Honda CEO Confirms V4 Sport Bike Project is Underway

09/20/2012 @ 10:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler49 COMMENTS

It has been a long time coming with this announcement, but Honda has finally officially announced that work has begun on what is presumed to be a V4 sport bike. In the same vein as the Honda RC30 that was introduced back in 1987, Honda has apparently seen the light, and according to the company’s own words, the company has started “with a goal to create a new history.”

Announcing the new model in his end-of-the-fiscal year speech, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito was terse with his words in describing the new Honda sport bike, but referencing the RC30 project, along with heavy rumors that we have been hearing about a V4 street bike project in the works that was being based of Honda’s MotoGP program — this almost assures that the bike referenced is a V4 superbike based loosely on the RC213V race bike.

With the Honda CBR1000RR looking very long in the tooth, it is not clear if Honda’s V4 project is a replacement for the current-model CBR, or if it is a separate model that will be positioned to be more costly and exclusive than the inline-four CBR (we would expect the latter).

The news comes as an interesting pairing with the fact that Honda plans on offering a production-prototype for MotoGP competition. That model is expected to be a tuned-down version of the Honda RC213V race bike, and the model announced today is allegedly an even more tuned-down version of that machine.

One thing is for sure, if Honda can truly channel the mojo the company produced with the Honda RC30, the company could finally tap into the hearts and minds of sport bike enthusiasts with something more than bulletproof manufacturing.

It wouldn’t surprise us to see a concept of the V4 sport bike unveiled at INTERMOT or EICMA later this year. Expect to see the machine in 2013 or 2014.

Source: Honda; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Wow!!! It’s like they’re saying, “Come back to us Richard.” Empulse or modern era RC30. Good thing I don’t make enough money to afford either.

  • FrankThaTank

    Please please please for the love of god please hurry with this one.

  • alex

    I don’t understand what the exasperation is about – Honda makes some of the fastest bikes currently, but they are probably the most livable. Unlike my old CBR I had to go online to figure out how to remove my new gsxr’s fender for an oil change – plus it doesnt have a proper fuel gauge and when it does say you are on E you actually have 2 gallons at least. My old cbr was smoother to ride as well. But oh the gsxr has 2 power modes and a gear indicator…

    I’d love to see a superbike from Honda just because.

  • Cru Jones

    The exasperation is about a company that during the ’90s made cool and interesting bikes (i.e. RC30/RC45/NR750/NC30/NC35), but that lately has made nothing with any sort of soul or charisma, could possibly be reverting to the Honda that most of us fell in love with and still romanticize about. Also, would be good to see a superbike V4 from a company that can logistically support it from a parts aspect.

  • Sb955i

    Honda’s full of promises, but typically misses the mark. Good product yes, but ignores the faithful. Case in point, the latest VFR was to replace the St1300, so what did they do, cripple the range and try to sell an Automatic!?! This neither sells to the ST crowd, nor the VFR faithful.

    the very thing that makes the RC30 an icon, purity, simplicity, connectedness, will be the very things they ignore with a ‘modern’ interpretation. instead we’ll get a basket ful of acronyms, and a dongle to program it with. They just don’t get the script anymore.

  • terpinator

    Price it in line with the current 1000cc competition and offer it in Repsol colors and I’d be very interested!

  • s2upid

    build it and i will buy it honda. i’ll hold onto this 1991 VFR750f until your ready..

  • Ronnie

    Every year rumours of a v4 honda superbike circulate, i really hope this time round its true!

  • Damo

    They better not be bullshitting us this time! How long have the new V4 rumors been under way? I have been dying for a proper V4 super bike from Honda since the RC51 went out of production.

    I eagerly await more details…

  • Cpt.Slow

    alex: Ignorance is bliss

    What Cru Jones said!

    I been hanging round with a Ducati (and MV at one point) only garage till the cbr250r turned-up (also had an RC51-SP2. Looks like I’ll be adding another Honda to the pile.

  • paulus

    Great… another 2-3 years of presenting fibre glass abstract models/art and then at the end we might end up with a VFR type dissapointment…..

    … but I hope not.

