Does the 2013 Honda RC213V Have a 90° V4 Engine?

02/18/2013 @ 1:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Does the 2013 Honda RC213V Have a 90° V4 Engine? 2013 Honda RC213V 90 degree V4

The internets are a buzz today with photos from the MotoGP test a Sepang, which seem to suggest that the 2013 Honda RC213V prototype race bike has a 90° V4 engine configuration. The news should certainly come as a surprise for many Ducatisti MotoGP fans, as Ducati Corse’s front-end woes have often been attributed by couch racers to the Italian company’s 90° V4 engine configuration. Seeing how dominant Honda has been at the pre-season testing in Malaysia though, one cannot help but admit that the cylinder configuration is not necessarily to blame for Ducati’s troubles.

Talking to Spanish magazine SoloMoto, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto explains that the 90° V4 engine has benefits over the company’s previous 75° engine configuration, namely that the 90° engine doesn’t require a balancing countershaft. Nakamoto-san further explains that because of the balancing shaft’s absence, Honda’s 90° V4 runs with more power, and less vibration that its 75° predecessor, making the engine a formidable enhancement to the RC213V platform.

There is strong reason to believe Honda has been running the RC213V in a 90° V4 engine configuration since the bike’s inception in 2012, which perhaps gives us some insight into the Casey Stoner’s wry smile and his reply that the engine wasn’t the problem with the Ducati, when he was asked about Ducati Corse’s troubles throughout the 2012 season.

The photos taken at Sepang show that the Honda V4 engine has been rotated rearward a great deal within its frame, which may be part of the reason why HRC is able to make the engine configuration work in MotoGP racing. However, the Ducati Desmosedici was rumored to get a similar treatment with its V4 in 2012, making one wonder what else lurks in the Ducati Corse MotoGP platform that is amiss.

Whatever the case may be, all of this bodes to be an interesting development, as Honda is getting closer to unveiling its production-racer version of the RC213V (expected at the Valencia end-of-the-season test) as well as its new premium-market V4 sport bike (expected sometime in 2014). Somewhere in Bologna, some motorcycle engineers are having trouble sleeping right now.

Source: SoloMoto; Photo: GPone

Comment:

  1. ttxgpfan says:

    Seriously, is there anyone who knows more about 90 degree V4s than Honda? Sounds like they gave the narrower V4 a shot and it just didn’t seem to quite stand up to the tried and true. I wonder if the next VFR will go back to 90 degrees. For people to say that Ducati’s problems are the result of any one thing, is ludicrous. If it’d been that simple they’d have fixed it by now. The rearward tilt is interesting though. They messed up the RC45 with too far forward a tilt (the RVF750 worked right from what old articles have said). I’d love to know just what in modern geometry has caused the rearward tilt to become effective.

  2. TeeJay says:

    Honda slapped Ducati in the face. Again. :D

  3. L2C says:

    LOL! What a story…this qualifies as one of the big ones! Oh my goodness…

  4. David says:

    Look at that exhaust. Is that a work of art or what.

    Can’t you guys get them to remove the exhaust for a photo shoot?

    Along with some detailed build info.

    The F1 cars have amazing exhaust craftmanship also.

  5. Rich Melaun says:

    @ ttxgpfan – the crankshaft is by far the largest mass of the engine. Current tires and rider techniques favor a forward CG as this loads the tire which generates sufficient friction to get the tire up to temperature. The Ducati engine’s cylinders, being slanted into a more forward position, force the engine to be placed further back. This makes it difficult to get the tire up to temperature.

    One report I read stated that Casey Stoner would ride like the proverbial maniac on the first few laps to work the front tire to get its temperature into the working range. This bravado is said to be the reason for his success on the Ducati. The tires are *the* critical component when it comes to a decent lap time. Or so I’m told.

  6. ProudAmerican says:

    That picture (minus the engineer) would make a great porno centerfold!

    Beautiful.

