Ten things that put the Honda NR750 way ahead of its time

Surely the weirdest, wildest production motorcycle ever from a major manufacturer

AUTUMN 2017 saw manufacturers taking bold new directions with the unveiling of motorcycles like Kawasaki’s supercharged Ninja H2 SX and Ducati’s Panigale V4.

But has there ever been a more ground-breaking production bike than Honda’s NR750?

Back in 1992, when the NR750 was unveiled, motorcycles were still incredibly crude compared to the those of today. Even range-topping superbikes used carburettors rather than fuel injection. Carbon fibre was still something that only racers tended to see and the idea of an aluminium frame was still new and exciting, restricted to the upper echelon of bikes.

The NR750 may never have sold well, and is often decried for having performance no better than superbikes a fraction of its price, but it broke down barriers and opened our eyes to what we could have on more attainable bikes in the future.

Basically, we wouldn’t have the likes of the Ninja H2 SX and Panigale V4 without it.

Here are its top 10 boundary-breaking ideas:

10: Fox-eye headlights

For most of the history of the motorcycle it was a simple choice: round headlights (one or two) or rectangular ones? And while the NR750 wasn’t quite the first to depart from that norm – the existing VFR750 was already edging in its direction – it debuted the idea of fox-eye or cat’s-eye headlights. A combination of changing legislation – for years sealed-beam circular or rectangular lights, available off-the-shelf at any garage, were mandatory in America, but that had changed in the 1980s – and improving technology allowed innovative and slimmer shapes to be applied to lights. The NR showed what could be done, and in 1994 later Ducati’s 916 and Cagiva’s Mito brought similar lights to the masses. Fun fact: the NR750’s headlight is actually a single, slim, rectangular unit – only the twin cut-outs in the fairing give it the two-eyed look that’s so famous.



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