After the Honda RC213V-S was commercially released last year, everyone just had to talk about it. It was the time when almost all motorcycle aficionados, MotoGP fans and even sports reporters wanted a piece of the action. Everyone was a frenzy! Everyone wanted their own RC213V-S to take home.
I am quite different than other people who love motorcycles and Honda bikes. I know motorcycles but I am too cautious to ride one. When I heard about Honda’s new release I was completely amazed of the true power and strength of the RC213V-S. I know that someday, after I am able to gather enough guts to finally go fast, the Honda RC213V-S would be in between my legs and ready to whisk me away.
Nearly a year has passed and a lot of people are still talking about Honda’s potent model. Why is this so? What makes this specific street bike so captivating? Here is a look as to what you can expect when you ride a Honda RC213V-S.
Honda RC213V S Motorcycle Specs
The Honda RC213V-S was produced in 2014 by the Honda Racing Corporation. This possesses a 1,000 cc, four-stroke V4 engine which is one of the most powerful, highly-adaptable street engines that ever existed. The RC213V-S is an improved version of the Honda RCV 1000R when it comes to specs, design, style and components.
To get to know the Honda RC213V-S, you need to understand where its name came from or what it means when you say the name RC213V-S. RC is the prefix used to designate machines that were created by Honda Racing Corporation (HRC). 213V is pronounced 21, 3V or 21st century, 3rd version. The final letter which is S means Street. Therefore, this machine was designed to be driven on the street.
For non-professional drivers
Honda wants to develop a motorcycle for non-professional riders. The RC213V-S may appear like a racing machine, there are some differences that has made this model a safer and more efficient machine on the road.
One of the most important enhancements to comply with the street version of this machine was its weight. The weight differentiates between a racing and a street-driven version and to keep the weight down, there were some changes made to the body of the machine. The body panels made from carbon fiber are thicker on the areas that needed strength and durability. On the other hand, it is thinner on all other areas of the cycle. The designers and engineers of the RC213V-S focused on centralization of mass to improve weight and enhance safety on the road.
Another thing that differentiates the RC213V-S from previous models is the position of its fuel tank. The tank is found towards the rear underneath the rider’s seat. This unique design switches the center of gravity to above the axle level and slightly forward of center. This has dramatically reduced inertial mass.
All these unique improvements significantly improves the RC213V-S street performance. This will roll smoothly, take turns without any worries and steering reversals won’t be such a problem at all. Overall, the improved weight, design and specs have made tamed the racing spirit in the “S” type and this is important when you are taking this baby on busy roads.
Overall length = 2.052 mm ((80.8 in)
Overall width = 5 mm (25.4 in)
Overall height= 1,110 mm (43.7 in)
Wheelbase = 1,435 mm (56.5 in)
Road Clearance = 115 mm (4.5 in)
Weight = 157 kg (346 lbs) as per FIM Regulations
Engine Type = Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC 4 Valve, V-4
Displacement = 1,000 cc (61 cu in)
Output = 185 kW (256 PS)
Top Speed = approx. 360 km/h – 225 mph
Fuel Capacity = 21 L (4.6 imp gal; 5.5 US gal)
Frame Type = Aluminum Twin Spar
Suspension = Front: Telescopic fork (Öhlins), Rear: Pro-Link (Öhlins)
Brakes = Front: Carbon ceramic (Brembo), Rear: Steel disk (Yutaka)
First impressions on the Honda RC213V-S
The Honda model gives you an idea of what you are getting. The S for street and despite the full power and vicious specs, this is in fact something that can be of great use on a busy city street. It is shaped somewhat an oblong shape and is also compact.
Compared to other sports motorbikes that are featured in festivals and exhibits, the RC213V-S looks longer and lowered and a bit sharp and tipped from the nose. Another very noticeable characteristic of this bike is that it responds to shape to its function far better than other sports bikes.
The clip-on’s are designed to be close while most of the fuel tank is actually under the seat. The narrow tank was specially designed for the bike’s volumetric needs and for the knees for secure, steady movements for cornering. You won’t fee cramped from this riding position at all.
