Honda RC110

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Honda RC110 / RC111[1][2]
Manufacturer Honda
Production 1961–1962
Successor Honda RC112
Class Grand Prix motorcycle racing 50 cc class
Engine Four-stroke, single-cylinder, double overhead camshaft
Bore / stroke 40 mm × 39 mm (1.6 in × 1.5 in)
40.4 mm × 39 mm (1.59 in × 1.54 in)
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Top speed 140 km/h (87 mph)[citation needed]
Power 7.1 kW (9.5 hp) @ 14,000 rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Six-speed manual
Eight-speed manual
Nine-speed manual
Frame type Steel
Suspension Front: Telescopic fork with central hydraulic damper
Rear: Swingarm with hydraulic dampers
Brakes Front: Central drum
Rear: Central drum
Tires Front: 2.00×18
Rear: 2.00×18
Weight 45 kg (99 lb) (dry)
60 kg (130 lb) (wet)

The Honda RC110 was the Honda racing team's first 50cc Grand Prix motorcycle racer. It was conceived in 1961 and raced during the 1962 season.[3] As the machine was developed during the season, it was renamed the RC111 and most surviving Honda records do not distinguish between the two designations.[2] Despite extensive development efforts throughout the season by the factory, the bike achieved only a single Grand Prix victory.[1]

Background and development[edit]

Since their arrival in Grand Prix racing in 1959, the Honda team had impressed everyone with their commitment and professionalism. Buoyed by the team's success in the 1961 125cc World Championship, with booming sales of Honda's 50cc Super Cub road bike and the Sports Cub C110, and the announcement by the Fédération Internationale Motocycliste of a 50cc World Championship for motorcycles for 1962, it was perhaps inevitable that the team would be keen to participate in this new category.

Design[edit]

The bike was fitted with an advanced, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine, sometimes described as a shrunken half of an RC145.[1] The engine was inclined at 35°, and fitted with a spur gear driven double overhead camshaft,[1] a four valve head and five speed gearbox. The engine was said to produce 9.5 bhp at 14,000 rpm.[4]

Racing history[edit]

The RC110 was displayed at the 1961 Tokyo Motor show in November 1961[3] and made its GP début at the 1962 Spanish GP in Barcelona by which time the number of gears had been increased to six. Despite this the bikes were easily out-gunned by the two-stroke opposition and this was Honda's first serious defeat since 1960.[1]

A massive effort at the factory meant that for the French GP just one week later, the bikes were fitted with eight gears[1] and then, another three weeks after that, for the IOM GP two completely new bikes arrived, now revving up to 17,000 and fitted with nine-speed gearboxes.[4] Despite all this effort, Honda's 50cc machines still could not match the success of their larger brethren. Averaging over 120 km/h around the TT course, Luigi Taveri and Tommy Robb could still only manage second and third places and although on a damp track at the Finnish GP, Luigi Taveri did manage to grab a single victory, overall the 1962 50cc season was a humiliation for the Honda team.[1]

World Championship results table[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Chassis*[nb 1] Rider 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
ESP FRA IOM NED BEL GER DDR NAT FIN ARG
1962 Honda RC110 / RC111* Switzerland Luigi Taveri
3

3

2

9

3

4

4

6

1
Honda RC110 United Kingdom Tommy Robb
5

4

3

11

7

5

Ret

2
Honda RC110 / RC111* Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi
6

2
Honda* Australia Tom Phillis
8
Honda RC110 United Kingdom Derek Minter
9
Honda* Japan Sadao Shimazaki
10

11

Ret
Honda CR110 5 speed Netherlands Cees van Dongen
10
Honda* Japan Teisuke Tanaka
7

Ret

5

Honda CR110[edit]

In contrast to the RC110, Honda developed a lower powered production version, the Honda CR110 Cub Racer. Aimed at the privateer rider for club and national status events, the CR110 proved more successful than the works machine and about 220 are said to have been sold worldwide. There were two versions, a five speed road machine with lights and silencers producing 7 hp at 12,700 rpm and the racing version with eight gears and 8.5 hp at 13,500 rpm.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ No official records exist of which Honda machine this rider raced or which machine was raced at which circuit.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Falloon, Ian (2005). The Honda Story (1 ed.). Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 1-85960-966-X. 
  2. ^ a b c Oxley, Mat (2001). The Challenge & Dream of Honda: 500 Grand Prix Motor Cycle Wins (1 ed.). Richmond, Surrey: Hazleton Publishing Ltd. p. 146. ISBN 1-903135-03-6. 
  3. ^ a b Sibata, Kazuya. "Honda RC110" (in Japanese). Moto Modelling. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Oxley, Mat (2001). The Challenge & Dream of Honda: 500 Grand Prix Motor Cycle Wins (1 ed.). Richmond, Surrey: Hazleton Publishing Ltd. p. 39. ISBN 1-903135-03-6.