Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1997 Honda NSR500V, In The August Issue

Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1997 Honda NSR500V, In The August Issue

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Featured In the August 2020 issue of Roadracing World: 

          When Grand Prix racing resumed after WWII, the grids were made up of a few riders on factory bikes plus a lot of privateers, all going from event to event, earning the series the nickname Continental Circus. If you had a competitive machine, could get an entry, and were good enough qualify in practice, you could race! As the sport matured and became more competitive, riders needed more sponsorship but the basic ‘if you’re fast enough, you can race’ proposition remained.

          By the mid-1990s the supply of competitive 500cc GP machines available for purchase was drying up. Although factories were leasing bikes to well-financed teams, this choice eliminated selling it off at the season’s end to recoup some of the expense. Yamaha responded by offering engines only but Honda decided to offer complete motorcycles.

           Encouraged by the performance of Loris Reggiani on Aprilia’s V-Twin, Honda decided to build the RS500V V-Twin. Grand Prix rules allowed Twins to have a lower minimum weight compared to Fours, plus the cost of running a Twin was less.

          A prototype was raced in 1996 by Tadayuki Okada, and a year later Honda produced machines ready for purchase at an eye-popping price (in 1997) of over $100,000!  However, in the world of GP racing with well-funded teams, this price did not deter buyers…

—Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1997 Honda NSR500V, by Mick Ofield

 

Worried about the availability of machinery in the Grand Prix premier class, Honda stepped up and built a production racer that was available to all, and in doing so helped ensure the survival of the class. Simple, effective and fast, the RS500 V-Twin was a privateer’s dream. All the details are in the August issue of Roadracing World!

 

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