Posts by tag: Liquid Cooled

Yamaha December 16, 2018 posted by

Red, White and Blue (smoke): 1984 Yamaha RZ350

The RZ market is pretty crazy right now. RSBFS staffers have seen bikes of all types of condition with pricing all over the map. We've seen bargains, we've seen riders and we've seen basket cases. We've come across amazing time capsules of authenticity, and seen the results of ambitious projects (sometimes gone bad). The bottom line is that the lowly RZ350 is as close to a sure thing as you are going to get in the current market. Regardless of condition, we are seeing these bikes sell. That must be pretty exciting for RZ owners out there. And for those in the market for the last of the street legal factory smokers, the good news is that we continue to see a good supply of the model. Which brings us to today's example: a low mileage, red and white example of the breed that seems to have survived the ravages of time and riders.

1984 Yamaha RZ350 for sale on eBay

For those of you who missed the heyday of the two stroke, pull up a chair. You see children, back before people realized that they liked to breathe and came to the realization that vehicles spewing out noxious smoke, visible gasses and other delicious cancer-causing fumes were not a great long-term health plan, pretty much anything could be put on the road. And like any other performance category, sport motorcycles were all about low weight and high power. And pound for pound, a two stroke is a far more potent form of motive power than a heavier, more complicated four stroke. Sure, they sounded like chainsaws. Yes, they often disappeared in clouds of blue smoke. Indeed, they were a pain in the butt at the gas pump - not only did they get crappy gas mileage, riders had to mix oil into the gas in a precise ratio. But the payoffs were (almost) worth it when the tach swung up past 7,500 RPM or so and the power band began. Below that there was nothing, and with only a narrow RPM range of usable power, these were not the easiest mounts to ride in anger. The EPA started cracking down in the 1970s, and by the early 1980s the smoking party was over. But it was damn fun while it lasted.

From the seller:
Up for sale is a 1984 Yamaha RZ350. This bike is in Museum quality condition. Paint on entire bike is original and in like new condition. This bike comes with the dual seat option. exhaust resinators where removed at some point. If you are looking at this bike then I'm sure you aware of its heritage and the somewhat rareness of it. There are only 2 minor flaws, 1- the windscreen has a sratch on the painted area. 2- The tank has one dent on the left side.

The RZ350 is the little bike that could. Pitted against 550 and 600 cc four stroke machines, the little screamer could hold its own. But to even get it on the road, Yamaha had to throw a lot of technology into the form factor. An exhaust power valve automatically adjusted the exhaust port height depending upon specific conditions, making the parallel twin more efficient. Evaporation canisters to capture fuel vapors were starting to appear, and exist on the RZ. But the real secrets were hidden in the exhaust pipes. What looked like two stroke chambers were really a complex series of catalytic converters with air injection. These made it possible to import the RZ into nearly all 50 states for it's limited run of 2 years (CA only received 1985 model year bikes).

This particular RZ has very few miles on it for the age (4,028). It looks to be in decent condition, although it may not have been an indoor pet all of it's life given some of the light corrosion. The seller points out the relatively small flaws of windscreen scratch and tank blemish, but otherwise all parts appear to be attached. The pipes are not the stock units, and there appear to be some other small aftermarket additions over time (fuel line and filter, for example). The term "museum" is an ambiguous word that comes up all too often in adverts. Calling this example out as museum quality depends upon the type of museum you frequent. This is not a zero mile, just been un-crated, never been run, never been rode or never been parked outside type of bike. This is certainly a low mileage survivor, and for those that want to ride, this is usually the better option. The seller is asking for some pretty strong numbers for this bike - but the market will pay what the market can bear. You can't fault someone for asking, and the Buy It Now approach with a willingness to accept offers might just be a great way for the seller and buyer to meet closer to the middle. Check it out here - there is not a lot of text but a good number of decent pictures. And then you just have to answer one more question: Do you RZ? Good Luck!!

