Home » The Honda CBR250RR MC22 Sounds Like An Old F1 Car And Redlines At 19,000 RPM At Road Legal Speeds: Holy Grails

The Honda CBR250RR MC22 Sounds Like An Old F1 Car And Redlines At 19,000 RPM At Road Legal Speeds: Holy Grails

Grail Cbr
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Motorcycles are addictive, sensational machines. There’s nothing quite like swinging a leg over a nice bike and setting your sights on the horizon. However, some motorcycles are far too fast to enjoy at legal speeds. Back in the 1990s, Honda had the antidote. The Honda CBR250RR MC22 was a 250cc-class motorcycle. But unlike most 250s, this motorcycle had an engine firing from four teacup cylinders, 45 horsepower, and a 19,000 RPM redline. Oh, and did I say it sounds like a vintage Formula One car? This Honda is basically the concept of “slow car fast” distilled into a motorcycle.

Last time on Holy Grails, we took a look at the most intense third-generation to leave Ford’s factory. The 1993 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R was a swan song that tossed out every single comfort feature in the mission of speed. This is a Mustang so obsessed with losing weight you didn’t get a backseat, rear carpets, air-conditioning, power options, or even a nice seat to ride in. Instead, Ford added some go-fast parts and chassis upgrades to make what it thought was a track weapon. Ford didn’t even want regular people buying them and tried to lock the 107-unit run to racers only.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Today, we’re finally departing from factory track specials. In fact, today’s Grail isn’t even a car.

Miniblade3
Honda

If you want a motorcycle that revs to the high heavens, you’ll often find yourself looking at something with big power. There are racebikes, but you can’t afford them or ride them on the road. You could get a supersport, but exceeding 10,000 RPM on one of those usually means going speeds that the state of Virginia will throw you into jail for. What about small bikes? Well, most of those are great for beginners and commuters, but you aren’t really going to find a super high revving 250, and often, power outputs are on the lower end and might not be that thrilling of a ride.

For a brief period of time in the 1990s, Honda made essentially the Goldilocks of small motorcycles. The CBR250RR MC22 is fun-size but has a decent power rating. It redlines at 19,000 RPM, but you won’t get arrested doing it. As a bonus, it looks oh-so good.

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A Product Of Wild Japan

Factory Turbo Motorcycles 08
Yamaha

This story takes us back to the 1980s. Like many of the cars enthusiasts adore, these motorcycles have origins in Japan’s bubble economy. The “Bubble Era,” as some call it, was a time when real estate values reached staggering levels, the standard of living in Japan uplifted citizens, and companies were hard at work inventing new products and innovating existing ones. For a while, it seemed as if money rained from the sky in Japan.

Motorcycles were also getting properly nutty. The 1980s were a time when Japanese motorcycle technology flourished. Manufacturers pulled more power out of their engines by way of higher cylinder counts and occasionally, forced induction. The birth of fuel injection in a mass-produced motorcycle was also a product of this era.

Roadtestkawa
Cycle World Magazine

In 1980, Kawasaki introduced the KZ1000G-1 Classic. This motorcycle was your standard Universal Japanese Motorcycle-style cruiser, but it had a trick up its sleeve. For the price of $4,199, or $500 more than the standard model, the 1,015cc inline four drank by way of fuel injection. This motorcycle is often cited as the world’s first mass-produced fuel-injected motorcycle.

In 1982, Honda moved the needle with its release of the CX500 Turbo. Honda took its first-ever V-twin motorcycle, the CX, hooked a turbo up to the engine, and fed it with fuel injection. When the CX500 Turbo spools up, it puts out 19 psi of boost, helping the V-twin attain 82 HP, or double its original output.

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Those are just a couple of examples of the madness coming out of Japan during the era. Japanese motorcycles got faster, more brutal, and sometimes just plain silly. Consider that the Honda CBX, a superbike sporting a 1,047cc inline-six, was a motorcycle that sold from the late 1970s into the early 1980s.

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As Motorcyclist magazine writes, the 1980s also sparked an arms race of small motorcycles. Licensing restrictions made small-displacement motorcycles far more attainable. Motorcycles with displacements under 250cc were exempt from emissions testing and equipment inspections. So, if you didn’t have a lot of cash or maybe wanted to modify your bike, you got something packing less than 250 cubes. Thus, small-displacement motorcycles dominated the sales charts in Japan at the time.

