EXCLUSIVE: Honda's MotoGP bike for the road! RC213V-S first impressions
Handmade in a specially-built factory at the rate of one per day, the RC213V-S is crafted from carbon fibre, titanium and race-spec aluminium. Honda’s MotoGP bike for the road is the most expensive road bike ever made. We rode the RC231V-S at its world launch in Valencia.
Here’s our man’s first impressions.
Honda’s €200,000 RC213V-S (with race kit, €188,000 without) )is the nearest bike money can buy to a MotoGP bike on the road and we’ve just ridden it at Valencia in Spain.
While most road-going sports bikes are developed for the road first then turned into race bikes, Honda did it the other way round. They took the multiple MotoGP championship winning RCV and worked out how they could turn it into a bike suitable for the road, and the occasional track day should you be brave enough.
HEAR THE BIKE BEING WARMED UP:
There are road bikes, and then there’s the new RC213V-S - the most exclusive motorcycle ever made. That means more exclusive than the oval-piston NR750 from 1992, more exclusive than the previous most exotic – the V4 Ducati Desmosedici of 2003.
That came in at a mere £38,000-£42,000 when it was launched. At €200,000 (£146,000 at today's exchange rate) the RCV blows it away for exotica on price and specification. And even in the long line of Honda RC's like the VFR750R RC30 and the RVF750R RC45, none of the bikes proudly wearing the HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) badge and tricolour HRC colours have ever been as special as this.
There’s been a lot of talk about it being ‘only 157bhp’ as standard. But none of that is important. This is a piece of history in the making. A bike for connoisseurs and collectors, but if they all end up in museum rather than being ridden in anger there’s something very wrong with the world.
What you end up with is a chassis similar to the one used by Marc Marquez in MotoGP, and an engine designed for longevity that’s similar to the one in the production RCV1000R raced by Scott Redding in MotoGP last year, and Eugene Laverty and Jack Miller in MotoGP this year.
Other changes include the addition of a sidestand, lights, Bridgestone sport tyres, mirrors, a speedo, indicators, a starter motor and adjustable steering geometry.
But the front Ohlins TTX forks, the frame, swingarm, is pure MotoGP with dimensions close to those of the 800cc RC212V race bike. Honda say the inertial mass of the bike, and therefore the way it handles and steers comes extremely close to the pukka RC213V. As we’re not about to get a ride on Marquez’s bike I’ll have to take their word for it, but one thing is clear – this bike handles like nothing else I’ve ever ridden, MotoGP bikes and 500cc GP bikes included.
Okay, so the engine might lose the seamless gearbox and pneumatic valve system that’s on Marquez’s MotoGP world championship winning bikes, but as far as they can Honda have kept this bike pure to their concept of ‘Absolute MotoGP machine for the street’.
They’re not wrong.
Honda offer two specs of the 1000cc, V4-powered bike, the 157bhp road-spec bike and the race-kitted bike which makes over 212bhp! We rode them both.
After an initial impression, Bike Social’s Marc Potter said:
"So we rode the 159bhp road bike around Valencia’s GP circuit, initially it was only a few steady sighting laps behind the legend that is ‘Rocket’ Ron Haslam to get a feel. We were told to treat this session as a fast road ride as the bikes are on Bridgestone road tyres.
You can already felt the massive potential of the bike. There’s plenty of low down torque and when it starts to rev the bike really starts to come alive. It’s hard to explain but bike has a hand-built factory feel, like RC45 or Desmosedici, where everything feels nice and tight unlike standard production sports bikes.
We hardly got to use the brakes on the few sighting laps but you can also feel the power of massive Brembo’s. The gearbox is precise and smooth. For all the hype, the RCV is still a race bike. It’s tiny with all the weight on wrists but it makes you feel like a racer as you head down pit lane.
We’ve got three more sessions today and will pick up the pace so stay tuned for more later.”
'Rocket' Ron Haslam is at the launch, acting as a guide rider. After riding the Honda for the first time he said, "Wow, those extra revs make such a difference. So much torque. It's very good"
11:10am BST: UPDATE (AFTER 2nd ON TRACK SESSION):
"I was out on my own this time, still learning the track but riding faster.
The first thing to say about it is that it’s so incredibly agile and the mid-corner stability and feel outdoes any of the current 1000cc sports bikes. The electronic braking and the slipper clutch work well while the gearbox is full factory Marquez-slick! Honda state the tyres are designed for road riding but I’ve still had a slide or two from the rear, thankfully nothing too spectacular.
Yes, at ‘only 159bhp’ it feels down on power compared to the current BMW S1000RR and Yamaha R1, combined with its very tall gearing. However, that’s not the full story, as a riding experience nothing else compares to the RCV."
Next up is the full–fat race kitted 212bhp+ bike, on slicks. Further updates within the next hour or two.
12:40pm BST: UPDATE - RIDING THE RACE KIT BIKE
"That was a session and a half! The first thing that gets you is the full carbon fibre appearance. It looks like a full factory winter GP testing bike. When it fires up, it sounds like a whole different beast, ultra aggressive, so savage. There’s race shift on this bike; one up, five down and with the quickshifter it makes the gearbox feel even more precise (not seamless shift).
There’s incredible torque from the bottom and it’s remarkably easy to ride (as much as a 212bhp+ bike is). It lets you get away with ridiculous lean angles too. The tyres prevent that on the road bike but the race-kit version has slicks. The brakes are also upgraded with race-spec pads which increases their ability but more than anything it’s about the sheer power of the engine and agility of the chassis."
Once we've calmed down after riding this incredible feat of engineering, the full test will be published so do keep an eye on the site. Until then you can keep up to speed with the activities at Valencia by following @bennetts_bike on Twitter or checking our Facebook page.
Are you one of the 41 UK-based customers? Do you know any of them? We'd love to hear from you. or !