  • paulus

    Headline and text don’t match!

    “work has begun on what is PRESUMED to be a V4 sport bike”

  • smiler

    As long as it is nothing like the RC45 lard bucket, VFR 1200 alien and much more like the RC30 or RCV 212V.

  • Gutterslob

    Ooooh…. a new production RC model.
    About freakin time!!

  • Damo


    You rob my garage while I was at work? I have an RC51 SP2 and a CBR250R sitting in there right now.

  • mchale2020

    As an enthusiast, I’m excited to see what Honda has to offer us. Hopefully it won’t be a repeat of 2008 when Big Red totally missed the mark with that V4 concept-thing and let Aprilia get the limelight with the RSV4 . Hopefully Honda learned from their experience, because the current VFR has gotten lost in the sea of boring, mediocre motorcycles while the RSV4 has won in WSBK and served as the basis for current CRT projects in some shape or another. Interesting how those two projects turned out, especially when the V4 is synonymous with Honda’s competition history.

    As for what Honda has waiting in the wings with this next generation bike, I’m interested to see how it will turn out. I wonder if it will try and be a technological force like the HP4? If so, will it be safe to say Honda has lost the plot? I’m also curious about how it will impact the perception of the Fireblade. The ‘Blade, while perhaps dated, still offers more performance than 99% of its riders need and its MSRP is competitive with the other brands, offers high quality kit with the Showa pieces, typical Honda build quality, and user friendly attitude.

    Deep down, as a mediocre track day rider frustrated with the sport bike scene, I would like to see Honda step up to plate with something that has a little bit more substance than just an extreme exercise of engineering prowess. The Fireblade does that already as far as I’m concerned. I would really like to see another RVF400, but it would probably be a flop here in America and sell about as well as a road going RCV, except the sales numbers of the RCV would be deemed a success given its almost absurd price point I’m sure it will have.

  • I had several back in the day- seemingly nothing exotic…but they were.

    Even the old VF700-F that was missing 2nd gear, and the 500 Interceptor…just something cool about them. And the VFR 750 in the same paint job that won the AMA Superbike title? Sheeiiiitt, man. That bike got me laid.

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  • Ken C.

    Forgive the silly question, but what advantages does a V4 have over an Inline 4?

  • SBPilot

    Ken C.

    Generally you can build them more compact, and the power delivery is suppose to be more smooth without loosing top end to a inline four. That’s assuming you have the funds/R&D to produce such a V4.
    I think they also cost considerably more money to build/R&D hence no one really uses them except in race application (sans Aprilia). However, some brands, like Ducati, swear by twins and if you read interviews with Preziosi he explains why twins are the best. There is no real “advantage” from one to another, they all have their strong points.

    But a production premier class GP bike? Sounds very nice. You could, then, buy one and go racing in MotoGP, like the 70’s and 80’s. If they have a spec ECU, you wont’ even need 5 data engineers! If this is a true competitive bike from the box, then expect to see heaploads of wildcards in 2015.

  • Chris

    I’d bet the bike will be a homologation special similar to the RC30 and RC45. If so, expect a very limited production and a $40,000 price tag akin to a 1098R or EBR 1190RR.

  • David

    W O L F ! ! ! ! ! (the boy cried)

    I have heard this (new V4) sooooooooo many times now.

    I could care less.

  • Jay

    I’m excited that Honda will fill a huge void in the marketplace by releasing mid-displacement street bikes, however the RC-30 isn’t the one for me. I’d be more interested in a CB500 twin. My days of sport bikes are behind me and I want something more upright with greater seat-to-peg distance.

  • kevin

    I’m still waiting for big H to build the NAS concept.

  • Spektre76

    They should call her the ‘RC-54’. 998cc, 210hp – 95lb-ft! And for the love of God make it look as close as legally possible to the RC213V and please hurry!

  • mxs

    I’d love to know how people will actually open a wallet to buy one …

  • Jake

    The NAS bike would have been perfect. Honda just sat on it for some reason.

  • MikeD

    Holly Shit Batman ! Honda has finaly found their long lost BALLS AND EGO.

