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What Did Nicky Hayden Know? New Superbike(s) Expected From Honda Next Year

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2016 Honda RC213V-S

Will Honda homologate (manufacture and sell sufficient units to qualify as a base for WSB competition) a relatively exotic V-4 superbike for the 2017 model year? We already know that Nicky Hayden was promised, and is expecting, a new bike, and his new team boss Ronald Ten Kate has made vague reference to the same thing.

It all makes sense. The production model upon which Honda developed its current WSB racer dates back to 2008. Honda is already selling the exotic, and ridiculously expensive ($184,000) RC213V-S featuring a V-4 engine displacing 999 cc. Will Honda be content to simply update the inline four CBR1000RR next year, or will it deliver a second V-4 machine (more expensive, but far cheaper than the RC213V-S) to homologate for WSB racing?

British magazine MCN has weighed in with its own opinion that Honda is likely to offer two new superbikes next year, including a more race-oriented V-4. MCN quotes Honda R&D head Tetsuo Suzuki regarding the future production models as follows: “In terms of the future of the Fireblade [known as the CBR1000RR in the U.S. market] we do not want to make something that is as extreme as some bikes, like the Yamaha R1M for example. The performance and concept [for the CBR1000RR] is not aimed at track riders; that’s not the purpose of the bike. The concept is to have a usable road bike. As far as the possibility of an RVF1000 that will be derived from a cheaper version of the RC213V-S platform and engine, then that is one possible path.”

We think Nicky Hayden will be competitive in WSB next year despite the older CBR1000RR platform beneath him, but something better is definitely coming from Honda.


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42 Comments

  1. Superbikes? Honda could if they complicate it enough, Yamaha could if they could get the transmission right, Suzuki could if they had any money, Kawasaki kicks butt in WSBK, $2 million contingency in MotoAmerica, unbreakable.

  2. As frustrating as it is that Honda’s current “halo” bike is so far out of reach of most motorcyclists (and don’t get me started with the state of tune “as shipped” in the US), I’m enjoying filling my laptop screen with the picture at the top of the post and gazing. It’s unquestionably a nice toy.

  3. Norm G. says:

    re: “In terms of the future of the Fireblade we do not want to make something that is as extreme as some bikes, like the Yamaha R1M for example.”

    well yeah, we’ve kinda figured that out…

    but you should make it anyway, unless of course your plan is to step on the toes of those individuals who ponied up for the RC213 after waiting for it all these years…?

  4. azi says:

    TLDR version: “Rumoured VFR1000 finally may or may not reach production”

  5. relics says:

    That is too thick to be a cigar.

  6. Vrooom says:

    One thing Nicky knew is it’s better to be a top 10 WSB racer than a back row GP duffer as he’s been for quite some time now.

  7. North of Missoula says:

    No way Honda is reinventing the wheel with the CBR1000RR.

    Like Kawasaki and Suzuki they will continue to evolve the existing platform with upgraded electronics, Showa balance free suspension (like we see in the photo), and significant tweaks to the existing power plant with about 10-15 more HP at the rear wheel.

    To keep the fat mid-range which defines the bike, and not get too exotic with the materials and compression ratio, they will likely go with variable valve timing like Suzuki is doing with the 2017 GSXR1000. Otherwise they will end up with a ZX10R’esque power-band more suited to the track.

    The Gen 10 CBR1000RR will continue to be the best road oriented Japanese liter bike as the Gen 9 currently is.

    • Neil says:

      They don’t have to re invent the wheel. They have made many a VFour for decades. Just need a production frame, wheels, tank, materials and so on, all of which lower costs. – Honda simply says it will be a road oriented bike. They can do whatever they feel like doing and isn’t that always the case? (current Valkyrie)

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “They don’t have to re invent the wheel.”

        correct, not when touching the cylinder head and connecting rods will do.

        re: “Otherwise they will end up with a ZX10R’esque power-band”

        yes please.

  8. PN says:

    Pretty bike, and I appreciate Big Red’s design goal of making a streetable, high performance bike.

  9. PatrickD says:

    MCN have been making these noises for over ten years now.

    Every slow news week we had V5 artists impression.

    Like a broken clock, theyre right eventually, but if they actually had any inside informtion, whay don’t they have the jump on other publications for bikes that actually do make production?

    Are they, perhaps, making it all up?

  10. Xootrx says:

    OK, if you take that big red dot on the side of the bike, turn it counter-clockwise 90 degrees, you’ll see a robot face with eyes, nose and an offset mouth. Kinda scary.

  11. Half Baked says:

    This bike always reminds me of the Mitsubishi A6M (Type Zero Carrier-based Fighter Airplane)due mostly to the giant meatball painted on the side.

  12. teelee says:

    This reminds me of the 1985 VF1000R, I love the colors

  13. Roland says:

    Sounds like the new Fireblade would be an evolution of the current one and there will be a brand new V4 weapon coming. I hope it works out for Nicky.

  14. Motorhead says:

    that upside-down swing arm in the back will become common on every sport bike within five years. Lowers the center of gravity. Nice.

    • Scott says:

      There have been plenty of bikes with bracing “under” the main portion of the swingarm, dating back to at least the early 80’s. It’s nothing new. And having a low center of gravity isn’t necessarily a good thing on a motorcycle. You want it low – but not TOO low…

      • stinkywheels says:

        Righto. Remember when the gas tank went low and pipes up high? Remember when Valentino made ’em raise the engine in his Yamaha? Honda does have a unique rear suspension that I don’t understand but almost all in the swingarm. Maybe Honda will revamp and make me not wish Hayden had signed with Ducati. Inline fours bore me, but they work really well.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “You want it low – but not TOO low…”

        Honda likely understands the relationship of center of gravity to motorcycle performance perhaps better than anyone. They built a GP machine with the fuel tank under the engine. the engineers believed in it so much that they told the riders that they were “riding it wrong”. Later they realized that CG was better placed near the axle height. The thing has to lean side to side quickly, after all.

        • bikerrandy says:

          My 3 maxi-scooters(Aprilia, Piaggio) have the motors/gas tanks very close to the axle height and handle very well, even though none of them are light. The gas tanks are just above the axle height.

          • tori zimbalis says:

            What an engineer is looking for is to find the roll center and place most of the weight as close as possible to that….low polar moment of inertia

            the rider being one of the masses…

            low centers works well for cruisers or lower speeds but for sport bikes its the opposite

          • Scott says:

            Even on a cruiser you don’t want too low a center of gravity – at least if you want it to handle, which most cruiser riders don’t seem to care about.

            I always equate it to a football running back cutting left and right as he runs downfield. Put him in a 40 lb. weight vest, and he can still move pretty well. However, strap a couple of 20 lb. ankle weights on him and it’s another story!

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “that upside-down swing arm in the back will become common on every sport bike within five years.”

        Yama R1 says “been there done that” now lets move on.

        re: “There have been plenty of bikes with bracing “under” the main portion of the swingarm, dating back to at least the early 80’s.”

        see entry for Suzi TILLER. see entry for Kawi ZEDREX.