Honda RVF400 NC35 Comparison: Stock NC35 vs TYGA modified NC35
Text and Photos by Paul Pearmain © TYGA-Performance
As the saying goes, ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.’ We understand the latest trend is to restore bikes to their original condition but for us, to do only that is a little boring and a bit final. For one, the bike then just becomes like everybody else’s bike, and granted there aren’t many NC35s around these days, but it will only be approaching as good as it was when it left the factory and never quite as good. In the case of the NC35, it looks beautiful and very well built but to be perfectly honest, in stock restricted form, the performance can be a bit lack luster especially if you have been used to riding full power bikes most of your life. Moreover, for us fettling and improving performance is all part of the ownership experience and making your ride unique is an important part of the fun of the hobby. So, this page is here to look at a TYGA modified bike and compare it to one as it came out of the Honda factory in 1994.
The Horipro bike here you might recognize was featured in a previous project bike build. If you are observant, you might notice that we have made some changes since then. For one, the wheels are now the Honda 6 spoke and you might all have clocked the high level twin stack. There is a new engine in there too but now I am getting ahead of myself; let’s look at the different comparison photos and make comments as we go.
From the rear, the two bikes look superficially the same except for the paintwork. Perhaps the most obvious difference is the exhaust. The TYGA twin stack race system, releases around 12% without doing any other mods bringing the power up to high 50s, however, as we will see later, this bike has a lot more power than that. The other minor but obvious thing that to me stands out is the taillight surround is all part of the seat cowling on the TYGA bike making for a cleaner appearance than the stock one. This tailpiece always falls out of the locating tab especially after a ride on a bumpy road.
The Horipro is our track bike so is shod in slicks. It is road registered (hence lights, mirrors, etc) and, outside the rainy season, it is probably safe to ride on the street. Rear wheel hub is an HRC type conversion by GT Performance Engineering in the UK. Rear shock is a bespoke made from various HRC and Honda rear shocks courtesy of Matt our suspension guru. You may be able to spot the Brembo caliper behind the stock NC35 rear wheel, the later which we will change at some later date.
Moving to the front the cosmetic differences become apparent. The Horipro has the TYGA endurance style fairing with the left side of the headlight covered up and numbers applied in the spirit of the Suzuka 8 Hrs specials.
Here you can see the TYGA high level twin stack in more detail. As well as better performance, it saves a ton of weight and the baritone exhaust note sounds a lot more interesting than the stock whistle. Note also, the carbon seat cowling which is also another weight saver, as are the turn signals, TYGA subframe and minimalist aluminium rear registration holder.
Turning our attention to a more detailed shot, you can see the air ducts are carbon and the Horipro uses an HRC steering damper. The filler cap is a quick release TYGA one and there is a hint of other changes with a TYGA triple. The fuel tank is stock though in the future, we intend to install one of our carbon ones which wasn’t yet in production when we did this paint job.
The front view shows clearly the difference in the fairing shape. One day, we hope to offer functional ram air ducts but for now, they are cosmetic like the stock one. Headlight is stock too but as mentioned earlier, has one side covered up. Fairing is carbon with Kevlar backing and the number board is clearcoated carbon finish.
The front end on our Horipro shares no common parts with the stock bike. The forks are from a Suzuka 8 Hrs RC45 as are the Brembo calipers and rotors. The wheel is HRC magnesium and the wheel shaft a special quick release one that Matt designed to fit. The fender is TYGA and is a modified NC35 shape but with longer legs and the front cut down for quick and easy wheel removal.
Here you can see a few other differences. The TYGA rear sets are slightly higher and further back than stock and the chain guard/rear hugger is carbon. Rear sprocket is aluminium saving unsprung weight. Did we mention the exhaust saves weight and increases power?
Here you can see the lighting. The Horipro looks like a racer at first glance but is installed with lighting for street use. Obviously, the single light has slightly less illumination but the cover on the other side can be removed if in the unlikely event a night ride is planned
The cockpit layout has been completely transformed. Gone is the stock top triple and instruments. The bike used to have our regular triple but we wanted to showcase the 3D type. This necessitated relocation of the ignition key, more on that later. The instrument cluster consists of TYGA dash housing an HRC rev counter, bespoke idiot lights and digital temperature gauge. Who needs a speedometer anyway?
Since our last shoot, the TYGA Horipro bike has received the signature of one of the legendary Japanese riders, Shinichi Ito. He was riding the actual RC45 Horipro 8 Hrs bike which this project is a tribute to. We had the pleasure of meeting him in Buriram last year and supplying his team with some TYGA products. He graciously signed our tank cover and we hope one day we will have the pleasure to have Ito-san view the bike for himself at our factory.
Another shot of the bikes. You can order a 1/24 scale model of our bikes at the TYGA website. (Just kidding!)
I mentioned I was going to explain more about the ignition key positioning. Well, it occurred to us that the seat cowling has plenty of space for an ignition lock and the key does not protrude enough to touch cloth so to speak, so we installed the ignition lock where the passenger seat lock would ordinarily go. Steering lock is a bit lacking but given this bike's cosseted existence, it is unlikely to be parked on the street unattended for any considerable length of time and theft of such a bike in Thailand, while possible is rare. Honestly, I consider the fluorescent paint fading in the sun as a greater risk!
Here you can see the radial Brembo master and the quick action NSR250 throttle. The radiators are Thermae specials and you can see the TYGA billet lower triple clamp which even though it is more substantial than stock saves a ton of weight over the extremely heavy steel stock one. A street bike may not have a speedometer or treaded tyres but a horn is a must!
There are a lot of other small details which you can see for yourself, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words! One thing you won’t be able to see or guess at is the engine. Since the last photo shoot the Horipro has a Mike Norman big bore motor which puts out respectable hp.
We are hoping to tune for more power with NC30 carbs and some other modifications but like I said in the intro, to improve is to change and to be perfect is to change often!