The S –type engine
Honda modified its 999 cc RC213V engine to fit the “S” street smart profile. This engine runs a 90-degree, V-four configuration in a transverse orientation in its frame. It is built with four titanium valves in each head and a set of conventional coil springs close the poppets are among the many general improvements done.
The “S” motor valve train drive- and idler-gear adjustment is still other changes in the “S” type. A set of adjustable idler gears lets the rider adjust gear lash without the need to size and change the gear out for another size. This reduces maintenance and the cost of repairs as well.
The power kit includes a new ECU, ram-air ducts, reverse-pattern shifter drum, new brake pads, quickshifter, datalogger, exhaust and so much more. And compare speeds, European bikes can rev to 12,000rpm as stock and makes around 160PS. American bikes rev to below 10,000rpm as stock. But with the RC213V S, Honda took the redline down to 7,000rpm while the Japanese-spec V-S is 68PS at 6,000rpm.
No doubt that the RC213V-S feels like it had 80-90PS of play time before the ultra-soft limiter. The limiter is soft but at the same time it meant that the short straight is flat out in fourth gear. The speed of the RCV-S will go even in stock form despite having to shift and shift all the time.
From the experience of a test driver who had the chance to ride the RC213V-S on a circuit, he said: “Before turning 4 leads to another set turns that cascade until you exit from the back straight. This exit is a left-hander which throws you into a shallow curve left and right before you get a moment of full throttle before you start shedding speed and gears for a first or second gear hairpin on to the main straight”.
Other engine features
The “S” has a selector feature that lets you adjust the way the engine responds to inputs from the throttle-by-wire system. This is done using the three profiles that you have selected. The Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) system is found in the RC213V S which works like a traction-control system. This control system monitors wheel speeds plus it can automatically react when slip is detected. Choose from the nine settings in this control.
The “S” comes with similar adjustable-and-variable steering damper as the RCV1000R and the same adjustable steering stops from the RC213V. It has a unique swing arm that does more than what you may think. This is necessary to improve strength, weight location and to make room for the fuel tank.
Ohlins provides suspension for this street cycle version. It is the front forks together with its TTX25 pressurized cartridge technology to improve tire contact feel and control with a shorter damping-buildup time. Ohlins is also found at the back with a coil-over, piggyback, GP-spec, TTX36 monoshock on a Pro-Link mount with a knurled knob for improved preload adjustments. Everything looks stunning and works amazingly-perfect when it comes to suspension however, there is a looming disadvantage. The suspension must be professionally maintained to remain in peak condition which means you need to pay for professional maintenance later on.
Lighter but many similarities to the racing counterpart
Although it has to maintain just the right weight for a street cycle, the RC213V-S is so light. There is no doubt that the Honda RC213V-S was designed to be as close as possible to MotoGP bikes. The RCV-S in stock form aims to replicate the handling feel and capability but with a huge difference in the engine and performance. Therefore it is safe to say that there is a number of parts are actually interchangeable with the race version of the RC-V.
A Honda RC213V-S price is $188,000 and this includes the following parts which are similar to the RC213V-S racing counterpart: the 17-inch V-S Marchesini magnesium wheels, Ohlins suspension TTX25 forks and the Ohlins TTX36 rear suspension, adjustable rear sets and foot controls and similar specs Brembos.
Also similar to the racing counterpart are the throttle-by-wire systems, the power modes, engine-brake control and the position-aware traction control system. The rest of the bike is titanium with CFRP or carbon fibre reinforced plastic fairings.
So how does the Honda RC213 V-S behave on the road? Is it really set to conquer city streets like an ordinary motorcycle?
When all of its great features are added up, you will find that the RC213V-S is something ordinary rather than a feature-packed racing machine but of course with a few enlightening perks.
When you turn the Honda RC213V-S into a corner, the feeling you get isn’t of you riding a big machine with super powers. You get the sense of an ultra-smooth, friendly machine that responds to the inputs using telepathy, feedback and reserve that you may have thought was impossible. A test driver described this unique feeling like this: “It’s a familiar manner that you’d think unworthy of comment until you realize that it’s the first lap post the sighting lap and that in the excitement of riding the Honda, you’ve forgotten whether it’s running street tires or slicks.”
