Honda RC30

Honda RC30 1980s Japanese superbike

The Honda VFR750R RC30 out-race-repped all its roadgoing rivals. Certainly, in visual terms, there was little to distinguish it from the RVF 750 race bike, on which it was based. Technically, too, it was similar. On the face of it, the component which differed most was the roadster's exhaust … compared, at any rate, with the racer's light, free-flowing set-up.

Of course, other parts, too, were not on a par with the race bike. The roadster's V4 engine was never going to be tuned to the degree of its competitive sibling. Notwithstanding, it still output 112bhp - at 11,000rpm. That gave a top speed of 153mph. More than enough for most mere mortals. Though optimal tuning of the high-grade suspension system helped. Not that it was easily achieved!

American rider Fred Merkel took two consecutive WSB titles on the RC30 racer - in '88 and '89. Briton Carl Fogarty did the same in motorcycling's Formula One series. Endurance racing, likewise, was meat and drink to the RVF 750. After all - so far as Honda were concerned - the RC30 was first and foremost a race bike. But - with its low-slung front end, aluminium twin-spar frame, and single-sided swingarm - the road bike had benefited hugely from the care lavished on the racer. The VFR750R, then, was in a league of its own. Honda's commitment to the project had paid dual dividends. On both road and track, the RC30 reigned supreme!

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