Honda XL 1000V Varadero


Make Model

Honda XL 1000V Varadero


1999 - 00


Four stroke, 90°V-twin cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder.


996 cc / 78 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 98 x 66 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 9.8:1


3x 42 mm Keihin CV carbs


Computer-controlled digital transistorized 
Starting Electric

Max Power

94 hp / 69 kW @  8000 rpm   (86.1 hp @ 8000 rpm)

Max Torque

99 Nm / 73.0 ft.lbs @ 6000 rpm
Clutch Wet, multiplate with coil springs


5 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Frame Steel, twin spar

Front Suspension

43mm telescopic fork
Front Wheel Travel 155 mm / 6.1 in

Rear Suspension

Pro-Link with spring preload damper, rebound damping adjustable
Rear Wheel Travel 145 mm / 5.7 in

Front Brakes

2x 296mm discs 3 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 256mm disc 3 piston caliper

Front Tyre

110/80 R19

Rear Tyre

150/70 R17
Trail 110 mm / 4.3 in
Dimensions Length 2295 mm / 90.3 in
Width 880 mm / 34.6 in
Height 1460 mm / 57.4 in
Wheelbase 1560 mm / 61.4 in
Seat Height 845 mm / 33.3 in
Ground Clearance 195 mm / 7.6 in

Dry Weight

225 kg / 496 lbs

Wet Weight

255 kg / 562 lbs

Fuel Capacity

25 Litres / 8.6 US gal

Consumption Average

16.4 km/lit

Standing ¼ Mile  

11.8 sec / 177 km/h

Top Speed

201.6 km/h / 125.2 mph

Honda's entry to the large-capacity trailbike sector is much more road-biased than many of its competitors. While the Varadero has the long-travel suspension, large fuel tank and tall seating position of a typical big traillie, it has more road-friendly aluminium wheels, with radial, tubeless tyres better suited to high-mileage use on Tarmac.

Honda didn't have to look too hard for an engine to fit the Varadero: the firm's VTR1000F Firestorm engine was narrow, powerful and torquey enough to make an ideal touring trailbike powerplant. Further re-tuning in the shape of smaller 42mm carbs gives even more bottom-end strength at the expense of top-end power. The VTR's gearbox also lost a gear, giving the Varadero a five-speed gearbox, more suitable for its broader spread of power.


From the rider's seat, the Varadero seems huge. The tall screen stretches out in front, and the large 25-litre (5.4 gal) fuel tank swoops down either side. Faired-in side-mount radiators allow a shorter wheelbase, but add even more width to the fairing.

The 'pivotless' steel frame uses the engine as a stressed member, the aluminium swingarm pivots directly in the engine cases. Suspension is only adjustable for rear spring preload, but the 43mm (1.7in) front forks and rear monoshock offer plush damping and plenty of travel to soak up the worst of road conditions. Honda's CBS linked brakes are standard equipment, linking the front and rear

braking systems through a series of linkages and control valves for improved braking control.

Equipped with hard luggage, the Varadero (improbably named after a Cuban seaside town) makes a comfortable, fast tourer. Two-up accommodation is spacious and comfortable. There is sufficient power for fast 160km/h (100mph) plus cruising speeds.

The Varadero's only touring flaw is excessive fuel consumption: ridden hard, the Varadero can return less than 10km/l (30mpg), despite its large fuel tank.


Enduro (Germany):

Nr. 12 - 1998, page 10 to 18. Summary: ..."Lots of wheight, lots of power, perfect handling in all conditions...", "...No fear of unsuitable roads – the borders are moreover being determined by the choice of tires….","...Impresses, certainly while speeding on gravel roads...." Seeing the size and the wheight of the Varadero, this machine is also suitable once off the tarmac. It is certain that this Varadero is not "just" a comfortable allroad, for a bike of this calibre, it offers a host of user’s possibilities (translation).

