HONDA RC45 (1994-1999) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering"

Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding

"Doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering"

  • At a glance
  • 749cc  -  120 bhp
  • 34 mpg  -  110 miles range
  • Medium seat height (770mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 NC35 from a distance, which is pants really.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Again, the Honda RC45 is so close to perfection, but misses out by having 80s features like a 16 inch front wheel and relatively spindly 41mm forks. It handles impressively, with an uncanny fluidity at speed, but the inevitable march of progress means its overall handling wouldn't seem that advanced nowadays. For the money, you might be disappointed with a Honda RC45.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Honda RC45's V4 motor is a beautiful hand-crafted statement of excellence. But 120bhp ( claimed ) just isn't enough to see off opposition like the Ducati 916, Kawasaki ZX7-R or the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade. For £18,300 buyers might have expected the Honda RC45 to be a 190mph racer with lights on it, a real Joey Dunlop TT replica. Close ratio gearbox makes it a pain to ride in town. 

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

The Honda RC45 is arguably one of the best made motorcycles of all time, the RC45 is typical of the flagship motorcycles made when engineers were still in charge at Honda. Apart from the effects of time, extreme weather, or owner neglect, it's very unlikely that a Honda RC45 will break down or rust to bits. An undoubted classic built to last a lifetime.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

Back in the 90s, the Honda RC45 was in the same price as exotica like the Bimota SB7 or the Ducati 916 SPS, but its parts bin styling and average performance didn't make it seem worth the outrageous price tag. Here's a sobering fact; the 1996 Suzuki GSXR750 was 10kgs lighter than the supposedly `exotic' Honda RC45 in fully fuelled up trim. Find a Honda RC45 for sale.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

What are 1993 Honda CBR600F wheels, mirrors and indicators doing on such an exotic masterpiece?  It's a shame that the Honda RC45 wasn't studded with some truly unique, one-off parts to help set it apart from the Honda RVF400 NC35 in particular, and from big Japanese sportbikes in general.

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their HONDA RC45 (1994-1999) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.5 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

RC45

11 October 2012 by Arsey45

Having owned an RC30, I was intrigued to find how the RC45 would compare to such an iconic bike. Firstly the 45 feels a bit larger but just as comfortable and manoeuvrable. The power delivery is quite different with the 45 feeling much sharper but... Read more certainly snatchy at low speed. Care must be taken around roundabouts and junctions as the power is very much on and off. This is due to the injection system, but once on the move it's no problem. The gearbox feels slightly notchy in first and second but the faster you go the smoother it becomes. In fact the bike is not too happy at speeds below 50 mph, also the tallish first gear is not so good around town. Once the speed is above 50 mph the bike is a delight. It simply feels better and better as the speed rises. Everything seems to work beautifully. You can really feel the sheer quality of the engineering. This bike was built for WSBK and it really shows when you turn the wick up. Power certainly is considerably more compared to the RC30. The brakes on the 45 are much improved from the 30 and give plenty of confidence. My RC45 has an ohlins rear shock which has improved the handling quite a bit. I was amazed when cornering over nasty bumps how well the bike glided over them with no upsets at all. The USD forks are a big improvement on the 30. The bike feels very stable under heavy braking and direction changes. Overall, I much prefer the RC45 to the RC30. The 45 is much more up to date and generally feels much sharper and more powerful.They may be expensive but worth every penny and there's no other bike that feels that good.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

love it

01 January 2008 by red123

best bike i v ridden in all my 20years of riding . usuall honda gbox but once ridden well words fail me . Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1994
Year discontinued 1999
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 120 bhp
Max torque 55 ft-lb
Top speed 160 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 34 mpg
Tank range 110 miles
Specification
Engine size 749cc
Engine type 16v, Vee 4, 6 gears
Frame type Twin spar aluminium
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 770mm
Bike weight 189kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, sompression
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 130/70 x 16
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1994: Honda RVF750R RC45 launched.
1999: Honda RC45 discontinued. 

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

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  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda RVF750R RC45 motorcycle review - Front view