Scan From Cbx Brochure
Honda

But this wouldn’t be all that influenced the Japanese motorcycle makers to treat baby 250s as if they were superbikes. Motorcycle racing was reaching peak popularity in the country. As Motorcyclist notes, fans came out in droves to watch the Japanese Grand Prix and the 8 Hours of Suzuka. When those people went home, they wanted to buy race replicas of the motorcycles they saw storming down the track. Combine these events together and you have Japan’s marques fighting each other for small displacement supremacy.

However, there was one more part worth mentioning. Japan limited the 250cc class to a maximum output of 45 HP. How did the motorcycle manufacturers cope? They dumped an impressive amount of engineering into tiny engines with shot glass-size cylinders that revved higher than their larger contemporaries. In other words, the manufacturers made pint-size superbikes and of course, they looked like the big bikes that raced around tracks.

Baby Racers

L Cbr250four 1986
Honda

Honda was first. In 1986, it began firing the Honda CBR250F MC14 from its factory, its 249cc engine singing a glorious soundtrack. In 1987, Suzuki punched out the GSX-R250, a sportbike featuring a 248cc four. A year later, Yamaha arrived on the scene with its FZR250, its own baby sportbike firing on a 249cc four. Finally, Kawasaki brought out the ZX250R with its own 248cc firepower.

1988 Fzr250
Yamaha
Kawasaki Zxr250r 90
Kawasaki

A common theme among all of these motorcycles is a tiny engine that revs ridiculously high. The Honda reached 17,000 RPM before hitting the red. Suzuki’s entry followed suit with the same redline, as did Yamaha and Kawasaki. Reviews suggest that these motorcycles didn’t even wake up until you pushed the tachometer over and each of them rode and handled like a large race replica, only scaled down.

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Img 084 1
Suzuki

The best part is that the manufacturers treated these like superbikes, too, and updated them every year. In 1987, Honda released the CBR250R MC17, which included evolutionary adjustments such as a slightly smaller size and shorter wheelbase. Just a year later, Honda updated the motorcycle again, coming out with the CBR250R MC19, which got new plastics and changed ever so slightly in size. By now, the redline was nudged up even higher to 18,000 RPM and the dual overhead cam engine became gear-driven.

All of these motorcycles are awesome and sound clips suggest all of them sort of sounded like vintage Formula One cars at full chat. The Formula One comparison is also a bit wild in itself as F1 engines reportedly didn’t reach those stratospheric heights until around 2002. Nowadays, F1 engines are electronically limited to revolutions lower than what these rabid teacups did back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Which Are The Highes 2
Honda

The Grail

Any one of those bikes could be classified as a Grail, but for fans of these baby racers, one stands above all. In 1990, Honda released another update to its pocket rocket, the CBR250RR MC22. This motorcycle wasn’t a reader pick, but it definitely fits the Holy Grails moniker.

This ultimate version of Honda’s entry ratcheted the redline even higher. When its competitors had to make do with at best 18,500 RPM, the Honda reached the red at 19,000 RPM and would hit 20,000 RPM if you let the engine continue its unstoppable march. So far as I can tell, the Honda didn’t just scream past its competition, but it’s one of the highest-revving street-legal mass-production motorcycles of all time. Honda’s carbureted 45 HP 250cc four-cylinder has an adorably tiny bore of 48.5mm and a stroke of 33.8mm, and the engine produced just 17.7 lb-ft of torque. Toss in the motorcycle’s 315-pound weight and it’s both lighter and faster than a brand new Honda CBR300R.

Dsc 0199
Japanese Classics

Honda didn’t just dump all of its resources into making an angry beginner bike, either. In a modern review, Motorcyclist magazine explains the additional work that went into the MC22:

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While the styling shows a bit of age, a closer look at the bike reveals componentry that literally shames anything in today’s small-displacement categories. The frame is a massive twin-spar aluminum unit with offset main spars suspending the engine below that allow fresh air intake runners (ram air technology hadn’t quite made it to production motorcycles yet) a direct shot at the airbox intake. The gull-wing swingarm (identical to the two-stroke NSR250…that’s a Japanese domestic market story for another day) has undoubted race-ready rigidity while allowing the exhaust to be tucked up tight for ground clearance.

