Posts by tag: gear driven

Honda May 11, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

A little brother in terms of displacement and a virtual twin in terms of style, Honda’s NC30 packs the same technological punch as the famed RC30 in a smaller package. And like the RC30, the NC30 was designed to homologate a motorcycle for racing, although in this case it was for classes with a 400cc capacity limit. Here in the USA, the 400cc sportbike class is barely represented at all, with examples only occasionally appearing as the result of intrepid collectors or Canadian smugglers sneaking bikes in across our northern border. In the US, they were basically bikes without a racing class, and expensive ones to boot: they had all the complexity, and therefore cost, of their bigger 600 and 750cc brothers, without the straight line performance.

1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for sale on eBay

Sure, they handled with all the agility you’d expect but, when a 600cc sportbike is considered “a great first bike” you’re not going to find many takers for a 400. Of course, it was another story entirely outside the USA and especially in Japan, where tiered licensing and heavy taxes on bigger bikes meant a great deal of interest in the 400cc class as roadbikes and the relevant racing series, and bikes like the CBR400, GSX-R400, and ZXR400 competed fiercely.

So what are we looking at in terms of that reduced performance? Well you’re not taking quite as big a hit as you might expect: the NC30 produced 59 claimed horses, versus the RC30’s 118, 313lbs dry versus 400lbs, and a top speed of 130mph versus 153. So you’ve got a bike with almost half the displacement but with far more than half the performance, mostly due to that very light weight. What’s possibly far more surprising than the performance differential between the two are the relatively low numbers for the famed RC30… Both machines featured six-speed gearboxes and the NC30 got a 360° “big bang” crank to match its bigger brother along with gear-driven cams, so you get the distinctive V4 soundtrack and wide powerband that helps make them such popular trackday bikes overseas.

From the seller: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

For your consideration is a GORGEOUS almost mint condition 1991 Honda VFR400R NC-30 with only 10,823 Kilometers (6,725 miles). Bike is very clean and well taken care of. Bike would be flawless except for the crack in the lower fairing under the bike. It has been repaired. Has a three tiny paint chip marks in the tank, and the left rear fairing has a rub mark on it from transportation & shipping (see pics.) This NC30 has 100% original OEM Honda fairings and components and is completely stock except for a few racing sponsor decals that can be easily removed. This bike would make an ideal candidate for restoration or enjoy it in its original condition… Bike has been serviced with new battery, new oil, coolant and filters serviced. Runs like the day it was new. A Utah state title in my company name will be presented to the buyer.

This particular machine appears to be in the same sort of condition as the seller’s other offerings: not completely perfect, but in low mileage, extremely well cared-for condition. There are a couple of minor cracks in the fairing that are clearly indicated by the seller, and wear is limited to some minor surface corrosion and discoloration. Not museum-quality perhaps, but a very good-looking machine for someone who plans to occasionally ride the bikes in their collection. With the RC30 now out of the reach of ordinary enthusiasts, prices of the NC30 are on the rise as well and offer up a similar style and experience at an affordable price. For the moment at least.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1991 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Honda April 28, 2017 posted by

Overbuilt Race-Rep: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

Values of Honda’s overbuilt homologation special VF1000R have been shockingly low up until very recently, but these red-white-and-blue beasts are starting to see a significant increase in price. They’re not lightweight or nimble at nearly 600lbs with a tank of fuel, but Honda’s build quality and engineering prowess are on display throughout the bike: the 998cc V4 used gear-driven cams in place of chains, Torque-Reactive Anti-Dive Control forks for better performance under braking, modular Comstar wheels and radial tires when radial tires were still rare and exotic, quick-release axles, adjustable bars, and even a vented rear brake… No, I don’t mean cross-drilled, the rear brake was vented.

The style of the bodywork reflected the VF1000R’s endurance-racing roots and features some interesting little quirks: you can see where Aprilia got some design ideas from those funky mesh side-panels. Two different headlight configurations were available, depending on year: the dual-headlight setup is generally considered more desirable, although they’re both tucked behind a single rectangular lens so they don’t look like you’d expect if you’re picturing something like an RC30. This example uses the single headlight that has a couple of additional vents around the sides and top to take up the space left by the bigger unit. Why two styles? Honda was worried the dual setup wouldn’t pass US regulations and created an alternative treatment, just in case.

