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Features | Motorcycles | Wheel2Wheel / 06-20-19

Honda RC213V-S : The Street-Legal MotoGP Bike


By Maynard Marcelo Photos by Randy Silva-Netto

 

Have you ever wondered what it must be like to ride a MotoGP bike? While most of us will probably wonder our whole lives, an extremely lucky Filipino motorcycle enthusiast finally got his wish when he took delivery of a Honda RC213V-S, the street going version of the bike Marc Marquez rode to two consecutive MotoGP championship victories back in 2013 and 2014. If you have to ask how much it cost, let’s just say you could buy a modest house in a posh subdivision in Laguna with enough spare change for a brand new SUV or two. According to the official Honda website, only 250 examples of the RC213V-S were built and each retails for a whopping $184,000 US Dollars, and that figure doesn’t include the cost of shipping and the US $14,000 HRC supplied race kit needed to unleash the bike’s full potential. Add to that local taxes and it could easily be the most expensive street-legal bike on the planet. I will let you do the math.

So, how does a bike of this caliber find its way to the Philippines? Well, if you’re the Vice President for Sales and Marketing of Wheeltek, one of the biggest multi-brand motorcycle dealers in the country, it’s probably safe to assume that you have considerable influence with the Honda headquarters in the Philippines and in Japan to facilitate the purchase. You see, the RC213V-S was originally destined only for the European, US, Australian and Japanese markets, and to have one in our country is just simply awesome.

The bike featured here is No. 138 of 250, although there are unconfirmed rumors that there were fewer produced than originally planned, making this bike exceptionally rare. Each RC213V-S is hand-built by only a handful of experts in an exclusive workshop inside the HRC factory in Kumamoto, Japan. HRC stands for Honda Racing Corporation, the racing division of Honda Motor Company that oversees the development of high performance motorcycles for competition. The “RC” in the RC213V-S name is Honda’s prefix for 4-stroke racing bikes, “213” stands for the 3rd works bike of the 21st century, “V” stands for the engine configuration, and “S” for street.

While the RC213V-S was based on the actual RC213V MotoGP racing bike, creating it was not done by simply bolting on a headlight, taillight, turn indicators, plate hanger, side mirrors, horn, and sidestand to make it street-legal. Apparently, turning an actual MotoGP bike into a street legal bike is far more complicated than converting a road bike into a racing bike because none of its parts are off-the-shelf components. For the RC213V-S, HRC engineers also had to convert the valvetrain from pneumatic to conventional coil springs and the seamless transmission replaced with a 6-speed conventional system for easier maintenance. The street version has a smaller 16.3-liter aluminum fuel tank instead of 20 liters, and also uses 17-inch magnesium Marchesini wheels instead of the MotoGP regulation 16.5. To pass emission requirements, the RC213V-S is equipped with a muffler and catalyst. However, 80 percent of the parts are said to be interchangeable with the MotoGP RC213V bike like the swingarm, slipper clutch, Ohlins fork, Ohlins shock, adjustable foot rests and foot controls, and most of the Brembo brake components.

As a street-going MotoGP bike, you’re probably thinking the RC213V-S will be making absurd amounts of power. But you’d be surprised to know that in standard trim, this Euro-spec RC213V-S only makes 156.82 hp at 11,000 rpm. But with the race-kit installed the power jumps significantly to 212 hp at 13,000 rpm. Still far from the 280-plus horsepower the MotoGP RC213V makes, but more than enough power to give you all the maneuverability experience of an actual MotoGP bike, if not the explosive power. But with just a 170 kg dry weight (160 kg with the race kit installed), the RC213V-S promises to have lightning quick reflexes and a superior power to weight ratio compared to regular sportbikes. So no, even with the race kit installed you couldn’t race this bike in MotoGP and expect to be competitive like Marc Marquez. For that, Honda leases the RCV1000R to satellite MotoGP teams for 1,000,000 Euros, and another 1,000,000 Euros to run. That makes the RC213V-S sound like a bargain, almost. The RC213V-S is not meant to be raced. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s an ex-MotoGP bike optimized for street use, and it’s reserved for those lucky few who want to experience riding an authentic MotoGP bike on the road.

On the next issue of Wheel 2 Wheel, our road/track test editor Miguel Bichara will share his riding experience of the RC213V-S when he took it for the first time inside the Batangas Racing Circuit. For the meantime, you could view this Japanese exotic at the Wheeltek office along Buendia Avenue in Makati City. Soon, it will be the centerpiece of the soon to open Honda Big Bikes showroom in Cabanatuan City. Thank you Wheeltek for giving us the opportunity to feature this bike in C! Magazine, and for giving the pride of ownership to the Philippines.

HRC supplied Race Kit for the RC213V-S