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Return of the Cafe Racers - Honda Mugen MRV1000

Honda Mugen MRV1000

Looking at the picture above one could be convinced that they are viewing an engine built by Vincent Motorcycles (I certainly did) but this is in fact a Honda, and it's the only one of it's kind. This is the Honda Mugen MRV1000. A 1000cc, 4 valve, twin carb, V-twin created by Hirotoshi…


Looking at the picture above one could be convinced that they are viewing an engine built by Vincent Motorcycles (I certainly did) but this is in fact a Honda, and it’s the only one of it’s kind.

This is the Honda Mugen MRV1000. A 1000cc, 4 valve, twin carb, V-twin created by Hirotoshi Honda.

Hirotoshi, son of Soichiro Honda (the godfather of Honda) started the performance engine tuning and parts manufacturer Mugen in 1973. The MRV1000 was to be Mugen’s attempt to leverage the popularity of British motorcycles. Sadly however, due to the high ticket price, producing the MRV1000 for public sale was not viable.

Looking at the MRV1000 there’s no doubt that Hirotoshi was a fan of British bikes and Cafe Racer styling. Mugen roughly translated means “without limit”, which in this case may explain the lack of hesitation to mimic the designs of the British motorcycle manufacturers. The MRV1000’s 51.2bhp engine is without a doubt a Vincent “copy”. But who could really blame them? The Vincent engine is a work of art and if imitation is in fact the greatest form of flattery the MRV1000 is one hell of a compliment.

As you look over the rest of the Mugen MRV1000 there are many other design features that are typically British. The muffler and seat resemble those found on a Triumph Bonneville and the frame even has lines similar to that of the Norton featherbed, but this isn’t the only bike to have ever been designed in the image of another. Alloy components give away that the bike isn’t from the same era but they add to it’s appeal. In true Cafe Racer style the additions add to the bikes performance and it’s sportier classic looks.

Some may argue that it’s sacrilegious and may be glad the MRV1000never made it in to production but personally I think it’s a work of art and a damn shame I can’t own one.

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