Cbr250rr Jp1992 8a
Honda

If that isn’t tantalizing enough, read Motorcyclist‘s ride notes:

Despite its hard-core racing persona, the CBR has a very amenable riding position, with a short reach to the bars, low seat height, and average legroom. The engine starts readily on cold mornings using the cable-operated choke knob, and quickly settles into a smooth, 1,200-rpm idle once warm. Because of its ultra-high rpm ceiling, the gearing can be short enough in the lower gears that taking off from a stop doesn’t require tons of clutch slip unless you’re trying to holeshot traffic. While not exactly a powerhouse below 10,000 rpm, the Honda still has enough torque to pull quickly through the gearing, and is easily a match for any modern 300cc machine.

Cbr250rr Jp1990 6a (1)
Honda

Motorcyclist goes on to note that due to the motorcycle’s short gearing, you’ll be banging gears frequently and keeping the revs high to keep the engine in its powerband. Really, that translates to bombing down country roads going 55 mph but sounding and feeling like you’re going a much more illegal 155 mph. The review continues that the motorcycle handles well and the twin-spar aluminum chassis is a marvel of engineering, even today.

It seems Ryan from the YouTube channel FortNine feels a similar way:

By all accounts, it seems like riding a Honda CBR250RR MC22 gives you the sensation of being a MotoGP racer, but at speeds anyone can handle. That’s essentially “slow car fast,” but in motorcycle form!

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Cbr250rr Jp1990 4a
Honda

I could not find production numbers for the Honda CBR250RR MC22, but they were never sold in America, making them a rare sight here. The Honda CBR250RR MC22 was sold in 45 HP tune from 1990 to 1994. After, the engines were detuned to 40 HP. I could not find any of these currently for sale in America, but in the past, they have sold for over $10,000 on this side of the Pacific. These motorcycles do roll across Japanese auctions, so I would recommend reaching out to an importer. If you do buy one or have owned one, I’d love to know all about it because the Honda CBR250RR MC22 sounds like a masterpiece.

Do you know of or own a car, bus, motorcycle, or something else worthy of being called a ‘holy grail’? Send me an email at mercedes@theautopian.com or drop it down in the comments!

Update: A reader submitted a sound clip from their own MC22!

Topshot photo: Moto 2 Imports

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John Patson
John Patson
8 months ago

Had a mate who drove a CB 400 for at least 5 years, doing regular 1,000 km trips. It was four cylinders, in line, and freely revved.
Loved it most of the time but he got rid of it because on his long trips it was just too dammed, high pitched noisy. Said it took a day for his ears to stop ringing.
Got a much more staid Kwaka 750 afterwards.

AestheticsInMotion
AestheticsInMotion
8 months ago

Currently on the lookout for my own grail Honda bike, an NC30 VFR400R. I definitely considered the NC22 though, and hope to throw a leg over one someday!

Matthew Skwarczek
Matthew Skwarczek
8 months ago

Dammit, just when I thought I’d gotten rid of my desire for one of these demonic-chainsaw-sounding scalpels, you pull me back in.
Now the question is, this or a Kawasaki ZX-4RR?

David Mitchell
David Mitchell
8 months ago

In sportbikes like motocross bikes, smaller displacement high end rides cost almost the same to produce as larger displacements. That is another reason they are a small market, no pun intended.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
8 months ago

It is one heck of a rush to go screaming across an intersection from a red light, bang through a rash of gears, see a police car who’s clearly heard the ruckus of your engine on the other side, panic, and look down to see that your speedometer saying that you’re still good.

Small bikes are great that way.

But it’s tiresome to ride that way just to keep up with traffic and I truly appreciate a big engine to lazily pass traffic without needing to drop a gear (or three)

Lardo
Lardo
8 months ago

If I recall correctly a big reason for 250cc was like many things in Japan.. taxes. Here’s the Italian version
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aprilia_RXV/SXV
I’ve come close to buying one of these a few times.

W124
W124
8 months ago
Reply to  Lardo

Also incurances at least in some countries.

Lokki
Lokki
8 months ago
Reply to  Lardo

The other thing is the test- it’s pretty easy at 250cc but harder at 400cc.; above it’s very hard to pass. I had a friend who is a good rider who had to take it four times. Among other things on the big bike test you have to show that you can get your bike back on its wheels when it is lying on its side (so if your bike falls over it won’t be left in the street in everybody’s way).

Last edited 8 months ago by Lokki
Lardo
Lardo
8 months ago
Reply to  Lokki

The trick I’ve seen is to put your back into it… literally. Put back to to seat/gas tank area. Grab on and drive legs into it. Saw a slight women lift a harely.

