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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-30-2010, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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First RC51, initial impressions and questions

Well, after about 10 years of having the RC51 linger there on my dream bike list, I finally decided to go out and purchase one! Now I wonder why I hadn't done it sooner. I was able to find a good deal on a 2002 with 11K miles, no real damage to speak of(minor scuffs, scratches), runs great(but what do I know, this is my first v-twin), and a few goodies such as PC3, jardine 2:1 exhaust, ohlins steering dampner, vortex rearsets, free mods done, everything safety wired(guy took it to a few trackdays up at Willow Springs, I believe). All I can say is this bike is a blast! I don't care what the nay-sayers say about this bike, with it being too heavy, underpowered, etc(believe me, I used to think some of those things too), but when I'm on this thing, I can't wipe the grin off my face. I've had 5 people in three days comment on my bike, which is about two more than have commented on any other bike I've owned. This bike may not win the numbers race that constantly brews amongst those who have their noses buried deep in the motorcycle magazines, but it will get a smile and a wave from just about any passer by who has ever known the pleasure of being on two wheels on the open road. Needless to say, I'm hooked. I do however have a few questions for those of you who, no doubt have more experience with the RC51 than I do.

Stalling:
Ok, so I already stalled it a couple times taking off from a stop. It took a short while to get used to that tall first gear and this hydraulic clutch that seems to have an ambiguous engagement point. My real issue is not with that, however. My issue has been with two circumstances when I am approaching a stop sign, downshift, pull in the clutch as I am stopping, and the bike dies. No sputter or lugging, just dies as if I hit the kill switch. On both occasions I was leaving work at about midnight after having the bike parked for 8 hours, with ambient temperatures averaging 65 degrees. Bike warm up was brief in both circumstances, with temperature reaching about 108 degrees before departing. I have read a couple similar problems using the search, but haven't found any answers other than "It'll do that sometimes". Anyone have any insight?

Choke:
Does anyone use that choke under the left fairing? Under what circumstances? Just really cold temps or what?

Warm up:
Always owned I4 sportbikes and have been told that it's best to warm them up to about 160 before riding. What's the recommendation for the v-twin RC?

Overheating:
How hot is too hot? Already seen temps of 221 in traffic. Planning on flushing the cooling system with vinegar and then refilling with distilled, water wetter, and maybe 10% coolant. Any other tips?

Diagnosis:
Does the RC have any sort of trouble code/diagnosis mode? On several other bikes, you can jump a wire, and then hold down the reset button as you are keying the bike on and then it will flash any stored codes at you. My 03 R1 even allows for individual fuel injector pulsewidth adjustments. Does this bike allow anything like that?

Fuel:
I'm going to assume that this bike requires 92 octane gas. Does anyone run anything else? I could run 89 octane in my 01 R1, and it ran like a champ. That's why I ask.

Anything else?
I know these are some pretty random questions, but I just like to be informed. Are there any other quiks that I should probably know about?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-30-2010, 07:50 PM
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I picked up my first one last fall and feel the same way. Once you get above 20 pmh or so its a fantastic bike.

I am not an expert on RC's or twins but...


Stalling:
I do that all the damn time. Once a day in the morning. This is the most cold blooded bike i have ever owned.
Stalling on decel - i would check idle speed 1300 +/-100 rpm. I would check the power commander as well with a 2-1 exhaust it nay be tuned for upper rpm.

Choke:
I always use it until it smooths out - 10 30 seconds. I think the owners manual states to keep it choked until the idle goes up to 2500 prm. It doesn't make any difference in the morning for me though (see above).

Warm up:
I am playing around with this a little. Now I let it warm up to at least 120 at this point. I have read for other bikes that you are OK on any temp over 100 - or when the digital temp gauge starts showing numbers but that hasn't worked for me so far.

Over heat:
Hot... On a 75 deg day I have gone from 180-220 at a stoplight. I think the fan is supposed to kick in around 220-230. Its the same with my VFR - also with side mounted rads - thing gets hot with no airflow.
You can look at some fan mods to make the cooling more efficient (reversing fan direction) shrouds, fins. Stuff like that. My previous owner wired in a manual fan switch. over rich mixture at low rpm's will make it run hot as well.

Diags:
There is a link to the service manual floating around here. I have it and it details the engine and fuel diagnostics.

Fuel:
91 or better


Speaking from experience I would recommend a close inspection under the fairings. After buying mine late late last fall I did a mini-teardown this spring and found a couple of things i missed in my general inspection. The things i missed were rc51 specific which bothers me a little since they are turning into a big pita to fix


There are smarter people here so I expect you will get some better answers than mine....















Quote:
Originally Posted by RC51Scott View Post
Stalling:
Ok, so I already stalled it a couple times taking off from a stop. It took a short while to get used to that tall first gear and this hydraulic clutch that seems to have an ambiguous engagement point. My real issue is not with that, however. My issue has been with two circumstances when I am approaching a stop sign, downshift, pull in the clutch as I am stopping, and the bike dies. No sputter or lugging, just dies as if I hit the kill switch. On both occasions I was leaving work at about midnight after having the bike parked for 8 hours, with ambient temperatures averaging 65 degrees. Bike warm up was brief in both circumstances, with temperature reaching about 108 degrees before departing. I have read a couple similar problems using the search, but haven't found any answers other than "It'll do that sometimes". Anyone have any insight?

Choke:
Does anyone use that choke under the left fairing? Under what circumstances? Just really cold temps or what?

