Honda NR750 RC40

1992


It wasn’t until 2015 that Honda produced the NM4, the famous Neo-Tokyo bike Kaneda zips around on in Akira. In the meantime, the 1992 Honda NR750 RC40 was the closest thing available to the monster machine featured in the breakthrough 1988 film that introduced anime to moviegoers across the globe. With a no-expense-spared budget, designer Mitsuyoshi Kohama and his team at Honda crafted 200 of the most celebrated and admired racing machines to hit track or street, thanks to technical and design innovations delivering unparalleled performance. The NR750 RC40 is often hailed as the most exotic and acclaimed motorcycle of its day, and it’s still a must-have for collectors of rare racing bikes.

This bike set a 1-mile lap record (from both standing and flying starts), it set a record for holding over 200mph for a full mile on an oval track, and it set a record for the fastest 10K (all with GP rider Loris Capirossi at the helm). These achievements are thanks to the ingenuity of an oval-pistoned V4 unit offering V8 output, as well as standard composite parts in carbon fiber and titanium, state-of-the-art (at the time) fuel injection with a 16-bit CPU and seven sensors, and more.

Why only four cylinders, you ask? The concept was originally conceived in 1978 for Grand Prix racing bikes, which were limited to four cylinders, but it was later revived for the NR750. Incredibly, much of the advanced engine technology featured on this dream bike remains unique to the NR750. This all equates to a rig that drives like a dream, with effortless handling and a satisfying roar when you rev the engine, not to mention speeds that give you the rush of a roller-coaster ride.

With all that going on, you might think this bike would be lean on creature comforts, but it’s really designed to support the body in ideal racing stance. Whereas some bikes practically demand a death grip to maintain your upright position, the Honda NR750 cradles the rider in supreme comfort and security, requiring minimal overall effort to ride. You don’t have to look far to find a reason to love this sought-after motorcycle.

  • The holy grail of oval-piston engineering
  • Generates 125 horsepower @ 14,000 RPM at crankshaft
  • PGM-FI electric fuel injection and engine management system, four throttle bodies with two injectors per cylinder
  • Just 322 examples of the NR750 were ever made
  • It was the most expensive street bike to ever reach series production
  • The 748cc water cooled DOHC oval piston V4 has eight titanium valves and two titanium connecting rods per cylinder
  • Detuned from 150 horsepower @ 15,500 RPM
  • Reinforced extruded aluminum frame and rear swing arm with carbon fiber body panels
  • Some 220 were built in 1992 of which 20 were the 100 horsepower RC41 variant for the French and Japanese markets
  • Honda deliberately opted for reducing power in favor of increased rideability highlighting rider comfort and control