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The Holy Grail – 1993 Honda NR750 oval piston!

1993 Honda NR750 oval piston with 5000 miles in the UK – on sale for 222,000 pounds (approx. USD361,000)!!

I remember very clearly the day when I first read about this bike – it was 1992 (I think) and fresh off the college convenience store (at the corner of Union Street and University Avenue) bookshelf was a copy of Cycle World with a special feature on the endurance inspired NR750 with ground breaking oval pistons (i.e. like a can of spam).

Drooling over those twin seat unit integrated tail pipes, the single sided swingarm, the Testarossa  inspired “cheese grater” side louvers, the F1 style air scoops on the tail…it was any 2nd year mechanical engineering students’ wet dream.  Especially if it’s in the midst of exams and Eastern Canada snowy weather.

Sitting in my then pseudo-girlfriend’s apartment, I told her that I MUST have this bike (and how many times have we heard that before?).  The price then was USD40,000 (see, I thought engineers made good money back then – oh how I have been fooled…).

Fast forward almost 20 years (has it been THAT long?) the bike is now selling for nine times the price, which makes the other NR750 that Alex listed a week ago seem like a bargain. It’s a two-decade old design, yet the NR750 still looks gorgeous and fresh, although there are cues – the same ones that so mesmerized me back in 1992 – that dates it within the period where the Japanese try to inject “Italian styling” into their design by adding (sometimes) random air intakes and louvers (remember the Suzuki RF600?).  Although in general the end result simply screams of “trying too hard”, the NR750 turned out quite nicely and is probably the best looking design of that era.

In any case, here it is:

( WOW ) This has got to be one of the Worlds most desirable Honda Classic Superbikes to own and this particular example is a must have for the serious bike fanatic or collector, ( IMMACULATE CONDITION ) This machine was produced by Honda to show Hondas fantastic engineering skills it has the famous V4 32 valve oval piston engine, Carbon Fibre Composite bodywork and titanium-tinted screen, The engine ticks over with the same V-four rumble as an RC30 or RC45, but open the NR up…different story. Four oval pistons deliver what the rider and then the throttle demands: a noise seeps from deep inside the bike like someone cutting a bass drum in half with a chainsaw but forget the noise riding it is even better the reach to the bars holds the body in a near perfect riding position – you dont hold onto the NR it holds you to leave the upper body totally free of tension and you get this dream like feeling, you can move to any position on the bike with no effort. Its sublime.

Searching our archives, it seems that this exact bike has been flogged on ebay UK for quite a few times before, and with a price tag like that, I’m not surprised that it didn’t sell. Ian wrote a very detailed post on this bike before, so it makes for good reading no matter if you’re going to Buy It Now or not. I know it’s bad form to post the same bike over and over again, but the NR750 is such a special piece of modern day engineering art that I hope the bosses will let this one slide.

However, it’s the seller who said it best:”it’s sublime.”  And that’s pretty much what the oval pistoned Honda NR750 is for me.

Oh, and .

ph

 

12 Comments

  • You’ve got it a little backwards,when Tamburini saw the NR750 he tossed his initial 851/888 replacement idea and penned the 916. Find pics of the styling photos of the NR – before it became necessary to expand the size of the tail to actually fit the exhausts etc and it’s even easier to see that perhaps the most iconic Italian motorcycle of modern times was in fact a European NR750.
    FWIW,rumor was for years that Honda had enough spares to build quite a few “new” NR’s and those lucky and wealthy enough in Japan to request one would have one assembled.That could explain how several have trickled into the UK with no use.

  • Matt, thanks for the info. I agree with you that the 916 looks very much like an Italian NR750.

    However, when I said the Japanese tried to inject “Italian styling” into their products, it wasn’t the 916 or Tamburini’s designs – I was referring to the Ferrari Testarossa, the Mondials and other Italian designs from the 80s.

    Witness the Honda (or Acura) NSX or the Suzuki RF600 with big air scoops or louvered side sills similar to the Testarossa…

  • Interesting to note that this bike is a Japanese model, which has been produced in larger numbers than the European model (of which only 300 were produced); for this reason alone this bike is worth LESS than its European model counterparts, and way, way, way less than the asking price.
    The seller is completely nuts…

  • Instead of “Cycle World”, I recall buying “Motorcycle International” back in 1992. On the cover was a picture of the then new NR750 and inside there was a test on that bike as well as one on a little thing called an 888SPS. The NR750 became instantly invisible. The racing NR is a very interesting bike, especially the earliest 1979 500cc version with the tank below the engine and nearly everything else revolutionary. These racing NR500s are, perhaps, the one true holy grail in motorcycling but the road NR750 are really pretty orphans from the 1990s and fat shadows of their racing predecessors. There are three listed on GooBikes right now, all way cheaper than this one, if someone really wants one.

