Since before I started Asphalt & Rubber, the scribe’s at MCN have been predicting a MotoGP-derived V4 superbike from Honda – I think the original rumor started with a V5 power plant, if that gives you an idea of how long this story has been making the circuit.
The hands on the clock are finally starting to meet with reality though, and the British magazine now says that a more affordable version of the Honda RC213V-S could hit dealerships in time for the 2019 model year.
This information echoes similar news that we saw before the launch of the updated Honda CBR1000RR – that Honda was working in parallel on a new Fireblade as well as a V4 superbike project.
Though now, MCN now points to recent patents filed by Honda, as well as sourced information that the bike is a couple model years away.
If we can draw conclusions from the reaction of journalists at the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR press launch, as well as the early results from the Red Bull Honda World Superbike team, Honda is probably realizing that merely updating the Fireblade isn’t going to keep the Japanese brand relevant in the liter-bike class, and that a new approach is needed.
Though Honda has been reported to be toying with the V4 superbike option for over a year now, the fact that MCN quotes a 2019 arrival shows that the superbike is still in the early days of its planning, if you take into account that it takes 3-5 years to bring a bike to market.
While superbike enthusiasts will have to wait quite a while to see what comes forth from Honda, at this point in time we can divine that this RVF1000 superbike will be a premium focused machine – in other words, a true homologation special.
This will mean the unit volume will be low (~500 units), and the expected price tag will be close to the €40,000 limit set by World Superbike regulations.
While all the evidence at hand tells us to expect simply a cheaper version of the Honda RC213V-s street bike, which has been retooled with cheaper components and parts designed for mass productions.
But, we can only hope the engineers and designers at Big Red see beyond their MotoGP program, and bring something truly new and unique to the market (see the image above).
If you listened to the recent Two Enthusiasts Podcast with special guest Michael Lock, we brought up the subject about motorcycles needing to be more than just exercises in engineering. Hopefully Honda’s team is listening.