Moto 73 (The Netherlands):

Nr. 20 - 1999, page 18 to 37, comparison with the BMW R 1150GS, Gagiva Grand Canyon, Moto Guzzi Quota and Triumph Tiger. The Tiger seems to be the big surprise in this comparison test. Low feulconsumption, combined with good road handling and a nice finishing touch. The Varadero offers still the best comfort, and is placed in the same row as the Honda XL 600V Transalp, like the Varadero an unknown, easy and friendly motorcycle. The failures: Soft suspension, noisy windscreen, high feulconsumption and not enough ground-clearance.

Nr. 1 - 1999, page 8 to 15. Summary: The gigantic measurements and the bullish looks of the Honda XL 1000V Varadero, leaves a slightly frightening impression. But taken out on the road, this new Honda proves to be a lovely machine, which "eats out of your hand" and provides a nice ride. Honda’s latest fat all-road seems to be a fine combination between all-road and supertourist. It is an extremely active, fast machine and covering secondairy roads (one could also think of mountain passes), other machines will have trouble equaling the Varadero.

Nr. 23 - 1998, page 37 to 39. Summary: Eventhough the 996 cc V-twin block is mildly detuned, the Varadero leaves a remarkable agile impression. Perfect, this is what we’ve been waiting for. At long last, a fat 2 cylinder all-road with lots of guts! Gearchange is smooth, the clutch works well, although not on the light side. Because of the wide handle bar, combined with a dominant sitting position, this machine can be manouvred into any direction without applying any force whatsoever. After a short test drive, Photographer Luc Verbeke was so impressed, that left him with the remark: "...What a beautiful thing, hey, this is a genuine Super-Transalp!"...

Motor (The Netherlands):

Nr. 21 - 1999, page 88 to 99, comparison with the new BMW R 1150 GS. Summary: Good 'Big-trails' are a good substitute for touring bikes and can make live of most sport bikes very difficult. The Honda and the BMW are very good 'Big-Trails', and so they are definitely good motorcycles. The overall- score of the Honda is just a little bit better than the BMW. More protection, much more power and a lot cheaper. The torque of the Varadero is very impressive.

Nr. 2 - 1999, page 12 to 23, comparison with the Ducat ST4. Summary: The Varadero is not shy of light terrain! The Varadero is an enormous "sweeping" machine; handles brilliantly, lots of grip, In the plus: Supersport motorcycles beware! Enourmously predictable, comfort for two, brute power and yet, a kitten.Nr. 45 - 1998, driving impression;

Motoren & Toerisme (Belgium):

Nr. 12 - 1998, page 22 to 29. Summary: A set of traveling cases, spray painted in the bike’s colours, is available as an accessory. Looks very smart, but spoils the adventurous character of the Varadero. OK, the Varadero wasn’t meant to be a better or larger Africa Twin, but to be a larger Transalp. And that it is in all aspects. The Varadero is a thick trailbike, which also lends itself for a competitive style of driving , it can easily travel a gravel road, but it can also easily deal with all the hassles that the concrete jungle throws at it.

Nr. 12 - 1999, page 28 to 43. Comparison with the BMW 1150GS and the Triumph Tiger 900. Summary: The Varadero is an intimidating big motorcycle. The finishing touch is placed on a very high standard and the fearing covers mostly the entire engine and protects the rider against all weather conditions, except from minor turbulences round head and shoulders. The bike feels like a big, and powerfull Transalp (A sort of 'Transhimalaya'), and like his little brother the road handling is very easy and not likely to fail. The Varadero is not only the most powerfull bike in this test, but has the best overall brakes. A full stop at 70km/h results in a braking distance 3 meters shorter as the BMW and the Triumph. The ride is very comfortable, the pillion has the best seat in his class. The biggest disadvantage: the feulconsumption, a legacy from the VTR Firestorm.

