A Honda RVF1000 V4 Superbike for 2019?

02/23/2017 @ 7:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler52 COMMENTS

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.

Source: MCN

  • yooperbikemike

    2019 — Honda’s 70th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of MCN predicting a V-4 Superbike

  • Here we go again.

  • PierreLaPierre

    This is welcome ‘news’ but MCN have a habit of saying things over and over again until it may or may not come true. Let’s face it Honda need to bring out a sports model that not only beats the current offering from it’s competitors but step-changes the category performance with an accessable price. I think they did that with the original Fireblade but little else since. I applaud CCM for their new 600cc single at a very reasonable price for a small production run of 150 bikes. Last weedk I did the ‘dealer rounds’ here in France it is my undercover state of affairs survey and amongst all the dealers I visited around Ales and Nimes the only two that had customers as well as enthusiastic staff were Yamaha and Ducati. Both Honda dealerships were devoid of any ambiance no music videos or animation of any kind.

  • Jonn Dol

    Wishful thinking would be that Honda team(s) would field 2 models in the WSBK class in the near future, the current CBR 1000 SP2 and the new Honda V4 Superbike exotica. It might be true. Remember that Honda did field two technically different machines during the 1990s 500cc GP days (V4 & V2 NSR 500 GP machines). Don’t think it will be difficult for Honda to do something like that again!

  • Superlight

    This is why Ducati shouldn’t be doing a V4 superbike – they will be just one of many brands to do so, versus having a unique selling proposition with their twins.
    This also points to a potential problem with the WSBK homologation rules – manufacturers will create unique, high-priced specials for racing that won’t have relevance for the average rider, as he won’t be able to afford them. On the other hand, maybe they’ll offer a less exotic, less expensive version for us normal riders. What I don’t see happening is one low-volume model for racing (say a Honda V4) and another type to sell to the public (like a Honda I4) – the market isn’t large enough to support both.

  • motobyte

    That sketch is HOT! Too bad the actual bike probably won’t look like it.

  • Jason Channell

    I’ll believe it when I can go to my local Honda dealer and leave a deposit on one.

  • Shawn

    The Honda RVF1000 V4 is the bike of the future… and always will be!

  • Huff955

    I was thinking the same thing!!

  • Superlight

    Except the Aprilia RSV4 already exists.

  • Shawn

    My comment was a joke, bastardizing a famous quote.

  • Les Niño de Peligro

    if it ever does come to life, it’ll too late for Nicky. In typical Honda fashion, it’ll look and sound bitchin but the motor will be numb.

  • Ryan Donahue

    Except it’s not a Honda.

  • Shinigami

    Seriously, Jensen, MCN has an horrific track record for this kind of thing.

    “Honda VFR gets V5 engine”

    Published: 07 August 2008

    And a half-dozen other examples. Those people were into click-bait long before the term was coined.

  • Ryan Donahue

    Slow day for MCN, it seems. A new Honda racing V4 is vapor ware until it’s unveiled at EICMA or Intermot.

    However, I could see it, given the more credible news that Ducati is finally going to make a V4. Perhaps Honda has viewed as their providence, despite not having a V4 racing bike, and feels compelled to show-up Ducati.

  • spamtasticus
  • spamtasticus

    My favorite part of this picture are the suspension components….

  • Timbo Baggins

    Ducati has proven time and again that they value outright performance over heritage, so I don’t agree. Remember the trellis frame, wet clutch, etc? The V4 isn’t a fashion choice, it has inherent performance benefits over twins and I-4’s. I wouldn’t expect them to abandon the twin for their whole line, but if getting that V4 into their WSBK will get them winning championships then its not a matter of if but when. …Then you can expect the more conservative manufacturers to follow suit.

  • Timbo Baggins


  • Jason

    it has to land…

  • Chocodog

    I’m interested in a 990 V-4 90 degree VFR Interceptor with about 140 RWH, Gear driven cams would be a nice way to honor the most popular series. I’d like to see Honda fill in the void above the rea wheel with modest, radiused tube sub frame that flows and compliments the radius fairing behind the front wheel. So many bikes now have that PLANK look and it’s not aesthetically pleasing in my opinion. This bike needs a 5.5-6 gallon tank minimum, quick shifter and the 8th Gen looks great so I wouldn’t vary too much from that one. Also make the fairings very, very easy to remove and replace so oil changes, headlight changes, radiator fluid, brake fluid, etc is easy. And, always, always, put a premium on build quality and reliability. In other words, evolve the VFR like you should have, Honda.