MI

Red, White and Blue (smoke): 1984 Yamaha RZ350
Honda December 6, 2018 posted by

Right Said Fred: 1986 Honda VF1000R

Organizations have been using star power to move product since the beginning of time. The religious world has deities, the stick and ball sports have performance heroes, arts and entertainment circles have famous people, and even the social media world has some form of acclaimed personas (not that I would know who they are). Big names connect consumers with the idea of being like somebody famous. 90% of the population cannot dunk a basketball, but that doesn't slow down shoe sales. And so it is with no surprise that motorcycle manufacturers attached star power to help move models and drive consumers into the showroom. It was rampant in the 1980s, and continues through to this day. Sometimes the connection was blatant; witness Kenny Robert's signature on the fairing of the RZ350, or Nicky Hayden's script on bespoke RC51 models. And sometimes the connection is implied, such as with the 1979 Suzuki GS1000 - often mistakenly referred to as the Wes Cooley edition. So as we gaze upon this magnificent 1986 Honda VF1000R, the colors evoke HRC's racing livery and we assume this to be an homage to the great Freddie Spencer. Star power that is implied - but not overtly stated - is still star power. And it still moves product.

1986 Honda VF1000R for sale on eBay

Developed with the technology to win races, the VF1000R was a massive technological wonder when it was released in Europe; especially when compared to the rather bland "F" model sold in the US. Four cylinders arranged in a 90 degree vee formation, double overhead cams spun by gears (oh the glorious sound!) working four valves per cylinder. The frame was of the perimeter variety to cradle the motor, but tech extended to both ends of this machine: Honda’s Pro-Link rising-rate rear suspension (a massive upgrade over twin shock setups) and up front the Torque Reactive Anti-Dive Control (TRAC) anti-dive front fork with nifty quick change axle (a nod to the endurance heritage). With a 16" front wheel - just like the GP racers - and bodywork and dual headlamp evoking Honda's endurance racers from Europe, the VF1000R was everything the American buying public could want in a repli-racer. And much, much more. Especially in terms of weight. The "R" model looked the look, but tipped in at a very porky mid-500 pound range wet. It also came with a significant increase in price over the "F" model. But you can't really argue with the look. Let's pick this one up here from the seller:

From the seller:
1986 Honda VF-1000-R - Only 33K Miles - Also Called Honda's Autobahn Baby

- Mechanically this bike is a 9.5 Out Of 10 And Cosmetically It's a 9.25 out of 10
- Excellent condition for a 33 year old ICON in the Motor Cycle World.
- It'd be cool for it go to a collector who understands what it is and appreciates it's wonderful condition.

More from the seller:
Before going on display in the Museum the following was done - Not in any order . .

- Installed new fuel petcock
- Rebuilt Carbs with all Honda OEM Parts
- Carbs all Digitally Sync to perfection
- Installed new brake pads front & rear
- Installed New OEM Air Filter
- New Spark plugs
- Valves adjusted
- Installed New rubber cushions in the rear drive hub
- Rebuilt Front forks - new seal - dust caps and used 15w fork oil

More from the seller:
Recently After Being Pulled From Museum Display This Last Month - The Following Was Done

- Flushed entire fuel system/carbs with fresh Non- Ethanol fuel and filled gas tank with the same
- New Battery & Battery Tender Hookup - which can also be used to run Electric gear
- New front and rear brake fluids flushed and replaced with Honda Pro DOT 4
- New Hydraulic clutch fluids flushed and replaced with Honda Pro DOT 4
- Replaced engine oil & filter
- Tires have 150+/- miles on them in 4 rides.

Everything checked fine on these rides and the bike is a blast to ride especially listening to the whine of the gear driven cams at the engine's 11,000 RPM redline.

PLEASE NOTE - It has been recently un-mothballed in a loving fashion by my master mechanic. The fuel system flushed with non-ethanol premium fuel. Installed a new battery along with a new battery tender hook-up. It started up in less then 10 seconds and runs great! There are no fuel leaks. It idles perfectly with the choke off. It Revs & Restarts fine. It is ready to go and needs nothing to go riding. And/or it's ready to go straight into another Museum.

