The choke in the disguise oozes Spartan charm.
Gas factory: four Keihin constant pressure carburetors in the V of the cylinder banks.
It was a dream for every sports driver: The Honda VFR 750 R. Michael Pfeiffer tells what MOTORRAD experienced with the RC 30. Here are the pictures of this legendary machine.
The seat humps and paneling were hand-laminated, the 18-inch rear tire was no longer up-to-date in 1988.
Great details: central nut, braking torque support by the swing arm.
Homologation model: 1000 VFR 750 R had to be built for the Superbike World Championship. Electrics and rear frame can be easily modified for sports use.
The instruments in the cockpit also show such charm.
It’s a shame, today Honda doesn’t build a V4 super sports car anymore.
Patented: Elf lent Honda the right to the single-sided swing arm, elaborate manifold guide.
To this day Helmut Dähne holds the lap record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife: 7,49.71 minutes on a Honda RC 30.
Honda VFR 750 R.
The lovingly crafted Honda is carefully turned into a corner: a dream for every sports driver. Seldom has a machine been as balanced as the single-seat RC 30.
This final starts with a loss. No, not with a defeat for the phenomenal Honda, but with a very personal one. It is one of those early warm days that you often experience in Hockenheim in Baden. As soon as the first crocuses crawl out of the earth, the motors are thundering through the Motodrom again. And I’m there too. With a Honda CBR 600, excited because it will be my first meters on a racetrack.
Another guy is happy too. His name is Alois Tost. And it’s about to be the very first Honda VMoving the FR 750 R in Germany, the legendary RC 30 that this finale is about. The spicy thing: the Honda is not an official test machine, nor does Alois work for MOTORRAD. He drives the test on a VFR 750 R flown in privately by Honda dealer Hans Mühlebach for our sister magazine PS. Much to the annoyance of the MOTORRAD test boss at the time…
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Honda VFR 750 R.
The seat hump and paneling were hand-laminated, the 18-inch rear tire was no longer up-to-date in 1988.
The engine was the icing on the cake: the 90-degree V4 had a 360-degree crankshaft on which four titanium connecting rods run. The pistons only had two piston rings and were coated with Teflon. Extreme effort for valve control: the four overhead camshafts were driven via two gear cascades with four gear wheels each. The camshafts with roller bearings then drove the valves via bucket tappets, the shafts of which were made extremely thin for those times with a diameter of only 4.5 millimeters. A work of art that Honda put on its wheels back then and is still absolutely legendary today.
Fred Merkel immediately won the newly founded Superbike World Championship with the Honda in 1988. The RC 30 was a direct hit. A good year later, I myself have the honor of being able to move such a motorcycle-building gem. Also in Hockenheim, but with a few hundred laps under my belt. A nice private citizen made his sweetheart available to me, fresh as a dew.
Even the first few meters make it clear that this is not a normal production Honda, this is a racing machine that has been laboriously throttled for road use. The titanium connecting rod motor hangs greedily on the gas, the sound is unique: grumpy from below, from 10,000 rpm trumpeting like a fiery bull elephant. It’s wonderful how the Honda can be driven. If a machine deserves the predicate light-footed, then it is the RC 30. And despite all its handiness, it never misses the precision with which you have to master the crossbar in Hockenheim, for example. Aha, that’s how Alois did it back then.
I’m in a hurry at that time, and I quickly get annoyed with the footpegs that are touching down on the Honda. Even the elbows under the single-sided swing arm touch down on the Sachskurve. And that, although the not really optimal 18-inch device is not at its limit at the back. Today I would take it easy. I would be happy to enjoy this weightless high revving engine, turning this incredibly well balanced motorcycle through the corners.
And would understand why almost all Moto GP racers these days are powered by a V4 engine. The center of gravity, performance and installation position are optimal. It’s a shame that Honda no longer builds a V4 super sports car. For some time now, V4 fans have been able to help themselves elsewhere: at Aprilia. The RSV4 R has some genes of the RC 30. What you can also tell.
Gas factory: four Keihin equal pressure carburettors in the V of the cylinder banks.
Water-cooled four-cylinder, four-stroke 90-degree V engine, four valves per combustion chamber, controlled by bucket tappets, camshafts gear-controlled, bore x stroke 70 x 48.6 millimeters, 748 cm3, 82 kW (112 hp) at 11,000 / min, four 35.3 mm constant pressure carburetors, oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox.
Bridge frame made of aluminum, telescopic fork at the front, single-sided swing arm with a suspension strut articulated via a lever system, 310 mm double disc brake at the front with fixed calipers, 220 mm single-disc brake at the rear, 17/18 inch cast wheels front / rear.
Measurements and weight:
Weight with a full tank of 208 kg, tank capacity 18 liters, acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.9 s, top speed 244 km / h.
Price: 25,270 marks (1988)
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