Posts by tag: big bang

Honda May 8, 2020 posted by

Unequivocal – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30

Having graduated from nascent collectible to crazy-to-ride museum piece, Honda’s pre-eminent VFR750R / RC30 continues to appear for auction with exotic car-level reserves.  This Michigan example appears in a collector’s warehouse and looks superb.

1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30 for sale on eBay

Sharing V-4 engine architecture with the roadgoing VFR750F, the -R was mostly different inside the cases and pushed 118 ponies.  Titanium connecting rods greatly reduced rotating mass and defined unobtanium.  Crank and cams were geared to provide a power pulse every 360 degrees, improving rideability at racing rpms.  The all alloy chassis and peeks out behind the fiberglass fairing, holding 41mm right-side-up forks and ELF’s single-sided swingarm.  Trailing throttle torque was tamed by the factory slipper clutch.  Single seat and five gallon alloy fuel tank had their focus on the race course.

Said to be hosted by only its second owner, this RC30 looks outstanding and reports 7,037 miles.  If the new owner elects to ride there will be time to go over any needed repairs and recent maintenance, but they aren’t discussed in the eBay auction:

  • One of the modern era’s few immediately collectible classics
  • The RC30 was created for one reason – to win the World Superbike Championship! 
  • The seller is the second owner of the bike
  • First owner was Nick Helyer who purchased it in Orlando, FL in 1990
  • Nick was a British gentleman that apparently did some WEC racing in the late 1970s, early 1980s
  • The bike notably includes the owner’s manual, tool kit and two keys

Success came early and often to the RC30, taking the two first Superbike World Championships under Fred Merkel, as well as Formula TT wins with Joey Dunlop and Carl Fogarty aboard.  Not to mention a handful of World Endurance Championship wins and AMA Superbike victories.  Though this is “merely” the streetable VFR750R, it would make a singular afternoon.  Hopefully the next custodian will be able to arrange it.

-donn

Unequivocal – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30
Honda March 26, 2020 posted by

Sex and the Single Owner – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30

Lately more appropriate to a Bonhams or Mecum stadium event than an online auction, the very collectible RC30 appears here claiming just one previous owner and 4,809 miles.  The sparkling condition and reasonable* asking price makes it possible this listing will end early.

1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30 for sale on eBay

Honda built the 748cc V-4 with the Superbike World Championship in mind, and the big bang 360-degree crank opened an interval for correction mid-corner.  A generation before traction control and 3-axis reference systems, the factory slipper clutch eased downshifts.  Showa provided adjustable forks with quick-release axles, and matched the single-sided swingarm’s quick tire changes.  Brakes are right-sized at 296mm, and the rear caliper has linkage designed to reduce wheel hop.

Not sure where this RC30 has been all these years, but it’s shown with Oregon tags by an eBay specialist with a bunch of other neat bikes on offer.  Spotless and seemingly original right down to the DOT reflectors on the front forks.  Comments from the eBay auction:

This RC30 hailed from a small, but discerning collection of cars and motorcycles. The original owner covered a mere 4,800 miles in just about 30 years. Regularly maintained since new, the bike runs and rides like new.

This legendary machine is offered in excellent condition throughout. The engine starts readily, idles smoothly and has an abundance of power. AN ABUNDANCE! The bike is fast with a long first gear, that doesn’t launch you from a standing start, but winds on power for what feels like an age. The clutch is silky-smooth and brakes and suspension are near perfect. Tires are in very good condition.

There are negligible blemishes in the paint finish around the bike, mainly at the bottom of the fairing, and there are no dings. All body panels are original, and the tank is totally free of blemishes and scratches/dents. Seat is excellent as is the rest of the bike. The bike is accompanied by a clean, clear title, books and manuals, spare key, and a full set of completely untouched tools. There is also a matching hand-crafted tank bag.

Honda took the first two years of the championship with Fred Merkel, and three if you look at the manufacturer’s ranking.  Most of us will just have to wonder what it was like, to be in the points so consistently, on a Castrol purple machine.  Lightness, power, and build quality all played their role.  The motoring press ran out of superlatives almost as soon as the limited edition was gone.  Cherry though not a museum piece, the next owner could sample the RC30 experience before the spotlights beckon.

