The bike makes a remarkable visual statement. The metallic gray version I first observed in the wild was just perfect: the piping on the pleated seat, the round headlight, the dirt track-style knobbies. It made me stop and look.
Raw and refined at the same time, like a serious troublemaker in a bespoke suit. “American muscle” is mostly a lie in 2017, the bullshit blathering of done-run-outta-tricks marketers, the equivalent of playground braggarts, now grown, clinging to a once-glorious past.
The CityBike Wrecking Crew goes to Bungee Brent’s Backroad Bash every year—it’s become something akin to an annual corporate retreat, which I understand is what real companies call these outings that serve as backdrops for trust falls, sexual harassment and blackmail fodder. It’s a bit of a misnomer, though: we’re not corporate, and we damn sure don’t retreat. Ever.
The XSR is an attention seeker in the no-longer-available King Kenny paint scheme, and the mild XS650 influence is noticeable. It's not a full on retro-posing bike, but it’s also not “just a regular old motorcycle.”
Honda didn’t get this far by being stupid, though—although they do get a little weird now and then. They get it. They know that people aren’t going to line up to buy this bike for serious long way down or ‘round or wherever shenanigans. They understand what many people use their adventure bikes for, and made the VFR-X a damn near perfect example.