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The famous 60s Honda Racers

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by hornet, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. The stuff of racing legends is Honda's foray into the GP racing world of the 1960s. Europe was unprepared for the sheer technical brilliance of the Japanese, less that 20 years after the nation's crushing defeat in the second world war.

    I've found a series of pictures taken in a small museum/workshop; they are very good pictures and show some of the amazing workmanship and technology of these multi-cylinder world-beaters.

    Here's the first pic, the TWIN-Cylinder RC-116 50cc racer!!!

    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-116 50cc Twin.jpg
  2. There's not much to them really is there??

    Nice find Paul.
  3. where is the seat???? that'd be like riding a mousepad!!

    gee they've changed though
  4. Paul I actually raced against one of those at Mallory Park as a teenybopper. I was on an Itom with a 16 speed box, and a powerband approx 50rpm wide. The by then retired RC-116 had so much power that it only needed a nine-speed box, although it did rev to 22,500 rpm.
  5. heh heh, as I said in another thread, a mate who heard them race said they sounded like '27 mossies under an egg-cup'

    you must be a little bloke, inci :LOL:
  6. 5'8" in my socks, and I used to be light (not any more alas). I was really too big, but I raced 50's for a bit without much (read any) success, before I went to 125's and then 250's. I ended up riding endurance races in the 80's on a 900 Honda, and even did a Bol D'or. I returned for a bit in the 90's on an RGV in 250 proddy, but was just too old. The little Honda was out for an 'exhibition' race that day with a spaniard GP veteran aboard, whose name I have forgotten. He was 'touring' and he still beat me and half the field.
  7. Hornet that aint a lot of gears for a GP 50. My 2 Itom's had 12 and 16 respectively, and there was one, a Kriedler I think, but I'm not sure, that had 18! One of the reasons the Honda was such a winner was with just 9 gears it was easy to ride, what with the massive torque and all :LOL:
  8. Yes, I remember you saying earlier about the Itom's box-full; I'm guessing it was a single, whereas Honda probably had the luxury of fewer gears because of the two-cylinder configuration (and that mighty torque, as you say :grin:)

    http://www.cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/itom/Itom 1967 Corsa 50cc.htm

    There's a whole passel of Itoms on this site :shock:
  9. Sure was, all the Itoms were singles. It's a long time ago, but I think Honda were the only ones to build a twin. I do remember reading many years ago about Honda working on a 50cc V4!! but the end of the 50cc GP class arrived before it did. Now that would really have been something different.
  10. Having stunned the Europeans with the twin-cylinder 50cc bike, Honda flabergasted them further with the 5 cylinder 125cc bike.

    That's 25ccs per cylinder; imagine how small the valves must have been...

    The odd-numbered cylinders leaned back towards the rear, cylinders two and four leaned forward towards the front wheel...

    Honda was to resurrect this format many years later in the MVX-series road bikes..

    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-149 5-cylinder 125.jpg
  11. 12 or 14 gears

    G'day fellas,
    Great postings, bring back a lot of memories. I was at the I of Man from 65 through to 68 and saw a lot of those bikes. There was some amazing stuff going on at that time. Please correct me if I'm wrong but I've got memories of one of the smaller hondas that had a 12 or 14 speed box that pulled over 23,000 revs. Whatever it was, it was spectacular to watch. Fast on the flat and downhill, but climbing out of Parliament square in Douglas, the power band was so narrow you could almost walk alongside it. Apart from a couple of the Japanese riders, Ralph Bryans rode one. If any of you have any more of those pics, or links to them, I'd love to see them.

  12. Just found this thread - they are wonderful photos Paul. I remember reading a description of the "golf-tee" valves on the 50. :LOL:
  13. There's some lovely shots of the Kreidlers here

    Inci - the Spanish rider you refer to may have been Angel Nieto who was one of the most successful racers of all time. 90 GP Victories and 13 World Championships in the 50cc, 80cc and 125cc classes.

    He won the 1975 50cc title for Kriedler (he won 6 out of the 8 rounds that year) and took 4 125cc titles in a row in the early 80's (3 for Garelli and 1 for Minarelli) took 3 50cc titles in a row for Bultaco and several for Derbi.

    After Agostini, probably the greatest racer of his day.
  14. What an amazing shot of Nieto lifting the 50 off the ground; it looks like a big skateboard!!!
  15. If they kept that look into the 80's, I can understand why the company failed. Seriously strange looking bikes. :roll:
  16. Well, since you ask, banjo, here's the rest of the pics from the museum

    The 5 cylinder 125 tacho
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-149 tacho.jpg

    The famous six-cylinder 250
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-166 250cc Six.jpg

    Its carbies
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-166 Keihin carbies.jpg

    A dismantled 250cc six engine
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-166 engine.jpg

    The rear wheel and right exhausts
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-166 pipes 2.jpg

    And again
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-166 pipes.jpg

    AND REMARKABLY, the 250cc six piston
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-166 piston.jpg

    And spark plug
    http://www.hornet600.danteswebhosting.com/RC-166 spark plug.jpg

    I had such a buzz when I found these because in 1965 I saw (and heard!!) Kel Carruthers race this bike up the Newcastle Hill Climb course; spine-tingling stuff for a 16 year old!!

    Enjoy :grin:
  17. its amazing to see. The skill level and the competition must have been awesome!