-donn

Sex and the Single Owner – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30
Honda October 17, 2019 posted by

Spitting Image: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Speaking of 400s… This grey market Honda VFR400R NC30 looks for all the world like it’s bigger, 750cc brother, the superbike homologation special VFR750R, also known as the RC30. The two machines can be pretty hard to tell apart, and just the smaller headlights and narrower real wheel give the game away without looking closely. Side-by-side, the NC30 is visibly smaller, but has the same sleek, 90s shape, beam frame, single-sided swingarm, and classic graphics.

Both bikes are powered by V4 engines with gear-driven overhead cams and a 360° “big bang” firing order that gives the bike its distinctive exhaust note, overlaid with the whine from the cam timing gears. That stunningly engineered Pro-Arm swingarm is heavier than a double-sided unit, but makes for quicker rear tire changes during endurance racing pit stops. The smaller engine also means much less weight, and the NC30 weighs just 400lbs wet, compared to the RC30’s nearly 490lbs.

Handling is brilliant and the bike is a popular track day mount overseas, although they’re a little too rare and a little too pricey to make much sense here in the US. Not that it would stop me from thinking seriously about it. It’s a very compact, lightweight machine, and the 60 or so horses feel stronger than you’d expect. I had the opportunity to take an extended spin on one, and it was plenty comfortable, although a guy my height does look a little like the proverbial “monkey humping a football.”

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Pretty clean 1989 Honda VFR400 NC30 with only 8,021 original miles [12,909km]. The bike starts right up and runs and drives good. Everything works like they should, except for the missing seat lock and rear view mirrors. Got a Buy It Now price of $8,500 or will consider the nearest best offer. Got a clean and clear title in hand.

Please ask all questions and clear all doubts before bidding. It is the buyer’s responsibility to inspect the bike prior to bidding. Call 646 361 8452 to come inspect the bike. The bike is being sold “as is” with no warranties. All sales final with no refunds and no returns.

There are just hours left on the auction, and the Buy It Now price seems in line with the bike and its apparent condition. I’m generally much more interested in European exotica, but the NC30 is on my very short list of bikes to own.

-tad

Spitting Image: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Honda June 25, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing – 2000 Honda RVF400 NC35

Honda’s second generation small V-4 took the successes of the VFR-400R / NC30 and modernized them for the late 1990’s.  Having never been sold new here, all are gray market imports with metric speedos.  RSBFS reader Jae has this super-clean example tuned for the high country.

Sticking with the winning formula, Honda made evolutionary changes for the NC35’s 1994 introduction.  Carburettors were updated to a 30mm semi-flatslide design, with velocity stacks aimed down the intake.  Rake and trail were unchanged but the frame was re-designed.  Inverted forks were installed, and the single-sided swingarm recieved a major update.  17″ wheels are found front and rear, easing tire choices for the future.  The styling templates the iconic RC45, and the riding position is more relaxed than some other small sports.

With just under 11,000 miles, Jae and the previous owner have been careful custodians of this NC35 if not long distance riders.  Most of the mods are deep under the fairings:

– Current and clean Colorado title and registration (registered & titled as a “2000 Honda NC35”.
– VIN is: NC351103563
– 17,400 km (10,800 miles)
– Motor has fresh oil, oem air filter, recent valve adjustment
– Bigger capacity upper radiator
– new Samco radiator hoses (fresh coolant last summer)
– Penske shock (emulsion version with ride height adjustment)
– 5.5″ Kosman widened rear wheel (fresh new tire)
– Dymag magnesium front wheel (new tire)
– JHA shotgun full exhaust system from Japan (with new exhaust gaskets)
– Tyga steering damper (sorry, stuck on a few Ohlins stickers but no real Ohlins parts…)
– Solo rear cowl (stock passenger seat included)
– new gold chain, rear sprocket (520)
– Titanium nuts/bolts sprinkled throughout (rear spindle pincher, rotor bolts)
– Braided steel brake lines front & back (newer RC51 gold Nissin front calipers w/HRC pads)
– Magura HC1 radial brake master cylinder
– Jetted for Colorado elevation
– As far as I know, I am the 2nd owner in the states. Previous owner (~2008) was a Porsche mechanic from Denver)
– misc small box of spares (passenger pegs, oem brake master, original rad, etc)
– I can throw in a spare set of oem wheels (powercoaded white) if full price is paid
– shipping (or pickup) will be have to be paid/arranged by buyer…

* Needs nothing to ride as is, perfect to start the summer!

