Click here for an CycleVIN Motorcycle History Report on this 1990 Honda RC30. 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.
The original owner had a Honda dealership for over 30 years. He put it in his personal collection when new, riding it for 4,295 miles. He kept it entirely original (including the tires) except for the battery and a battery tender lead. In October 2020, he seller had a regular service performed which also included a new battery and a carb clean.
It came to us as a 8.5/10, and we asked Ollie to make it as close to a 10 as possible without going overboard. He removed a couple light oxidation marks on the top triple tree, vapor blasted and re-cleared the forks.
He also made her run right with some light carb work (they were pretty impeccable inside already). Our regular painter cleaned up a few small blemishes, and we installed some new Shinko Podium tires. As Adam puts it, “this is one of the cleanest RC30’s we’ve had yet and that’s a big statement since we’ve sold over 30 to date!”