The first CBR400RR, the NC23 ‘Tri-arm’ in 1988, was developed from the CBR400R Aero – and the 1990 NC29 borrowed a tweaked version of the same motor and added it to an improved beam frame with Gull-arm swingarm and 17-inch wheels – a baby Fireblade before the Fireblade existed.
A proper gem of a Grey Import, the NC29 motor featured gear-driven cams (like the CBR750 Hurricane) and was built, like all Hondas of the day, with an unswerving dedication to quality. It was like riding a Rolex wristwatch. Pre-1993 bikes made nearly 60bhp, but were limited to just over 50bhp from 1994 onwards.
The RR was reliable too, despite spending most of its time above 12,000rpm. Huge numbers were sold in Japan between 1990 and 1999 and thousands made their way to the UK.