Thursday, December 07, 2006

More details on the 2007 Honda RC212V

800cc, 150kg weight and 200+ horsepower. The Honda RC212V MotoGP bike is likely to be a fearsome machine, and with Dani Pedrosa riding it... watch out Rossi!

HRC’s Large Project Leader for the RC212V, Takanori Okuma san recently spoke at length about Honda’s 800cc MotoGP machine for 2007. He says, 'When we started development of the 800cc machine, we gave top priority to the pursuit of excellent handling and drivability. For the newly-reduced engine capacity of 800cc, we decided a V4 was the most efficient layout. Rather than focusing solely on top end power, we also concentrated on producing good power delivery characteristics, which can have a significant effect on lap times. Using enhanced control systems, the result is an engine with good drivability in the low and mid ranges, and excellent power under acceleration when the engine is at the top of its range.'

Moving on to speak about the RC212V’s chassis development, Okuma san said, 'We further enhanced the mass concentration package developed for the RC211V, to improve the agility and quick handling characteristics of the bike. The outward appearance is aggressive and appropriately innovative for a new generation of bike, affording both drivability and aerodynamic efficiency. We will continue to evolve the bike before the season opener and throughout next season.'

Also see:
The mighty six-cylinder Honda CBX 1000
2007 Honda CBR600RR
The Honda RVT1000 RC51 SP2
The very memorable Honda RC30 and RC45
The oval-piston Honda NR750

Dani Pedrosa testing the Honda RC212V at the Motegi circuit in Japan. And he's very, very, very fast...!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Down memory lane: Yamaha RD500LC

The Yamaha RD500LC - a Grand Prix bike for the road!

If Ducati can do a full-on MotoGP-replica streetbike with the Desmosedici RR, why can’t Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or Yamaha do one of their own? A Honda CBR1000RR in Repsol livery sure looks great, but it isn’t really the real thing, is it? A road-going RC211V or M1 would be the coolest thing on the planet. What a pity they’ll never be built…

Speaking of road-going race-replicas, some pretty hot ones have come out of Japan and Italy over the last 20 years. The Suzuki RGV250, the Yamaha TZ250, the Kawasaki KR-1, the Honda NSR250 and the Aprilia RS250 were pretty torrid stuff. These two-stroke machines had great power-to-weight ratios and very high speed cornering capabilities – on tight, twisty roads, even litre-class superbikes would struggle to keep up with these absolutely mental 250s.

But for the ultimate in repli-racer street-cred, the mid-1980s Yamaha RD500LC has to be the motorcycle. Based on Kenny Roberts’ Yamaha OW61 YZR500 Grand Prix machine, the RD500LC was powered by a two-stroke, liquid-cooled, 499cc V4, which made 88bhp@9500rpm in stock condition. It had a six-speed gearbox and dry weight was around 208kg. Top speed was 225km/h!

The RD500LC had underseat exhaust pipes, ran a 16-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear, and carried twin brake discs at the front and a single disc at the back. Yamaha also fitted their YPVS (Yamaha Power Valve System) on the RD500LC. Chassis was box-section steel tube, but a Japanese-market-only version – the RZV500R – had an aluminium chassis, though the engine was actually detuned and made only 64bhp.

Of course, tuners regularly pumped up the 500LC engine and power outputs of 100-120bhp were not uncommon on tuned and fettled bikes! Yes, the RD500LC was not very successful in production racing series of that era, and never became anywhere near as popular as the RD250 or RD350 machines, but still, it has to be the world’s most desirable Grand Prix racebike replica ever made.

Also see:
Motorcycle Grand Prix racing - then and now
MotoCzysz C1 MotoGP replica
Ducati Desmosedici RR MotoGP replica
2007 Yamaha R1

A short video showing the Yamaha RZV500R, the Japanese-market RD500LC