Lokki
Lokki
8 months ago
Reply to  Lardo

Yup…..if you know how, it’s not that hard. A 5 ft 2in Japanese guy can do it… if he knows the trick. But if if he doesn’t: he doesn’t pass the test.

Angry Bob
Angry Bob
8 months ago

One of the more fun bikes I’ve been on was a Suzuki Bandit 400. Small displacement inline-4 with a sky high redline. And gorgeous styling with a Ducati style trellis frame. It really was a blast to ride at legal speeds. I’d rather have Bandit 400 than a H2 or R1. Who can use all that power on the street?

I had an RZ350 for a while that was also a fun pocket rocket. But under the half fairing was a 1970’s chassis with 1970’s brakes and 1970’s suspension. It was fast and made the most glorious 2-stroke sounds, but handling was pretty sketchy.

I’m on a VFR800 now and at 100mph it barely feels like it’s moving. That’s 107hp. These new liter class bikes are 200hp+. Unbelievable.

Lardo
Lardo
8 months ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

The RZ would have been widow makers if the buyers were old enough to get married. The 400 was a little better I think?

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
8 months ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

Time and space gets pretty narrow when you’ve got a modern sportbike in any guise.

Even 20 years ago, litre bikes were (still are) fast. They only get faster, and easier to reach those speeds.

Lardo
Lardo
8 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I think the issue wasn’t the power so much, it was that a 2 stroke is a whole different power band. And brakes, they weren’t so good. So explosive acceleration with poor brakes. What could go wrong?

Robn
Robn
8 months ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

I had a Bandit 400 back in the day — bought it used with a Vance & Hines full pipe, gsxr front end, tank bra (lol) and super rare factory rear seat cowl cover. Gorgeous bike. Funny thing was, I was coming from a much bigger and more powerful ZX7 Ninja, and could’t stop laughing out loud at how many revs and how much this small bandit screamed but didn’t really get out of it’s own way. Not slow by any means, but basically almost perfect. So. Much. Fun.

WaxhawFive
WaxhawFive
8 months ago

I enjoyed a NSR250R MC21 for a little over a year, titled in NC. It was probably the most fun I’ve had on 2 wheels in the twisty mountain roads of NC/Tenn./N. Ga. Sold it to a collector, hopefully not still sitting in display.

George Millwood
George Millwood
8 months ago

My favourite was the Suzuki RGV250 which was based on the Grand Prix V-2 two stroke racer. The bike produced over 60 bhp in a narrow power band between 8,000 and 11,000 rpm. The dry weight was about 300 lb, It was insane and quite fast. Unfortunately, I was too tall and heavy to get the best out of it.

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
8 months ago

I had the parallel twin predecessor, the RG250. Listed top speed was supposed to be 145km/h, it would get to 120 VERY quickly then slowly gain those last 25km/h if you tucked right down against the tank. Only problem was the screen on my bike was so scuffed it was almost impossible to see through, so you were effectively riding blind at top speed!
That bike went through a LOT in my ownership, blowing motors, breaking gearboxes and locking the back wheel at speed, seizing at top speed on the freeway, and being dropped several times. It’s since been replaced with a bigger Kawasaki, but is cowering in the back of the shed, waiting for me to give it a bit of love.

George Millwood
George Millwood
8 months ago
Reply to  Morgan Thomas

I was living in Canberra working an IT contract that kept me in multiple bikes. I worked in the AFP Tech Centre in Woden where the bike cops wre housed. For their personal use they either had another K100 or an RGV. i enjoyed a number of blasts up and down the Cotter Road on a RGV while the owner took my Le Mans III. Great days.

Dennis Ames
Dennis Ames
9 months ago

I remember these stories from Motorcycle magazine ( though I remember reading about a 6 cyclinder 250 CC Yamaha with a 22K redline ( but my memory is not quite what it was). I tell some people I know about these, and they couldn’t understand why. Now I can point to this article. Thanks for the Memories.

Lokki
Lokki
9 months ago

I used to live in Japan and Sunday morning cafe-race the Skyline against kids on this type of hot 250 (probably never saw the article bike of course). They were fast but very hard to ride fast unless you were really skilled. Why? The power band is really narrow and all the power is up top. So you have to dive into a corner, brake late and HARD, lean the bike (small front tire means really quick steering) and shift down 3: bang, bang, bang! to keep that little engine boiling in the power band. Do it too slow or too late and you come out of the corner bogged and slower than grandma’s wheel chair. Get it right and it’s big handful of throttle, stand the bike up and bang, bang, bang! up through the gears until you hit the next brake point and repeat the drill. My big 650 didn’t have the power but it had torque to pull out of the corners – a LOT easier to keep up and in the power.