The seller has also included a video of the bike in question, including a walkaround and some facts and figures:

The seller claims this to be a museum example, and indeed the pictures do show the bike parked in like company. But what does it mean to be a museum display? Cosmetically, I would imagine it needs to be in good shape. Mechanically everything should work, although for a static display that is not really necessary. In this case, the video includes a startup and showing full functionality. This seller has gone the extra mile to show off the bike, and seems to know quite a bit about this model.

At the end of the day this looks to be a solid example of a well loved model from the 1980s. So what's not to like? If I had to pick nits, I would point to the 33,000 miles as one - although the bike does not look like it traveled that far, nor is there a longevity concern. I would, however, expect the miles to be reflected in the price. For true collectors the non-stock F1 cans might be an issue, though I concede I do not have any experience sourcing original parts for this particular model (i.e. might not be an issue). There is minor rash on the top of the triple trees, and the tank protector is also not stock. All small stuff. The real tire kickers here should not necessarily be the collectors, but those who are looking for something from an earlier time that they can ride. R model VF1000s are not exactly blue chip investment material; not too rare, not too valuable, and unlikely to appreciate in the manner of a RC30. But it is a wonderful machine to ride, enjoy, and fawn over until the next caretaker picks up the mantle and unlikely to plummet in the coming years. This NO RESERVE auction is going on right now, and this bike remains a bargain at the time of writing. Check it out here. This is not the fastest, not the best handling, and certainly not the most rare bike on our pages - but it will not fail to put a smile on your face. Can you beat that? If you missed the budget RZ, don't miss out on this one. Good Luck!!

MI

Right Said Fred: 1986 Honda VF1000R
Featured Listing December 4, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1985 Kawasaki Ninja 600R

The seller of this early-run 1985 Kawasaki Ninja 600R recently completed a fastidious restoration of the bike, down to changing the aged rubber charcoal canister strap for an OEM replacement. He also sourced new gaskets for the anti-dive system in the forks, which took some parts hunting, elbow grease and careful planning. The forks got a new coat of paint and fresh seals when the rebuild was done.

1985 Kawasaki Ninja 600R for sale on eBay

The list goes on from there, including freshened carburetors and a couple invisible fairing repairs. The bike was evidently a solid rider before the current owner got ahold of it and made it into a running and riding museum piece. It has fewer than 7,000 miles on the odometer and was looked after properly over its life, so there shouldn't be much cause to worry about engine internals.

These bikes were far ahead of their time when they were launched, and forecasted aggressive riding positions, handling-friendly 16-inch wheels, full fairings and weight savings. By the time the Honda Hurricane came along two years later, Kawasaki was already preparing to refresh the Ninja 600R. The early bikes, known as the GPZ600R in other markets, pushed out about 75 horsepower (some say 76), which was good for 135 mph. The engines responded to revs, and contemporary reviewers said the bikes felt a little flat until the party got going around 8,000 rpm. Keep the engine on the boil, though, and the 600R would sing, and was nimble, if not totally sure-footed, on the tiny 16-inch tires.

From the eBay listing:

