Additional photos are available here for your perusal.
When the new World Superbike Championship was introduced in 1988, Honda had an issue as its highly successful custom-built RVF750 factory endurance racer (not the RC45) wouldn’t be eligible to compete. So they set out to create a new top-shelf, street-legal, limited edition race bike, producing the minimum number of units required to satisfy homologation rules. Knowing it would only have to turn out a relatively small batch of machines, Soichiro Honda wanted to use the new model to demonstrate what its factory race department was capable of. The result was a no-expense-spared race-grade legend brimming with features previously reserved for track-only machinery. Japan called it the VFR750R, but the bike we fell in love with in America was named the RC30.
At the heart of the RC30 was a liquid-cooled, 748cc, 90-degree V4 engine with four valves per cylinder, gear-driven double-overhead cams, titanium connecting rods, forged two-ring pistons, an 11.0:1 compression ratio, and a “big bang” firing order. Paired with a six-speed transmission with a trick slipper clutch, the sophisticated V4 made 118 hp at 11,000 rpm and 55 ft-lbs of torque at 9,800rpm (unrestricted). The VFR750R had a best-in-class dry weight of 396 lbs and a wet weight of 488 lbs, which was almost 10 lbs less than the game-changing Suzuki GSX-R750. The VFR had a top speed of over 150mph, and thanks to an incredibly high gear ratio, could break 80 mph in first gear.
The RC30 got fully-adjustable Showa suspension fore and aft — 43mm telescopic forks up front and a mono-shock out back. Braking duties went to a pair of fully floating 310mm discs bit by four-piston Nissin calipers in the front and a single 220m unit pinched by a dual-pot caliper in the rear. The bike’s fork sliders also allowed the front calipers to remain in place during wheel changes, a feature that, like the ELF-designed single-sided swing-arm, was born out of competition for ultra-quick pit stops.
Honda gave Americans access to the RC30 in 1990, while our European colleagues were able to buy it as early as 1988. But the first 1,000 examples were only offered in Japan. When the first bikes were announced in Japan in the summer of 1987, Honda basically had a lottery to select who could buy one. The lucky few were rewarded with one of the most iconic race replicas of all time – a homologation special created so Honda could compete in the new-for-1988 World Superbike Championship. There are several features that are unique to the original 1,000, such as small headlights, a 77 horsepower restriction (the Japanese limit for 750cc motorcycles at the time), and a numbered plaque on the frame which says “For those few who can appreciate the finest Motor Sports has to offer.”
This bike came us from a collection in Japan. Maintenance history is not known, so in preparation for the listing we installed a new battery, changed the engine oil/filter, flushed the coolant, cleaned the front brake caliper, flushed the front brake/rear brake/clutch fluid, rebuilt the front forks, rebuilt the left hand turn signal switch, cleaned out the ignition switch, cleaned/lubed/adjusted the chain, and cleaned/synced the carbs. Olly and Steve did the work, they note that the brake pads are at 80%/85% front/rear and after his test ride, Olly said it’s the best running-RC30 he’s ever ridden (except for his personal one, of course).
Custom OKI-themed paint with gold wheels – a tribute to Honda’s RVF750 Suzuka 8 Hours racer.
Not pictured is a M-Max derestrictor box (removes the Japanese top speed limit).
Currently located at our facility in Santa Monica, California (please make an appointment for an inspection), this Honda is offered on a clean Oregon title. Please note that this is titled as a 1988 model. Have any RC30 stories or questions about this listing? Let us know in the “Comments” tab!