Nr. 7 - 2001, page 16 to 37, comparison with the BMW 1150GS, Triumph Tiger 955i, Gagiva Navigator and the new Aprilia ETV Capo Nord. Summary: The new Tiger is the all-over winner of this test. Although it is not the most powerful, the steering is not that sharp and the comfort is not that good the bike's overall design convinces through his unity and originality. The Capo Nord is second, well done for a new competitor in the big-trail class. The BMW has some minor disadvantages; the warranty lasts just for one year, the gearbox still doesn't convince and the reactions from the shaft drive are annoying. The bike is the most expensive of this five, but doesn't come with that much equipment as the other competitors. The biggest disadvantage of the Varadero is - again - the poor suspension (Note: for this test rating a model 2000 was used, the 2001 model has had some minor adjustments to the rear- suspension!) which influences the road handling badly. According to this test rating, the Varadero could come up to the Capo Nord with improved suspension. Biggest advantage of the Varadero is the comfort and protection of the fairing. Other advantages are the engine, the Combined Brake System (CBS), the light from the headlight, and the customer- friendliness during overall use. Besides the suspension, the fuel consumption, ground clearance, distance under emergency-brake, shortness of the jiffy and the feullid (not attached to the tank with a hinge). Disappointment of this test rate is the Gagiva; although it has been put on the marked as a big trail bike, the character is not comparable with the other test bikes.

Motorrad (Germany):

Nr. 6 - 1999, page 22/23, comparison with the Honda ST 1100 Pan European. Summary: ..."The Pan European has been for sale for the last 10 years and is famous for his qualities. With the new Varadero Honda produces a very strong competitor in his own stable. The Varadero is the strongest big-trail on the market, a men buys the Varadero with his mind, not with his eyes. The Varadero combines touring qualities on a very high level with a sporty touch if his rider asks for it. And that's a quality the Pan European doesn't own.

Nr. 6 - 1999, page 12 to 19, comparison with the BMW R 1100 GS and Triumph Tiger 900. In this comparison the Varadero again ends on first place. Summary: Honda has proven it again! An ideal combination of perfect ergonomics, comfort, safety and good road handling and a powerfull 1000cc V-twin. The twin does his job under almost al conditions. The frond- suspension could be a bit more progressive, and the bike could use a bit more ground-clearance. Overall, the Varadero convinces under all conditions.

Nr. 1 - 1999 (December 1998), page 30 to 35, comparison with the BMW R 1100 GS. Summary: The Varadero has some advantages on the BMW. If you ride normally on asphalt roads, and if you enjoy a competition with sport bikes, the Varadero offers just a bit more than the BMW does. More performance, more perfection, more protection. The Varadero offers a lot more comfort, because this Big Trail gives new dimensions to this word. Above all, the Varadero proves to be a very quick, and very active motorcycle. The only disadvantages: The main-stand is an accessory and there is no catalyst convertor.

Nr. 24 - 1998, page 18 to 20. Summary: For all unanswered questions we will have some further test rides with this new Honda...

Motorrad Enduro 'Xtra' (Germany)

Nr. 1 - 1999, page 54 to 58, compared with the Honda XL 600V Transalp. Summary: "The design of the Varadero proves that the Transalp is the mother of all travel (all road) enduro's. The design of the Transalp defines the standard of the forthcoming generations. One thing is certain and without discussion: the Varadero is one of the best traveling bikes today. Although the off-road capabilities are almost non excisting, this is hardly noticed. Just an excellent bike, nothing more, nothing less".

Motorradfahrer (Germany):

Nr. 12 - 1998, page 8 to 9. Summary: With the Varadero, Honda has put a motorcycle on the road which has the potential to make life ss. Now the Pan European gets competition from within it’s own stable, this from the currently strong, up and coming allroad, the Varadero. Those who use their brains, will buy a Varadero. To feast your eyes, one will buy somthing else. Varadero combines a high level of touring qualities, together with a potion of tension, as soon as the driver asks for it. Just this, lacks on the Pan European (translation).

