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Top 10 stunning homologation specials - page four

Track-ready production bikes to make you drool

4: Honda RC45

Ah, the Honda RC45. Also known as the RVF750, it was a direct successor to the VFR750R RC30, sharing the same basic design ideas but updated for the 1990s. The engine was still a V4, but gained (rather snatchy) fuel injection, completely new heads, a shorter stroke and a bigger bore. The frame also looked a lot like the RC30’s but its geometry was tweaked and the addition of USD forks brought its specs up to date.

New, NSR500-inspired aerodynamics further helped its racing prospects. But despite all this, it struggled to beat the dominant Ducatis. It debuted in 1994, but lost out to Ducati’s similarly new 916. The same happened in 1995. And 1996. Only in 1997 did Honda regain the WSBK title, with John Kocinski scoring the RC45’s only world championship. In 98 and 99, the RC45 lost to Ducati again. But despite that record, the RC45 is endlessly desirable, as proved by the increasingly insane price tags to be found on unmolested examples.

3: Yamaha R7 OW-02

The Honda RC45 mightn’t have won as many titles as it was expected to, but Yamaha’s OW-02 R7 was even less successful, never taking a single WSBK championship. Just 500 were made, all in 1999. Yamaha needed to make the R7 because it had just launched the R1, which was the era’s dominant road-going superbike but, as a 998cc four-cylinder, wasn’t WSBK-legal.

In stock road-going form, they weren’t even fast, but with (expensive) racing tweaks applied the R7 became a serious weapon. However, even with Nori Haga doing his best, the WSBK title evaded it. Why is it so desirable, then? Because its chassis was developed from the contemporary YZR500 GP bike, as was the aero. It looked fantastic, too. In the real world, an R1 of the same vintange would be the better road bike, and would cost a 10th of the price of an R7 these days. But in terms of desirability the R7 has few peers.

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