    As John McKown says, Here we go again, referring to the V4 superbike in the article.

  • Superlight

    OK, what are the “inherent performance benefits” a V4 has over a V-twin, other than that the increased cylinder count means max HP can be achieved with fewer CCs? The V4 will be wider, heavier and generally more complicated than the V-twin.
    I understand that Ducati has already decided to go the V4 route with their racing superbike, but what this will most likely result in is the death of the performance V-twin in their lineup – they may still have V-twins to sell, but no V-twin superbikes, as that market is too small to support two engine types. Be careful what you ask for…

  • That’s the work of Nicolas Petit. It’s one of my favorite concepts. I’m hoping it inspires something over in Japan.

  • Timbo Baggins

    Shorter rods and pistons, narrower than I-4, easier to package, mass is more centralized, more options for firing order and power pulses to the tire. They already have several different engines in the lineup. They won’t make a V-twin halo bike, so what? I don’t get why this is such a tough concept.

  • ircsmith

    why? why even go here? Honda keeps promising a killer SBK but never produces. with all their resources and experience, they cant put a bike out there worth a top three. not for decades have they produced a mainstream bike worth consideration. the last bike they made worth recognition was the ’95 RVF400. everything since then has been a very temperamental, high dollar, low volume mediocre machine. until they can produce a competitively priced, mass produced machine, that can compete in the SBK field, we should all ignore Honda. stop relying on marketing hype to sell your crappy products and put out a bike worth buying.

  • mikstr

    drinking the V4 cool-aid huh? Reading such comments makes it sound like the V4 is the only path to sportbike supremacy, and yet the I4 is doing quite well in MotoGP with Yamaha and Suzuki (curiously, Zook, despite a prolonged effort, never got their V4 to amount to anything and yet have developed their I4 based bike into a serious contender in only 2 years.. so much for that V4 superiority). Yes, the V4 has certain advantages, but so does the I4, namely its shortness, a critical component when it comes to placing said engine in the chassis; it’s not just a coincidence that the M1 (and now the new Suzuki) has long held the reputation as being the best handling MotoGP bike…

  • MikeD


  • MikeD

    Here’s a little secret: He’s not ready to cross then burn that bridge yet . . . but time has a way to change us all for better or worse. LOL.

  • Jd

    I will say it again, Hondas retail bikes are junk, Watered down vanilla. They need only focus on GP because that alone sells. Not to riders though. 1st time buyers

  • TimRowledge

    Just so long as they wipe it down after you leave said deposit…

  • LeDelmo

    I have been waiting a long time for Honda to finally start taking Motorcycles serous again. The paste few decades… Honda’s line-up has always looked, well thin.

    And I love unique power plants like the Triples and V4’s. And I gotta make another shout out to the Nuda 900R. “we hardly knew ye”

    So I really hope Honda does this V4 bike right. If they go and pull another RC213V-S than I think this would more than likely hurt the Honda name. I am so tired of these manufacturers making these “exclusive” Rich boy toys. Yeah, you reviewers might get a chance to ride one here and there. But the majority of these bikes are nothing but jewelry to the super wealthy. And its a shame.

    There are only two things I want Honda to be doing right now. One make whatever this thing is readily available to real consumers. “Hoping it catches on for a possibility of a naked version”

    And two, please please bring too market a DI 2 stroke. Honda may well be the ONLY company that can do this! Because KTM sure as heck isn’t going to do anything with the Di 2 strokes they are sitting on until someone forces them too.

  • PAra

    it will probably be limited to like 500pieces or something.

  • Mitchel Durnell

    I love those concepts (there’s a bunch of colorways) though it is of a re-imagined RC-51.

  • Superlight

    I wasn’t comparing a V4 to an I4, but to a V-twin. The “so what” about Ducati moving to a V4 is the loss, in racing, of the different engine configuration, the V-twin.
    If you watched the Philip Island WSBK last night you’d have seen the V-twin is still very competitive with the fours.