Motorrad Reisen & Sport (Germany)

Nr. 8 - 1999, page 6 to 11. Comparison test between the Varadero and the new BMW 1150 GS. Summary: "The 1000cc literally burns the asphalt. It leaves tracks on the tarred surface such as one would expect from a supersport. Unfortunately, the bike's frame is doesn't meet the expectations, the tail end misses that last bit of stiffness and stability, especially when driven in a sporting manner. Contrary to the BMW, the Varadero offers more space and comfort".

Promotor (The Netherlands):

Nr. 10 - 1999, page 10 to 12. Summary: All in all, the Varadero is a bike for owners of "genuine" all-roads, who wish for more comfort and more power. With the Varadero, Honda puts a motorcycle on the market which can set a new trend in the segment of travelbikes. Even if you don’t like the looks, take it out for a trial run.

Nr. 2 - 1999, page 48 to 51. Summary: "Conclusion: I’ll be honest, at first when I was confronted with the Varadero, I wasn’t impressed. Clumsy, ugly, strange. I have done my utmost to find arguments to totally degenerate this bike. But I didn’t succeed. In fact, after my first ride on this weird thing, I became totally converted. The Varadero is one of the better representatives of the fat all-road types. The sitting position is more comfortable than on a custom, you can ride it like a superbike and in the touring sector, it will make mince meat out of a Pan European".

Nr. 9 - 1998, page 31, overview Motorrai 1998: Other important news is the XL 1000V Varadero. The Varadero can be seen as the larger and more powerful brother of the Africa Twin.

Tourenfahrer (Germany)

Nr. 8 - 1999. Page 24 to 37, compared to the Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin. Included are 2 pages accessories news. Summary: "The XRV 1000 would be the solution to the genuine fans. The handling capabilities of the Africa Twin and the comfort of the Varadero".

Topbike (South Africa)

Nr. 5 - 1999. Page 16 to 17. Summary: "We spent an entire day exploring every aspect of the Varadero's on- and off-road performance, and every step of the way it endowed the rider with reassuring confidence. Even when riding two-up gravel, the XL 1000V soaked up the bumps, dips and jumps with ease. The breaks never misbehaved, and sufficient power was always on hand to blast out of corners in thrilling power slides. The bike's on-tar performance with a pillion passenger on board was excellent. Honda describels the Varadero as an 'Adventure Sport' bike - an apt title for a truly competent motorcycle. Fitted with the optional panniers, it would make the perfect companion for exploring every interesting facet of the glorious South African countryside..."

Mopped (Germany)

Nr. 8 - 1999. Page 6 t/m 9, comparison test with Triumph Tiger, BMW R1150GS and Gagiva Navigator. Summary: ..."The Varadero combines a great engine with a high level of comfort, a large feultang and great breaks. The Varadero is a quick, comfortable big trail suited for travelling. Disadvantages are the noisy windscreen and feulconsumptions at hight speed (+160km/h). The Gagiva offers the most riding pleasure, the BMW convinces trough is high stability, Kat and suspension. The Triumph is suprisingly feul efficient with good performances, comfort and excellent breaks...".

Motorrad News (Germany)

Nr. 7 - 2001. Page 8 t/m 14, comparison test with Triumph Tiger 955i and BMW R1150GS. Summary: ..."Lets make an exception and start at the bottom line. We find the Varadero there at third place. The frame suffers under an exaggerated comfortable setting of the suspension, which make's more sporty tours on twisty roads more like "walking on eggs". Looking at the performance, the engine is very desirable, and the lack of an catalytic converter has been replaced by a more simple 'secondary air-intake', which cleans the exhaust emission somehow... The fuel consumption is far to height and will only make the owner of your fuel station smile. 2nd place is for the BMW. Great frame and suspension, but the engine somehow can not convince. Test winner of this ratting is clearly the Triumph Tiger 955i: Great new, powerful engine, but pitiful the front suspension can't keep up with all this violence.".