February 3, 2003-Honda Motor Co., Ltd., as part of its ongoing commitment to spread the dream of mobility, has developed a mountain bike for downhill competition called the RN01*1("RN zero one"), which it will enter in the 2003 Japan Series (all races) and the World Cup (spot participation) in order to develop further technical know-how and enhance the bike's performance.
Machine development and team management will be overseen by Honda R&D Co., Ltd.'s Asaka R&D Center-Honda's motorcycle research and development division-as part of its R&D activities. The team assembled to compete in the 2003 season will be called Team G Cross Honda*2, and the rider will be Naoki Idegawa, who was ranked 68th in the world and 5th in the Japan Series for 2002.
Distinguishing characteristics of the RN01 include a frame that has been subjected to rigorous strength analysis and reinforced in those sections where the stresses are greatest, plus the use of a suspension made by Kayaba Industry Co., Ltd. The brakes, developed in partnership with Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd., are lightweight and deliver superior braking and control. A transmission mechanism employing such newly developed technology as frame mounting for reduced unsprung weight is being tried out for the first time on this bike.
Downhill racing is a bicycle race that typically takes place on snowless ski slopes or other downhill courses. Racers compete against the clock, reaching speeds of up to 70~80km/h. Each year there are seven World Cup races, one World Championship race, six Japan Series races, one Japan National Championship race, and one Asian Championship race. Due to the extreme ruggedness of the courses, the machines must be highly rigid and durable. Honda is adapting the technology it has accumulated in motocross racing to sharpen its competitive edge.
How the names were chosen:
*1The "RN01" machine name: The name combines R and N, which stand for Racing and Natural force ("nature's power"), followed by "01" to indicate that this is the first model.
*2 The "G Cross" team name: The name is a combination of G for Gravity and the 'Cross' from motocross.