Common Tread

Honda unveils its MotoGP bike for the street

Jun 11, 2015

Honda has provided us details on its limited-edition RC213V-S, the street-legal version of its MotoGP race bike, so now we know just how much it will cost to pretend you're Marc Márquez: $184,000.

Honda says the RC213V-S is "closer to a MotoGP bike than any road-going model ever offered to the public." The bikes will be hand-built and a limited number will be made, though Honda doesn't say what that number is, exactly. I'm guessing that depends on how many orders they get.

Honda RC213V-S
Honda RC213V-S. Honda photo.

So what do you get for your $184,000? You get the compact and lightweight 1,000 cc V-4 engine from the race bike, with titanium connecting rods and the sand-cast aluminum crankcase and with none of that wimpy street stuff like counterbalancers, that might add weight. You get the electronic aids needed to control the bike, including selectable power modes, engine-brake control and traction control. You get the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic fairing with a Honda red-white-and-blue and Japanese flag motif. You get the headlight, tail light, speedometer, catalytic converter, mirrors and other stuff you need to be street-legal, but Honda also provides a Sports Kit to convert the bike for racing. That includes a different ECU, quick shifter, data logger set and many other parts. (Update: Actually, no. The Sport Kit is not available in the United States. See more below.)

The things you don't get include the RC213V's pneumatic valves. What? Plain old coil springs closing my valves? As Honda notes, that's for "more realistic durability and easier maintenance in day-to-day running." No, you won't have pneumatic valves, but you probably also don't have a crew of expert mechanics ready to swarm over your bike after every ride. That's the same reason you don't get the seamless gearbox that was given so much credit for Honda's success the past two years.

Honda RC213V-S
Honda RC213V-S. Honda photo.

The RC213V-S also comes with "modified rpm for output characteristics better suited to public roads." I translate this as "even if you wanted to, you couldn't ride this thing at redline all the time on the public streets, like Márquez does in a MotoGP race, because you'd be doing triple-digit speeds in first gear, so we modified the power band."

You can see all the details at the RC213V-S website, where you can also place your order, if you have the cash and the need, beginning July 13.

I'm sure some wealthy collectors will snap up these for display in a prominent place. Will anyone actually dare ride one on the street? Or take it to the track?

Honda RC213V-S
How often will you ever see one of these on the street? Honda photo.

Update: Hidden in the fine print is the fact that the Sport Kit won't be available in the United States, due to legal reasons. (My fault for not noticing that at first.) Without the Sport Kit, you can't unlock the potential of the V-4. I suppose the enterprising owner could reflash the stock ECU, but it sure takes the luster off this bike.

So I guess the question I should have asked is not whether anyone would actually ride it on the street or track, but who will want to pay $184,000 for a motorcycle slower than a CBR600RR?