I'd believed the Hype and bought a virtually new 954 Fireblade, but I could tell I didn't like it much by the way I'd just leave it covered in road grime week after month and only wash it occasionally when it looked horrible. It sounded like a sowing maching as it cruised... and I considered it a tool rather than a toy. I never bought any parts for it - all these are signs of how much I like (or don't) a machine.
Early one morning on my way to work using the 954 I came across a modified SP1 on an empty 2 lane road. We played at drag racing to somewhere north of 100 mph till the next set of lights and kept doing it till I needed to turn off & gave each other a thumbs up...That was like sunshine to a seed but well before then I'd always stopped at Honda dealers to look at RC51's anyway...
The majority were SP1's or more expensive SP2's in completely standard guise, most with tell-tales of having been on their sides sometime prior. None were really tempting.
For years I'd read about why Ducati V-twins gave better grip due to longer duration between power pulses reaching the rear wheel. I'd had a VFR750 since nearly new and so already liked gear driven cams. RC30's & 45's had always been machines I'd admired and the RC51 was the newer sibling for WSB Homologation. Being a V-Twin that wasn't driven by un-necessarily complicated Desmodronic valve systems and not having the unreliability woes of a Ducati, but the solidity of Honda build quality was another plus.
And it had a wet clutch instead of a noisy dry one. Bonus that it was beautiful too.
I didn't know of all the differences between SP1 & SP2's but I knew I wanted only an SP2 as it was bound to be better. As Honda would make no more V-Twin sportsbikes, my choice had been made easy. One afternoon when calling into a friend's office as he was looking at bikes online, I casually asked him to check for a VTR SP2.
Within seconds he said, "How about this one?"
As I looked at his PC screen I knew I was looking at my future SP2.
It looked fantastic & I wasted no time making arrangements to see it.
Owner wouldn't let me ride it but I could clearly see he'd loved it from new and lavished it with lots of attention & fine parts. He was only selling as he'd become a father and his wife had persuaded him to sell. His price was expensive, but I didn't haggle as I knew I wouldn't find a better one & left him a deposit. Following weekend I collected it.
Riding it home for the first time, immediately it felt special. The beautiful styling, the whine of gear driven cams, the sound from the V-Twin, the evidently better handling. It all felt right.
Surprisingly despite my dislike for it - the 954 looked like brand new once I'd spent a day cleaning all the grime off & polishing it - and so the first guy to view bought it (& went on to become a riding buddy).
With the Blade sold for close to what I'd paid for it 2 years prior - the RC51 had cost me a little bit of pocket change in difference.
In the last 7 years it's cost a lot more besides with the upgrade parts it's received but it's always been a bike I've enjoyed and I know I'll never part with it.
As for hankering after others, it's like when you find the perfect woman to share the rest of your life with. You look - but you're comforted in the firm knowledge that no matter how attractive others may be, you're just not tempted.
Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.