    What’s next ? Elvis and Tupac are still alive & living among us ? LMAO.

    Sorry, couldn’t help it. I’ll post something smarter at the inteligence level of an average human being later when i read the whole article…i just had to get that out of my chest. Confessed Honda Hater here. {^_^}

    @Paulus on your first comment: +1 & ROTFLMAO.

    @MXS & David: +1.

  • Sean in Oz

    mxs +1
    Lets hope they continue to make a I4 Fireblade too, so they’ll have a bike people will actually buy.

  • Joey Wilson

    This could be very interesting, inasmuch as Nakamoto-san has pooh-poohed the CRT bikes to the point where now HRC (and Yamaha with a ‘customer’ M-1) will now offer RCV’s for sale, the RIGHT response to the CRT question.

    If this project is derived from that, the basic architecture (and expense) could be modified for MGP, WSBK, AMA, and a street-legal version. This would spread the costs, cover homologation requirements, and recover some race-cred that Honda and HRC have chosen to avoid in the street-bike-based race series around the world, and a way back into those series to stimulate sales of the street bike. We’ll see . . . .

    The current CBR is the most livable of all the current literbikes, but has always paled because of its refinement alongside the GSXR’s, ZX’s, etc. Maybe they think it’s time once again for a street RC. I hope so.

  • RC51 was a twin and not a V4 (Damo).. advantages a V4 has over an inline…. V4’s are compact, develope V2 like torque w/ inline 4 top end, sound awesome, and deliver good drivability… draw backs are lots of parts, complicated, and typical burn alot of fuel.. As an owner a twin, i4, and two V4’s i would say i like the V4 ‘s the most great power band and the sound is like no other…. can’t wait to ride the short stroke Pinagale twin, that being said i like my i4 the least…. Great motor but plain Jane compared to my other bikes….

  • Gutterslob

    ^Aside from compactness, I think all the other traits you mentioned can be achieved on any multi-cylinder engine with specific mapping and alternating the firing order. Remember, the current R1 is an inline 4 that sounds almost like a twin (best sounding current production sportsbike, imho) while Ducati’s first V4 GP bike (Bayliss + Capirex) sounded and behaved line a screamer inline.

    Actually, I’m not even sure about the compactness trait. Yamaha’s inline 4 M1 looks less bulbous than Ducati’s V4 Desmosedici… but then again, those are GP bikes and we have no idea what they look like underneath.

  • Ducati first gp bike sounded like a screamer cause it was a screamer then they went to a big bang firing order. By using a screamer the achieved big HP but lost drive ability.. since then they have switched several times back in forth . The M1 is compact but the engine is wide and affects aero and top speed more so than the narrow V2/4.. rumor has it that Suzuki is working on their on version of a “CROSS PLANE i4…

  • Gutterslob

    ^ Which reinforces my point about engine layout not having anything to do with the sound and firing order. More than 2 cylinders and you can have an engine sound however you want, basically. Heck you could probably have them all fire at almost the same time and have it sound like an angry thumper, provided your combustion chamber is reinforced enough to handle a giant “bang” from 4 cylinders going off at once.

  • Damo


    I am aware the RC51 is a twin not a four, did you miss the part when I mentioned my everyday vehicle is an RC51-Sp2?

    I was just commenting on non-I4 engine configuration more than anything.

  • Faust


    I can’t believe you let me ride your RC-51 all day without telling me you had the super secret special edition V-4 version! lol, but seriously……

  • JD

    damn straight I’d love me a RC30. I recall $30k in late eighties so factor in time and technology to bring up to 2010’s pricing $70k comparable to D16,,,, Honda wont dare. I see watered down sand casted left over parts bin and a current trickology priced under $15k and heavier than 90’s 1000cc. I mean really how many NR’s has anyone seen on the road, or event or magazine?? . I’d love to be proven otherwise, the world needs more bad ass bikes

  • MikeD

    I would like to go back to simpler times/concept/ideas…but with today’s tech/know how and electronics.

    Simpler times:

    1990-2001 VFR.

    RC51(All Gens).

    CB1100, CB1300.

