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12,574 ORIGINAL MILES, 20,236 KILOMETERS. ABSOLUTELY MUSEUM-QUALITY RC30, MECHANICALLY AND COSMETICALLY PERFECT. SERIOUS COLLECTORS ONLY.
Honda’s racing evolution during the 1980s and 90s spawned a multitude of incredible machines: the NR500, NS250, NS500, NSR500, RC45, NR750 and of course, the VFR750R RC30. Each of these pushed the boundaries of the time and brought something brand new to motorcycle technology.
The Honda VFR750R, also more commonly known by its model code, RC30, was perhaps the most successful of these pioneering bikes. Its mission was simple: To win on the track. Its racing legacy is something that is still talked about today, and the Honda VFR750R RC30 has become one of the most desirable bikes to own for racers and collectors alike.
Honda VFR750R RC30 Specs
Engine: 748 cc liquid-cooled V4
Power: 118 bhp @ 11,000 rpm
Seat height: 785 mm / 31 inches
Fuel tank: 18 litres / 4.75 Gal
Dry Weight: 185 kg / 408 lbs
Top speed: 155 mph / 250 kph
When the World Superbikes replaced the TTF1 in 1988, track-only bikes, such as Honda’s RVF, were no longer eligible. For homologation, Honda designed the RC30 as a limited edition road bike selling just enough to satisfy the rules for World Superbikes.
The first 1,000 of the new bike launched later that year in Japan. Despite the high price tag of 1.5 million Yen ($15,000 or 8,000 in 1987) the VFR750R RC30 sold out rapidly. To comply with Japanese regulations, Honda restricted the bikes sold in Japan to 77 bhp.
1988 saw the Honda VFR750R RC30 released in Europe, followed by America in 1990, this time with the full 112 bhp. By 1990 Honda had already won the first two World Superbike titles and claimed several wins at the Isle of Man TT.
The World Superbike ruling (that track only bikes were ineligible to enter the championship), gave a technological boost to production bikes. Forcing manufacturers to sell their competition bikes, albeit with a few permissible changes, meant that in order to be competitive on the track, the corresponding road bike would naturally be built to a high specification.
Honda engineers used this opportunity to create the ultimate V4 sports bike with a host of advanced racing technology. It’s 90° 748cc V4 engine housed 16 valve, titanium connecting rods and gear driven double overhead cams producing 112 bhp at 11,000 rpm.
The main frame, subframe and swingarm were made from aluminium. A preload adjuster for the rear shock and adjustable front forks were also included. For what was essentially a race bike the riding position was relatively relaxed, which certainly favoured long distance riders.
The iconic single sided swingarm (sourced from the Elf-Honda endurance racer) had both the disc brake and sprocket mounted on the left side. This negated the need to remove the chain allowing for quick release rear wheel changes; perfect for the track.
Preload adjustment was fitted to the front forks and the wheels and brake pads were given quick release mountings to further accelerate pit stops. As before, Honda developed the RC30 for the track first and road second.
Further changes were made to the RC30 in 1992, with Honda tweaking the engine to improve the output to 118 bhp. Several colour options were offered over the years with a few limited editions produced along the way. The RC30 was replaced by the VFR800F in 1998 losing its racing pedigree and becoming a touring machine.
Honda VFR750R Performance
When Honda first announced the release of the RC30 in summer 1987, the interest was so high that there was a draw for eligibility to buy one in Japan. When it finally arrived the media praised it endlessly and despite the high price tag, twice that of the Suzuki GSX-R, did not diminish its appeal. Unsurprisingly, every dealer immediately sold out.
The RC30 immediately achieved success on the track. Fred Merkel won the first World Superbike Championship title in 1988 and 1989 (both the rider’s and manufactu