Completely original 1985 Kawasaki Ninja ZX600A California.
This is the first year of the Ninja, this model is a first run #2460 made 12/84. It has just 6610 miles. It was purchased in California by the first owner (it has the CA vent box) . I am the second owner and have put no miles on the bike other than test rides.
This is a rare bike in original/collector condition. No resto-queen here, this is the real deal. You are not likely to find another in this condition, and if you do you'll be faced with a great deal of work to get it into this ready to ride condition.
The bike starts and runs beautifully. I wouldn't make it a daily rider, but if you're a collector that likes to run your bikes - this is the one.
I found the bike in great condition, as the previous owner was an older rider who used the bike as a commuter and always stored it inside with proper storage habits.
The bike is in 99.9% original condition, with all original parts or updated OEM parts. It is the perfect survivor, the perfect collector (all original parts that were replaced are included).
This is my 4th nut-and-bolt restoration in the last 10 years (and likely my last). I’m moving to custom builds from here on out. In some ways it was the hardest restoration I’ve done, as I felt it was very important to keep the bike absolutely original and to be non-destructive instead of trying to reach “perfection”. I believe I’ve succeeded to the best of the situation – the following items have been addressed:
Fairing repair:
The previous owner dropped the bike in his garage, resulting in a the left turn signal hitting the wall, causing a silver dollar sized series of cracks around the mounting hole. The previous owner repaired the damage, but it was simply glued and the cracks were still visible.
I carefully grooved the cracks and seams, filled and repaired things properly with a professional plastic welding solution, I filled the area with vinyl body filler and sanded all things smooth.
It was professionally painted (only on the repaired spot) with perfectly matched paint and then clear coated to blend, and properly buffed. It is impossible to see the repair – except on the inside where you may see the weld seams when the fairing is off.
A similar process was followed on the nose cone, where a couple of scratches and rock dings necessitated proper attention. This repair is impossible to see as well.
Tank:
First, the tank has a very small, dime-sized impression on the back/top/left side (see photos) and the blue ring has age cracks (normal for an original bike of this age).
I have replaced the cap and repainted the outer cap ring (old parts included and in near perfect shape). I have also sourced and replaced an EOM fuel-level sending unit from England, as the old one failed due to corrosion.
The tank was fairly clean on the inside, but it was beginning to gather some rust on the surface. It was cleaned with muriatic acid and flushed, but still needed further cleaning – so I recently did a round with OTC rust remover. It’s very clean now.
New OEM petcock was installed as the original was beyond repair.
Forks:
If you are at all familiar with these bikes you know that they included a very complicated anti-dive system (known as ADVS) that used the front brake fluid pressure to dynamically control the compression dampening.
Great idea, but it was prone to leaking and corrosion over time - as there were many rubber parts inside. It is very common for the piston to corrode and leak out onto the fork – as was the case on the left fork of this bike.
As with the fairing, I carefully matched and repaired the paint on the fork, clear coated it, and completely overhauled the ADVS and fork seals with all new rubber (which is not easy to source BTW – OEM parts were found in England and Japan).
Everything was properly painted and overhauled – and all original fork stickers unaffected by the repairs. It is impossible to see the repair.
Brakes:
Just like all the other rubber on this bike, the brake calipers and levers were completely dried out and either seized or leaking.
I sourced all of the proper OEM seals for the calipers and primary/secondary cylinders and overhauled all, repainting a couple of items that showed corrosion.
The rotors were repainted and surfaces sanded and scuffed. Everything looks like new. New brake OEM brake pads have been installed on all three brakes as well (see photos).
Carbs:
The carbs were actually in perfect condition – but just like everything else, the rubber was dry. So, all new rubber gaskets were installed, and new fuel lines (I have placed a filter in-line as an insurance policy – not stock).
Misc:
Plugs, oil, filter, battery, chain, new charcoal box rubber strap (OEM), windscreen is original – outer face was sanded and polished, windscreen trim tabs replaced (OEM), etc. – no detail left out, all parts OEM.
Any small rust/dings were eraser sanded and airbrushed or spot brushed with the correct paint. These repairs are also impossible to see.
As you can see by the photos, everything on this bike is in great shape and very clean. It’s hard to believe a bike this old can still look this clean and perfect under the hood after all these years. It was a bit dusty, so I’ve cleaned literally every nook and cranny on the bike – including the entire motor (which was cleaned with bio-degreaser and toothbrush).
Please feel free to message me with any questions.

If the description doesn't convince you, the pictures will. If you're looking for a pristine version of the ancestor of modern sport bikes, look no further.

Featured Listing: 1985 Kawasaki Ninja 600R
Yamaha November 30, 2018 posted by

Buzz Buzz Buzz: 1984 Yamaha RZ 350

The last street-legal production two stroke sport bike officially imported into all 50 States of the US by a major manufacturer, the RZ350 holds a special place in the heart of motorcycle enthusiasts. It was Yamaha's valiant move to bravely keep the two stroke spirit alive and kicking in the face of tightening emission and noise regulations. It was both a brilliant success and an ultimate failure; a short lived lifespan that stirred hearts as technology passed it by. Enthusiasts who reside outside of the US may wonder at the American fascination with this bike - after all it had been in-market outside of the US for years and would certainly not be considered rare. But unlike grey market imports, this was one model that we could truly call our own. And with bold Yamaha bumble bee graphics and American superstar Kenny Roberts signing the fairing of every one, this one was ours. The RZ350, for all its shortcomings, is a legend.

