Posts by tag: RC51

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
Honda November 5, 2018 posted by

Small miles, big pistons: 2001 Honda RC-51

Somehow, whoever owned this 2001 Honda RC51 managed to keep it mostly off the road in its 18 years, showing remarkable restraint in the face of a bike that built a legend for itself under the likes of Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden and Joey Dunlop. Fast, reliable and uncompromising, the RC-51 took the fight to Ducati in the early aughts in a variety of superbike classes and at the Isle of Man.

2001 Honda RC51 for sale on eBay

This is the SP-1 version of the RC51, meaning it has slightly shallower rake and trail, and is a few pounds heavier and a few horses less powerful than the later SP-2 version. It is by no means a slouch. You're still looking at a bike that is well under 500 pounds fully fueled that puts out more than a 130 horses at the crank. Beginners need not apply, to be sure.

The seller provides little description of the bike beyond the mileage, but the pictures say more than enough about its condition. It appears to come with a the original manual and toolkit, as well as a pillion pad and the original front turn signals. The bike looks like it has new, sticky Dunlop street and track tires, and is as clean as you'd expect for a bike with so few miles.

From the eBay listing:

Yes the listing is correct. 2,001 miles!!! Bike runs and shifts smooth. Brand new tires. I’m pretty sure if you’re looking at this bike I don’t have to tell you much about it, you know what you buying. This bike is 18 years old, it’s not perfect, has a very small scratch on the top of the tank.

If you have any questions at all me feel free to contact me.

With the passing of Dunlop and Hayden and Edwards' retirement, as well as myriad rule and convention changes in the class it once dominated, the bike is becoming a piece of history, even as it remains a potent performer by modern standards. Examples like this one will be the ones whose value goes up in years to come, but they haven't quite gotten to the blue-chip collector price point just yet.

Small miles, big pistons: 2001 Honda RC-51
Featured Listing September 29, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 2005 Honda RC51 SP2

The Honda RC51 got right to the point when it came out, knocking Ducati and the other Japanese brands off their seats at the top of the World Superbike grid beneath future MotoGP star Colin Edwards. To do it, they had taken a page from the Italians' book, relying on rules that let v-twins have 1,000ccs to take it to the 916 and 998. It won the title again in 2002, and accomplished the same feat in AMA Superbike with the peerless Nicky Hayden.

The RC51 did it all with reliability, aplomb and majestic build quality -- the only way Honda knows. It was a death blow to Suzuki's wayward TL1000R, which never really hit its stride as either a street or race bike, and it showed the Italians that mechanical sex can also be totally reliable. The critical numbers from the throaty, snarling v-twin are: 130-ish horsepower at the crank, and the better part of 165 mph on the big end.

This 2005 Honda RC51 looks incredible, wearing the pretty charcoal fairings of the later bikes, and blessed with the SP2's updated fueling system, which nixed spotty low-end fuel delivery from the SP1 machines. It has done just 5,000 miles, and wears a Sato titanium exhaust system and a custom-tuned Power Commander.

From the seller:

The RC is #189 and tastefully
modified with all original equipment mint and in my possession . The bike has under 5500 miles and has less than 1000 miles on the latest Q3+ Dunlop’s . Sato Banzai titanium exhaust, Kyle Racing tuned power commander and tail tuck kit.

The bike has never been down or repaired in any way. Spark plugs have been replaced at 4000 miles. Meticulously maintained. I am second owner . Have owned for last 1500 miles. Bike is is in top shelf working condition and needs nothing. Bike was built as is from zero miles . Has gear adjustment and speedo correction performed as well. As previously stated I never intended on selling but the 2017 CBR1000RR SP2 is on the menu. Although I haven’t completely convinced myself that it is a true legacy bike.

Brent, the seller of this magnificent beast, is asking $9,500obo and can be reached at 405-613-7607.

