JUST ONE THING MISSING...
Yes, the bike that was made in 250cc form from 1964-67, and as a 297cc between 1966-67, would probably take the gold medal.
TT spectators first heard a 250cc six soaring to its 18,000rpm redline in 1965, when Jim Redman won the Lightweight race. Mike Hailwood then won the 1966 Lightweight race and the Lightweight and Junior contests in ’67. It must have been amazing to hear the revs zipping skywards as the rear wheel skipped over the bumps of the Cronk-y-voddy and Sulby straights at 150mph, or riders clutch-slipped the bikes out of the Ramsey Hairpin.
Now, 50 years on, a six will scream on the Mountain Circuit once again. New York’s Team Obsolete is bringing a 250cc RC165 to the Classic TT in August, with plans to run it at the Jurby Festival and complete a demonstration lap of the TT course. The bike is believed to be the very first Honda six – the RC165 that Jim Redman rode in the 1964 Italian GP at Monza. It never raced on the Island, but it is the predecessor of the bikes on which Redman and Hailwood won those TTS in 1965-67. “We acquired the RC165 in 1993 with a broken crankshaft,” Team Obsolete chief Robert Iannucci explains. “We rebuilt the bike, initially at Roberto Gallina’s Grand Prix workshop in Italy, and then completed the job in the US with Team Obsolete staff. We ran it 32 times, with riders who included Redman, Dave Roper, Don Vesco, Miguel Duhamel and John Cronshaw.
“Redman did not like the bike’s handling when the six made its debut at Monza, so for the next Grand Prix at Suzuka, the engine was installed in an RC164 chassis from his four-cylinder 250, where it remains. The frame and swingarm have extensive gussetting to resist the extra power of the six.
“Now we’re carrying out a complete disassembly of the entire motorcycle. We’ve replaced the fork seals and fitted Avon tyres We’re using Black Diamond valves made in California, pistons from Klaus Wahl in Germany and conrods from Arrow in England. An Italian Formula One company is making two new crankshaft assemblies by a reverse-engineering process.
“Reverse engineering involves extracting design knowledge from existing parts. We supplied the original Honda crank; the components are then measured, and metallurgical studies are performed. Hardness is tested and assembly sequences are established.
“Titanium components include the fork tubes, axles, lower yoke and stem, engine mounting bolts, the swingarm spindle and miscellaneous hardware. We obtained a large
Exquisite miniature components are exemplified by tiny spark plugs (shown with American quarter-dollar coin for comparison)