All-in-all it was typical Honda overkill, which is fine unless it leads to a significant increase in weight which blunts performance significantly: the VF1000R certainly isn’t a slow bike, but it’s not all that fast either. Handling was a bit ponderous, but good set up can help quite a bit and the positive news for road-riders is that the available performance is pretty effortless, the fairings provide good wind protection, and the bike can cruise at its near 150mph top speed with ease.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Honda VF1000R for Sale

This was the superbike of the day in 1985. I looked long and hard to find one in really nice original condition as it is getting hard to find good ones. This one was always stored inside and I have in in a climate controlled facility. I don’t think it has ever been laid over as it is basically scratch free EXCEPT for on both sides of the front fender there are scratches that I guess were caused by someone’s poor quality tie downs. You can see the scratches in the pic’s. It has new tires. It has he original pipes which is unbelievable in itself.

The seller is right that these are rare bikes, although nice ones do show up pretty regularly on eBay. They’re the kind of bikes people bought and cherished from new, so thrashed examples seem more like the exception rather than the rule. Which is good, because finding replacement parts is pretty difficult and the aftermarket is basically nonexistent. So why didn’t these capture the public’s imagination in the way the later RC30 and RC45 did? Probably a combination of the aforementioned visual and physical bulk. But maybe it also had something to do with the V4’s negative perception at the time that resulted from a few of the early VF750’s chain-driven cam lobes de-lobing, sometimes referred to as the “Chocolate Camshaft” syndrome. That issue actually affected only a small group of the early V4 bikes with chain-driven cams, but Honda’s reputation took a big hit and required the incredible high-quality of the VFR750 that followed to erase that black mark.

-tad

Honda July 21, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: Very Clean 1990 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

Update 8.1.2016: The seller has notified us that this bike has sold. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

1990 Honda VFR400R R Side

V4-powered sports motorcycles are all the rage now, but they were long associated with just one manufacturer: Honda. Their homologation RC30 set the standard for “exotic” in the late 1980s and 1990s: V4, gear-driven cams, single-sided swingarms and real links to Superbike and endurance racing. They weren’t the fastest machines, especially in stock form, but that wasn’t really the point. Certain types of production-based racing require that manufacturers, in order to compete, produce a specific number of a given model for sale to the public. Honda wanted to race a V4 and the associated frame and swingarm, so they had to build a bike to sell and the RC30, along with little brother NC30, was the result.

1990 Honda VFR400R for sale one eBay

1990 Honda VFR400R L Tank

The littler VFR400R version is what we have here today, and it was only rarely seen outside Japan and the UK, at least in part because the cost made it a poor value: it was priced like a literbike, but the 399cc engine made just 59hp and 30ft-lbs of torque. However, the gear-driven overhead cams and straight-cut gears made beautiful music, and the bike had a surprisingly flexible powerband. Handling was, as you’d expect, superlative, and the featherweight, 350lbs dry machine made an ideal starter superbike for riders with money to burn.

1990 Honda VFR400R Cockpit

Interestingly, the NC30 was the first version of the smaller V4 to use the 360° “big-bang” firing order and helped to give the bike a distinctive exhaust note that mirrored the 750. The idea behind big-bang engines is that, instead of spacing out the combustion events evenly, they’re grouped close together. This is intended to give the tire moments between forward drive where the bike can regain traction, something that was thought to be one of the significant advantages of v-twin machines competing at the time. Just two cylinders firing every revolution gave plenty of time for the tire to recover between pulses, and big-bang four cylinder engines sought to replicate that additional traction, while retaining their overall power advantages. Probably not all that important on a 400cc machine, but still very cool, and an additional link to the more sought-after RC30.

1990 Honda VFR400R Front

Today’s Featured Listing is in beautiful shape and has been well cared-for, although this isn’t some perfectly-preserved, all original bike: the fairings very shiny and mostly look great, but are aftermarket pieces. It comes with a spare set of aftermarket fairings as well in case the new owner exceeds their riding ability on road or track. The bike looks very sharp, and the price reflects the nice, but not perfectly original condition.

1990 Honda VFR400R R Fairing

From the seller: 1990 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale

22,977 Kilometers (14,278 Miles) I have owned and ridden this bike for 2 years. This is a very clean well cared for bike. Fairings and bodywork are aftermarket. Comes with a second set of aftermarket fairings in excellent condition. I have gone thru the bike mechanically and everything works, as it should. Turn signals, brake lights, horn, High and low beam, radiator fan. Fork seals and upper and lower radiators were just replaced. Rear shock is from a CBR600RR. Original shock is included with sale. Shifts and revs to redline perfectly. Starts effortlessly every time. Very smooth running. Bike has Ohio State Title ready to transfer into your name.

