Honda RVF750 RC45
The Honda RVF750R RC45 was a fully faired racing motorcycle created for homologation purposes for the Superbike World Championship by Honda Racing Corporation. The RVF750R was the successor to the VFR750R RC30 (not to be confused with the sport touring VFR750F). Like its predecessor, the RVF750R featured a DOHC liquid cooled V4 4-stroke engine and a single-sided swingarm with gear driven cams, but unlike the RC30 it utilized electronic fuel injection, in a setup very similar to the production 1992 NR750. The US spec engine had a 749.2cc capacity and was rated at 101 horsepower; the European version was rated at 118 horsepower. A simple rewire modification to the PGM-FI box increased power in the US engine up to the 118hp. It was manufactured and sold in limited numbers from 1994 until 1999 (the United States receiving the model for its first year only), being replaced by the VTR1000R SP-1 RC51 in 2000. Unlike the VFR750R RC30 and VFR750F from which the engine was originally derived the gear drive for the cams was moved from the centre of the engine in between the cylinders to the one side allowing a slighter narrower engine.
The RC45 has its roots from the original 1982 Honda V-four 750, introduced on the 1982 Honda Sabre. Then in 1986, the 2nd generation V-four arrived in the form of the VFR750F (RC24), fixing the camshaft problem that plagued the original V-four and moving to gear driven cams. In 1988, the RC30 was born, loosely based on the RVF endurance racer, and this was used to contest the newly formed Superbike World Championship. Only 300 were imported into the US for only one year, 1990. Then, in 1994, with the RC30 showing its age and being handily beaten by the Ducatis, Honda redesigned the RC30 using more of the technology from the RVF endurance racer and released the RC45 to much fanfare. Only 200 were manufactured world wide and per AMA homologation rules 50 were imported into the US, with approximately 20 of them going to private race teams; it is estimated only 20 examples are left in the US. It is one of the rarest motorcycles produced by Honda. In its peak race form, in 1999, the RC45 made over 190hp, with some calling it the best Superbike machine ever. Later in its career HRC heavily modified the bike to keep it competitive including new exhaust systems and switching back to a standard two sided swingarm for increased strength on non-endurance bikes. The RC51 was released in 2000 to make use of the 250cc displacement advantage for V-twin motorcycles that allowed the Ducatis to be so competitive.
The RC45 was shadowed with problems when first released on the World Superbike championship. This did not bode well with Honda, who entered the World Superbike championship with full factory support, not just privateer support that they gave to teams with the RC30. Castrol was the major sponsor of the RC45, and Honda came to win. The RC45 only won one World Superbike championship with American John Kocinski when he won the 1997 FIM Superbike World Championship. Jim Moodie from a standing start, on an RC45 Honda lapped in 18:11.4 seconds, 124.45mph in the 1999 Isle of Man TT. Miguel Duhamel won the 1995 US AMA Superbike and the 1996 Daytona 200 on an RC45. Miguel came in 2nd in 1996 and 2nd again 1997 on the RC45, then a season ending crash in 1998 injured his leg. However, Ben Bostrom won the 1998 AMA Superbike Championship on an RC45.
The RVF400R (NC35) closely resembles the RVF750R (RC45) with the exception of the headlights which are large and round on the 750.