1984 Yamaha RZ 350 for sale on eBay

If you look at the bloodline, you can see the DNA that evokes the Yamaha RD models that came before. But designed as a modern approach to the "less is more" philosophy, the RZ added liquid cooling to the familiar parallel twin. The two-stroke powerband was (partially) tamed by the introduction of computer controlled power valves, varying the exhaust port height depending upon RPM and throttle settings. Oil injection was standard, eliminating messy mix ratio cups and associated refueling hassles. And there was a secret weapon: hidden in the smart looking exhaust pipes were a complex set of catalytic converters, just like you would find on your car. With the cats (and some air injection), the RZ could sneak into all 50 States of the Union, including the super-picky EPA stronghold of California. Sure, the cans were heavy, they were expensive to replace (i.e. crash damage) and they did not perform nearly as well as expansion chambers and stingers, but they made the bike possible in the US. They were also easily replaced, which is what most everybody did. Immediately.

The RZ350 was intended to compete with the current crop of middleweights; likes of the Kawasaki GPz550, the Suzuki GS550, or even Yamaha's own Seca 550 and FJ600. In that space, the stock RZ was outgunned by the bigger four cylinder four strokes. But the little RZ had agility on its side, and once on the pipe could fare well. But it would never be a great all-'rounder, given the peaky nature of popcorn power. There were many aftermarket and tuner tricks to unleash the beast. Typical tricks of overbores, decking the head to increase compression, and porting were effective. The fact that the Banshee, a Yamaha ATV, utilized the same motor definitely helped with parts availability and knowledge base. But despite the potential, the little RZ was not to be long lived. After a scant two years (and only one in CA), the RZ was pulled from the dealer floors. The party was over, and the used party began. This is where we pick up the story on this bike.

From the seller:
Bought this bike in 2001. Have ridden this bike regularly for 17yrs. Always kept inside. Rebuilt engine because of mileage. I am over 60 yrs old AMI certified motorcycle mechanic for 41yrs. and ride like a grandpa and take care of my things the same way.

- Work Performance rear shock
- Engine Rebuilt 1500 miles ago
- .020 Pro-X pistons,windows cut to match intake
- TDR reeds
- stage 1 porting
- Toomey pipes
- stage 1 dyno jet kit w/2into 1 K&N air filter
- Wiseco Hot Rods crankshaft
- New clutch w/springs
- Full gasket and seal kit
- Race Tech front fork springs
- Chain and sprockets 1500 miles
- New seat cover and battery
- HID headlight
- Powder coated frame
- Bike Dynos out at 59.6 RWH on Dayton Dyno at my shop!
- Spec II Full race fairing
- Fuel tank has no rust, has small quarter size dent and touch up on right front side

Forty Thousand Miles. Let that sink in. Most RZs don't get to that point, having been thrashed, abused, modified, seized and crashed. This particular bike has an amazing number of miles, but looks great. It is clearly no museum collector given the mods, but from a period correct standpoint - hell, from a fun to ride standpoint - this one piqued my interest. The .20 overbore either means the engine had been refreshed once before, or perhaps it was necessary to go that deep due to scratches in the bore. Regardless, that means for bigger pistons and more power. The K&N filter and Toomey pipes are perfect add ons, as is the full Spec II fairing. This bike has been stripped and rebuilt, as evidenced by the powder coated frame. But that just means you are potentially getting a nearly new bike out of the deal.

If you can get past the mileage (40k!) and the non-standard mods, what you are looking at is a great rider. This is a bike that deserves action rather than parking in a museum - although I must admit it looks pretty good. And with a long term owner and a capable wrench (just an assumption, but how many owners out there have their own dyno??), this bike could well be good enough to fill the two-stroke void in your stable. The best part is the price: compared to 90% of what we see on RSBFS, this chainsaw is a veritable bargain. The opening ask started at a reasonable $3k, and bids are flying fast and furious. The Buy It Now price is a mere $4,500, meaning that this bike will likely sell before the auction is over. Check it out here, but better be quick about it. It might already be gone. Good Luck!!

