Each Wednesday our man in the trade seeks out his pick of the internet auction sites so we don’t have to. This week he’s set his eyes on a particularly tasty example of that popular 1990s grey import, the Honda NC30…
It doesn’t feel like five minutes ago that you could pick up a decent Honda NC30 for not too much cash but those days are now over. The scaled down RC30 lookalike is now a pukka classic motorcycle in its own right, and prices are starting to reflect this.
For those of a certain age the NC30 now strikes a nostalgic chord, for many who passed their motorcycle test in the 1990s the cute VFR400R was an obvious target, it was also sensible to insure compared to bigger capacity bikes. Honda even caved in and imported the bike officially for four years, although the £5,899 list price was more than their superb VFR750F of the same era. Many customers were racers, as 400s were a hotly contested class at the time and even raced at the TT and had a championship alongside the British superbike series. Even today, ratty NC30s (along with plenty of Kawasaki ZXR400s and Yamaha FZR400RRs) can be seen battling at club races up and down the country.
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And the thing with the NC30 is that it is greater than the sum of its parts. Attention to detail meant it looked sharp from every angle, and top notch build quality gave it that premium product feel. There’s no shortage of bikes on the market and condition and mileages can vary wildly. If you have your heart set on revisiting your youth with a minter, prepare to dig deep.
The finest example to catch our eye was this 1998 model. With only 3,500 miles on its bores it’s clearly had an easy life, and it appears to be a freshly imported model from Japan.
The standard exhaust and lack of nasty extras lets the beauty of this NC shine through. Our seller is pushing the ceiling with their £8,000 price tag, although I know of a collector with a genuine UK version in exceptional condition who’s refused an offer of £10,000 for his one, and that was from a specialist Japanese classic dealer who really knows his stuff!
What to look for when buying a NC30.
- UK bikes are rare, but they do come to market. Some sellers aren’t switched on and fail to realise the kudos of a UK bike. Other than a mph speedo, UK bikes had an oil cooler and bigger winkers. Always check the V5 to confirm that it was declared new at registration.
- Many of these bikes have seen track action, look for signs of trips into a tyre wall. Freshly repainted bikes is usually a clue that it’s been in a whack.
- Freshly imported bikes can be troublesome, poorly drained carbs will have you testing your patience in removing them.
- Standard 18” rear wheels mean that choices are limited for replacement tyres. Many owners will have changed these for 17” items from the later NC45, which opens up a range of more modern rubber.
- Always get the NOVA certificate if it’s unregistered. You won’t be able to get a V5 without one.
See this immaculate example for sale at: https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F123585869794