After years of speculation, the near-mythical RCV213V road bike is finally here… well, almost.
Two years after Honda officially confirmed they would be building a road-going replica of the RCV213V MotoGP bike, the Japanese giant finally showed a concept bike, and a running test bike, at last week’s Milan show.
The appearance of the bike suggests that Honda are almost certain to put it into production, although MCN understands there are likely to be fewer than 300 built, and the price of each bike could exceed £160,000.
Of the two concepts shown in Milan, one was a beautifully prepared show bike with a paintscheme reminiscent of Freddie Spencer’s V4 500GP bikes, which was a non-runner.
The other was a plain carbon-fibre clothed test mule, ridden onto the stage by double MotoGP champion Marc Marquez. Lifted straight out of the HRC testing programme, it was so urgently needed back in Japan that it was flown straight back to Honda’s R&D headquarters later the same day.
Speculation has been building that Honda had canned the project, citing massive development costs, although MCN understood that the project was still active.
Honda set out at the very beginning of this project to make a bike as close to the race bike as road homologation would allow, but internal debate has been raging over the cost and specification of the finished bike.
Shinji Aoyama, Chief Operating Officer of Honda Motor Company, and head of all new motorcycle development, told MCN: “What we have shown today is just a prototype! We want to know the thoughts of people at this show and from now on.
“In terms of the numbers we can produce, we cannot build big numbers because of the way the bike has been built. The method of production is completely different to that of a mass produced motorcycle.
"There are elements like the sandcasting of the engine that limits very much the numbers of bikes we can build. But right now we don’t know exactly how many we will build.
“One or two units per day is the limit of our production capacity because although engine parts are not exactly MotoGP specification they are still nothing like a mass produced motorcycle and the bike takes a lot of work to build.
"Our plan will be to build these bikes at the Kumamoto factory in Japan where we have an area where our most experienced assembly workers will build them. This is separate to the main production lines.
“I think there are many crazy guys who will like this bike in the UK! We know many people there have been interested in this bike and we have received lots of information from the UK market.
“First of all the presence of this motorbike is determined by if we need this motorbike. In order to meet the street legal requirements we need to do many things. There are always restrictions we need to make to meet homologation but this is not such a big job.
“The big question was if we need this bike. We think we are near to understanding this now.
“Very soon we make the 100% decision. We will expect to receive many opinions during this show from Honda fans. Maybe this will be able to help us make our decision.
"In terms of how we are going to sell this bike we have not made that decision yet. Maybe it will be just through the internet to accept pre-orders. It might be through dealers but we have not made that choice yet.”
MCN believes the RCV replica will be signed off before Christmas, and that buyers will be able to place orders by mid-2015.