1989 Honda NSR500 GP Racer

With Phil Aynsley


In a recent column (Wayne Gardner’s 1987 NSR500 – LINK), I looked at Wayne Gardner’s 1987 NSR500. Continuing the evolution of the NSR here is one of Eddie Lawson’s 1989 bikes.

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

I say ‘one of’ as in a recent interview Mick Doohan stated that Eddie had eleven different chassis during the fifteen race season (and he had four), so there were quite a few constructed!

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
1989 saw eleven different chassis builds for Lawson

As can be surmised by the large number of chassis used, handling was the biggest problem with the ’89 NSR, with Mick saying that there was no feedback from the front and very little from the rear.

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Handling was a recognised issue, hence the experimentation

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
The frame was a twin-spar alloy item

This was carried over from the previous year’s design which had switched to a twin-spar alloy frame.

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

One major change made for the ’89 season was the use of a curved ‘gull wing’ swing arm which enabled more efficient expansion chambers.

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
A gull-wing swingarm was also featured in 1989

As a result the NSR continued to be the most powerful bike in the field with over 165hp at 12,000rpm.

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
The NSR500 delivered 165hp at 12,000rpm

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson 1989 NSR500 racer dash

This bike is one of the very, very few NSR500s in private hands and was presented to the long time Austrian Honda importer, Mr Josef Faber, in 1998 by his friend Soichiro Honda. It was later purchased from Mr Faber’s estate by the current owner.

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

Honda NSR Lawson ImagePA
Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 Racer

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