits the attachment of
    an optional set of pannier bags.
    Wide-Ratio 5-Speed Transmission
    A light-action, smooth-shifting 5-speed transmission provides an optimal set of ratios for both high-speed touring and off-road meanderings up steep grades, as well as a more torque-filled power delivery at high speeds. Its rugged 140mm 10-plate hydraulic clutch helps channel the engine’s torquey power smoothly and efficiently to
    the rear wheel with a light pull and linear action. ‘Pivotless’ Cantilever Frame With its swingarm pivot built into the rear of the engine, the Varadero’s frame is relieved of a fundamental source of stress and weight associated with conventional frame designs:
    the swingarm pivot plates. Since the frame need only bind the steering head to the engine, using the engine as a stressed member to enhance its rigidity, the frame could thus be made lighter and simpler, without requiring heavier tubing or gusseting
    to stand up to the twisting forces a swingarm tends to impart.
    The Varadero’s ‘pivotless’ frame features a cantilever design of box-section steel tubes that surrounds and securely grips the engine to provide optimal rigidity. In combination with the Varadero’s side-mounted radiators, this frame configuration realizes a remarkably short wheelbase for such a seemingly large machine, giving it
    sportier handling and excellent straight-line stability, as well as ensuring an optimal balance of handling and performance when loaded down with passenger, pannier bags and rear top box.
    Long-Travel Front Fork
    The Varadero’s rigid hydraulic front fork features big 43mm stanchion tubes that provide a confident balance of precise handling and compliant damping. In keeping with its ‘Adventure Sports’ orientation, the fork also offers a long-legged 175mm of smoothly assured axle travel, as well as a wide 43° steering angle that provides greater manoeuvring freedom in tight situations at slow speeds, such as might be experienced off-road and in heavy traffic. The fork tubes are gripped at top by a forged aluminium triple-clamp.
    Innovative Pro-Link Rear Suspension
    Mounted directly to the rear of the engine cases, the Varadero’s strong and lightweight aluminium swingarm features massive 36 ΄ 82mm rectangular-section extruded aluminium spars that provide exceptional rigidity. Providing a full 155mm of
    rear wheel axle travel, the swingarm’s progressive Pro-Link suspension system features a large-volume 40mm damper. Spring preload is adjusted by way of a large, conveniently positioned knob accessible through a specially moulded hole in the right sidecover. Like the system used on the VTR1000F, the suspension’s Delta-Link is anchored to a bracket on the rear of the engine case by way of an extension arm.
    While the sidestand is also mounted on the engine’s rear bracket, the Varadero’s large cast aluminium foot peg stays are mounted to the ends of the swingarm pivot, where they also provide support for its impressive under-seat exhaust system.
    Dual Combined Brake System
    First introduced on the 1993 CBR1000F and having undergone several stages of refinement on the 1996 ST1100 Pan-European CBSABS with TCS, the CBR1100XX
    Super Blackbird, and last year’s VFR, Honda’s innovative Dual Combined Brake System (Dual CBS) was selected as the optimal braking system for the new adventure touring Varadero. Based almost entirely on the system developed for the ’98 VFR, the Varadero’s Dual Combined Brake System simultaneously engages both
    front and rear brakes when either the front brake lever or rear brake pedal is used. However, braking characteristics were thoroughly revised to meet the special requirements of this dual-purpose tourer. Compact Three-Piston Calipers The Varadero’s set of three compact three-piston calipers are operated by two independent hydraulic systems. The two outer pistons of the front calipers are controlled directly by the hand brake lever; the outer pistons of the rear brake
    caliper and the centre pistons of the front calipers are directly operated by the foot brake pedal; and the centre piston of the rear caliper is controlled by the secondary master cylinder mounted on the left front fork slider.
    Brake Force-Actuated Servomechanism
    Essentially the same part used on the ’98 VFR, the servomechanism torque arm has the secondary master cylinder moulded directly into its simplified form. The rotational
    torque exerted on the front calipers when engaged pulls the left-side caliper—and its connected torque arm—forward, directly actuating the secondary master cylinder. The secondary master cylinder then applies a corresponding amount of pressure to the centre piston of the rear brake caliper. A newly designed proportional control valve (PCV) regulates this brake pressure to ensure smoothly controlled response. Depending on which brake lever is engaged, the Varadero’s Combined Brake System delivers a wide, easily controlled range of braking force while offering the same front brake lever feel as a conventional brake system, yet with a more progressive range of rear brake control for an enhanced balance of braking capability. Because the two hydraulic systems are independent, any combination of the foot pedal and the hand lever can be used without resulting in excessive braking force or other unusual responses.
