Honda built the RC51 to access the displacement advantage afforded two cylinder Superbikes in the FIM World Championship, and Colin Edwards went right out and snapped it up. Here’s a lightly ridden and slightly tarted up SP2 from the mid-Atlantic area.
Honda’s L-twin packed a real punch with 136hp, thanks to 10.8-to-1 compression and two fuel injectors looking down each 62mm intake. Cooling air had an easier time getting to the engine bay since the water radiators were side-mounted, this also sent heated air out of the fairing. HRC had a lot of design input on the twin spar alloy frame, adjustable cartridge forks and Pro-Link monoshock. Wheels and brakes are Honda’s own, 320mm front disks and light-looking 5-spoke alloys. Form follows function on the bodywork, with room sculpted into the fuel tank for knees and bars, and the pillion all but forgotten.
This owner likes things clean, with not a mark on this RC51. Almost got out of hand with the polishing, but the chainguard and heel guards are easily returned to stock , not so sure those are the factory wheels though. No list is provided, but evident are a two-into-one exhaust, Corbin seat, adjustable levers, tinted Zero Gravity windscreen, new tires, low profile front turn signals, and rear turn signals in the tail light. Just a comment or two from the eBay auction:
The bike has 9,317 miles on it. Runs strong with no problems.
RC51 has stock sprockets, heavy duty chain. Also has a two into one exhaust pipe.
Hard to notice – Small crack in the plastic just under the seat on the right side.
While Honda won their first season with the RC51, Ducati answered with a new testastretta engine for the 996R in 2001, though it took the entire season for Troy Bayliss to clinch the championship. Honda responded with the SP2 for 2002 and won nine out of the last ten races ( five events ) for the roses. Honda sent their factory race yen in another direction for 2003, and returned to a four-cylinder, even though the RC51 stayed in production until 2006. Some of these mods might not be to every fan’s liking, but the year, low miles and outstanding condition might make this bike worth looking into.