Advice Needed: 1st time rider & 1st Bike - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Advice Needed: 1st time rider & 1st Bike

I'm selling my track car and was offered a trade for a 2003 RC15, great condition (so he says), with 5600 miles on it. I will be checking out the bike soon, so I would like some advice.

What is this bike worth?
What mechanical problems should I look for?
Is there any special maintenance I need to do?
Recommendations for/against this as a first bike?
Any additional advice you would like to send my way.

I just got my moto license and was looking at R6s until this offer came my way. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about these bikes. I'm a pretty mature driver so I know to respect the bike, so the additional power over an R6 doesn't really concern me - just the handling/weight. Thanks for any replies in advance!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 04:34 PM
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Worth is hard to answer... if in good stock shape, $3K to $5K absolute highest. If it's got actual goodies on it (aftermarket parts), not crap like 6 shooter bar ends, price could go up.
Mechanical problems: no, they are bulletproof. If it idles, shifts and runs like it should, you should be fine. There are wear and tear items of course, but mechanically they are a very good bike.
Maintenance: valve adjustments at 15K and routine items (LOF, fluids).
Do not get this as a first bike.... would really recommend AGAINST it. Thinking back to my first bike, there are a lot of lessons to learn on the road before grabbing a monster as the RC51. Don't get me wrong (and am sure many people will have differing opinions), it's a GREAT bike, but I don't think these are good/appropriate first bikes. They are fat, heavy and hard to maneuver at low speeds... but once moving are a pure joy. But from all the riders I've talked to and ridden with over time, the general idea seems that someones first bike should be a (safe) beater. It may go down (hopefully without injury). It's better to have something you don't care about and isn't expensive to repair if it does go down.
I'd consider taking it on trade if it makes financial sense and then selling it.
Just look at the clutch/brake fluid reservoirs, that should indicate how great of a condition (maintenance-wise) the owner kept it...
Good luck, ride safe with whatever you end up getting! is offline  
post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 06:41 PM
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The bike is bulletproof but a heavy weight. I bought my 2003 bone stock for 4700. (low miles too and well maintained engine and cosmetically)

Now a days, the 600's are making close to the stock setting of the RC. (of course some of that is inflated...) The general concensus is to buy an older bike to cut your teeth on, then move into a lower horsepower performance machine (600) If you are just going to putt around town it will do the job. (But the RC doesn't like city driving...its a hot mother to ride in the city)

If you feel you can ride the RC and control it at "reasonable" speeds, then by all means, keep it around. Of course to me, maturity has a lot to do with riding. Just know one thing, the bike is going down sooner or later, either with you on it or not. Just the nature of depending on a man to keep the RC balanced on two wheels and the kick stand properly planted...

Sounds like you have been around high performance machines and understand there are limits to you and the machine.

Please buy a good helmet: Scorpion, Shoei or Arai. Always wear your gear, (boots, gloves, jacket/pants with armour in them) As with any motorsport, yep its gonna cost you. $1,000 is a good figure for the above mentioned gear. (Conservatively)

I say go for it if the trade seems acceptable.

The very first schoolbook that was written had God all over it. --Dave Mustaine

Last edited by madbuyer; 12-07-2010 at 06:51 PM. Reason: add
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply guys.

It's funny someone mentioned $3-5k max. KBB says $5.3k. Is there something you know that I don't know? I am trying to get $6k for my car, I was gonna settle if the deal could turn out to be RC51+$500.

Definitely agree about the gear - spent over $1500 out of paranoia that I am going down sooner or later (although from what I have been reading, doesn't seem to be far from the truth.)

Thanks for the insight about understanding limits. This is definitely something I always keep top of mind, especially my own.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 11:01 PM
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Buy the bike and keep it in the garage untill you learn how to drive in ANOTHER bike ( I recommend a lower cc engine), RC are almost a race machine and you will be hurt if you can't control it, , it's heavier and very fast, I think this kind of bike is for experienced riders.... good luck...

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 11:02 PM
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Whatever you do, be smart............I started on a SV650S (little twn) then moved to the RC (big twn) and it worked out well but like I said just be smart and you'll be good.


2003 Honda RC51 - 46K+
PCIIIr, SATO low mount C/F, hotbodies undertail, SATO F/S, CRG shorty BRK & CLTCH levers, Magical Racing C/F speedo cover and rear hugger, HRC clutch & F Brake sock covers, Galfer SS lines all around, pair valve mod
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2010, 01:02 AM
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Honestly, I wouldn't trade. If the guy wants your car, tell him to sell the bike.

What is your car really worth? Is it a car that would have sold for $8k a few years ago, but because the economy sucks it's now worth $6k? Or has it always been worth $6k, and now you want top dollar even though they sell for $4k? A few years ago, a 2003 RC51 would average around $7k, now they are probably averaging about $5500.

There might be a reason that he hasn't sold it (if he has been trying), something that a more experienced rider would pass on. If you are set on trading for it, please please please have a local Honda shop take a look at it. It probably won't cost more than $100 for them to look it over, and if he won't let you have them look at it, pass on it for sure.

Things like this can, and do happen, and there are shady people out there looking for suckers. This guy bought this bike without knowing that the damage had been done. If he didn't have access to the kind of machinery that he does, and the skills to do this repair, he would be forking out cash for a new set of cases and the work to replace them, or the motor:

RC's are big and fat and expensive to repair when they go down. Each plastic panel (nose, left & right side, and tail) are over $500 new, about $150-250 in good used shape Tanks are over $600 new and can go for $400 used. If you lay one down, you can consider yourself extremely lucky if you only damage two panels/tank. Most times you'll hit the nose, side, tail and tank due to the way the bodywork sits on the bike and it's shape. The tail, tank, and nose are much wider than newer bikes.

If it checks out and you still want it, I would keep it in the garage for a while and spend $1500 on beater ninja 250 to learn on. After you get comfortable enough to ride the RC full time, you can probably sell the ninja for what you bought it for, keep it around for kicks or the lady friends, or turn it into a beater track bike (which is probably a good idea if you want to head out to the track on two wheels)

Last edited by b.miller123; 12-11-2010 at 01:05 AM.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2010, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the advice. As far as the bike goes, the thing is mint. Only 6500 miles on it and I think I'm getting a very fair deal on it. Comes with Micron exhaust, power commander, aftermarket seat (don't know what brand), rear seat cover and rear seat. These mods are just what I could tell from looking at it since current owner (2nd) has taken the bike out only 3 times in the last 3 years and doesn't know too much about it. I'll probably be posting pictures up an asking if there's anything I've missed. There's not much to take to a dealer to look at. Everything is just brand spankin' mint. Besides, I've been trying to sell my car for a long time now. So I'm pretty sold on this deal.

Gonna go get the bike on Sunday and probably join this forum full time.

As far as riding ability goes... yeah, I've got a bit of learning to do. Will be riding very conservatively for a long time while avoiding traffic and busy roads.

Last edited by No_Skillz; 12-11-2010 at 01:38 AM.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2010, 11:29 AM
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Santa comes early!!
Enjoy your new Christmas toy.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2010, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SubSailor View Post
Santa comes early!!
Enjoy your new Christmas toy.
Santa never brought me no RC.

Last edited by Rugid; 12-11-2010 at 10:17 PM.
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