  • Shouldn’t that be “the bike is now NOT selling for nine times the price…”? I’m not saying a bike-mad footballer will never come along, but nobody else who has ever seriously considered buying an NR would ever buy this J-spec bike at that price (or anywhere near it).

    –Vin Petrol

  • I just sold one to a guy in Italy for $40,000 (I bought it delivered to my house for $43K, 6 years ago). It had 9,000 miles and was in perfect shape when sold. There are 3 NRs for sale in Japan on http://www.goobike.com for under $50K.

    While a beautiful bike built to an unbelieveable quality level, they are crappy to ride. Very top heavy, didn’t turn well, and not all that fast. Also the fear of dumping it took some of the fun out. By the way, there are very few parts available for this bike. Honda Japan has only 2 of the 5 major plastic body panels. I have a spare (damaged) set of body panels if anyone wants to try and repair them $$$.

  • for that $, i would rather have a vfr750r. and a ducati collection.

  • Andy: was the one you sold also a Japan-spec model?

  • The sellers are thieves and they are targeting ignorant buyers. This can be evidenced by:
    1. Telling potential buyers what the bike isn’t. “It’s not an RC30 or RC45”. (They’d only be £50 grand!) Have you ever seen a bike ad that tells you what a bike ISN’T before? Hey! This isn’t a Honda 90 or Mini 50 (Those are only £5 grand!) This is a 78 CB750R!
    2. Here is an example of another bike for sale by the same thieves from the same page as the NSR.
    (Yes they call it a H1 H2 KH)
    1969 KAWASAKI H1 H2 KH 500 TRIPLE CLASSIC
    STUNNING CLASSIC ICONIC H1 500 TWOSTROKE
    Classified ad price: £13,989.00 This is a classified ad listing. There is no bidding on this item, so contact the seller for more information.
    3. Here are some other fantastic deals from the same sellers from the same ebay page as the NSR:
    68 CD175 £4000
    75 H2 £13 989
    75 Kettle £10 000
    75 CB 350 £5000.

    Even over here on the other side of the pond, in the colonies, these prices would be rediculous at £1 = $1.61 US.

    No… wait… !!! That 1969 KAWASAKI H1 H2 KH 500 TRIPLE CLASSIC
    STUNNING CLASSIC ICONIC H1 500 TWOSTROKE would only be
    $22522.29 US, the cost of two brand new 2011 750 GSXRs !! What a FUCKING DEAL !!~ Hey pick me up at the airport LIMEY, I’m going to buy me a $22522.29 US 1969 KAWASAKI H1 H2 KH 500 TRIPLE CLASSIC STUNNING CLASSIC ICONIC H1 500 TWOSTROKE !!~!~! And while I’m at it, I’m gonna buy that NSR Holy Grail (Not an RC30 or RC45 !!!) for ONLY $357 420.00. Up here in Microsoftland, I’ve got a few friends who work for Bill G. I’ll bet I can get one of ’em to pay $500 000.00 US for it, or maybe get a couple of ’em into a bidding war and get ’em up to $1 or 2 million US. Like the time I got a couple of ’em to pay me $10 000 each picture that time when Britney forgot to put on her panties er I think you call ’em knickers!!! Man were they pissed when they found out they could download them pix for only $100 US each !! Hey! Get a hold of me if you want some of them pix! I can get you a great deal !!! Hey!~ I got an idea! Maybe I could trade some pix for a Honda NSR or a 1969 KAWASAKI H1 H2 KH 500 TRIPLE CLASSIC STUNNING CLASSIC ICONIC H1 500 TWOSTROKE !!! Hey !! I’ll figger it out and we can talk when you pick me up at Heathrow!@!@! Just look for me I’ll be wearing the Microsoft T-shirt that sez, “I’m Bill G’s Lovechild!” You can’t miss it cuz my picture is right below where it sez “I’m Bill G’s Lovechild!”
    Well I gots to go now. My nurse Big Bill has to lock me in my room now! Like we say here at the home, “Nighty, Nighty! Don’t let the bedbugs, rats, cockroaches, fleas or your roommate bite!!”
    (This is written in the same spirit as the offering for the NSR and of course the 1969 KAWASAKI H1 H2 KH 500 TRIPLE CLASSIC STUNNING CLASSIC ICONIC H1 500 TWOSTROKE !!! for only $22522.29 US!!)
    crazy old hippie near seattle

  • Great comment Phil, love it !! Hope the punks don’t get lucky…..

  • […] for fewer Italian bikes (well, Ducati specifically), I posted a Honda RVF750R RC45 race bike and a Honda NR750 that generated some interesting comments.  However, I am still an eye-talian bike kinda guy and so […]

  • Update: They’ve adjusted my meds. They say I’m more lucid. Some of the voices are gone now. They let me out a couple of times a week. They said if I keep behaving, they’ll let me out without the manacles!

    Aint (does aint have an apostrophe? Frank Zappa does!) life GREAT!

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