Featured Listing: 2005 Honda RC51 SP2
Honda July 5, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 2002 Honda RC51 SP2 for Sale

Update 7.11.2018: Seller reports that this bike has sold to an RSBFS reader. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

After a couple decades building and racing their signature V4 machines, Honda finally decided to go with the flow and switched to a v-twin that could compete on a level playing field with Ducati. Their faith in the V4 as a package has ultimately been vindicated, as now Ducati is using a V4 for its roadgoing superbikes, and pretty much everybody is racing V4s in MotoGP. But for a couple years, the Honda RC51 showed the world that, all else being equal, they could go toe-to-toe with the v-twins from Bologna.

Well the new v-twin Hondas could compete with Ducati in terms of performance, at least. Style was another matter, and the VTR1000 SP1 and later RVT1000R SP2 seen here traded Tamburini's sensual shapes for altogether more practical lines and a digital dash with a bar-graph tachometer. Mechanically, the bike used an aluminum beam frame with side-mounted radiators that allowed the engine to be mounted further forward in the chassis to overcome the usual packaging issues associated with 90° v-twins, and a set of gears drove the dual overhead cams.

When introduced, the original SP1 was somewhat of a disappointment. Certainly the styling didn't help: it's sleek and purposeful, but not especially sexy, considering it was a follow up to the very trick-looking RC45. But more importantly, handling wasn't up to snuff, low-rpm fueling was pretty poor, and tank range was abysmal. The latter two issues are easy to overlook in a high-performance motorcycle, but the bike's understeer was a deal-breaker for many. Fortunately, the SP2 that followed in 2002 sorted out the handling with some suspension revisions, including a set of tapered spacers for the front wheel that improved feel when the bike was on its ear. Power was up slightly as well to a claimed 133hp, although the fueling was still an issue, a side-effect of the gaping throttle bodies designed for high-rpm power, not around-town driveability. If practicality is your bag, there's always the very nice and much cheaper SuperHawk... Although you'll still have to deal with limited range.

The style of the RC51 didn't really inspire lust in the way Italian machines did when the bike was new, but the clean design looks great these days. Today's Featured Listing is almost obsessively stock for a machine that's been used as intended and actually ridden, down to the rear license plate holder, huge signals, and ridiculously long hero blobs. Aside from the hero blobs, the signals and other original parts seem to suit the bike's chunky style, and the only thing I'd change personally is the stock exhaust: a big twin should sound big-twin-y and stock cans never really do them justice. I'd keep the original exhaust though, so I could return the bike to stock condition in case I wanted to sell it.

From the Seller: 2002 Honda RC51 SP2 for Sale

This 2002 Honda RC51 SP2 is 100% stock except for the addition of a Power Commander 3, and is unbelievably clean.  In 2002 the RC51 received a number of upgrades from the SP1.  This bike looks like it did on the showroom floor with all the OEM warning decals, reflectors, stock exhaust, and stock rear fender.  It has the complete stock tool kit and owners manual with it.  I recently replaced the windscreen, clutch slave, battery, and sprockets with Honda OEM parts.  It also has a new DID chain, and Dunlop Sportmax tires with less than 1000 miles on them.  This RC51 runs and rides perfectly and needs absolutely nothing but a new owner.  The fairings are clean and shiny!  The rear seat cowl/pillion cover was signed by Colin Edwards, who won the World Superbike Championship in 2002, the year this was built.  There is also an unsigned cover and the passenger pillion that go with the bike.  I had never seen an RC51 that was completely stock and in this condition, which is how this made it into my collection.  It has 22,500 miles, meaning it’s been properly exercised and maintained with only about 1400 miles per year since new.  The only single blemish is a minor crack at the mounting point under the left side upper cowl that’s been there for years, apparently common with these.  $5,900.00 or best offer. It’s located near Milwaukee, WI.