Last edited 9 months ago by Lokki
Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
9 months ago

There was an importer in Toronto that brought in bikes from Japan (the laws here were much more lax than the States). I had a JDM FZR400 in the Gauloise livery and one of the guys I rode with had a CBR250R. Angry sounding little thing.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/pw/ADCreHfMcMXmUPqt3VwIJYZDZ1zr1h2h9jgi156fFfHo9FWr9Q9zmRbySbxGwwjPlXsn8b9yLcKD4rs-rgmcwSHPGkysBWIGUcN6i16xOx7ke22yFy5-AdVxYkIAhoMj1CW6hhEBJerQqW-Q5M9Uxp9Rw7XP=w800-h532-s-no-gm?authuser=0

Black Peter
Black Peter
8 months ago
Reply to  Fred Fedurch

The FZR400 was available in the States, I looked at buying one that a guy stuffed a 600 engine into, it was great! but I looked like a bear on a bicycle trying to ride it.

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
8 months ago
Reply to  Black Peter

They were available here but only available in red on white. IIRC the JDM bike had a bit more HP as well.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
9 months ago

Let nobody claim they write more thorough Grail articles than Mercedes. Criminees!!

Dangerous_Daveo
Dangerous_Daveo
9 months ago

Hearing these things is always a crack up, you hear the revs build, going through the gears, thinking its a much bigger bike really winding out, and you’re waiting to see it, but you just hear more revs, and more gear changes, then eventually it passes by at 80kmh… They are super cool, unfortunately here due to (thankfully now changed) motorbike laws the max size allowed for a new rider was 250cc, so a lot of these ended up in hands of new riders, which also meant the bikes got trashed, along with actual racing, so finding a good one is going to be hard, and expensive.

Anyway!

I’ll throw a grail option in, inspired by the slow bike fast, I honestly don’t know much about them, but do keep an eye out if one ever comes up, they had a support race series here in Oz for a while in the 90s and it’s stuck with me. The Mitsubishi Mirage Cyborg! How could you not want to own a car with a name Cyborg!

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
8 months ago

The 250cc Learner limit was the reason 2 stroke road bikes were the sought-after option in Australia for new riders impatient to go fast, and the reason my first bike was a Suzuki RG250WE-1 (parallel twin predecessor to the RGV250, which was probably the most popular choice of young bike hoons, hence the reason so many were wrecked!

David Escargot
David Escargot
9 months ago

Would 10/10 ride this… I’ve always lusted after the 250cc Ninja…. all the noises for multiple gears with no tickets

Isis
Isis
8 months ago
Reply to  David Escargot

I loved my Ninja 250. 14k rpms makes a pretty neat noise. It would do 100 if you tucked into it.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
8 months ago
Reply to  David Escargot

Some cops would write a ticket first based on “it sounded like it was going at illegal speeds” and leave you to prove you weren’t.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
9 months ago

The little Japanese 250 and 400cc sport bikes are awesome but I still want the true craziness of a Suzuki RG500 Gamma because it’s a 500cc 2 stroke square 4 with disc valves.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
9 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

The RG500 was still available in the Uk until at least the mid-nineties, as I remember it being the mags around the time I started getting into bikes.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Europe, as a whole (I’ll count UK in it), was normally pretty lax on 2-smoke motorcycles well beyond North America ditched them for obvious reasons. I’m sure the licensing structure weighed heavily in that decision. But I remember being quite the rage to bore out the small Derbi and Aprilia bikes for in-town shenanigans.

It might explain why North Americans still have screens on their windows, whilst England doesn’t have enough mosquitoes to justify putting up a screen on an open passage into the house to keep out all the other flying insects.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
8 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I learnt to ride on a two stroke Husqvarna 125 supermoto, that I bought brand new in late 2007. Would love to have another one of those, but I think they’re all dead now as they never come up for sale.

Black Peter
Black Peter
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Yup, the Gamma, the Honda and Yamaha two strokes lasted well into the 90s, plus the Cagivas. I had hoped to take a temp position in Ireland and snag a two stroke to bring home. Legal, no, but worth it especially if it was a 916 styled Mito. The country roads in Austin favored handling over speed.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I saw a Canadian grey import RG500 in the US in 91 or so. Sadly I didn’t hear it running.

