As well as the new Blade that is expected in 2017, Honda’s plans include an all-new RVF1000 V4 superbike and there is also the chance of a slightly less expensive version of the RC213V-S MotoGP replica.
Tetsuyo Suzuki, the head of Honda’s Research and Development arm, has confirmed that there are three projects being worked on, but right now the only bike that has been given the go-ahead is the new Fireblade. The other two options remain nothing more than research projects.
When MCN quizzed Tetsuo Suzuki, he said: “There are three projects under serious consideration. The three options open to us include a new replacement for the Fireblade, the RVF1000 and also a cheaper version of the RC213V-S. We will be studying all three in parallel and all are under serious consideration, but it is likely there will be one or perhaps two of the three options made for production.”
MCN’s sources suggest the work that has already gone into the RVF1000 makes this bike much more likely to become a reality than a new RC213V-S.
This ‘cheaper’ RCV would still end up still being extremely expensive, but without the kudos of the recently launched RC213V-S, which was always intended to be built in extremely low numbers. In order to achieve greater production capacity, there would have to be substantial changes to the way the RCV is built. Currently, every bike is hand built, using sand-cast engine cases and labour-intensive chassis construction.
New World Superbike rules are tipping the balance in favour of the RVF. The new rules have slashed the number of bikes that must be sold to meet homologation regulations from 1000 to just 500. A second element in favour of the RVF becoming reality is the WSB price cap of €40,000 (approx £31,000) which will allow Honda to make enough money on each bike sold to keep it profitable.
Even if the RVF1000 is given the go-ahead now, it could be 2019 before we see it.