MI

Buzz Buzz Buzz: 1984 Yamaha RZ 350
Ducati November 30, 2018 posted by

Used Well: 1991 Ducati 851

The Ducati 851 is a long-standing icon in the sport bike world. Leading the charge to Ducati's dominant run of WSBK titles, the 851 was as successful on the showroom/street as it was on the track. Simultaneously introducing liquid cooling, fuel injection and four valve desmo heads, the 851 was both the leading edge of where Ducati had been, as well as the foundation for the future. And the sound? All the booming twin noises you expect, with a very unexpected-for-a-twin high redline. Good looks never hurt either, and the 851 exhibits the classic lines of the 1990s sportbike. You gotta hand it to the Italians - they know how to build a supermodel that checks all the right boxes.

1991 Ducati 851 for sale on eBay

The development of "rubber band" Pantah motor was an evolutionary design in the 2-valve, air-cooled Ducati twin. The 851 motor took the Pantah guts and revolutionized the rest. Four valve heads were actually part of Massimo Bordi's thesis at University; this project allowed him to make them a production reality with the assistance of famed engineering firm Cosworth. Liquid cooling was a no-brainer; better control of heat allowed for closer tolerances and ultimately more (and more reliable power). Fuel injection - a first for Ducati - heralded the future of electronics in motorcycles and in racing. This feature also allowed for tuning and tweaking, necessary to extract the maximum performance from the engine/exhaust combinations tested. Utilizing known techniques, the chassis was a birdcage affair of straight steel tubing. Original plans called for a 16" front wheel (1987 and 1988 model years), which was all the rage for GP machines at the time. However stability issues cropped up, and the now standard 17 incher was fitted. Later 851s received Ohlins upgrades from the original design Marzocchi units, and Brembos adorned the hubs front and rear.

From the seller:
Up for sale is my 1991 Ducati 851. It's original, it's complete, it's immaculate, well taken care of, always garaged and under cover.
All original with tons of work in last 7 years.

Work in 2011 at 15k miles. Motor refresh, new rings, hone, bearings checked, valves adjusted, belts, everything gone through. Upgraded clutch slave New SS brake lines front/rear New clutch with basket open cover New coolant hoses Rebuild rear Ohlins shock Fast by Ferracci stage 1 chip and high carbon pipes.

Work done in 2018 at 16k miles. New front upgraded 916 Brembo rotors/OE pads, Diablo Rossi III tires, OEM battery. The bike is wearing original seat, original pipes and rear pegs now.
You won't find a cleaner original condition collectible worthy 851.

When introduced, the 851 was considered a bit of a high-strung, maintenance-intensive and potentially fragile offering - providing performance at the cost of reliability and/or longevity. History has clearly shown this not to be true, however. Yes, there are some unique service aspects to owning a Pantah-based Ducati, including frequent belt changes and valve adjustment intervals (when compared to your average sewing machine). However these are not the Fiat-related, oil leaking, rust buckets than many feared. These are actually quite robust and reliable steeds that continue to churn out the sound and performance expected, and readers should not hesitate to consider a higher mileage bike. We have, in fact, seen specimens with double the mileage listed here (16,000); provided belts have been changed and services rendered, this motor is well neigh bulletproof.

Today's particular example appears to have been used well, as opposed to well used. It is a '91 851 Strada (biposto). Yes, it has had some miles under the keel. But it has also had a decent amount of service, no doubt at the behest of an owner who keeps his machines healthy and in order. As part of the maintenance there have also been some upgrades. Like the factory, this owner has replaced components with newer available items, both maintaining and enhancing performance of the bike. Being a '91 model, it wears the white frame and white wheels - a striking combination ('92 and onwards went to black hoops). Is it really the cleanest original condition 851 we have seen? I would chalk that up to a bit of poetic license as this bike is not strictly original from a purist standpoint. But it is very, very clean - and continues to evoke visceral, emotional responses you might not find in a more modern bike. Whether or not it is worth the premium asking price is another matter (seller is open to offers). Check out all of the details here, and then jump back to the Comments section and lets chat 851s and higher mileage Ducs. Good Luck!!

