Historic racing motorcycle illustrations: 1997 Honda NSR500V, in the August issue – Roadracing World Magazine

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Featured in the August 2020 issue of Roadracing World:

When Grand Prix racing resumed after WWII, the grids consisted of a few riders on factory bikes and many private ones, all going from event to event, earning the series the nickname of Continental Circus. If you had a competitive machine, could get an entry, and were good enough to qualify for practice, you could race! As the sport matured and became more competitive, runners needed more sponsors, but the basic proposition “if you’re fast enough you can run” stuck.

In the mid-1990s, the supply of competitive GP 500cc machines available for purchase was drying up. Although factories rented bikes from well-funded teams, this choice made it possible to avoid selling them at the end of the season to recoup some of the expenses. Yamaha responded by offering only engines, but Honda decided to offer complete motorcycles.

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

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

—Historic racing bike illustrations: 1997 Honda NSR500V, by Mick Ofield

Worried about the availability of machines in the premier class of the Grand Prix, Honda stepped up and built a production racer accessible to all, and in so doing, helped ensure the survival of the class. Simple, efficient and fast, the RS500 V-Twin was a privateer’s dream. Full details are in the August issue of The world of road racing!

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OVERVIEW on Roadracing World August 2020 issue!

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