Warning!This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.
Update 9.10.2020: This bike has SOLD to an RSBFS reader in just 7 days! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc
Unlike the earlier RC30 and RC45 that were pure homologation specials and built in very limited quantities primarily as the basis for Honda’s production-based racing efforts, today’s Featured Listing RVT1000R or “RC51” represented a change in their design philosophy. It was a bit less rare and exotic than past homologation bikes, but the cost was much lower and that made it much easier for Honda fans to get their hands on this piece of Honda’s legendary racing heritage, here enhanced by the Nicky Hayden commemorative graphics.
Honda’s RC51 was built to prove a point: that in racing, everything being equal, Honda could go head-to-head with Ducati and win. For years, Honda had campaigned V4 superbikes that were limited by World Superbike rules to 750cc against v-twin Ducatis that were allowed an additional 250cc of displacement. To sidestep what they felt was an unfair advantage, Honda simply built a 90° v-twin superbike so they could play by the same rules as their Italian rivals. Ironically, things have now come full-circle and rules changes mean that Ducati have been forced to abandon their v-twin for a V4.
Stylistically, it looks nothing like a Ducati, but a more muscular design hides the usual Honda innovation: side-mounted radiators may bulk up the looks, but helped solve a problem Ducati constantly faced. A transverse a 90° twin is very narrow, but a long design front to back. If you want short wheelbase and a swingarm with the right length for optimal traction, you end up with no room ahead of the front cylinder for a radiator. The engine is covered with HRC-branded magnesium components and has Honda’s usual homologation-special gear driven cams. Snatchy low-rev throttle response is an unfortunate side-effect of the huge throttle bodies, but not something an enthusiast will likely mind…
From the Seller: 2004 Honda RC51 Nicky Hayden Edition for Sale
I am the second owner of this motorcycle and purchased it from a dealership here in Northern California a little more than a year ago. It is a incredibly well dialed in machine with many performance upgrades. It is my understanding that the suspension set up, exhaust system and Power Commander tuning was performed by Dan Kyle Racing. They are the RC51 experts historically. After purchasing the motorcycle, I added the CRG RC2 levers, Clear Zero Gravity Superbike windscreen, Stomp Grip, HRC Tank protector, HRC Wheel decals, Authentic Nicky Hayden 69 decals and New Dunlop Q3 tires which have roughly 700 miles on them now. Clean title in hand, California registration good until 8/2021. Current odometer reading is 10,959.
Additional Modification/Performance Upgrades include:
Full Ohlins suspension
Sato Racing Hi-Mount, Slip-on Exhaust
Sato Racing Rearsets
Sato Racing Titanium kickstand
Scott’s Steering Stabilizer
Moriwaki Carbon Fiber side radiator inserts, front fender and rear hugger
Flapper Valve and Soft Rev Limiter Mod Completed
520 Chain and Sprocket conversion. DID, Chain AFAM sprockets, 15/41 gearing which is ideal for the RC51
Steel braided brake and clutch lines
Billet rear brake reservoir relocated behind right side rearset for easier access
Rear Fender eliminator with LED’s inside of taillight
Proton LED turn signals
Battery is One Year Old
Full Dealership service completed at 9,019 miles
*I do NOT have any of the stock parts
*2nd Key included
*Owners Manual and Dealership Service Record Included.
The seller is asking
$11,000 $9,999 for this very clean and tastefully-modded example of the RC51. From the start, Honda’s v-twin superbike was successful and won the WSBK championship in 2000, the very first year it competed, and again in 2002. Honda basically retired the bike after proving its point, and withdrew official support for it in 2003, although production of the the roadbike continued until 2006. The first-generation SP1 bikes had some minor handling issues, but the SP2 rectified them and both versions make excellent roadbikes, aside from dismal fuel economy and those side-mounted radiators that are susceptible to crash damage. Overall, the RC51 is the most affordable Honda homologation machine and is generally pretty painless to own, with excellent reliability and build quality.