MI

Used Well: 1991 Ducati 851
Honda November 28, 2018 posted by

Royal Crown: 2004 Honda RC51

In the soda wars of the 1980s, Coca-Cola was the big dog. But others were keen to move in on the success of Coke, including Pepsi and RC Cola. Each had a slightly different take on the same theme, and competed for the same set of customers. Fast forward to the late 1990s and you could see the same situation developing in World Superbike racing. Ducati had the dominant platform with their legendary 916 (and 851 before that), winning 8 championships and effectively shutting out the other manufacturers. Given the rules and concessions afforded to twins in WSBK (displacement and weight, for example), other factories jumped on the copycat bandwagon. Honda in particular put their four cylinder screamers aside for a roaring v-twin designed to take the fight to Bologna. The bike that was developed became the very successful RC51. Winning the 2000 WSBK title the first year out with Colin Edwards, the RC51 also found success Stateside in the AMA under the guidance of one Nicky Hayden.

2004 Honda RC51 for sale on eBay

Officially known as the RVT1000R in the US, the RC51 was the spiritual successor to the RC30 and RC45; it was built to go racing and win races. And while four cylinder WSBK machines were limited to 750cc, twins were allowed up to 999cc - providing more torque and HP over a lower RPM limit. Designing a new 90 degree twin displacing 999cc, the RC51 featured four valves per cylinder, gear-driven cams and a unique twin injector per cylinder for better fueling across the rev range. And speaking of revs, the RC51 was somewhat limited on the RPM front to the 10k range in favor of longevity due to the large bore / short stroke arrangement. The chassis was pure Honda - aluminum twin beam - with striking side-mounted radiators. While this made for a wider arrangement than the 916, the side-mounted rads were effective and aerodynamic.

From the seller:
Solo seat, Santo pipes, Penske shocks, GPR steering stabilizer, Power Commander.

Very clean, runs great, sounds great, excellent condition. Title in hand. Ready to go.

An overall competitive package, the RC51 was met with great rider enthusiasm; this was partly due to the price. While uber-limited RC30 and RC45s sold new for $25k+, the "lowly" RC51 was a veritable bargain with MSRP one buck below ten grand. There was even a Nicky Hayden edition sold, consisting of cosmetic changes such as brushed aluminum frame and swingarm, number plates and stickers. There were two generations of this model, the SP1 offered from 2000 to 2001, and all others are considered SP2 editions with minor suspension and fueling updates and some geometry changes. By 2006 the twin-cylinder party was over for Honda - as was factory WSBK racing for the time being. When they reemerged from their WSBK absence the new platform was back to the old in-line four ways of the FireBlade. Thus the RC51 is not exactly homologation rare, but relatively low numbers were produced over a short period of time.

Like the cola wars that preceded it, there were many interpretations of the same flavor. The RC51 remains a unique example of Honda taking the fight to Ducati on their turf and for a brief moment, winning the war. The resulting bike was massively capable, with Honda's penchant for reliability and build quality. While a bit porky from some angles, the RC51 is a mean racing machine, and remains a desirable mount for practically any type of riding. This particular example shows few miles (less than 6k), and has some nice add-ons such as tasty Sato exhaust, suspension upgrades and a Power Commander to aid in fueling/tuning. More importantly, it has all the elements of a Nicky Hayden Edition, although not noted by the seller. With an opening ask of $6,000 this bike is starting out in the fair money range, if not the upper side of that neighborhood. No takers thus far, but there is still a long way to go. Check it out here if you are looking to pick up an under-appreciated superbike with real racetrack creds. It may not be the most coveted of the RC set, but this one still looks, sounds and goes like an RC should. Good Luck!!

MI

Royal Crown:  2004 Honda RC51