The year was 2006. Honda showed the world the then brand-new CBR1000RR Fireblade, the bike that embodied the best technology that Honda engineers had for road going sportbikes. That CBR1000RR Fireblade not only had more power than ever before, but it also had the first electronic steering damper called HESD.
Honda created the first electronic steering damper for a mass production motorcycle intended for the road, and the system was able to adapt the level of actuation of the hydraulic steering damper via the use of electronic sensors that varied the actuation of the damper in milliseconds.
This solution was considered revolutionary at the time, and Honda was so happy with it that they even used the HESD on their MotoGP race bike, the RC211V with its five-cylinder engine.
But HRC, Honda’s racing division, later abandoned that solution in favor of a fully mechanical steering damper, and the HESD was left reserved for Honda road going bikes, like the Fireblade with very good results in terms of customer feedback.
Fast forward to 2018 and to the post-season tests held in Valencia today, and Honda’s factory MotoGP team showed on track with a new 2019 RC213V, fitted with new aerodynamic winglets and, surprisingly, a new metallic piece partially hidden below the front of the fuel tank and connecting to the top yoke.
According to Italian website GPOne, who published the detailed photo you see here, this new element is no less than the “old” HESD steering damper, but now HRC has perfected the system so it’s now able to use it on their most advanced race bike , the MotoGP prototype of Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.
This evolved HESD steering damper, if considered to be better than the fully mechanical unit, will surely help Marquez and Lorenzo to tame the wild Honda RC213V, a bike that the MotoGP himself describes as “very nervous”, something all of us can see while watching Marquez riding the HRC prototype on his way to the 2018 MotoGP title.
Will Honda decide to use the electronic steering damper on the 2019 RC213V? Or are they just testing different solutions that they won’t use next season?
Give us your thought about it in the comment section below!