In many ways, Honda’s VFR750R – better known as the RC30 – was the ultimate ‘race replica’. Visually, at least, there was little to distinguish it from the RVF 750 racer, on which it was based. Technically, too, it was along the same lines – allowing for the fact that no roadster is ever really going to compare with its competitive sibling. The RC30’s exhaust note, for instance, could never compete with that of the racer’s super-light, free-flowing set-up. Not if it was going to make it through the next MOT, anyway!
Nor, of course, was the RC30’s V4 engine going to be anything like on a par with the race version. That said, it still managed to output 112bhp – at 11,000rpm. Which gave a top speed of 153mph. More than enough for most wannabe GP stars! In like manner, the RC30’s handling was not going to get close to that of the apex-slashing track tool on which it was modelled. Again, though, optimal tuning of its suspension enabled a passable emulation of the race god of your choice!
American rider Fred Merkel took two consecutive WSB titles on the RC30 race bike – in ’88 and ’89. Briton Carl Fogarty did the same in motorcycling’s Formula One series. Endurance racing, too, was meat and drink to the RVF 750. So far as Honda were concerned, the RC30 was first and foremost a racer. There was little doubt, though, that the roadster benefited hugely from it. Certainly – with its low-slung front end, aluminium twin-spar frame and single-sided swingarm – the street bike looked seriously stunning. Honda’s commitment to the project, then, had paid double dividends. On both road and track, the VFR750R-RC30 did the business – in every sense of the word!