He further described his experience as his test was about to be over: “But the Honda uncoils smoothly through the long Turn 3 before ducking into the kink that is Turn 4 easily. It’s a narrow, tight place with iffy tarmac, no run-off at all, and this is a very, very, very expensive motorcycle. No pressure. No really, the RCV-S seems to have leagues of grip left and the patience of Mother Nature itself for my fumbling stabs at establishing control.”
Through all this turning and direction changes, the Honda is light and amazingly confident on the road. The bike feels like you are riding on a circuit despite just moving on a city road. It uncoils and unclenches and this is what riders are looking for. But despite the severe restrictions of the RC213V-S it was able to provide the confidence to ride it harder.
Just a recap of what’s in store with the Honda RC213V-S
The Honda RC213V-S is an inspiring street motorcycle. Honda took their world-championship-winning RC213V MotoGP racer and added enough equipment to make it street legal. This is not just something that looks like a race bike or a Superbike done up in GP clothing. The RC213V-S is the real deal and this can only be built by Honda. Popular riders like Marc Marquez know and understand first-hand how amazing the RC213V is.
Great engine power
The RC213V-S rides on a 999cc 90-degree V-4 with a 360-degree crank and gear-driven cams. This is the actual engine architecture that Honda has made famous on track. This superb engine power has made Honda win back-to-back MotoGP titles twice, in 2013 & 2014 and 2016 & 2017. Engine braking is four-way adjustable with the Honda Selectable Torque Control. This reinforced engine is compact, powerful, and has both peak power and huge torque power at the same time.
Best handling capabilities
The RC213V-S’s chassis is an example of what Honda engineering can do better than other leading motorcycle brands. The frame especially the swing-arm were designed to cope with the stickiest GP slicks and provide precise feedback and stability. This has been done by Honda, lap after lap at the most demanding racetracks in the world.
Honda understands that suspension and chassis setup are essential to winning. The RC213V-S has an Öhlins TTX36 rear shock with a remote pre-load adjuster and an Öhlins TTX25 gas-charged fork. Compared to other winning MotoGP models, this combination is the best suspension that Honda has to fit to a motorcycle outside of the GP track.
Powerful and precise brakes
The RC213V-S’s Brembo brakes are nonetheless amazing. The radial-mount four-piston front calipers are large with the ability to grip a pair of massive 320mm discs. Because the bike is very tight, brakes like this need to be more powerful. These Brembo brakes are the reason why professional drivers are confident enough to take the RC213V-S to the road. .
Great attention to detail
Honda’s MotoGP bikes are provided with utmost care from manufacture to assembly. Every bike is assembled by a select group of well trained technicians who knows and understands the value and the pride in creating a RC213V-S.
Even the most critical GP journalists and testers provide positive feedback about the detail the RC213V-S showcases. The best part is that all these are parts they can see. Only a few people were able to exactly experience a machine like the RC213V-S. But in a world where appearance counts so much, it’s gratifying to see a machine where performance counts as much as it looks.
So would you pick a Honda RC213V-S?
If you are ready to take the streets in style and form then by all means ride this Honda street machine. It is powerful but still street-friendly with its design, lightweight, improved engine and street-friendly and rider-friendly components.
And if you are looking a ride that will take you a step closer to a racing machine then this is indeed the bike for you. Not only does it look like a racing machine, but it also wears the components of its racing counterpart and this is another plus.
Any disadvantages? The only foreseen disadvantage at this time is the unbelievably-high cost of maintenance of the bike’s suspension system, and this is just one component. You just cannot take it to any garage for maintenance lest void your warranty. But after this expires, you will be left with a bike that needs regular and professional maintenance time and again.
But if you can dish out $199,000 for this bike then you may likely have a lot more to pay for its maintenance. This is just one downside and there might be more. But no doubt that the Honda RC213V-S is a stunning ride to be on when you are on the city streets or even on a rural country road. Imagine how fast you can go with the wind just lifting you and carrying you forward. This is definitely a dream come true for non-professional riders like me.