NEARLY THERE

JUST ONE THING MISS­ING...

Classic Bike (UK) - - Best Tt Ever? -

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)

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