The seller's $5,900 asking price is pretty fair for an RC51, especially the improved SP2 version in this kind of mint and nearly stock condition. Obviously, the SP1 and SP2 are way too common to ever command the same sort of interest as the RC30 and RC45, but prices have hit their low point and appear to be on the way up. As always, originality counts for collectors and many RC51s have been modified and updated. If you're looking for a fast Honda with genuine racing heritage, you won't likely find one cleaner or more affordable.

-tad

Featured Listing: 2002 Honda RC51 SP2 for Sale
Honda June 4, 2018 posted by

Dorian Gray: 2005 Honda Interceptor in Silver

A lot of people consider the Honda RC30 and RC45 as the best Honda sportbikes to own but those are fully track oriented machines not really setup for daily use on the street.   Additionally much of the success of the RC bikes can be traced to the VFR V4 editions (and ironically much of the RC tech then found its way back into later Honda models such as the 800cc VFR).   Today's post is a 2005 VFR 800 in a beautiful monochromatic silver and with 12,000 miles which for a VFR is barely broken in.

2005 Honda VFR800 on ebay

When Honda introduced its V4 streetbike configuration in the early 1980's, the result wasn't what the company expected.  Honda engineers deeply believed that a V4 engine would produce nearly optimum power and torque but problems arose with the camshafts in the larger displacement/700cc models.  Given the new technology of the V4 system it probably shouldn't have been a surprise that there would be issues but what was surprising was the inability of Honda, a company that prided itself on its engineering ability, to find a quick resolution to the issue.   The VF700 received a mind-boggling 8 camshaft revisions in its first year alone and the VF series quickly earned a moniker of "chocolate camshaft - it melts in your hand!" with sales being drastically impacted in the following year.

Fortunately for Honda, the company was large enough that the issues with VF series wasn't a make or break proposition but they still had to decided whether to keep working on the V4 design or walk away from the concept.  The later option was actually the financially safer choice; its what Suzuki would do with TL series and what Bimota wish they could have done with the V-Due.  But for Honda's motorcycling division, the issue was more than just a financial decision; their reputation for engineering prowess was at stake.  Honda went back to the design board and the result was the 1986 VFR, a machine engineered to a detail that was unheard of previously.  Rumor has it that the VFR was so over engineered that Honda actually lost money on every one it sold but there is no arguing that the VFR restored the companies reputation as an engineering powerhouse with the VFR winning bike of the year in its first year.  Most impressively it kept winning its market segment year after year and was even anointed as "bike of the decade" for the 1990's by CycleWorld.  Despite changes in displacement and technology the VFR line is still going strong.

NOTE:  An excellent history of the VFR lineup and the changes in each edition can be found here.

This particular VFR800 looks to be in amazing shape, although the silver color combined with the direct sunlight could potentially mask some small paint imperfections.  On the plus side the seller indicates a recent refresh including rubber and misc items.  On the negative side some frame sliders seem to be in place in some pics so its unclear as to how the bike has actually been used.  Also the seller does not indicate if the optional ABS that was available with this model is included on the bike.  This is an important question because while the VFR came standard with a linked braking system (which worked very well indeed), the VFR has a wet weight of over 500 pounds so having ABS was a major upgrade.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • New tires Michelin Pilot Power 2CT
  • New spark plugs
  • New brake pads
  • New K&N air filter
  • Fresh battery
  • Fresh oil every season.
  • All stock, except license plate mount. It was removed by the previous owner.
  • I have panniers Givi Monokey V35 for extra $500. They are barely used.

Admit it, those exhausts are cool and look great with the silver color scheme.

So is this 12,000 mile VFR worth the current asking price of $3,500 USD (extra for the hard luggage)?   While this generation of VFR will probably never appreciate as a collectors bike, if your intent is to actually ride your bikes then that price seems like a great deal.    Also the VFR is a renowned touring machine so this offers an opportunity for both at a low price.  Personally I think this would make an excellent every day rider for someone who already has their track bike or for someone who wants to move into longer distance riding without moving into the everything-but-the-fridge-goldwing segment.

