In the mid-1980s, Honda took a good look at their successful racing program and realized that in these times of hedonistic excess the point had come to take whatever made their track bikes untouchable and put everything under the saddle of a street bike.
Taking a clearly open checkbook approach, company executives locked up the accountants and, using an enviable shopping list, set out to create, for probate purposes, what would become one of the best legal road racers in the world.
Once described as a Rolex in a Sea of ââTimex, the Honda VFR750R is a shining superstar in Honda’s motorcycle catalog, and here are 10 things everyone forgot about the Honda VFR750R.
Born in 1906, the son of a blacksmith, Soichiro Honda was fascinated by machines and as a child helped repair bicycles in his father’s repair shop. Later trained as a mechanic in Tokyo, Honda opened his own garage before founding the Honda Technical Research Institute.
By fitting the surplus generator motors to bikes, Honda created their first motorcycle, the Honda 1, and the demand was huge. Honda was now faced with demand exceeding supply.
The Racing Service Center (RC) was Honda’s base for racing bikes, and its history dates back to 1959, when the first bike with the RC designation entered the International Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The RC prefix was mainly used on homologation stages and racing bikes, with the VFR750R commonly referred to by its fans simply by its model name, the RC30.
Released in 1987 specifically to compete in the SuperBike World Championship, only 3000 RC30s were made and were essentially racing bikes fitted with number plates.
With race-inspired parts like titanium connecting rods, a one-sided Honda endurance racer swingarm, and bodywork quick couplers, Honda showed what they can accomplish when money isn’t an issue. .
Having been designed as a racing bike, the engine and fuel tank were installed low to reduce the center of gravity, which together with the single seat configuration improved handling.
Many parts such as the 6-speed gearbox, pistons, slip clutch, valve train and cylinder heads are unique to the RC30 and, along with the fiberglass bodywork, further underscored its nature on hand made measure.
At the heart of this legendary beast is a liquid-cooled, 16-valve, 90-degree, 748cc V4 engine, an engine that in Japan produced 76bhp but was later limited to 118bhp for the rest of the world.
The gruff-sounding motor would run at 11,000 rpm delivering a noticeable linear power band from the start. Said to be reliable but fragile, impatient pilots who saw fit to push the hand-built V4 before it warmed up could grab the engine.
Considered the best you can buy, the Showa suspension featured quick-release axle brackets, a fully adjustable rear shock, and Honda Racing Corporation linkages.
The VFR750R was touted as one of the most maneuverable motorcycles ever created, a true jewel in the Honda crown. Even today, the RC30 is considered a benchmark test for fast road bikes and can stand up to much more advanced machines.
Even today, the VFR750R will hold up against lighter, more powerful machines. Leading the aged hero down a twisted black roof will make for a thrilling experience that is both rewarding and invigorating.
The single seat configuration is comfortable enough for everyday use with the suspension tuned for racing allowing for a precise and communicative driving experience. Once underway, the smaller size of the C30 is apparent and once the mighty V4 kicks in for a full talk, the bike will hit a respectable speed of 153 mph.
Designed and intended to be a purebred motorcycle from its inception, the VFR750R lived up to its own hype and proving that it was indeed a very special motorcycle, the RC30 won the inaugural WSBK Championship. in 1988 under the saddle of Fred Merkel, a feat that was later repeated in 1989. The bike also won top honors at the Macau Grand Prix in 1989 and 1990.
The Honda swept the podium in 1988 by winning the F1 World Championship and taking the top 3 spots the same year and completed the very first 120 mph lap of the infamous Isle of Man TT racing circuit. .
With an initial price tag of $ 15,000 when it was released in the United States in 1990, the Honda VFR750R was considered a very expensive option for thrill-seeking riders. With such a limited number of units manufactured and some of them lost due to the conversion of racing or racing enthusiasts, the VFR750R has become an iconic collector’s item and prices have increased significantly.
In 2018, Bonhams sold a 1990 ‘as new’ copy for $ 92,000, while in early 2021 a crisp 1989 bicycle with paddock rack and toolbox made the ground shake, the wallet withered. of $ 130,000.
Also known as the Interceptor, the VFR800 featured a V4 derived from the VFR750R but had different internal components and was more suited to general road use. It was the first non-domestic Japanese motorcycle to be fitted with a VTEC valve mechanism and produced 105 hp at 10,250 rpm and could reach a top speed of 146 mph.
Closely related but considered less fragile than the purebred CR30, the VFR800 quickly became a superb all-rounder and a decent substitute for those who couldn’t find, or even afford, a VFR750R.
Next: Here is what we just learned about the Honda Rebel 1100
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