  • JoeD

    When the the legal dept. is done, we’ll have a V4 DN-01. That’s what happens when you build for the masses instead of exclusivity. Honda, please prove me wrong. I would still have an Aprilia before the Honda but it would be nice to have both. Question is, which one of the two would be easier to part with? One can always dream.

  • I’ve been in love with V-4 engines since I bought a brand-new 1986 VFR750FG (The FG stood for F–kin Goes) when they came out. It was way ahead of its time. After a few exhaust and carburetor tweaks, the only bikes on the road that could put a length or two on me were the GSX 1100 and FJ 1200. I embarrassed many a GSX-R750 and FZ 750 back in the day. It would hit 153 mph, 147 mph with a passenger on the back. :)

    That VFR was still able to hang with 600cc sport bikes into the late 90s, and a mildly worked one could keep up with my 98 CBR900RR in the mid range. That’s the great thing about V-4’s, their midrange is a lot like the low end on a V-twin, and they produced a top-end punch like no other engine. Similar to V8 car motors

    It’s no accident that Aprilia RSV4 has the baddest engine around, it’s that geometry that makes all the difference my friends. The primary reason why motorcycle manufacturers didn’t keep producing and perfecting true performance V-4 engines for the street back in the 80s, was because of cost. It’s always been far cheaper to produce in-line engines.

    I wish car manufacturers would consider putting a big bore V-4 engine, 2.2 to 2.7 l, in sports cars. That would be something to talk about, add a couple of turbos and you’d have a real torque monster on your hands. Sadly, as with motorcycles, it’s the cost of producing the block that has prevented development in this area. Even a small 1.2 or 1.6 L engine in a V configuration would offer tuning options that few if any of the current small in-line or boxer high output engine could match.

    I’m so glad Honda is going down this road again, I look forward to seeing a superbike from them that can pick up the gauntlet thrown down by BMW, and Smack them across the face with it. And maybe this will start a trend, be nice to see Yamaha resurrect their V4’s as well.

  • JoeD

    Aaron, a V4 is half of a V8, two thirds of a V6 and double of a V Twin. Cost of manufacture is not the problem. Customer acceptance is.

  • MikeD


    I can mention “the classics” how a V-4 is costly-er and more involved/complicated than a conventional I-4(NON Crossplane) engine.

    2 Heads, 2 Cylinder Blocks, 4 Camshafts, 2 Timing Chains(Belts?), 2 Tensioners, 2(but could be 4) VVT Assemblies, etc.

    Not to mention that most of the times the I-4 is easier to package, design, build, etc…maybe bacause is been around longer than the V-4 ?

    Im being kinda lame with my facts but im almost sure i made my point….BUT im willing to hear anyone’s argument(s) against mines…lol.

  • Singletrack

    What, no V-5?

  • MikeD


    Tell it to “my shit is supreme and smells like roses, same as my word” Speleta.

  • Guess I’ll keep the ’85 vf1000r instead of trading it in on a vf1200r. May be something in that color and lighter, much lighter weight.

  • It’s really great news for bike lover because Honda has finally officially announced that work has begun on what is presumed to be a V4 sport bike.

  • “JD says:

    September 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    damn straight I’d love me a RC30. I recall $30k in late eighties so factor in time and technology to bring up to 2010′s pricing $70k comparable to D16,,,, Honda wont dare. I see watered down sand casted left over parts bin and a current trickology priced under $15k and heavier than 90′s 1000cc. I mean really how many NR’s has anyone seen on the road, or event or magazine?? . I’d love to be proven otherwise, the world needs more bad ass bikes”

    Not sure what country you’re in JD but the RC30 in the US was under $9k IIRC and the RC45 was $27k in the late 90’s.

    If they price this just above the RSV4Factory then it is the bike I have been waiting for. I currently own 5 of the 18 V4 Hondas that I have had since puchasing my 83 VF750FD new in Japan in the Navy.

    If they price it more like the Desmosedici then I will give up and buy an Aprilia.

  • sjambok

    Honda needs to bring out a more up to date version of the 1000cc Vtwin sports bikes – they were legend! I truly loved my Firestorm…