-Martin G/Dallaslavowner

Dorian Gray:  2005 Honda Interceptor in Silver
Honda September 21, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: 2005 Honda RC51 for Sale with only 804 Miles!

Update 11.3.2016: The seller has notified us that this bike has sold. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

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Like other forms of racing, World Superbike is designed around a set of rules intended to create a relatively level playing field and encourage a variety of manufacturers to participate. Knowing that simple displacement limits would result in a field full of Japanese four-cylinder machines, the WSBK rules allowed for v-twin motorcycles of up to 1,000cc and triples of up to 900cc, whereas fours could only be 750cc, meaning the bikes made approximately equal power. But in an era before electronic traction control, twins had a big advantage in torque and traction, meaning they could come out of corners harder, and Ducati’s 916 was dominant in the early years. Enter Honda’s RC51.

2005 Honda RC51 for sale on eBay

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Many felt the rules for v-twins allowed Ducati an unfair advantage, and that this was done entirely to ensure their participation in the series. Whether or not that was true, Honda had gotten tired of struggling to make their RC45 competitive and switched to a v-twin engine for the VTR1000 SP-1, their follow up to the RC45. The bike was successful, although not as dominant as Honda might have hoped. But it really proved their point: given a level playing field, their bikes could go toe-to-toe with Ducati.

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As a roadbike, the original SP-1 had a few minor issues with handling. According to Dave Hancock, Honda’s factory test rider, the bike’s notorious understeer was a result of the bike being rushed into production. Introduced in 2002, the RVT1000 SP-2 featured simple changes that were made to banish the understeer, including tapered spacers to replace the flat ones used on the front wheel. These new spacers allowed some flex at lean and, along with other minor changes, made the bike handle the way fans had always expected it to handle. Power for the SP-2 was up slightly as well to 133hp, but the bike’s low-rpm fueling was never all that smooth, a result of huge throttle bodies that were great for making power at higher revs and wide-open throttle and not so great for puttering around town. Styling is obviously not quite as sleek as the Ducati 916 it was designed to beat, but the race version was ultimately successful, and that was really the point anyway.

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For sportbike fans, the SP-2 offers up sleek styling, Honda racing heritage, and big v-twin noise in a package that you can have serviced at your local dealer, a big plus in much of the US. And if that appeals to you, it will certainly be difficult to find a better example than today’s Featured Listing.

From the seller: 2005 Honda RC51 for Sale

Here we have the King of V-Twins… purebred Honda race history here…

2005 Honda RC51 VTR 1000, 804 miles, yes 804 miles, lived life inside climate controlled home.

Marchesini rims, Akrapovic full titanium 2-2 exhaust with carbon fiber cans, Scott steering damper, custom rearsets, custom dropouts, Power Commander, full stainless brake lines, new Dunlop tires installed one year ago… Much, much more.

All original parts boxed and included with sale (factory wheels, rearsets, etc.)

Serious inquiries only, this is quite possibly the lowest mileage RC51 in the world… for sure for sale.

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Many owners do like to draw the link between this and Honda's other famous homologation specials by stressing the “RC51” designation, but it’s important to remember that these have nowhere near the rarity or exotic specification of their forbears. Obviously, VTR1000 and RVT1000 are the roadgoing versions of the Honda racing twins, but they’re far more common and likely will never achieve the same level of collectability as the RC30 and RC45. That being said, they are very competent motorcycles and I expect that very clean examples will certainly appreciate in the future.

If you're planning to add one to your collection, the red-and-silver scheme may be more traditional, but this dark paint looks very sleek and flatters the bike’s somewhat bulky lines. The modifications seen on this example are functional, make use of high-quality components, and are easily reversible (the factory parts are even included) if you're looking for absolute originality. Plus this particular RC51 has traveled just 804 miles and has led a charmed indoor life.

-tad

Featured Listing: 2005 Honda RC51 for Sale with only 804 Miles!