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.
In total, only 316 RC30s were sold in the US. The VFR750R (the name given to this bike in other markets) was first released in 1987, though only in Honda’s native Japanese market. The model wouldn’t be offered in America until 1990 — the only year it was officially sold on US shores — despite it being released to Europe and most of the other global markets in ’88. Different markets received different spec RC30s, with some versions getting a little less power. One way in which the American model differed was a red Honda wing in the tank, as opposed to the yellow found in other markets.
The seller had us go through the bike in preparation for the auction – we gave it a full hydraulic fluid flush, full carb clean, replaced all the rivets on the windscreen, and installed a new intake manifold and air filter.
Adam’s seen more RC30s than just about anyone, and he calls this a 9+ that’s “super clean…the more I look at it, the cleaner it is.” Have any questions about this listing? Let us know in the comments below!