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
8 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

The RG500 was the bike I always wanted, mostly because there were only 2 types of pictures of them in books or magazines. They were either parked, or being ridden with the front wheel reaching for the sky. Lots of peaky power in a short wheelbase meant wheelies everywhere!
Having no $ and also being limited to 250cc as a new rider, I had to settle for an RG250WE-1, which was itself capable of getting me in lots of trouble! My bike had the white/yellow HB Replica livery, although it had been badly repainted after a drop, so it looked like a high speed fried egg! In my youthful stupidity I repainted it matt black with flames.
RG500s occasionally come up for sale here, seemingly all from private collections, probably because ones that actually got used regularly have all since been crashed. Unfortunately they are always out of my price range.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 months ago

I love those little 250 i4s, I think the later ZXR 250s got over 20,000rpm, or was it the Yamaha? Anyway, they seem like slightly too little of a good thing. I want one to play with, but not as my main bike.

I’ve got an RVF400, those big 100cc pistons means it only revs to 14,500rpm, but it’s a gear-driven big-bang V4 so it sounds amazing. I can rip up and down B-roads all day without getting arrested, but with 60bhp it’s not actually slow. I’ve ridden Ducati V4s with three time the power and I prefer my Honda.

I love the single-sided swing arm, the stupid pointless not-ram-air intakes that stop you seeing the switches, and the styling. It’s peak 90’s race-rep 400, and it’s perfect.

R Rr
R Rr
9 months ago

Kawasaki now makes a ZX-4R, high-revving 400cc inline-4, which is the modern equivalent of these old bikes.

I’ve had a ZX-6R for years, and just like any other supersport, it’s not really great as a street bike, but one of these new ZX-4’s might actually be calling my name..

The fact that no one else makes anything similar and they’re not going to sell in numbers might even make them collectible unicorns in the future.

Last edited 9 months ago by R Rr
Jake Wetherill
Jake Wetherill
8 months ago
Reply to  R Rr

I have more fun on my ZX-4RR than every other bike I’ve owned combined. It’s not a good value for the numbers you get, but if you’re like me and you want it just for that engine, you’ll absolutely love it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jake Wetherill
HOT_HATCH
HOT_HATCH
9 months ago

20,000 RPM without pneumatics to control the vales is….well it’s insane.

F1 engines are limited due to fuel flow regulations these days, not mechanical limitations.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
9 months ago

For me, these kinda bikes are wonderful for the urban Walter Mittys among us. Mercedes nails it – you get the visceral thrills of a racebike but in something you can ride around town whenever you feel like it in a reasonable manner.

It’s the engagement with the craft of motorcycle riding that brings it all together. Like how on an actual race replica supersport, you’ll be lucky to get out of 2nd gear unless you’re that guy; but a bike like this demands you pay attention to the engine and its power delivery and constantly be involved, not just in the actions you take, but in the thought process of getting to those actions.

Plenty of riders basically sit on a motorcycle and work the controls; but bikes like this encourage you to really ride them. Which, when done with focus and effort, can develop that amazing person-machine connection that’s utterly transcendent.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jack Trade
Phuzz
Phuzz
9 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

There’s something to be said for vehicles with a really narrow power band, because you can spend your whole journey playing the game of trying to always nail your gear shifts.

Dalton
Dalton
9 months ago

Mercedes! Do you know of Honda’s slightly older insanely-high-revving race bike, the RC166? Highly recommend checking out some video!

KENNETH M LEE
KENNETH M LEE
8 months ago
Reply to  Dalton

Petrolicious has an excellent article on these. The RC166 was a 250cc six cylinder that was an engineering marvel. barrel shaped camshafts, 13 piece crankshaff some of the oil passages are half a millimeter in size. I dont remember where I read it but apparently honda hired someone to rebuild/restore one and it took 45 hours on a 5 axis cnc machine to do what the Honda guys did by hand.

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
9 months ago

My first motorcycle was a Ninja 250 the EX-250. It was more of a standard with a fairing. One of my dream bikes is the ZZR 250. Ive never seen one in person, its on my bucket lists of bikes I want to ride

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott Ross

Those Ninjas are evergreen. I nearly bought a 500 years back, and still sometimes wish I had (I went Suzuki instead).

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