1990 Honda VFR400R R Tail

The NC30 may not have the full WSBK displacement and power or the race-winning prestige of an RC30, but you shouldn’t be buying one of those for an eyeball-squishing experience anyway: time has moved on and modern superbikes have nearly twice the power of a stock, roadgoing 750. The NC30 is plenty fast enough, if your favorite parts of a road are the wiggly bits, and if the much sought-after and very expensive RC30 is out of your reach, a VFR400R offers up most of the bang for a much lower cost, and makes a very sharp canyon-carver or trackday mount.
-tad

1990 Honda VFR400R L Side

Featured Listing: Very Clean 1990 Honda VFR400R NC30 for Sale
Honda April 20, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: 1990 Honda NC30 VFR400R for Sale

Update 5.2.2016: Seller has received a deposit. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

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The 400cc Honda NC30 has long lived in the shadow of its bigger brother. Not particularly fast, but definitely expensive then and now, there’s certainly a lot to like about the VFR400, but outright speed isn’t really on the list. Instead, you’re looking at Honda’s famously sophisticated engineering: straight-cut gears when a common chain would do, a tiny V4 when any sane manufacturer would simply build an inline four and be done with it. An ELF-designed “Pro-Arm” single-sided swingarm that was cool enough to be aped by Ducati’s iconic 916 and aided fast rear wheel changes during endurance racing.

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It’s very light for a four-stroke at 350lbs dry, with adequate power from the 399cc V4: 59hp and 30ft-lbs of torque in a wide, forgiving powerband that extended all the way to a screaming 14,000rpm. Early V4s used an even-firing 180° crank, whereas later versions like the one here used a 360° “big bang” crank and firing order for improved traction and tire life, the theory being that the combustion events happening close together allowed the tire to “recover” during the gap in each revolution.

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Ridden in isolation, the NC30 a joy, a sweet-handling machine that rewards a skilled rider. Ridden against bikes that cost less new but offered more than twice the displacement, and the little V4 gets murdered in nearly any measurable test. That and the lack of real racing pedigree means that the NC30 may be slower, but it’s also much less expensive than the bigger RC30, making it a realistic prospect for folks who want the Honda V4 experience but are on a limited budget.

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Today’s featured listing isn’t perfect but, then again, the seller isn’t advertising it as such. It is titled in California currently and should be easily transferable.

From the seller: 1990 Honda NC30 VFR400R for Sale

Rare 1990 Honda NC-30, VFR 400 with a clean, clear NO BS California title and registration… It’s for the correct VIN, the correct year, no funny business like you will find on a lot of grey market bikes.

This bike was imported from Japan a little over a year ago, I’ve had it 6 or 7 months. I’ve put a 1000 or so miles it her, rode her to work for a month and we’ve visited the canyons a couple of times. I bought her because I’m a V4 junkie, I own 4 right now.

It shows 63,489 kilometers (39,450 miles). I can say it doesn’t look or feel like it has that many miles, maybe it had the gauges replaced… who knows. The bike is mostly stock, the only aftermarket parts I see are brake lines, horn and current bodywork. Judging by the original bodywork and muffler I’d say she has been down at slow is speeds a time or two, but nothing major. She rides straight, true, smooth and fast. Only bike I’ve ever gone faster than the speedo will go (180KPH only 11k RPM). This bike has no limiter or funny Japanese market speed controllers.

A bunch of time, effort and money have gone into cleaning this girl up.

All the fluids have been replaced, a few stock parts have been replace with OEM Honda (like levers, hardware, bar ends and such) the buyer gets all of the take off parts (original bodywork, hardware, levers and such), fresh brake pads, a bunch of stainless hardware, fresh looking chain and sprockets, fresh paint on the tank. I got her with low mileage Dunlops. I installed a Chinese bodywork kit from Ebay, it looks pretty good, I took my time installing it.

Is she perfect, NO (If she was the price would be over $10k), she is very good, needs nothing to be a daily rider. Are there things that could be done to make her better, sure… but that is up to you.

Asking price is $8000 obo, might trade up or down for something equally cool. You aren’t Richard Rawlings, this isn’t a Television show… Don’t make a crazy low offer or tell me the bike isn’t worth that much…

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The NC30 are very rare here in the US where they were never officially sold, although these are much less valuable than the bigger RC30 with which it shares style and specification, if not displacement.  One look at the dinged exhaust and the mileage will tell you this is no trailer queen! But the bike looks very clean and well-maintained, with none of the bolt-on frippery sometimes found on bikes of this vintage. It’s a rider, for Honda fans who might otherwise not be able to afford one of the more perfectly-preserved examples of Honda’s V4 homologation specials.

