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Honda NR500 with oval pistons: The big flop

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If you’re a big Honda, you know how to build everything, literally from the tiniest motorcycle to an airplane, with robotic shovels and robots. There is no limit to the mechanical imagination of the winged house. The enthusiastic imagination of the designers is mostly entrusted to the competitions, which in our case obviously involve motorcycles. In the great race between the Japanese manufacturer and the rest of the world, Honda has always gone out of its way to make a four-stroke engine work at its best, a great “passion”, an absolute “creed” of Soichiro Honda, the visionary founder of the two-wheeled world giant. In some cases, that sheer quest for advancement in the four-stroke car ran into harsh reality against the undisputed supremacy of the two-stroke engine. But even then, Honda managed to put its technical caliber to good use, but that’s another case of the three-cylinder NS500.

Let’s go back to the 4T’s spring and valve technology and one of the most exceptional GP bikes. Also one of the most disappointing 500s ever seen in a World Championship. Let’s talk about the NR500 with oval pistons. It was a gorgeous four-cylinder 100-degree-volt engine, very high in build technology, very low in racing performance. In 1979 the Japanese factory got back into competition and did it with a four-stroke against a world of two-stroke motorcycles. The first appearance at Silverstone and the secrecy that surrounds it is the utmost. In the pits the bike is always coveredLike when he leaves and returns to the big blue tent that serves as a workshop. The project is headed by engineer Soichiro IrimajiriDolphin Honda, Head of Racing and has proven experience in 4-strokes, including a 50cc twin-cylinder, 125 five-cylinder, 250cc six-cylinder engine. All engines move at stratospheric speeds close to 20,000 rpm.

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Let’s go back to the secret of NR and how its amazing technology was revealed. Every mistake in the pits, a hole in the tent was opened up to allow the mechanics who take care of Mike Grant and Takazumi Katayama’s bikes to breathe. like The camera and Franco Varisco appeara very good and sensitive photographer from Monza who loves motorcycles and Formula 1 cars (buy his 1966 folder: “400 CV in the back”) Never miss the opportunity to reveal this secret.

It’s not just the oval piston engine that amazes: Light alloy monocoque frame, two cooling radiators are located outside the fairing, where they come in contact with air coming from an opening at the edge; The fork fork has inverted legs but the springs are outward; The swingarm rotates on the engine and the entire rear suspension of the power unit is easily detached from the body, taking the acceleration and clutch controls with it. Obviously, it is the oval presses that attract the most attention.

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