From the NR to Le Mans and Production Bikes

<< 1. Speeding Through the 1960s
<< 2. After a Decade, a Comeback to the Grand Prix
<< 3. Organizing the NR Block: Preparing for a Comeback
<< 4. Coming Back with a 4-Stroke Powerplant
<< 5. The Oval Piston: Heart of a New and Different Breed
<< 6. From Fantasy to Reality: Completion of the 0X Engine
<< 7. The Unconventional: Adopting a "Shrimp Shell" Frame
<< 8. The NR500s: A Humiliating Debut
<< 9. Refining the Engine-a Top Priority
<< 10. First Victory: The Suzuka 200-Kilometer Race
<< 11. The NS500, Honda's First 2-Stroke GP Machine
<< 12. Victory Again : After Fifteen Years
<< 13. Using Computer Analysis to Bring Honda Back, Stronger than Ever
<< 14. From the NR to Le Mans and Production Bikes
 


Honda had indeed conquered the World GP with its NS500s, but there were mixed feelings among the project staff. They could not forget the NR500s that had made way for the NS500s as Honda's primary machines in 1982, only to vanish from the World GP in 1983.

Oguma sent in a entry with a new machine to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Endurance Race scheduled to be held in July 1987. Honda's machine was to be the NR750, an NR with increased displacement. The NR750 fared well in the qualifying round, but retired in the final. However, it won the Swan Series race held in Australia that December, blazing past its rivals in a decisive show of prowess. That race marked the final appearance by an NR series machine. Nine years after Honda first began their development under the goal of winning back the glory of the World GP series, the NRs had ended with a glorious victory.

Honda decided to fight for the World GP title with the NR500s, because it looked at the races as nurturing grounds for technology. Although the machines labored for years without a single point, they fostered the talents of numerous engineers and left behind precious assets. Among these were technologies that were later incorporated into production models; bikes that employed many of the weight-reduction techniques their NR ancestors had originated.

Honda introduced the new NR production bike in May 1992, powered by a 750 cc 4-cylinder V-engine with oval pistons. The machine employed an array of cutting-edge technologies, including an inverted front fork, aluminum twin tubular frame, and magnesium wheels. Thus, the NR500s completed their mission with the successful transfer of racing technologies to the production world.
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