  7. TexusTim says:

    honda veeeeee4mmmmm l want and need one….more than…anything. I mean that.

  8. dc4go says:

    Looks like a 90 to me!! there you go proof that a 90 degree v4 bike can turn, now Ducati get your head out of your A** and get it together.. Think now that Rossi is gone, and with a new management it will turn around for them. Ducati’s already testing new electronics, exhaust and frame mods @ Jerez and things are looking up. Really think not building their own frames isn’ the fastest way to get this done , hope im wrong though….

  9. GeddyT says:

    Second paragraph, Jensen, I think you had a bit of a brain fart. There is still a countershaft in that transmission, so I’m guessing you meant to type, “…because of the balance shaft’s absence.”

  10. CTK says:

    Somehow I forgot about Honda’s V4s. I think with this development it’s high time for them to bring back some V4 road bikes. Maybe even replace the CBR inline 4s with V4s. They could make a connection with the CBR1000RR and the new CBR500s by sharing (and obviously reworking) those heads.

    I still have faith in Ducati though. They just need time and money.

  11. All hail the 90° V4, which I think is the perfect choice for the new street bike line, but how do you fit a 1 L engine into those tiny frames and achieve the mass centralization necessary as well as the proper weight balance on and off the brakes?

    Of course Honda can do it, but can they do it and make it competitive, more importantly superior to the other bikes on the track? That is the question.

  12. tesla says:

    I loved the swirling exhaust! =))
    I wonder what sort of science lies beneath that design

  13. The loop in the exhaust is to equalize the tube length between front and rear cylinders, which creates consistent back pressure, simplifying tuning across the board.

  14. smiler says:

    That picture (minus the engineer) would make a great porno centerfold! and some scratch sniff as well.

    To be honest it looks like Honda doing another SP” on Ducati. To be fair Honda’s R&D racing dept is about the same size as Ducati’s entire company.

    if this is so why dont they just stick the Desmo L 4 back in the steel trellis & give that a try. At least the rider can understand the feedback, it is adjustable & Ducati will be where they know what they are doing.
    There is an aweful lot of stuff packed into a very small area on those bikes.

  15. Commentator says:

    Honda FTW!!!

  16. Schyler says:

    Somewhere in Borgo Panigale an italian engineer just jumped up and yelled “see I told you its not the problem!! How the hell does it work for them!?!” Now they just need to figure out the balance aspect of the bike.

  17. Jamon says:

    What is that thing on the front sprocket?

  18. Rich Melaun says:

    @ Jamon – that’s a rotating shaft torque sensor.

  19. david says:

    @jamon- referred to as a “torque-ducter” , they actually measure and adjust torque output in real time. this sophistication may be the difference between honda/yamaha and our friends at borgo-panigale, no?

  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “The news should certainly come as a surprise for many Ducatisti MotoGP fans”

    in your dreams.

    re: “Ducati Corse’s front-end woes have often been attributed by couch racers to the Italian company’s 90° V4 engine configuration.”

    pfft, laymen.

  21. Norm G. says:

    Q: “I’d love to know just what in modern geometry has caused the rearward tilt to become effective.”

    A: just because you SEE a tilt, it doesn’t mean the tilt is the “silver bullet” (see entry for VR46 ducati). it just means you are putting all your proverbial eggs in the “tilt basket” at the expense of things you CAN’T see, for no other reason than you can’t see them.

    “What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes” – Harry Houdini

  22. Norm G. says:

    re: “Honda slapped Ducati in the face. Again.”

    more like imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  23. MikeD says:

    Schyler says:
    February 19, 2013 at 7:27 AM
    Somewhere in Borgo Panigale an italian engineer just jumped up and yelled “see I told you its not the problem!! How the hell does it work for them!?!” Now they just need to figure out the balance aspect of the bike.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ROTFLMAO, THAT WAS BLOODY FUNNY……..thanks, i much needed a good laugh.