Honda is recalling the VFR1200F from model years 2010, 2012 and 2013 (there was no 2011 model year version in the U.S.) because of a problem that can cause the driveshaft’s universal joint to separate or break. The recall affects 1,825 units in the U.S. including both Dual Clutch Transmission and manual versions. (UPDATE: Honda announced the same problem also affects VFR1200X models in Japan produced from March 2, 2010 to Sept. 2, 2015. The VFR1200X isn’t expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms until May 2016 so the problems should be rectified on American models before they get here.)

The driveshaft universal joint (shown in the illustration below from a recall announcement from Japan) may not have been properly assembled and may not have the proper durability requirements. The joint may generate enough heat during regular use to decrease the strength of the bearing shell. Over time, this may cause the universal joint to separate or break. If the joint separates, the shaft will stop delivering power to the rear wheel. If it breaks however, it may cause the rear wheel to lock up.

123015-honda-vfr1200f-recall-diagram

Honda first received a report of driveshaft failure in June 2012 for a VFR1200F in the U.K. By October 2013, Honda had received five more reports from Italy, Germany and the U.K. The following month, the universal joint supplier changed its production process in hopes of correcting the problem.

In December 2014, Honda received its 12th reported failure and the first that resulted in the rear wheel locking up. Honda acquired this broken unit so it could conduct a more thorough investigation. More reports continued to come in, including four from the U.S. (one of which resulted in a rear wheel lock-up). On Nov. 27, 2015, Honda initiated the recall process.

Honda dealers will replace the drive shaft on recalled units, with parts expected to arrive in U.S. locations in early 2016. Customers concerned about the problem and aren’t comfortable waiting for parts to come in may bring their VFR1200Fs in for inspection; if the driveshaft fails the inspection, dealers will install temporary countermeasure which will serve until the proper replacement parts are available.

[Source: NHTSA, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism]