The PB100: 2 - Honda RC45

Published: 20 October 2008

The 100 bikes to ride before you die, brought to you by the guys at MCN's sister title, Performance Bikes.

The 10-year-old 750 that makes as much power as an 08 Blade.

I have a small list of bikes to ride before I die: the Britten, Honda Six, a proper RC30 and a proper RC45. Well, about two months ago, big Col from up north asked if I’d do him a favour and ride his ex-works RC45 at PB’s 90s trackday. I tell you, it’s a bloody hard life doing people like him a favour!

Well, I turn up at Cadwell on a mint Tuesday night to see what I’d say is one of the trickest RC45s ever – not something  that looks like its been crashed into an aftermarket parts catalogue. This is the real deal. At 40 paces you can tell this is proper.

The paintjob tells a story from the off – straight from the 96 TT – the Dymag three-spoke rear wheel, the carbon air scoops... oh, is that a bit of wee? I look a bit closer and properly wet my paints – this RC had Monoblock Brembo side-mounted calipers when only GP teams could get ’em, a KLS quickshifter (just like Aaron Slight’s), proper dash set-up – temperature and ultra clear Nippon Seiki rev counter – Öhlins oil-type forks with the remote shim stack on the front, way before you saw ’em in the British championship... Oh my god, I could keep going, its just an endless list of thickness, even a carbon filler cap.

Anyway, you’ll be wanting to know how she went. Well, put it like this, I rode the 45 on a busy Tuesday night trackday, did 20-odd laps, then went there the following week to test my all singing, all dancing 2008 BSB Fireblade. It took me 25 laps to go as fast on the Blade as I did on that busy Tuesday night on a 10-year-old 750 Honda.

The noise is the first thing that gets the juices flowing. I wish I was a spectator so I could hear it properly. We just don’t get to hear anything other than screaming inline fours these days; maybe the odd 675 Triumph or Ducati, but that’s it.

I’m passing early R1s with ease in a straight line, thinking, ‘You lucky beggars, getting to hear a bike with as much heritage as this’. When I say, ‘with ease’, I mean it. It makes a true 163bhp on a real world dyno. That’s as much as this year’s stock Blade! No wonder it’s sucking the stickers off everything.

But power is nothing without access to it. I reckon that’s the reason it took me so long to get quicker on my new Blade than I was on this. The RC’s power is so linear – just electric motor-like power, making ultimate use of every last pony. This bike is every bit as good as a well-fuelled modern race bike. It’s not just the motor, it’s the paintjob, the right nuts and bolts, the suspension... it’s just faultless.

Now, does anyone have a Honda Six in their garage that needs a shakedown?