Jae asks $10,000 USD and can be contacted – here –

Originally presented as a junior sportbike in markets with progressive licensing, the RVF-400R’s wide powerband, crisp handling, and distinctive engine sound gained the attention of cognoscenti worldwide, and it’s a sought after track day machine.  Thankfully Jae’s hasn’t been subjected to that, it’s been nicely updated and maintained.  Not to mention being an RC45 lookalike without the vacation-home pricetag !

-donn

Featured Listing – 2000 Honda RVF400 NC35
Honda May 10, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 1998 Honda RVF400R NC35 for Sale

Gary in Utah has several bikes Featured on RSBFS right now. Check them out too:

Good luck to buyers and seller! -dc

Update 5.15.2019: Now on eBay!

As prices of Honda’s V4 homologation bikes climbing ever higher with every 0-mile example that crosses the auction block, the only way for ordinary folks to get a taste of these classic Japanese superbikes is by picking up one of their smaller siblings. Sure, with just 399cc to play with, the VFR400R NC30 and the RVF400R NC35 aren’t as powerful, but they could easily be mistaken for their larger, more expensive stablemates and use the same engine configuration.

1998 Honda RVF400 for sale on eBay

I still think it’s a shame that bikes like this no longer exist. While electronic safety aids and engine management systems have continued to evolve, most bikes under 600cc have just one or two cylinders these days and are tuned for midrange power and reliability, not screaming revs. But there were no compromises with the NC35 and, while the claimed 59hp is obviously not going to scare anyone weaned on a modern 600, you have to work to access it: most of the power lives up around 13,000rpm, accompanied by the characterful drone of the “big-bang” firing order created by the 360° crank.

The very nature of the powerplant is uncompromising: a V4 is great for aerodynamics, power, and weight distribution, which is why the format is used by a number of modern superbikes and is common in MotoGP. But they tend to be a bit heavier than an equivalent inline-four and are a pain to work on because everything is so densely packaged. Contrary to appearances, the NC35 does not have ram-air, although the prominent intake snorkels do feed fresh air to the airbox. Gear-driven cams also speak to the engine’s racing intent, and the bike is still popular among track-day junkies as an entry-level superbike because of its sublime handling.

And while it might look like a reskin of the earlier NC30, the bike was heavily updated in other areas and they share very few major components. Styling continues the “baby superbike” theme, with a pair of smaller, cat’s-eye lamps in place of the RC45’s larger, round units, and the rear tire is skinnier. The NC35 used upside-down forks and switched to a 17″ rear wheel, which should save modern riders the headache of sourcing 18″ rubber. Thankfully, the NC35 used a conventional 17″ front wheel, instead of the RC45’s oddball 16″ hoop.

From the Seller: 1998 Honda RVF400R NC35 for Sale

Second up is this 1998 NC35. It is a very honest solid bike. I concentrated on trying to find low mileage, unmolested original bikes. They are getting very hard to come by. This NC35 has 8,667 miles (13,947 kilometers). I bought it from a dealer in Tokyo. They did a full service for me on the bike before taking delivery. The fairings and components are all Genuine Honda OEM except for the rear sets and the custom red tape on the wheels. The fairings are mint and the fuel tank is as well. The only flaw is the rub mark on the left rear cowling. The wheels and front brake rotors have mild corrosion on them and could use a good cleaning and powder coating. The bike is in original unrestored condition with no body or paintwork. Looks very nice as is sits but would make an excellent candidate for restoration since there are no cracks in the fairings or dents or scrapes in the gas tank. Bike runs just like new and is ready to ride. Bike will come with Utah state title and is titled as a streetbike for road use. Comes with one key.

I’d like to see $10,900 or best offer for this example.

