Why We Picked It:
When you think about the history of sportbikes, it is quite a shock to realize that the modern interpretation of what that means only really started appearing in the mid-1980s. Before that, sport models were generally standard bikes with bigger engines for more power, with little consideration for aerodynamic fairings, a front cowl, and the like.
In the late 1980s, Honda was entering the World Superbike Championship, and formed the now legendary Honda Racing Corporation. They developed a superb supersport bike, the RC24 R, that would go on to challenge for victories throughout the mid-1980s, but as part of the regulations for the race versions of bikes starting in 1987, 3,000 road going homologation models needed to be made. Thus was born the first ever Honda homologation special edition, the VFR750R, much better known as the RC30.
It was a masterpiece of engineering, with a 748cc 90 degree, liquid cooled, dual overhead cam V4 that absolutely howled as it climbed through the rev range to its 12,500 RPM redline. No expense was spared for any of the running gear, either, as it had a single-sided swingarm by ELF from France, had Showa suspension front and back, dual 300mm front disc brakes with quick-release pads for changes during endurance races, a castellated-nut-and-cotter-pin quick change rear axle for racing pit stops... it was literally a race bike for the road.
It was released in 1987 in Japan, then in Europe in 1988, and finally in the USA in 1990. At the time, it commanded a $15,000 price, which is about $34,000 in 2023, but with all the road-racer specials from companies like Ducati, Kawasaki, and the like these days, a V4 powered Honda supersport would not go amiss