  • Superlight

    Honda will review Bimota’s history with a DI 2-stroke and run away as fast as possible.

  • mikstr

    Honda have historically, going back to Soichiro’s days, done everything in their power to stamp out two-strokes. I can’t see them throwing that heritage out and stepping up to give it a new life… They had a good start with their Activated Radical Combustion engine and you know where that ended up….

  • Bruce Almighty

    Thank goodness for that.

  • Bruce Almighty

    All this hand wringing over a Honda V4. At the 2009 EICMA show rumors circulated about the V4 concept…it was basically a plastic mock up, while across the room, Aprilia rolled out a real V4, that went on to win World Championships. By then I had already made the switch. I was a dyed in the wool Honda fan/rider for years. But I got tired of waiting. So whether it comes or not, I’m happy with my second RSV4. And it comes a lot less than $40,000.

  • D19

    I feel you. And I think that many other sportbike riders and racers do to.

    I got tired of waiting for another Honda V4, and got a crossplane R1 and then an Aprilia. If/when Ducati builds a V4 superbike, I will retire the R1 and go all in.

    Honda still builds great motorcycles (the new Honda Africa Twin, for example), but they also have a way of ignoring their customers (Honda VFR1200F) and answering un-asked questions (DCT). I hope that Honda builds actually builds it and gets Nicky and Stefan towards the front.

  • Bruce Almighty

    I recently bought a ’17 Grom. It’s the only Honda that interests me at the moment. ;)

  • Timbo Baggins

    I must have missed the announcement when they started giving championship points for uniqueness. Maybe you should enter with a single cylinder since no one else is doing that.

  • D19

    Those Groms are an absolute hoot! You don’t need big power to have fun!

  • Superlight

    WSBK would be pretty boring if every competitor rode the same kind of machine. Kinda like the “Ducati Cup” a decade ago.
    OBTW, all credit to Jonny Rea for his double at Philip Island, but anyone who watched the races would have seen just how competitive it was, with Ducati right there in the thick of it with those “outmoded” twins.

  • John White

    ah, but the gp yamaha and suzuki both have crossplane engines in order to make power like the V4.

  • mikstr

    Not quite (more V4 cool-aid, lol). The fact is that they are using alternative crank phasing to improve engine power characteristics and it just so happens to mimic a 180-degree crank phasing on a 90-degree V4. In the same manner, it would be possible to build a V4 with a firing sequence that mimics a flat-plane I4… what would you say then?

    So, V4 urban legends aside, innovative crank phasing is nothing new and hardly limited to the cylinder layout. Ducati did something similar with their Twin Pulse crank phasing at the end of the original 990cc (as used on the D16RR) and now Honda has evolved its crank phasing for 2017. Look at Motus having gone to a 75-degree crank on their sport-touring bike. and the list goes on….

    As stated previously, both the inline and Vee configurations have inherent advantages and disadvantages (most being related to packaging compromises) and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded or misinformed…

  • Ducmeister

    and the V4 racewar begins!! Ducati vs Honda!

  • Ducmeister

    Too late! Ducati is bringing a V4 to WSBK in 2018 or 19

  • Ducmeister

    Expect them to still sell twins BUT their WSBK R model will be a V4.

  • Superlight

    No, I expect all their superbikes to be V4s, not just the R model. The superbike twins will be history.

  • mikstr

    with Aprilia a few years ahead on the production front… you may have heard of them, they won a few WSBK titles a few short years ago..

  • exstrat

    “affordable version of the Honda RC213V-S”, “This will mean the unit volume will be low (~500 units), and the expected price tag will be close to the €40,000 ”

    I’m sorry, I don’t have a six figure salary, I don’t really understand how €40K Euro’s is “affordable” for a motorcyle. Come on, you can get an Aprillia V4 for under $20K, that is somewhat affordable. I’m not even an Aprillia fan, and have been a life long Honda fan, in both cars and motorcycles.

    I weep because my life standing can’t allow me to enjoy that Honda V4, unless I buy an old VFR. What happened to Japanese low cost and reliability?

  • Jason Channell

    Well played!