Honda CEO Takanobu Ito announces...
Honda CEO Takanobu Ito announces plans for a new supersport bike based on "technologies from MotoGP machines" during his fiscal year-end speech.
As part of his annual corporate fiscal year-end speech to Honda shareholders, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito inserted a little tidbit at the end of his discussion on what Honda plans for the motorcycle market that has set Big Red fans atwitter with glee. After talking about the future introduction of larger-displacement bikes based on the same “New Concept” design of the NC700X and the return of Honda’s racing involvement in the Dakar Rally, Ito made a brief remark about something that Honda hasn’t done since the headier sportbike days of the mid-90s limited production RC45:
“Since its market introduction in 1987, the RC30 super sports bike has been loved by a large number of fans,” said Ito, as two visual displays on the wall behind him featured a photo of the RC30 next to a shot of the RC213V MotoGP racebike. “With a goal to create a new history, passionate Honda engineers have gotten together and have begun development of a new super sports bike to which new technologies from MotoGP machines will be applied.”
And that was it. He then quickly segued into a discussion on Honda’s power generation business, but those two sentences had Japanese motojournalists quickly breaking out their smartphones and furiously texting away.
There had been past rumors of Honda developing a V4 sportbike based on the company’s RC211V/212V MotoGP bikes, but most had dismissed those as the byproduct of wild and hopeful imaginations. And when nothing appeared on the horizon when each new-year models were introduced, those hopes continued to fade.
But now that HRC has openly discussed producing a “production” version of the prototype RC213V as an alternative to the controversial CRT machines now populating the back half of the MotoGP field, the door is supposedly open for the company to produce a high-dollar, limited production variant of that bike in an even more detuned form to enable it to pass emissions and noise regulations for the street. Just as the RC30, RC45, and the V-twin RC51 existed solely for the purpose of racing homologation yet offered a glimpse into Honda’s formidable engineering prowess, this machine will most likely be a very expensive ($30K-plus) and exclusive corporate flagship. It’s highly probable that this new supersport bike will not be a replacement for the aging but still capable CBR1000RR, which still has the production-friendly components and construction to make it somewhere near profitable to produce.
Whether this new supersport bike will be anywhere near the performer among its peers that the RC30 was—much less be an RC213V replica as many are claiming—remains to be seen. Honda is a much different company now than it was when founder Soichiro Honda was still alive. But surprises can happen.