Fanned by a recent article in Motorcyclist (and an earlier article in MCN from the same author), rumors abound that Honda is working on a 1,000cc V4 sportbike, likely to be called the RVF1000R. A supplement to Honda’s superbike offering, and not a replacement to the CBR line, the new RVF would be a more premium superbike offering, differentiating itself from its inline-four cousin in a similar manner as the Rc-45 and RC-51 motorcycles did in previous decades.
If rumors are to be believed, we could see the new Honda V4 as early as the end of this year, with the major differentiation over the CBR1000RR being both the RVF1000R’s price, performance, and exclusivity. If done properly, the new Honda superbike could be an opportunity for the Japanese company to build some brand value beyond making cheap & reliable motorcycles. While the Japanese manufacturers have a reputation for making quality bikes, their work has never been translated into lifestyle status brand value, which is something a premium superbike could help foster.
As for the validity of this rumor, the idea sounds plausible as pitched, though some of the conclusions seem a bit contrived. Honda certainly wouldn’t dabble again in v-twin and V4 motors without ensuring that its CBR line-up would not be heavily cannibalized upon by the new sportbike, so the idea of a premium-spec’d bike makes basic sense.
However, it remains to be shown that the same pressures that brought about the RC-45 and RC-51 exist in the racing world to justify an RVF revival, and how such an homologation special would play into Honda’s MotoGP agenda, as suggested by author Ben Purvis, probably does more to beef up the word count than to be add more meat to the content (the article is all over the place, making links as well to the powerplant coming from the VFR1200F). Such connections seems dubious at best , though certainly anything is possible.
We like to think that such a motorcycle is currently being brewed up by the Japanese manufacturer, which is perhaps the biggest allure of this rumor. There’s a lot Honda could do with a a V4-based RFV1000R, but it can also be asked whether the brand needs another sportbike in its line-up at this point in time. However, keep an eye on Honda leading up to the EICMA show this November, they might just surprise us.