Feel free to contact me at 801-358-6537 or by email: rmurangemasters@aol.com

The Honda RVF400R was only available in the US via grey-market imports from overseas or Canada, and the usual registration headaches can apply if you’re in a state with stricter laws, so be sure to do your homework. This example is being sold by the very knowledgeable Gary in Utah with a Utah title, looks very sharp, with low miles and a tempting price. Yes, these are much more expensive than they were just a few years ago, but $10,900 gets you a very cool bit of Honda history in a practical, reliable package. Honestly, I’m a huge fan of the NC30/35 and it’s one of the few Japanese sportbikes I would love one in my garage… Assuming I could get a CA registration for it.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1998 Honda RVF400R NC35 for Sale
Honda November 21, 2018 posted by

Sweet Spot – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30

Beside being a regular on RSBFS, Honda’s VFR750R / RC30 has explored the high peaks of performance and auction prices, from its inaugural Superbike World Championship in 1988 to a never-started example at this year’s Bonhams auction which returned $92,000 !  This Florida bike is more middle of the road, with some 7,000 miles and nice condition.

1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30 for sale on eBay

 

Honda got the balance just right on the RC30, reviewed as a superbike that was not difficult to get great performance from.  Not fire-breathing with 102 hp, but built strong with some titanium hard parts, and a 12,500 rpm redline.  Never the lightest at just over 500 lbs. wet, the center of gravity was fairly low and centralized, easing turn-in.  Honda wasn’t looking to build a tech showcase, but equipped the RC30 with some endurance racing finery like the ELF single-sided swingarm and quick-release front axle.

 

About to acquire just its third owner, this RC30 looks excellent and has a nice spares collection.  Photos aren’t exhaustive but the owner advises it has been displayed indoors for the past 15 years.  From the eBay auction:

Includes: 
  • factory stand
  • owner’s manual 
  • tool kit
  • brochures, 
  • extra factory exhaust (new) 
  • some spare bits
  • gaskets
  • bulbs
  • two keys
  • Florida vanity plate “Bol d’Or”
  • Joey Dunlop Arai helmet, limited edition (800) worn twice

 

Honda lavished even more of their excellent build quality on the VFR750R, and priced it accordingly, about double what most mid-sized sportbikes were at the time.  The starting bid here is somewhat north of what the model has fetched lately, but an eBay auction can be just the beginning of a longer discussion.  RC30 buyers, and more numerous non-buyers, have often been admiring the model for quite a while…

-donn

 

Sweet Spot – 1990 Honda VFR750R / RC30
Honda August 5, 2018 posted by

Fast Forward – 1995 Honda RVF400 / NC35

On the coattails of the VFR400R,  Honda updated the long-lived welterweight and extended the success 1994-1996.  Feigning to be an RC45, the fox-eyed NC35 had the tasty build quality to live up to its MSRP.  This one has Cali title and looks great for its 20,000 miles.

1995 Honda RVF400 / NC35 for sale on eBay

Honda’s 399cc V-4 is the basis for the RVF400, familiar though the cam timing has changed and it is mounted differently in the twin spar aluminum frame.  Ducts now bring fresh air from the front of the fairing to the airbox.  Forks are 41mm Showa, but now inverted for lower unsprung weight.  Styling is of course updated to echo the RC45, with graphics to match.  Wheels are the same 17-inch for the RVF, easing tire choices in the long run.

SoCal friend of RSBFS Glenn has gone over this NC35 from A to Z, and as the model was never offered in the U.S., they are rare and more so with California documents.  A nice cosmetic freshening up was done, as well as renewing any expendables for  the next owner.  From the eBay auction:

Of all the classic 1990 Honda’s the RVF400 is one the best, and like the NSR250 the prices seem to be going up every year…finding a CA titled one, that also becomes harder each year. This bike is registered as a 1995 Honda with a 17 digit vin, currently non op with DMV, no back fees.  You can register this bike in any state.

This is a very nice nearly stock and very original unmolested NC35.  Far nicer than most of the NC35’s left in Japan that suffer from lots of neglect over the years.  This bike has been in the states for a number of years.

All OEM original Honda bodywork that has been recently re-painted in stock original colors.

Freshly painted wheels front and back.

All stock except for the slip on exhaust and braided front lines.

In the last few months the bike has had the following:

Complete service front to back

Carbs cleaned

Front forks refreshed with new seals and fluid

New NGK Plugs

New Honda 10w-40 semi-synthetic fluid and filter

New Synthetic DOT4 brake fluid and flush front and back

New Battery

Brand New Michelin Pilot Powers ( nearly no miles on these!)