-tad

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Featured Listing: 1990 Honda NC30 VFR400R for Sale
Honda August 7, 2015 posted by

Affordable V4: 1995 Honda RVF400 with Ohio Title

1995 Honda RVF400 L Side

Rare as hen’s teeth here in the USA, Honda’s little RVF400 [NC35] superbike made it into the country exclusively through grey-market imports, often via Canada. The RVF400 replaced the VFR400 in 1994 and used a smaller version of the bigger 750cc bike’s gear-driven V4 engine.

Like the 750, the 400 used a 360° “big-bang” firing order to aid handling and increase tire life. The theory being that, when all of the combustion events occur close together instead of being spread out evenly, the rear tire is able to “recover” in between power pulses, making break away more predictable. Possibly superfluous with such a small displacement machine, but cool nonetheless, and big-bang bikes tend to sound better as well!

1995 Honda RVF400 Cockpit

Power is relatively unimpressive on paper: between 50hp and 60hp, depending on whom you ask, and that power is all up near the redline, so the bike needs thrashing to make progress, although you’re rewarded with one of the best-handling chassis of all time. Kind of like a two-stroke 250 for people who think two-stroke motorcycles sound like chainsaws…

1995 Honda RVF400 Rear Wheel

The RVF400 looked very much like a miniature version of the RVF750, down to the updated cat-eye lamps and those giant, snorkel-like tubes to feed the engine fresh air, although the bike did not technically use ram-air to pressurize the airbox. The update also saw a change to upside-down forks and 17″ wheel front and rear, which makes it easy to source modern, sticky rubber today, and many of these still see use in club racing.

1995 Honda RVF400 Fairing

From the original eBay listing: 1995 Honda RVF400 for Sale

I have too many bikes and not enough time. It’s time to let a few go to new homes where they can be enjoyed and ridden. This rare Honda RVF400 is the V4 little brother of the RC45.  It’s titled as a 1995, but the research I’ve done on the VIN and color scheme seem to indicate that it is actually a 1996 (the final year of production).  It small when compared to a 600cc sportbike but not super light like my Aprilia RS125.  It was originally marked only in Japan, so the small scratches you see in the pictures are probably no worse than a 20 year old CBR600 would be here in the states.  They probably weren’t considered collector bikes in Japan at the time.  Considering that it’s travelled half way around the world, I think it looks great.  I’d give it a 7-8 on a scale of 1-10.  There is a small paint discoloration between the headlights, a small crack on the right side of the rear fairing, a little road rash on the right mirror bottom and the left headlight has a little moisture in it.  The leather on the rear seat straps also has a small crack.  It’s a really cool bike to ride and nobody in your town probably has one or may never have even seen one in the flesh.  The speedometer is in kilometers per hour and the odometer is in kilometers so I converted to miles for the listing.  Reserve is $7000. 

This bike has a few minor cosmetic scuffs, but the seller’s reserve price seems very reasonable: if you want into the V4 Honda Club and funds are limited, this is going to be your best bet. And your investment is probably secure: in spite of their limited straight-line performance, their links to Honda’s racing heritage, relative rarity, serious good-looks, and responsive handling make these very desirable to both riders and collectors.

-tad 1995 Honda RVF400 Speedo

Affordable V4: 1995 Honda RVF400 with Ohio Title
Honda January 21, 2015 posted by

Big-Bang Theory: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 R Front

Introduced in 1994 to replace the VFR400R, the RVF400 used a smaller, 399cc version of Honda’s gear-driven V4 powerplant with a 360° firing order. The updated model featured a revised fairing with cat-eye headlamps replacing the earlier bike’s round units, distinctive air tubes leading from the fairing to the front of the tank to feed the carburetors, although the airbox was not pressurized by any sort of ram-air system. Running gear saw a change to more modern upside-down forks and a 17” wheel replaced the earlier bike’s 18” item.

1996 Honda RVF400 Rear Suspension

Honda’s homologation V4 engines featured a “big-bang” firing order that has all of the combustion events taking place relatively close together, instead of spaced evenly. This naturally increases engine vibration, but creates distinctive pulses in the power delivery that allows the rear tire to momentarily regain traction in between during on-track moments at the edge of adhesion, aiding handling and increasing tire life.

There’s also the undeniably subjective benefit in terms of sound: the “big-bang” engines often have the rawer, more charismatic sound generally associated with V4 engines compared to more conventional “screamer” motors with evenly-spaced firing intervals.

1996 Honda RVF400 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 NC35. This bike is in very good condition. Bike has 9589 km = 5753 miles. Engine runs fine, no problems. There is a crack in the seat “see pictures”. The passenger seat covers the crack so you don’t see it. You don’t see many RVF400 in this condition anymore. Bike is original, not restored. I have a clear California title for the bike.

