Additional photos of this Honda RC45 are available here for your perusal.
The successor to the legendary RC30, Honda’s RC45 (or RVF750R) was a limited run homologation special created to help Honda re-establish supremacy in World Superbike. Though it was ridden to back-to-back titles in ’88 and ’89, by 1993 the RC30 had grown noticeably long in the tooth and it was clear that a new race weapon was needed to dethrone Ducati and its mighty twin. Honda’s answer came in 1994 in the form of the RC45.
Like the RC30, the RC45 was powered by a liquid-cooled, 749cc, DOHC, 16V, four-stroke, 90-degree V4, though unlike its carbureted predecessor, the RC45 was bestowed with tunable electronic fuel-injection borrowed from the development of the NR750. The bike also benefited from knowledge and experience gained in Honda’s RVF factory endurance race program. The RVF’s V4 boasted low-friction pistons, ceramic and graphite impregnated cylinder liners, titanium conrods, and close-ratio six-speed gearboxes with undercut shift dogs. The Euro and Japanese-spec RC45s made 118 hp at 12,000 rpm and 56 ft-lbs of torque at 10,000 rpm while the American model generated 101 hp — though the US version could be brought up to the Euro’s 118 via a simple tweak of the PGM-FI box.
Until the RC45, all of Honda’s V4 machines used a consistent bore and stroke of 70mm x 48.6mm, but the RC45 ended that tradition instead using a 72mm x 46mm setup. The RC45 also used gear-driven cams like the RC30, however, the drive was relocated to the side of the engine to allow for a narrower package. Wrapped around the V4 was a twin-spar aluminum chassis that had been slightly reworked with tweaked dimensions and slightly thinner walls. Suspension on the RC45 consisted of upside-down 41mm forks and a gas-charged shock absorber out back paired with ELF’s single-sided swing-arm which was slightly longer than the unit on the RC30. Both ends were adjustable for rebound, preload, and compression. The RVF’s riding position was still sporty but not nearly as hunched over as its predecessor’s, with a 50mm lower seat height.
Honda saw some races success with the RVF750R: Miguel Duhamel won the 1995 AMA Superbike Championship and the 1996 Daytona 200, while Ben Bostrom nabbed the 1998 AMA Superbike title, and Aaron Slight, John Kocinski, Carl Fogarty, and Colin Edwards all secured WSBK wins plus a trio of Suzuka 8 Hour wins in ’97, ’98, and ’99. While Honda’s current flagship supersport is powered by an inline-four, the firm still uses V4 engines in its current crop of MotoGP missiles that can trace than development back to bikes like the RC30 and RC45.
In 2010, “Planet Design” in France repainted it with a period Castrol livery as a tribute to the John Kocinski and his #3 bike.
The bike came to Iconic in early 2022. When it first arrived, Olly made it ready to ride with an oil/filter change, battery charge, chain service, coolant flush, brake fluid flush, clutch fluid flush, and a detail. We also sent the tail out to be touched up.
We wanted to take this RC45 out on the track before we let it go to a new home, so we took it to our recent 2-day event at Laguna Seca. In preparation for the track time, we performed a safety inspection, replaced the front/rear brake pads, and installed new Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 tires.
Alex did the work, and this was his condition report:
Tire Years – Front: 2022; Rear:2022
Tire Life – Front/Rear:100%
Brakes – Front/Rear: 100%
Hydraulic Fluid – Front: Ok; Rear: Ok; Clutch: Ok
Oil – Level: Ok; Quality: Ok
Coolant – Level: Ok; Quality: Ok
Lights – RACE BIKE -> NO SIGNALS, HEAD OR TAILLIGHTS
Adam put about a dozen laps on it: “I’ve ridden quite a few RC30s and 45s but this is BY FAR the fastest of the bunch. It most certainly has some motor work and undoubtably the HRC race kit as it revs faster and pulls exceptionally well through all the gears with plenty of power.”
A wonderful client helped us with some of the finer details of the upgrades to this bike (thanks, Jamie!):
“The velocity stacks are similar to but not officially HRC ’95 spec – the ’94 spec were plastic and were 46mm diameter where they met the throttle bodies (also 46mm) but they found in ’94 they lacked a little mid range punch so they reduced the size of the velocity stack and had it ‘sit’ in the throttle body (thus slightly reducing the diameter and picking up airspeed) they still gave the same top end but better mid range. They sit in a genuine HRC ’94 spec NL5 (privateer) spec airbox.
“The rear shock/linkage/dog bone is Ohlins Superbike (Ohlins made 2 shocks for the RC45, a direct bolt in on standard linkages and then this the Superbike shock/linkage), this was designed by Ohlins to work with a standard swinging arm AND works incredibly well, it has a great linkage ratio, somewhat better than the early HRC linkages!”
“The exhaust collector looks like ’94 spec but not sure. It was not uncommon for privateer bikes to upgrade bits and pieces through the years, so you may find a bike with a combination of 94/95/96/97 parts, by 98/99 the bikes were really the realm of works only and HRC parts did not flow down to privateers.”
Not Pictured: Olly notes that the heads have been ported.
Currently located at our facility in Santa Monica, California (please make an appointment for an inspection), this Honda is offered on a Bill of Sale only. Have any RC45 stories or questions about this listing? Let us know in the “Comments” tab!