Deep detail and cleaning on every part of the bike and complete going over.

Bike has seen less than 25 miles from all this work. It is turn key and ready to go. Bike runs great and everything works as it should.

Very nice as seen in the photos. Hairline crack on the right upper mid panel, hard to see. Some fogging on right side headlight lens, very small ding in tank (will try to add photos of this) some light corrosion on frame, and some scratches in a few spots on the frame spars.

Even allowing for the cramped quarters, the RVF400 delivers fun at a low per-mile price, especially when insurance is factored in.  The light weight, balance and nice equipment make the RVF arguably the ultimate 400cc V-4 ( well, four stroke at least ).  This owner has assigned a boundary-stretching Buy-It-Now but the recent work might be worth it.  Or if you’re almost there, the Make Offer button is available…

-donn

Fast Forward – 1995 Honda RVF400 / NC35
Honda July 18, 2018 posted by

Meeting Your Heroes: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

With values of the VFR750R RC30 through the roof, the VFR400R NC30 has become the affordable go-to for fans of Honda’s V4 homologation specials. Styled like a 4/5 scale model of the RC30, the NC30’s dual headlamps, aluminum beam frame, and Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm ape the bigger bike’s look and function. Significantly the engine shares its V4 configuration, gear-driven cams, and 360° “big bang” crankshaft with the RC30.

The big bang firing order helps give the later Honda V4s their characteristic flat droning exhaust note and supposedly improves corner exit grip, compared to a more traditional 180° firing order that evenly spaces the combustion events. Even if you’re not pushing the limits of traction, the big bang engines offer a very wide, forgiving powerband.

On paper, the Honda VFR400R doesn’t seem like it’d impress a modern rider. Just 400cc? Are you joking? Well no. First of all, it has a dry weight of around 300lbs, so the 59 horses don’t have very much mass to haul around, which is reflected in the bike’s surprising 130mph top speed. Most importantly, the NC30 was designed to offer some of the best handling available at any price, and is still considered to be one of the all-time greats.

I was lucky enough to ride one of these recently and it was an absolute pleasure: famously agile handling meant the bike was intuitive, east to ride, and plenty of fun, even though I wasn’t pushing its cornering limits. If you’re slightly terrified trying to use anything approaching maximum revs on a modern sportbike, you’ll be happy to know that the NC30 is both flexible at low rpm and happy to spin to its 14,500rpm limit. In fact chasing the redline was pretty much required, since I was working to keep up with a friend who was riding an MV Agusta F4R…

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Up for auction is a beautiful 1989 Honda VFR400 model NC30. Hands down the most desirable color scheme. Gas tank is mint condition with zero rust inside the tank. The bike was legally imported into the United States. The bike has a clear Arizona US title with the proper 11 digit VIN number (title and frame number match). Bike starts right up runs perfect with no oil leaks. The bike is all original and is a true pleasure to ride pulling through all gears very hard. With a 14,000k rpm red line the bike will leave you with a smile on your face for days. Please view all the images as there are few scratches and scuff’s throughout the bike. Also please keep in mind that this is all OEM factory Honda fairings and not the cheaper aftermarket stuff.The bike is all sock minus the stainless steel brake lines. All the electronics including horn, turn signals, high / low beam, and Killswitch all work as they should. This bike is being sold locally and I encourage all bidders to come down and view the bike in person or send a local mechanic on your behalf to view for you. Rare vintage Japanese bikes don’t come up often and this is a beautiful example with no disappointment.

These days, it isn’t too hard to find an NC30 for sale: the spike in RC30 prices and the fact that these have hit the 25 year mark has seen an influx of Japanese market bikes. So the trick isn’t so much finding one for sale, it’s finding a nice one for the right price. This one looks very clean and original, with the usual wear and tear you’d expect on a bike of this age that’s actually been ridden often enough to accumulate the 27,000 miles indicated. The stock exhaust is a little quiet for my taste, but it does mean you can hear the cool whine from the gear-driven camshafts… There are still several days left on this auction and bidding is a bit slow so far, possibly owing to the mileage. But this is a Honda, and the fact that it isn’t museum-quality just means you might get to ride and enjoy this cool little machine for

-tad

Meeting Your Heroes: 1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale