Honda's RC30 is quite possibly the greatest motorcycle ever built. Not only was every motorcycle hand assembled by Honda Racing Corporation ( HRC ) in very limited numbers, the technology inside the great V4 engine is breathtaking. Add to this the beautiful styling and the fact it dominated just about every race series it ever entered, and you have a motorcycle that transcends legend.



The V4 engine is a work of art, inside the 16-valve 360-degree 'big bang' V4 motor gear driven cams run on ball-races to reduce the internal friction, while a close ratio gearbox with a 80mph first gear came as standard. The engine cases were made of aluminium to reduce weight, while the conrods were made of titanium to allow the motor to rev higher. Standard RC30's developed a claimed power of 110bhp, producing a stunning V4 drone from the full stainless steel exhaust system.

But that was just the start of it. Full HRC race kit parts could be bought over the counter from any Honda dealer, and when fitted your stock motorcycle could turn into a genuine world class race winning machine with 140bhp, as Carl Fogarty proved. Designed by Mr Horiike ( later appointed managing director of HRC ), it comprised a combination of cast and extruded aluminium sections ( like the 1992 FireBlade ) with an Elf Honda inspired single-sided swingarm and a quick release front wheel spindle for endurance racing.

The RC30's frame was stuff of legend, it was so good that you really could just remove the lights and go racing. Yet oddly the RC30 came with a 17 inch front wheel and a 18 inch rear, something that racers soon junked in favour of a matching pair of 17 inch items. To keep the RC30's weight down the faring was made of fibreglass, complete with quick release fasteners and a single seat unit, while the tank was aluminium. It weighed in at just 185kg thanks to the wealth of exotic materials used. And it was exclusive. Only around 800 RC30's ever made it to the UK, and many ended up lying in gravel traps, which is a shame.

At £8,500 they were almost twice as expensive as other Japanese 750's at the time, but its impossible to underplay the RC30's influence. Its incredible that Honda allowed the VFR to become a middleweight sports tourer without changing the model designation. Considering the contribution the RC30 made to sportsbike history, it seems crazy to mention both motorcycles in the same breath. I knew someone that owned one of these fantastic machines and was lucky enough to ride it on a track day. Its by far the best motorcycle I've ever ridden. Shame its so expensive to buy, the cheapest one I found was a 1990 model, 20.289 miles on the clock for £16,995.