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Fun Size: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

A recent influx of  Honda VFR400R NC30s means they're in danger of not being nearly such rare sportbikes as they used to be... But relatively few were made for all markets, so there's no real chance of them ever being a common sight, especially here in the US where they've only recently become legal to import. Basically, a smaller version of the Honda's homologation superbike RC30, the NC30 used the same formula, only with less weight and displacement.

The NC30 used stiff, lightweight aluminum beam frame to suspend the heart of the bike, a 399cc V4 with gear-driven cams and a six-speed gearbox. Fully-faired, endurance-racing style bodywork with twin round headlamps helped support the family resemblance, as does the distinctive, single-sided ProArm swingarm out back, something that wasn't all that much use in World Superbike competition, but was handy for endurance racing. Plus, it obviously looked cool enough that the nobody's-idea-of-a-long-distance-anything Ducati 916 used a single-sided swinger just because.

So why build a smaller RC30? Well the NC30 was intended to form the basis for machines that would be used to compete in the hotly-contested 400cc class that was pretty popular everywhere but, you guessed it, here in the USA. With just 59hp, it's obviously no powerhouse, but the bike's 313lb dry weight means a respectable 130mph top speed, more than enough for a road bike or a shorter, tighter track. It's a bike that obviously stressed handling over power, and the "big bang" V4 has a wide powerband, making it easy to be in the right gear, and makes a distinctive drone.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Honda VFR400R NC30. NO RESERVE 11,035 Miles (17,758 Kilometers) Completely original and unrestored. Mechanically Sorted. Cosmetically does have touchup paint and some cracks and scratches. Some pitting on the aluminum especially at the swingarm. Please see images. All fluids are fresh.  Shifts and revs to redline perfectly.  Starts effortlessly every time. Very Honest OEM Bike.  Fuel tank is Rust Free. Bike has Vin Matching State of Ohio Title.  NC30-1101*** Buyer is responsible for their own State Requirements. Imported into the States through all legal channels. Sold as is. Buyer responsible for shipping. Thanks for looking.

As with many of Deftone Cycle's offerings, it isn't museum quality, but is complete, clean, and mechanically sound, with fresh fluids. In addition, a short video of the bike starting and running is included. Bidding is up to $4,500 with a couple days left on the auction, although I'd expect it will go higher. How much higher? Well recent examples of this mini-endurance racing replica have sold for somewhere between $7,000 and $8,000 so we'll see where this ends up.

-tad

13 Comments

  • Hi love these bikes, but the paint scheme is wrong for a ’91. The tank is correct but the bodywork scheme is for a ’94. So either cheap knockoff replacement body panels or…? Either way this bike is not original despite the seller’s claim. Wheels also should be white. Still could be a good deal if the no reserve holds around 5k.

  • I’m sure the vfr is a lot like my friends rvf 400 I’ve ridden many times it was in my garage for awhile so more then once did i take it out. Ergo wise it is quite comfy no complaints there. Handling is superb is doesn’t do anything scary everything right. It feels like a whole new bike because recently he put those matris new fork internals in and a new nitron rear shock. Holy crap it’s even better now!! Seriously recommend this upgrade especially the shock!

    It sounds way better with and after market exhaust on it and it picks up better. There are after market Chinese aluminium rads for it the proper curved style with silicone hose kits. They bolt right on and look tricker than the stock black painted ones.

    They are very reliable bikes if maintained correctly the stock 530 chain is over kill do the 520 conversion. If there’s one negative carb slides are no longer available new. I have seen fcr carb upgrade kits in Japan but they are 3k!! Ouch.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen couple in person and it’s always so obvious that you’re looking at something special, but the stock exhaust is definitely uninspiring.

  • Looks good in the RC45 scheme :). No harm no foul. I owned an NC30 for a short while in 1991. It was ok. Quite buzzy for long freeway jaunts and to be honest it was no faster than my CBR400RR. The 400RR actually felt sportier everywhere.

    I do believe everyone should spend time on a 400RR (either NC23 or NC29) and the NC30 or NC35. They really epitomize what a 4 cylinder 400cc 16 valve bike should be like. And the variety between I4 and V4 is nice to experience.

    These modern 300/400/500s twins that are for sale these days are crap when compared to the 400/4/16’s from the 1980’s and 1990’s and really do not show what a mid range bike can be.

  • Yeah those tire sizes hold me back.. where do you get a decent 18” trackday tire? Looking online I only get cruiser tires and a Shinko general purpose rear.

    Almost as bad as the Honda Magna I ended up with. Broke a carb jet and the $7 part is unobtainable.. sometimes it’s the little things.

  • Just buy a 17 inch rvf 400 rear wheel

  • Tad, please elaborate on “only recently become legal to import”? Does this include California?

    • At 25 years old. DOT excempt. 21 for EPA excemption.

    • I’m no expert, but my understanding is that at 25 years, they become generally legal to import to the USA for road use. Actual registration, on the other hand, will vary by state. So as you can see from the other posts in this thread, you are free to import one to California, but good luck registering it. I see them out in the canyons from time-to-time, but I’d assume those have either been grandfathered in, per Motoman, or there have been some DMV shenanigans. There are different ways to get your bike on the road but, from what I hear, most of them aren’t 100% safe. Maybe register it as some sort of home-built special, if you plan to keep it forever? That could damage the collectible value to some degree, but these are common enough it might not matter to you and I’m sure another CA resident would happily snap up your “custom” bike when the time comes to sell it. Thoughts? Asking for a friend…

  • I’ll never pony up for an RC30 but my ’89 NC30 still pushes all the right buttons for me. Fantastic ride and I just love to look at it. Even though I have several of the 80’s two strokes in my collection, and I love them, the NC might be might be my favorite.

  • Hey Rick. Nearly impossible to register is CA if it isn’t already grandfathered in. I have an NC30, NC35 and a GSXR400. I’ve went through every channel and even if you talk a local DMV into signing off on a vin check (which they absolutely will not), you will then go to CHP. Again, even if CHP signs off (they may), Sacramento will deny any and all 11 digit vins. Options are to register out of state, or just use for track / collections. It’s a pitty too as they are amazing to ride and exceptionally quick in the twisties! You’d be amazed on how much power you “don’t need”, especially on public roads / mountains.

  • I thought this one and the rvf and cbr 400 n 250rr where legally able to be imported. They are on a very small list of motorcycles that meet the nthsa so one could be able to in all 50 states.

    But could be correct on the 11 digit vin thing now I think kalifornistan is not allowing them to be street reg’d anymore. Isn’t there some guy from Berkeley that tested them proving they meet the same emissions standards back in the late mid 90’s which got them on the approved list?

  • eBay shows sold for $5,502! Congratulations to the new owner!

    dc

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