Honda RC166 250/6

Think Small

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Honda

The ’60s are now considered the glory days of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, pro-ducing some of the most daring technological innovation and the best racing. Honda was at the center of it all, and the company benefitted dearly. Technology developed en route to winning 18 world championships and 137 races between ’61 and ’67 formed the raw material on which the next decade’s production machinery would be based. Large-displacement streetbikes like Honda’s world-changing CB750, revealed at the end of ’68, would be the first indication that this was time and money well spent. MC

A better-handling evolution of the RC165, powered by the same 250cc, 18,000-rpm inline-six.

Aermacchi 250 RR, MV Agusta 250 Bialbero, MZ RE 250, Yamaha RD56, Suzuki RZ66

Tech Spec

Engine typea/o-c inline-six
Valve trainDOHC, 24v
Bore x stroke41.0 x 31.0mm
Fuel system(6) Keihin 22mm carburetors
Claimed horsepower61 bhp @ 18,000rpm
Claimed torquena
FrameTubular-steel open duplex
Front suspensionTelescopic fork
Rear suspensionTwin Girling shocks
Front brake9-in. four-leading-shoe drum
Rear brake8-in. two-leading-shoe drum
Front tire18 x 3.0 Dunlop KR124
Rear tire18 x 3.5 Dunlop KR124
Seat heightna
Wheelbase55.5 in.
Fuel capacityna
Claimed curb weight260 lbs.

Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars
Winning 10 of 10 races in the 1966 250cc World Championship? It doesn’t get any better than that!

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Actually, during the "Golden Age" of GP, nobody, but nobody ever complained about the HONDAS handling. Not Jim Redman, not Bob McIntyre, not Tom Phillis, not Luigi Taveri – nobody.   Hailwood was arguably the best in his day, but he was no engineer and MR. Honda "instructed" when any changes were made to a HONDA Motor Co. MAchine.
Then there was the word of god, otherwise known as Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood. Many years ago Hailwood told George Beale that Honda's six-cylinder machines, in particular the RC174, were the best, most dominant bikes he'd ever raced. The RC174 was so fast, Hailwood declared, "I could have won on it with one arm tied behind my back."  Hailwood has been attributed to have complained about the handling of the Mighty HONDA Sixes judging from this statement, I doubt it is true.
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