1996 Honda RVF400 Dash

Sold officially only in Japan, all RFV400’s are grey-market imports. The seller is based in Japan, although this bike is supposedly in the US and has a clear California title. There is plenty of time left on the auction, with no takers yet at the $9,000 starting bid.

While these are obviously not as desirable as their bigger RC45 siblings, the RVF400 is prized by collectors for its motorsports heritage. And while the stock bike’s claimed 53hp is underwhelming on paper, the little RVF is reportedly a brilliant-handling bike, a “brains-over-brawn” bike for riders who like gear-whine that drowns out the stock exhaust.

-tad

1996 Honda RVF400 R Side

Big-Bang Theory: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale
Honda August 12, 2014 posted by

Featured Listing: Titled 1994 Honda RC45 For Sale

Update: This bike was sold within two days of listing on RSBFS exclusively using our Featured Listing service. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Homologation specials sometimes might seem like pretty poor deals from a “performance-for-the-dollar” perspective: they’re intended to make sure manufacturers can use certain parts or even whole machines for production-based racing, so the road bike is going to be priced like the very low-volume exotic it is, but may be somewhat restricted for street use and lack some of the elements that will make the racing machine competitive on track. So you get exotic technology and exotic price in a package that isn’t necessarily any faster than lesser machines.

But for folks who want something truly special, a bike with such direct links to racing is worth any price, and Honda’s RC bikes are very, very special indeed.

1994 RC45 R Side

Honda’s RVF750R RC45 was their follow up to the iconic RC30, a bike that won the World Super Bike Championship in both 1988 and 1989.

The RC45 was powered by 749cc, 90° V4 with gear-driven cams and while displacement was almost the same as the earlier RC30, the cam gears were moved to the side of the engine to improve packaging and the bore/stroke were changed significantly, making the engine more oversquare to reduce piston speed and increase revs.

A sophisticated fuel injection system fed the almost impossibly smooth engine, a slipper clutch helped with downshifts, and a single-sided swingarm made tire changes fast and easy during endurance racing.

1994 RC45 Front Rear

The RC45 is perhaps the ideal package: it’s one of the best-looking sportbikes of all time, with a nearly perfect balance of purposeful, understated aggression and a wealth of exotic details to capture the eye of cognoscenti, all wrapped up with Honda reliability and attention to detail.

But with only 105hp at the rear wheel, the RC45 was just a bit faster than a 600 of the time, making the nearly $27,000 this cost new a very tough sell. Or it would have been a tough sell, if they had attempted to sell very many…

1994 RC45 Front and Fairing

With only 200 made worldwide and approximately 50 sent to the US, these are extremely rare, with as few as 20 circulating among US collectors. And the seller offers a choice to the buyer: keep this in its current, museum-ready condition, or have him prep it for road-use.

Contact the Seller via Email

From the seller: 1994 Honda RC45 for Sale

US-spec 1994 Honda RC45 for sale.  Number 47 of only 50 produced for the US market in 1994, of which 20+ were delivered to private race teams… very, very rare bike with valid title. The bike was manufactured February 1994 and originally titled in California.  It currently has a valid Florida title. The motorcycle is located in central Florida.

This RC45 is in exceptional condition with only 6,001 miles. The bike has been in a museum since 2008 and was professionally prepped for display. Please look at the pictures to see that there are almost no nicks anywhere on the bike. It is 100% OEM.  The buyer has a choice; available in its current pristine museum form, or I will prepare it for the road. I guarantee there are no flaws with this bike. I have sold off most of my 21 bike Honda collection over the past 3 years and have received zero complaints. I only have this RC45 and a pristine RC30 left from the collection.

Contact the Seller via Email

Out of the box, the RC45 was not as immediately successful as its predecessor: it won races, but it took a while to fine-tune the bike’s handling and get it right, and Honda scored only a single WSB title with the bike. While the RC45’s history wasn’t quite as illustrious as the RC30, it was a hugely versatile machine that won regularly at the Isle of Man TT and in endurance racing in the years following its WSB career.

1994 RC45 Underseat

Then and now, these are expensive machines. Expensive, but very polished, with smooth power and stable, but nimble handling. And whatever the price of the road bike, Honda fans can’t put a price on being able to get this close to what is literally a race-bike for the road. With an asking price of $28,000 and a seller who clearly loves the marque, this looks like a great opportunity for the right buyer!

-tad

1994 R Rear Suspension

Featured Listing: Titled 1994 Honda RC45 For Sale