Warm up:
Always owned I4 sportbikes and have been told that it's best to warm them up to about 160 before riding. What's the recommendation for the v-twin RC?

Overheating:
How hot is too hot? Already seen temps of 221 in traffic. Planning on flushing the cooling system with vinegar and then refilling with distilled, water wetter, and maybe 10% coolant. Any other tips?

Diagnosis:
Does the RC have any sort of trouble code/diagnosis mode? On several other bikes, you can jump a wire, and then hold down the reset button as you are keying the bike on and then it will flash any stored codes at you. My 03 R1 even allows for individual fuel injector pulsewidth adjustments. Does this bike allow anything like that?

Fuel:
I'm going to assume that this bike requires 92 octane gas. Does anyone run anything else? I could run 89 octane in my 01 R1, and it ran like a champ. That's why I ask.

Anything else?
I know these are some pretty random questions, but I just like to be informed. Are there any other quiks that I should probably know about?

Thanks.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-30-2010, 07:52 PM
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If you are running stock final gearing, it's much too tall.
A better method is to run 15/41, or 42. It launches from a stop with hardly any clutch slippage, yet still has more than enough top end to land you in jail.

An engine temp of 221 in stop and go traffic is pretty typical.
When the fans kick in at around 217, they usually cool then engine down to 205 in a few minutes. And once moving at a decent clip, the temp goes down farther.
The critical temp is 251. If you see that temp and your temp indicator is blinking, pull over and give a long rest. That's the critical temp that could cause damage if not cooled down promptly.
The use of Water Wetter, Engine Ice, or any silicate-free coolant should be fine.
Make sure your fans rotate freely with no problems with squeaky bearings.
Since it's an 8 year old bike, the bearings may be starting to go, as mine were.
Just give them a spin manually with the engine off and listen if the bearings are squeaking of if they spin freely.

If the engine is cold, I always use the "choke" and slowly push it in as the engine temp rises to normal. Typically around 160-ish.
Then again, I do this warm up method on everything I own.
It's just the kind way to treat your machinery.

Check that your idle at normal temperature is 1300 RPM +/- 100.
If your idle is too low, it might be the cause of your stalling.

The bike does have a service connector to check ECU codes.
On the SP2's, it's a green 2-pole connector under the rider's seat.
If you jumper the connector and turn the ignition switch on, it will show all the stored fault codes it's detected.
Remember, these are stored codes. If your bike had faults in the past and was fixed, but the codes were never cleared, it could falsely indicate problems.

The manual recommends 91 octane or better.
In a pinch, you might get away with 89 octane. I myself use 91 to 93 octane with 93 preferable.

Last edited by SubSailor; 05-30-2010 at 07:56 PM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-02-2010, 11:35 PM
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I'm what you'd consider a new owner, so here's my "new owner" input!

Stalling:
I have 16/40 stock gearing. I'll keep it until I can ride someone's RC that has a different setup so I can compare. I don't have the means to just start buying and swapping around different sprockets until I figure out how I like it. I love my stock gas mileage, and that'll take a crap if I change that gearing. Off topic...I've only had the bike stall when I didn't have enough gas into 1st gear or I let the clutch out with the kickstand still down. I don't have any issues coming to stops with it. There's another guy over at Speedzilla (unless it's you under a different name) with the same problem it seems. Go here.

Choke:
I have to use it any time the engine is cold. Whether it's 65 F in the morning or after the bike has been in the sun all day in 85 F. If I don't have it pulled when I start the bike, it will die. I don't leave it engaged for any longer than 15 - 30 seconds.

Warm up:
This is my first motorcycle with a temperature readout. With my previous motorcycle ('09 650R) I'd let it idle for about two minutes. With the RC, I haven't timed it, but I think it takes a little less than that for it to show 110-115 F. I'll ride it after it hits 120 F.

Overheating:
I just run the stock HP Pro Coolant without any additives and the hottest I've gotten is to 222 F in town. The fans kick in and it scoots right back down to about 208. On an average 55-65 MPH ride in 4th gear it stays around 185-190 F.

Diagnosis:
Haven't had any problems to diagnose yet.

Fuel:
I always run premium, which in my area is 91 octane with 10% ethanol blended. I've had no issues with it, but I try to get my fuel from Kwik Trip gas stations as their premium fuel is "Hobby grade" and doesn't contain ethanol.

Anything else?
-Based on the age of my bike (2004) and the fact that my previous owner had no service orders for the bike I had to assume most essential fluids and such needed replacement. Unless the previous owner can confirm maintenance, at minimum I'd give yourself a maintenance baseline with an oil change, coolant drain/replace, and flush the brake fluid out of all three reservoirs. I'm not the most mechanically savvy guy, but I did all of it myself and saved a bunch of money. No leaks or anything, I was impressed! Only thing I was a little leery of was that on the coolant drain it didn't completely drain out both radiators. Not sure how someone is suppose to cycle out the rest of the rest of the fluid. I started the bike but nothing else came out the bypass hose.
-If you bleed your own brakes and clutch, DO NOT use the factory manual torque specifications! 6.5 ft-lbs is WAY TOO much for the bleeder on the clutch slave! I started torquing at that rate and was like, "Holy sh*t if I keep going this thin is gonna strip!" Just tighten 'em until they fluid doesn't run out anymore.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-08-2010, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, definitely cleared up some issues. After having this bike for a couple of weeks, I've found that by warming up the bike a little more (say, between 120 and 140), and by pulling in the clutch sooner when approaching a stop, the bike hasn't died yet.
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