Rich man or poor man: we can find a V4 for you!

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - www.the­mo­tor­cy­cle­bro­

Ev­ery month we take a look at the clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle mar­ket with a range of in­dus­try ex­perts. This month, Paul Jayson from The Mo­tor­cy­cle Bro­ker and our very own Scott Red­mond look at Honda’s won­der­ful V4s: cheap and not so cheap!

In the 1980s Honda de­liv­ered un­lim­ited cash to the de­vel­op­ment of race bikes for podium dom­i­na­tion. Per­haps the cash came from booze and to­bacco spon­sors back in those heady, car­cino­genic days and Honda blew it all on de­liv­er­ing race tech­nol­ogy to the pub­lic. In 1984 Honda de­liv­ered the VF1000R which of­fered 122bhp and one of the first ma­chines with gear-driven cams, but it lived in the shadow of the camshaft fail­ures of the ear­lier VF750F. Bad rep­u­ta­tions travel quickly and the stink al­ways lingers, so the VF1000R was viewed as ‘the bike that blew up’. Also, 122bhp did lead to a few riders crash­ing and the bike was also very ex­pen­sive, so sales weren’t great and the bike was made in very lim­ited num­bers. It also had an­other prob­lem, it was a porker at 230kg, BUT this bike started a trend that con­tin­ues to this day: ho­molo­ga­tion spe­cials. I be­lieve the strangely sexy (okay, when wear­ing beer-gog­gles) Phil Read Replica was the very first ma­chine to ini­ti­ate this idea and the VF1000R car­ried it on­wards. The mo­tor is in­cred­i­ble and re­minds me of Kate Moss: red hot and ready to party; just like those amaz­ing lit­tle VFR400S. Un­for­tu­nately, the rest of the bike does feel more like Hat­tie Jac­ques, but they are great to own and ride (Hat­tie trained as a bal­let dancer Paul! Ber­tie). And like Buck­fast Tonic, they are rel­a­tively cheap, but not for much longer. As an in­vest­ment, they haven’t re­ally fully caught on yet, but prices have been ris­ing at quite a rate. In the fu­ture, I think they will be­come very costly. Now to the size zero: just a cou­ple of years af­ter they dis­con­tin­ued the VF1000R, Honda served up the svelte VFR750R, RC30. It was a mas­ter­piece, yet pro­duced ten brake horse­power less than the VF1000R at 112bhp. But it was su­per-light, tiny and han­dled like a dream. Rac­ers of to­day still han­ker af­ter such agile han­dling. It looks iconic, sounds iconic and won loads of races and ti­tles. The Ja­panese mod­els re­quire de-re­strict­ing, but have very small, mean head­lights. Honda built nearly 5000 RC30S so there are more around to choose from than VF1000RS. Apart from the VF’S weight prob­lem, you can see how the RC30 came from the same DNA. It’s a V4 with gear-driven cams and spins to over 14,000rpm. The Ja­panese mar­ket 400cc motorcycles also loaned a lot of tech­nol­ogy to the RC30. The big prob­lem with RC30S is there are nu­mer­ous ex-race bikes in the mar­ket pos­ing as in­vest­ment-grade road go­ing ma­chines. While they’re not cheap, they’re still a great in­vest­ment which is ripe for a price in­crease and (if you can af­ford one) then now is a good time to buy and they are go­ing to in­crease in value again soon. Both of these ma­chines are great to own and a great place to park your money for a tax-free re­turn. The RC30 is the Kate Moss and the VF1000R is the drunk cur­va­ceous kinky one. You pay your money and take your chance, but which­ever way you go, you’ll have great fun.

Uk-spec RC30 is pricey!

VF1000R: very spe­cial.

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