2012-10-12 12:20:55+0000
  • Make:
  • Honda
  • Model:
  • NR 500 Grand Prix
  • Year:
  • 1979

The Honda NR 500 Grand Prix is a Japanese made competition motorcycle built in 1979. It has a water-cooled, 100 degree V4, four-stroke, 500 cc engine; with a top speed of 175 mph (281.6 km/h).

‟Honda's announcement that it was returning to 500cc grand prix racing in 1979, after an absence of 12 years, caused less of a sensation than the news that their GP contender was a four-stroke, at a time when two-strokes seemed to rule GP races.

A Fake Eight-Banger

Moreover, it quickly became apparent that this engine was really an eight- cylinder whose pistons had been "welded" in pairs to meet the rule prohibiting more than four cylinders in the 500cc class. In fact, the pistons and bores had a cross section like a rectangle with semicircular ends. This ploy allowed the engine to run at over 20,000 rpm, producing a power output equivalent to that of a two-stroke.

Monocoque Frame

And that wasn't the only original feature of the machine: its 16-inch wheels were something new at the time, as was its front fork with external springs and its lateral radiators - which even as late as 1992 had not been adopted by other makers. Nothing like its streamlined light-alloy monocoque exoskeletal frame has been seen since. Despite all Honda's efforts, the career of the NR was a fiasco, which led the company to create the NS, a two-stroke three- cylinder that Spencer rode to the world title in 1983. Nicknamed "Never Ready," the NR continued as a test vehicle long after its racing days were over.


  • Engine: water-cooled 500cc four-stroke 100 degree V4; oblong pistons with twin conrods
  • Power output: 100 hp @ 20,000 rpm
  • Valves: 8 valves per cylinder
  • Fuel system: quadruple double-choke carburetors
  • Transmission: chain final drive
  • Suspension: (front) telescopic fork with external springs; (rear) lever arm
  • Brakes: (front) disc ; (rear) disc
  • Wheels: built-up spokes; (front) 16 in: (rear) 16 in
  • Weight: 330 lb
  • Maximum speed: 175 mph


Takazumi Katayama rides the Honda NR in its first race, the 1979 GP of France. Inset: A detail shot of the experimental NR.”

*This Atlas extra-large trading card is part of the EatSleepRIDE motorcycle stuff collection.

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