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Honda's race history 1959 - 1967........

Honda's Race History 1964
Content © Joep Kortekaas 2002

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RC143 RC143 RC143
RC143 RC143 2RC146 RC143 RC143 RC143
A Matter of Handling
Honda's own sounds of some of these great bikes
1964 Overviewllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll  

Honda realized during the 1963 season, that their relaxed attitude would cost them, and for the last GP of the 1963 season, in Japan, new machines were developed. For the 50 cc class, a new twin and for the 125 cc a new four cylinder were developed, and for the 250 and 350 cc the existing fours were improved. These machines are used during 1964. The works riders are Jim Redman, Luigi Taveri, Tommy Robb, Kunimitsu Takahashi and newcomer Ralph Bryans. Halfway through the season Robb is sacked, followed by Takahashi.

It takes some time before Honda gets the new 50 cc, ridden by Bryans, to run well. He comes in second in the Isle of Man, but after that wins three races in a row. However, he has lost too many points to Anderson on the Suzuki, who wins the world title, with Bryans second and Anscheidt (Kreidler) third. In the 125 cc class, the Suzukis and the new Yamahas, though fast, are no match for the Hondas. With seven wins out of 11 races, they win the manufacturers' title. Taveri is heading the individual championship until he falls off and breaks his collar bone in Assen. Redman saves the day by winning the races in Taveri's absence, who becomes world champion, ahead of Redman and Anderson (Suzuki).

In the 250 cc class the fight is on between Honda and the two-stroke Yamahas. One of the toppers of the season is the immense duel in Assen between Read on the Yamaha and Redman. During the last lap they change places seven(!) times, and exit the last corner before the finish side by side. While accelerating to the finish, Read has to change gear, which costs him 0.1 second or so because the two-stroke simply doesn't rev higher, but Redman revs the Honda to something like 16,000 rpm and wins the race, half a wheel length ahead of Read. It is anyway a splendid day for Redman: he wins the 125, the 250 and the 350 cc classes, all three with new race and lap records!

When towards the end of the season it becomes clear, that Read is going to win the championship, Honda unveils a six-cylinder, secretly developed for the 1965 season, ahead of time in Monza. image at right, showing Redman taking the 2RC164 bike out for its first training spin.

Initially Redman leads the race easily ahead of Read, but then his six starts overheating and he has to relax the pace, whereupon Read wins and becomes the first world champion for Yamaha. Redman is second and Alan Shepherd (MZ) is third.

The 350 cc class is again a walk-over for Honda. Redman wins all the races, and the only man who can keep him more or less in sight is his protégé Bruce Beale on a production racer CR77, who ends up second, while Mike Duff is third on an AJS.

1964 2RC164 Honda 6 Cylinder

Redman and the 1964 2RC164 Honda 6 Cylinder

50 cc RC113 and RC114

The RC113, introduced during the Japanese GP of 1963, is a twin with the same bore and stroke as the previous RC112, 33 x 29 mm for a total capacity of 49.6 cc, but now with four valves per cylinder. Total valve angle is 72 degrees, symmetrical: both inlet and exhaust valves are under an angle of 36 degrees. Ignition is by a transistorised breakerless system, with 8 mm spark plugs.

The carburettors are again the flat-slided type. This carburettor type builds shorter than the round slided type, and the very high engine speeds necessitate a very short inlet and exhaust length to achieve optimum wave tuning. Lubrication is by wet sump, and there are nine speeds in the gearbox. Power output is 13 bhp at 18,500 rpm; the red line on the rev counter is at 19,000 rpm, and short excursions to 20,000 rpm are allowed. Dry weight of the bike is 53 kg, lower than its predecessor through extensive use of magnesium, and a curious front brake.

The latter is the same as used on a normal bicycle, with two brake pads being clamped on to the rim. This saves total weight and unsprung weight, which improves handling. Two large, light alloy discs are mounted on the front wheel to give some streamlining. See pics RC113-1 and –2. The RC114 is practically identical with the RC113, with the gear train to the camshafts on the right-hand side of the engine and a bore and stroke of 33 x 29 mm for a toatal capacity of 49.6 cc. Valve angle is also the same with 36 degrees for both inlet and exhaust valves.Power output is 14 bhp at 19,000 rpm, red line is at 20,500 rpm and short time excursions to 23,000 rpm are permitted. There is a nine speed gearbox. Top speed is well over 170 km/h.

1964 RC113 Honda
1964 RC113 Honda

1964 RC113 Honda

1964 RC113 Honda Engine

125 cc 2RC146

The type designation 2RC146, starting with a 2, would suggest that there has been a type RC146, of which this is the improved version.

Nothing is actually mentioned anywhere about an RC146 (although one Japanese book gives a picture, unfortunately with mounted fairing), but reading between the lines in the Japanese texts, the RC146 was the bike used in the Japanese GP of 1963, and the bikes then used afterwards in 1964 are the types 2RC146.

The engine is a smaller version of the 250 four, with the gear train to the camshafts from the centre of the crankshaft.

Bore and stroke are 35.26 x 32 mm for a total capacity of 124.99 cc. Ignition is by a transistorised breakerless system, with 8 mm spark plugs as on the RC113.

Power output is 28 bhp at 16,500 rpm, red line at 18,000 rpm and short time allowable maximum is 19,000 rpm. An eight speed gearbox is fitted to keep the engine within its narrow powerband.


250 cc RC164 & 3RC164

1964 125cc 2RC146 Honda
1964 125cc 2RC146 Honda

The RC164 four is a little bit lower and lighter than its predecessor RC163. Power output is increased to 48 bhp at 14,000 rpm, red line at 15,000 rpm. No further changes.

The 3RC164 is a six cylinder with the same configuration as all the other Hondas. Bore and stroke are 39 x 34.5 mm for a total capacity of 247.3 cc. Ignition is by a transistorised breakerless system, with 8 mm spark plugs. Lubrication by wet sump. The gearbox is a seven speeder. Power is 54 bhp at 17,000 rpm. A top speed of more than 240 km/h is claimed. Although a six cylinder, the bike is very narrow and the six megaphones are neatly tucked away.

350 cc RC172


The main change of the RC172 from its predecessor are a new bore and stroke of 50 x 44.5 mm, changing the total capacity from 339 to 349.3 cc. Power output is now 58 bhp at 13,000 rpm, with a red line of 13,500 rpm. No further changes.



1964 350cc RC172 Honda