    Delay Valve for Smoother Operation
    The system also features an integral delay valve, which smoothes front brake engagement and reduces the tendency toward front-end dive whenever the foot brake is used to make minor speed corrections. Positioned between the foot brake’s
    master cylinder and the centre pistons of the two front brake calipers, the delay valve first engages only the left-side front caliper, and as pedal pressure increases it introduces pressure to the right-side front caliper, which rises from a preset level to equal the pressure to the left-side caliper. The result is a feel of comfortable, even deceleration that begins at the rear, with little of the rapid forward dive that is usually brought on when the front brakes are suddenly applied. The delay valve offers enhanced control and more confident operating ease over irregular road surfaces, such as slippery downhill grades and wet cobblestone roads. Floating Brake Rotors
    The Varadero’s 296 ΄ 4.5mm floating front discs feature lightweight ‘7-star’ aluminium inner rotors like those used on Honda’s highest performance street machines. The rear disc brake stops a standard, single piece 256mm rotor.
    Large, Dual Multi-Reflector Headlights
    The Varadero features the first integrated dual headlights ever used on this class of motorcycle. Featuring the latest design, they provide clearly defined nighttime illumination and enhanced riding confidence. The headlights’ long and wide dispersion patterns are determined by the computer-designed shapes of its angular
    reflectors, which reflect the beams in a precisely focused pattern through the thin, clear plastic outer lens without requiring a conventional headlight’s thick (and heavy) faceted lens to bend the beam to fit, resulting in a significant loss of output. Integrated into the Varadero’s tail cowl is a large, uniquely styled dualbulb taillight which provides a clear, attention-getting view from behind. Its large, integrally designed front
    turn indicators and large rear indicators also offer bright nighttime visibility for easy recognition from long distances.
    Fully Integrated Meter Panel
    The Varadero’s cleanly designed, automobile-like fully integrated meter panel features large, fully electronic speedometer and tachometer dials that incorporate built-in LCD odometer and clock displays, and a low fuel warning light. The odometer also doubles as a trip meter that can be programmed for two separate trip readings.
    The meter panel also features a centrally positioned coolant temperature gauge, a pair of large, easily recognized indicator lights, and a 4-litre ‘reserve’ LED warning lamp.
    Large-Capacity Fuel Tank
    The Varadero’s monstrous 25-litre fuel tank is the largest ever made for this class of motorcycle. Its large capacity provides a far-reaching touring range of nearly 300km between fillups. A built-in electric fuel pump ensures stable operation in a wide range of conditions.
    Tubular Steel Handlebars
    The Varadero’s standard-issue black painted tubular steel handlebars mount the usual assortment of levers,
    switch gear and high-visibility rearview mirrors. In keeping with its Adventure Sports orientation, the handlebars also carry a pair of large, wide-coverage plastic knuckleguards, which provide excellent protection for the hands from wind, rain and
    cold. For extreme cold weather riding conditions, a set of electric handlebar grip heaters will also be made optionally available.

    Broad, Comfortable Dual-Rate Seat To provide maximum long-term riding comfort for both rider and passenger, the Varadero’s wide and roomy ‘dual solo’ seat features different shapes, foam compounds, and even covering materials for the rider and pillion sections. Providing a broad, compliant perch for long-term pillion passenger comfort, the seat’s rear section features a large central hump that keeps the pillion passenger from sliding forward and back under braking and acceleration, while also
    providing extra support for the rider. Under the seat is ample storage room for a ‘U’-type security lock, the tool kit and other smaller essentials, while under the forward part of the seat reside the battery, fuse box and other electrical components for easy maintenance access. A small stand secured to the underside of the seat supports the rear of the fuel tank to facilitate rear cylinder spark plug maintenance.
    Lightweight Aluminium Wheels and Radial Tyres
    Unlike most other machines in the class, which lean toward wire spoke wheels, the Varadero comes fitted with on-road-type cast aluminium wheels that emphasize its
    high-speed touring orientation. Painted in a dark metallic grey, these wheels mount high-performance radial tyres that provide superb handling at autobahn speeds and assured control wherever the Varadero roams. Also making a contribution to the Varadero’s high-speed stability and handling ease is a large 19" front wheel.
    Extensive Carrying Capacity
    Like most of the motorcycles in Honda’s Adventure Sports class, the Varadero features a wide and sturdy rear carrier for tying down touring equipment and daily necessities. Unusual, however, is the carrier’s one-piece cast resin construction,
    which incorporates both carrier and pillion passenger grab rails into its design. Unlike aluminum, cast resin does not retain heat and cold, so it remains relatively comfortable to the touch in extreme weather conditions.
    Optional Equipment
    The Varadero will also have a complete range of optional equipment made available to it to further enhance its long-distance touring capability. These pieces are tentatively planned to include:
    - Specially designed, color coordinated detachable pannier bags
    - A large rear carrier-mounted locking top box
    - Handlebar grip heaters
    - Centre stand
  • Varadero Forum Video Clip