Honda RC211V

The Honda RC211V was developed in 2001 by HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) to replace the Honda NSR500 because regulations for the World Championship motorcycle road racing 500 cc (31 cu in) class were changed drastically for the 2002 season. The regulations changed, two-stroke engines were as before limited to 500 cc (31 cu in) and 4 cylinders, but four-stroke engines were allowed to grow up to 990 cc (60 cu in) and from three to six cylinders. The name of the class was modified to MotoGP, and is limited to race prototypes only.

Honda RC211V
Motogp rossi 300.jpg
ManufacturerHonda Racing Corporation
PredecessorHonda NSR500
SuccessorHonda RC212V
Engine990 cc (60 cu in) four-stroke V5
RelatedHonda CBR600RR
Honda CBR1000RR

The model name designates the following:[1]

  • RC = Honda's traditional racing prefix
  • 211 = first works bike of the 21st century
  • V = V engine


In 2002, the debut year of the RC211V, Honda and Valentino Rossi dominated by winning the constructor's championship by more than 100 points over their nearest rival. It underwent small modifications over the season, but it did not as yet have traction control so much as a handlebar-mounted power management system with 3 settings for different needs during a race.[2]

Factory riders: Valentino Rossi, Tohru Ukawa
Satellite riders (in the latter part of the season): Alex Barros, Daijiro Kato


Among other changes in 2003, power was increased from about 200 to 240 bhp. Traction control was also added.[3]

Factory riders: Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Daijiro Kato, Sete Gibernau (after Kato's death)
Satellite riders: Max Biaggi, Tohru Ukawa, Makoto Tamada, Ryuichi Kiyonari


For 2004, a new, inverted rear suspension link was added, and a new exhaust was introduced at the Sachsenring round.[4] The RC211V riders were unable to keep Rossi from winning his fourth premier-class championship, and no clear candidate appeared to take over Rossi's role of lead development rider for Honda.

Factory riders: Alex Barros, Nicky Hayden, Sete Gibernau
Satellite riders: Max Biaggi, Colin Edwards, Makoto Tamada


2005 would be the first time in 4 years Honda lost the constructor's championship in the premier class. The RC211V chassis underwent frequent revision and rewelding, with reversions to the 2003 design[5]. After the race at Brno, Honda tested a new bike which both Hayden and Biaggi said was an improvement, and was thereafter known as the "Brno bike".[6]

Factory riders: Max Biaggi, Nicky Hayden, Sete Gibernau
Satellite riders: Alex Barros, Makoto Tamada, Marco Melandri, Troy Bayliss


In 2006, the RC211V came in 3 flavors: the "Brno bike" to be ridden by Hayden, a 2006 bike with a special chassis for Pedrosa, and a 2006 bike to be ridden by Melandri, Elías, Stoner and Tamada; Melandri and Stoner eventually got the special Pedrosa chassis[7]. Hayden's RC211V was modified to put the crankshaft higher, the clutch and gearbox lower, and to lengthen the swing arm; the goal was to centralize mass and improve stability. After the Jerez round, Hayden was the fastest Honda rider in testing[8]. At the British GP, HRC gave Hayden a new chassis, but Hayden complained that he didn't have enough time to test it. Hayden had started the year with the same clutch as Pedrosa, but 4 rounds later it was shelved in favor of a clutch Hayden had used in previous years; at the Brno round, he had a problem with the clutch that contributed to a 9th-place finish. Honda and Hayden had difficulty finding a clutch that would allow a good launch at the start but also work well throughout the race. Hayden eventually won the rider championship and Honda reclaimed the constructor's championship.[9]

Factory riders: Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa
Satellite riders: Makoto Tamada, Marco Melandri, Toni Elías, Casey Stoner

The RC211V was retired when rules dictated a switch to 800 cc (49 cu in) capacity; Honda's bike for 2007 is the RC212V.


Specifications as per manufacturer:[10]

2003 2004 2005 2006
Length 2,050 mm (80.7 in)
Width 600 mm (23.6 in) 645 mm (25.4 in)
Height 1,130 mm (44.5 in)
Wheelbase 1,440 mm (56.7 in)
Road Clearance 130 mm (5.1 in)
Weight around 145 kg (320 lb) around 148 kg (326 lb)
Engine Type Liquid-cooled, Four-stroke, DOHC 4 Valve, V-5
Displacement 990 cc (60 cu in)
Max Power Template:Convert/PS Template:Convert/PS
Frame Type Twin-tube
Front Wheel 17 in (43 cm) 16.5 in (42 cm)[11][12]
Rear Wheel 16.5 in (42 cm)
Front Suspension Telescopic
Rear Suspension Unit Pro-link New Unit Pro-link
Fuel Capacity 24 L (Template:Convert/LoffAonSoffUSre) 22 L (Template:Convert/LoffAonSoffUSre)


  1. "We Ride Honda's RC211V GP bike!" (HTML). Motorcyclist. Retrieved on 2007-02-01. 
  2. Scott, M. "Different Strokes," page 26. Motocourse 2002-2003. Richmond, Hazleton Publishing Ltd., 2002.
  3. Spalding, N. "Better By Design," page 24. Motocourse 2003-2004. Richmond, Hazleton Publishing Ltd., 2003.
  4. Honda Worldwide | WGP 2004 German Grand Prix, Sachsenring, 2004-07-18.
  5. Ryder, J.: MotoGP Season Review 2005. Page 37. Sparkford, Haynes Publishing, 2005.
  6. Honda Racing Corporation Brno Test, 2005-09-02.
  7. Ryder, J.: MotoGP Season Review 2006. Page 35. Sparkford, Haynes Publishing, 2006.
  8. Hayden Leads Jerez Test, 2006-03-28.
  9. Spalding, N.: "The Ghost Bike". MotoGP Season Review 2006. Pages 26-29. Sparkford, Haynes Publishing, 2006.
  10. "Honda RC211V specifications" (HTML). Honda Racing. Retrieved on 2007-03-03. 
  11. "King Nicky wins another World title for Michelin" (HTML). Michelin. 2006-10-30. Retrieved on 2007-03-03. 
  12. "Michelin: It's all about the front now." (HTML). 2007-02-27. 2. Retrieved on 2007-03-03. 

External links