Honda RVF1000R | Coming Soon

Honda’s Next-Generation V4 Superbike—And Motogp Platform?

Honda is planning to revive the RVF model name as soon as 2012 with an all-new, 1000cc, V4-powered superbike called the RVF1000R. Just like the mid-’90s RVF750R—better known as the RC45—this new version will likely be a limited-production, race-oriented machine, positioned well above the CBR1000RR in the firm’s range and serving as a new platform for production-based racing. That means not only World Superbike, but also MotoGP—where, beginning in 2012, privateer teams will be able to compete against the factory prototypes using production-based, 1000cc engines mounted in custom frames.

Honda recently renewed its trademark on the RVF nameplate, and newly granted patents have revealed some of the technology the firm plans to debut with this bike. One key difference in the VFR1200F-derived powerplant is a more conventional DOHC cylinder head in place of the VFR’s space-saving Unicam arrangement. Whether those cams will be chain- or gear-driven (like the RC45’s) remains unclear.

Patent drawings show the bottom end of the engine is basically unchanged, retaining the same RC212V-inspired cylinder layout with the front connecting rods located outboard of the rear rods on the crankshaft. Another noteworthy change is a new transmission with chain final drive. The VFR’s cylinder bore is already 81mm—conveniently the maximum dimension allowed by 2012 FIM regulations governing production-based engines. Shortening the VFR’s stroke from 60.0mm to 48.5mm would put it right at the 1000cc limit, and create even more oversquare engine geometry than the 80.0 x 49.7mm BMW S1000RR.

Just as the RVF750R was sold alongside the CBR900RR (at nearly twice the price), the new RVF will be a high-end product aimed at delivering racing success. Honda is certain to continue fielding a pure prototype for its works MotoGP team, but as a firm that prides itself on making the best engines in the world—and the sole engine supplier in Moto2—it is no doubt keen to have privateers choosing its engines for MotoGP use, too. There’s little chance any team would opt to use the current CBR1000RR engine, which is comprehensively outgunned by the BMW S1000RR and now the Kawasaki ZX-10R. This proposed RVF1000R would put Honda back in the game.

“This will be a limited-production, race-oriented machine, positioned well above the CBR1000RR in Honda’s range.”

The Honda RVF1000R is expected to conform to newly revised 2012 MotoGP rules allowing racebikes built around production-based engines and raced under claiming rules intended to encourage privateer teams.
Patent documents only revealed engine details, giving no clue about aesthetics. Expect the production RVF to resemble a cross between the current CBR and the wheel-less V4 Concept debuted at Intermot 2008