Retro Reboot: Honda VFR750R (RC30)

Sam Hewitt
September 18, 2018

If Honda built an RC30 tomorrow, it might just look like this.

There are few motorcycles that are true icons but without question near the top of that pile is the VFR750R – also known as the RC30. Unleashed in 1987 this was Honda at its very finest, showing what they were capable of when aiming for race success in the then newly-formed WSB series.

As a race bike it chalked up wins wherever its wheels turned, whether it was the bumpy Isle of Man circuit or the glass-smooth German Hockenheim track. As a road bike it was hideously expensive compared to the 750 competition (ZXRs and GSX-Rs of the day) costing almost twice as much, but it oozed typical Honda build quality and more importantly, sex appeal in every detail from the titanium con-rods to the Elf-developed single-sided swingarm.

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As singular components, the RC30 was a perfect example of exquisite craftsmanship on a production scale. As a whole it was a formidable track weapon, able to bring those components together in a sublime package that made grown men weep at the mere sight of the painfully gorgeous eight-spoke rear wheel. Though Honda tried to repeat the RC30 success story with the even more relatively overpriced (but still desirable) RC45 in 1994, it didn’t quite hit the mark.


While the regular RC213 motor makes a modest 159bhp, only heading towards the 215bhp mark with the additional sports kit, we’ll take the standard motor and we’d be surprised if Honda couldn’t squeeze a few more ponies out if it by now too. We would suggest that 165bhp sounds about right. It’s more than enough too: the way the power is delivered is what makes it special – deceptively fast, with an abundance of torque. There are two exhaust routes, one for the front cylinders along the side of the bike and one for the rear cylinders under the tail unit.


The rumours, fuelled by registered Honda patents showing a monocoque frame, make perfect sense. Part of the RC213Vs extortionate price point is down to the hand-built nature of the frame but an aluminium monocoque (similar to the Ducati Panigale’s) would be viable for mass-production and slashing costs. The magnesium wheels could be ditched for alloy and cheaper suspension, together with a lighter sprinkling of titanium components without compromising performance.


Styling cues come from this year’s Fireblade and the recent RCV to keep the look familiar. With nods to the RC30 including the white wheels and DZUS fasteners, there’s a clear link to the original ’87 bike. And so are the colour schemes: the RC30 came in schemes aplenty and we’ve tried to tug on the old nostalgia strings with these ones.

What do you think? With Honda rumoured to be building an affordable V4 sportsbike should this be it?

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt

Sam Hewitt is the Digital Content Editor at Mortons Media Group.


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