VFR400R (NC30) Model Info

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on VFR400R (NC30) Model Info
Honda RVF 400

VFR400RK-N (NC30) Model Info


NC30 model letters can be found on a small white sticker located under the passenger seat (and also on the bar code sticker behind the license plate). Because many NC30s were not imported through official channels, their registration documents are notoriously unreliable as a means of determining their year of manufacture.

This is because registration documents on ‘grey’ imports are often intended to reflect the year a bike was first sold in the country of import, which is usually not the year the bike was manufactured. In addition, many NC30s appear to have been sold by dealers as new in Japan some time after being manufactured, so the year that ended up on even the Japanese registration document may not correspond to the bike’s actual year of manufacture. Consequently, the most accurate way of referring to NC30s (and other ‘grey’ imports) is by model letter.

Model letters used by Honda appear to correspond with the VIN model letters used in the United States since the early 1980s (although the same cannot be said for the frame numbers themselves). (Here is a bit more about VINs.) As a result, bikes manufactured in 1989 carry the model letter K, 1990 bikes are L models, etc. (with the letters I, O, Q, U and Z being skipped). Some Honda models, however, have additional sub-designations (possibly relating only to color scheme) using roman numerals, and the NC30 is one of these.

The first NC30 was the K model introduced in 1989. Although Ks are not much different than the later models, they have at least two significant differences that make them somewhat less desirable. The first difference is the standard Showa forks, which, in addition to being of an older design, lack external rebound damping adjustment.

Because these forks use the older damping-rod design, they work less well than-and are more difficult to modify than-the now-conventional cartridge forks found on the later models (and on most later model Honda sport bikes). (For more information about the differences between the two kinds of forks, an excellent primer is RaceTech’s Paul Thede’s article on cartridge forks .) The second less-desirable aspect of the K models is their rear shock design. Later NC30 models came equipped with remote reservoir Showa shocks, while the earlier models lacked this, and they are known for having very soft suspension. Apart from the suspension differences, Ks had relatively small same-size carburetor jets (Keihin 110s) in all four carburetors, rather than the different (115s in the front carbs and 118s in the rear carbs) jets found on the later models.

Paint schemes on the NC30s evolved from emulating the RC30’s angular red-white-and-blue design into an RC45-esque (also known as ‘OKI’ colors) red-white-and-blue-with several color variations within each of these basic themes. The only other obvious cosmetic differences between the K, L and N models related to the colors of the braking components ( i.e . the brake calipers and disc carriers), which went from gold on the K to black on the L and early N and finally to gold on the final N variations, the N-III and N-IV.

Although their numbers are relatively few, it is clear that there were NC30s produced for official sale in a few markets outside of Japan. The NC30 was sold in the United Kingdom and Austria, as indicated in the UK-spec Owners Manual and Microfiche, from 1990 through sometime in 1993, and in France and Germany from late 1991 through sometime in 1993.

Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400

In the UK and Austria, there were no more than two color schemes available, the RC30-like red-white-blue on the L model and a different red-white-blue scheme (very similar to the red-white-blue J-spec L) on the M model. France and Germany, in which only the M model was oficially imported, had a similar red-white-blue paint scheme as on the UK and Austrian M model.

As a rule, officially exported NC30s sold through official Honda dealers in Europe were very expensive, compared to other Hondas being sold in the same showrooms-and compared to what the bikes sold for in Japan. Not surprisingly, they didn’t sell very well, which may account for the mis-matched model letters and sales dates.

Apart from the color schemes, country-specific differences are minor, but can be noticeable. In general, UK- and Austrian-spec bikes, had larger, hinged mirrors (similar to the RC30’s), market-specific carburetors, oil coolers and (in the UK) MPH speedometers. German-spec and French-spec NC30s had significantly larger headlights, hinged mirrors, different carburetors and oil coolers.

Export models also lacked the Japanese home market’s speed restrictions, so they were not restricted and, accordingly, were equipped with higher-reading speedometers.

The following table details the beginning serial and engine numbers for most of the NC30 production run:

Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400
Honda RVF 400

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