Supposedly, we have a new record for the most expensive made-in-Japan motorcycle ever sold at auction, at $237,000 for a Honda RC213V-S.
The sale came at a Japanese auction (see it here at Yahoo’s Japanese-language auction site). Why did the bike fetch so much? The RC213V-S was a halo bike for some buyers, a disappointing effort to others, but there was no denying it was an amazing technical effort, basically a MotoGP bike with street-legal equipment. Marc Marquez once famously took one to the track to regain his racing form after injury; Bruce Anstey raced one at the Isle of Man TT, and did not win any hardware with it.
Each RC213V-S was hand-built, but came from the factory in seriously neutered form; it took a factory race kit to bring the bike’s 90-degree V4 to 215 horsepower. During its 2015-2018 production run, that was very respectable, but not out-of-this-world power. Today, it’s not that impressive at all when compared to other production superbikes.
However, the RC213V-S had excellent handling, with the balance and weight of a proper MotoGP bike. And, with a super-limited production run of 213 machines, they were always desirable as a hard-to-find bike, even with their original $184,000 US price tag.
Now, almost a decade after the RC213V-S originally debuted, it’s looking like the original buyers made a good investment, if the price has risen $50k in that timespan. And, far as we know, this is the most expensive Japanese bike ever sold at auction.
However, it’s far behind the price of the most valuable Euro machines, particularly high-performance Brit bikes, several of which have sold over the $400,000 US mark. To public knowledge, the most valuable motorcycle sold at auction is a Vincent Black Lightning that Bonhams sold for $929,000 in 2018; Paul d’Orleans (big boss at The Vintagent, editor at Cycle World) says some bikes have gone for more than $1 million in private sales. Expect to see auctions hit that same mark soon, as collectors continue to drive prices up, and the USD devalues.