Back in the 1990’s Honda introduced new technology to the sportbike world at a truly dizzying pace. From 1990 to 1999, Honda USA introduced sportbike riders to the RC30, RC45, RC51, CBR600F2, VFR750, the legendary NR750 and the CBR900RR. Personally I can’t think of another manufacturer that launched so many top of class bikes over a similar length time frame.
While the Honda RC30 actually launched in 1987 in Japan, it didn’t come to the USA until 1990 The RC30 was a techo tour-de-force that won a lot of races and developed a deep following. The follow up RVF750R, also often referred to as just the RC45, wasn’t as successful on the track but interestingly, for many collectors the RC45 is more desirable.
For anyone who is interested, an overview of all the differences between the RC30 and RC45 can be found here on Wikipedia.
Introduced in 1994 and produced until 1999 but only imported officially into the US for 1994 with a 50 unit allocation, the Honda RC45 was a true homologation bike. Right out of the box the bike came with a lot of top shelf components including an exotic DOHC 749cc V4 engine that had titanium rods, ceramic-lined cylinder walls and gear driven cams. The RC45 also incorporated a new fuel injection system, lots of cast magnesium parts to reduce weight, a new aluminium twin-spar chassis and an exotic (for 1994) single-sided rear swingarm.
And yet despite all the new tech, the RC45 didn’t have quite the same level of track or sales success as the preceeding RC30 and initially was considered to be a bit of a failure. Part of this was due to the fact that the new powerplant in the street/homolgation version was tuned to only produce around 110bhp for the U.S. version/118 for the European version which wasn’t a huge jump from what standard 750cc sportbikes of the same era were offering. Also street riding on the RC45 first gear was reported to be kind of a pain due to a very tall 1st gear.
While the RC45 didn’t find favor on the street, things were quite different when it was taken to the track. In peak race form the bike was transformed with power reported as being nearly 190 bhp. Track successes of the RVF750R included Miguel Duhamel wining the 1996 Daytona 200, John Kocinski winning the 1997 WSBK championship and Ben Bostrom winning the 1998 AMA Superbike Championship.
As for this particular RC45, sharp eyed viewers have probably caught that this US-located bike is listed as 1996 with a VIN # well above 50 (NOTE: This is assuming they can tear their eyes away from the art that is the perfect welds on this bike). These issues are explained by the seller as being due to the fact that this particular RC45 was originally delivered/sold in Switzerland in 1996 and then imported into the USA. While “gray-market” RC45’s can be a pain to get registered, the seller also indicates they have a US title in hand.
From the photos in the eBay listing, this particular RC45 looks to be completely original with only a few small nicks. I guess the excellent condition should not be surprise given the listed mileage of about 2800 miles/4400 kilometers. Personally my only concern is that the eBay seller has a zero feedback rating and some of the pics on this eBay listing look incredibly professional/like official promo pics instead of pics of the actual bike being sold.
Based on the listed phone number the seller appears to be a dealer located in Florida and while the maintenance/ownership history isn’t as complete as I would like for a bike like this, the seller did provide the following service info.
- “Recent” full service (quote marks added by me – Marty).
- New Pirellis.
- New fuel pump.
- New Battery
- Original stand included.
- Spare ECU.
- Spare complete period Micron exhaust included.
So what is this bit of mid 1990’s homologation goodness worth? Well the RVF750R is current one of the top desired 750cc homolgation machines of the 1990’s, the others being the Kawasaki ZX7RR and Yamaha OW01. This particular RC45 looks good but there are some things I would personally follow up on, such as the VIN#/title situation and also, given the color of the brake fluid in the master cylinder, what exactly was meant by “recent” full service.
Previous postings of these seem to have gone for a price between $24,000 and $29,000 USD. Assuming the title is clear, I would expect price to be somewhere in the upper part of that range band.
ADDENDUM: Some of our frequent readers/comments of RSBFS such as RC45 and The Collector are more experienced with the RC45, hopefully we can get them to provide their input in the comments section.