Teach me something about RC51's - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Teach me something about RC51's

Hi everyone. I've been riding for some 20 plus year but have never had an RC51. From the first time I saw one, and more to the point heard one, I have wanted one. I'm really considering selling my current bike and trying to locate a deal on an RC51 so I figured where better to learn about them then from the enthusiasts (you).

Want to know:
? Best year to get one and why?
? Issues that need to be addressed?
? How are they on the track?
? Any other nuances?

My current bike is an '02 Aprillia Mille R with all the updates and bells and whistles. Primary use is for for the track.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
? Best year to get one and why?
2004! Because of the graphics! Mostly kidding, but I do like the '04 best, because of the graphics. All years are very similar mechanically. There was a change from the SP1 around 2002 to the SP2 which changed a few relatively minor things. I've never read anybody say either is vastly superior to the other. It actually seems that whichever one a guy has, well that's the one he claims is best. Overall, though, it does seem to be universally agreed that the SP2 changes were all improvements ... a step forward, and really no step backwards.

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Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
? Issues that need to be addressed?
Nothing too out of the ordinary. Sometimes the Fuel Pressure Regular needs to be replaced. The bike is herky jerky in OEM form due to being geared pretty tall and fueling, which can be improved by changing sprockets and adding a Power Commander. That's about all I know of. Hey it's a Honda.

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Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
? How are they on the track?
Can't say as I've never ridden on a track.

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Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
? Any other nuances?
Not sure how to answer this. Again, it's a Honda. Very well built. Runs good, strong, fast, handle good ... for the early 2000's that is.

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Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
My current bike is an '02 Aprillia Mille R with all the updates and bells and whistles. Primary use is for for the track.
Dunno a lot about the Aprilia, but I think it's pretty similar to the RC51: V-twin sportbike from the early 2000's.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 01:33 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

+1 to everything stated above by Extrapolator.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
Hi everyone. I've been riding for some 20 plus year but have never had an RC51. From the first time I saw one, and more to the point heard one, I have wanted one. I'm really considering selling my current bike and trying to locate a deal on an RC51 so I figured where better to learn about them then from the enthusiasts (you).

Want to know:
? Best year to get one and why?
? Issues that need to be addressed?
? How are they on the track?
? Any other nuances?

My current bike is an '02 Aprillia Mille R with all the updates and bells and whistles. Primary use is for for the track.
SP2 would be my choice, better parts availability, especially exhaust. If you can find one with modded forks and shock, a PC, and good exhaust - that would be a great foundation.

SP1's are a good choice too, only thing about them is a leaky hinge weld on the rear of fuel tank. Mine had it, so did a few others here on the forum. All the early FI Honda's are notorious also for leaky fpr's, and stator or reg/rec charging issues. There's quite a few threads about those issues.

Haven't ridden track enough to comment, but 6 years and 35K miles on the street.
How much track time vs street will you use the bike?
One thing for sure, even with a decent amount of mods, the bike feels heavy. But once up to speed, feels very planted and loves to rail thru turns - just get your input right or she might bite back.
One thing that helped me a lot with that on the lovely canyon roads in my area, is using 15/42 (-1+2) sprockets and a 200/55 rear tire. Many here run a 190/55 and are very happy with that too.

Oh yeah, did I mention suspension?
Seriously, upgrading takes these bikes to the next level.

All that said, try to ride one before deciding.

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jondog9 View Post
Welcome to the forum.

+1 to everything stated above by Extrapolator.




SP2 would be my choice, better parts availability, especially exhaust. If you can find one with modded forks and shock, a PC, and good exhaust - that would be a great foundation.

SP1's are a good choice too, only thing about them is a leaky hinge weld on the rear of fuel tank. Mine had it, so did a few others here on the forum. All the early FI Honda's are notorious also for leaky fpr's, and stator or reg/rec charging issues. There's quite a few threads about those issues.

Haven't ridden track enough to comment, but 6 years and 35K miles on the street.
How much track time vs street will you use the bike?
One thing for sure, even with a decent amount of mods, the bike feels heavy. But once up to speed, feels very planted and loves to rail thru turns - just get your input right or she might bite back.
One thing that helped me a lot with that on the lovely canyon roads in my area, is using 15/42 (-1+2) sprockets and a 200/55 rear tire. Many here run a 190/55 and are very happy with that too.

Oh yeah, did I mention suspension?
Seriously, upgrading takes these bikes to the next level.

All that said, try to ride one before deciding.
80%/20% track to street.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 12:25 PM
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SP2 was the obvious way to go for me, imo and ime (have owned both), though many are very happy with the SP1 and it is still a great bike in general. There are a ton of upgrades on the SP2 over the SP1; it is significant and has been listed before on this forum.

The SP2 is notably better than SP1 for the track (I have tracked and raced). The rear end on the SP1 suffers from a lack of feel and feedback (which is very problematic in a track or racing environment).

Here is some related info on SP1 and SP2 comparisons.

Honda RC51 (RVT1000R) - Great Sportbikes of the Past | Sport Rider
Quote:
Those who spent time on both the SP1 and SP2 report that the differences were noticeable, with the sharper handling and better fueling the most apparent.
Quote:
In '02, Honda released a new SP2 model that featured a host of upgrades, most of them directly from the race kit for the SP1 model. It made about five more horsepower, much of that due to the larger 62mm throttle bodies and redesigned cylinder head porting. Remapped fuel injection curves and finer 12-jet injectors helped eliminate the previous throttle response problem. Other major changes included sharper steering geometry, with the rake pulled back to 23.5 degrees and trail shortened to 94.6mm (3.7 inches), and each side radiator equipped with its own fan to address the overheating issues that plagued the SP1. The new swingarm was basically the SP1 race kit model, stretching the wheelbase by 16mm while adding rigidity and cutting weight in the process. The SP2 model had a taller (1.2 inches) windscreen developed from Colin Edwards' World Superbike mount, as well as redesigned mufflers for less weight. All told, the SP2 dropped about eight pounds in the process.

The forum has lots of interesting related information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubSailor View Post
On 2000-2001 VTR1000-SPW that Colin Edwards rode, he complained the frame was too stiff and not allowing the rear tire to hook up properly.
They removed the upper rear engine bolt and made cuts in the swingarm for added longitudinal flex.

The 2002 VTR1000-SPW had these designed flex changes incorporated into the re-design.
Which why Edwards always preferred the 2002 bike over the earlier ones.
It put the power down so much better....
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Last edited by kwtoxman; 05-01-2017 at 12:33 PM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 08:41 PM
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Welcome Chaplain you can easily search these forums to find the answers you seek..

I also recommend an SP2 over an SP1.. but I suggest you find a friend or someone at the track to let you ride their RC.. gonna be hard for you to compare the Aprilia to the Honda until you actually ride the Honda

My understanding from guys who have owned both is although they have some similarities being big V twins the Honda is more bang for your buck, certainly more reliable, & easier to get parts when the need arises

My .02
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Welcome Chaplain you can easily search these forums to find the answers you seek..

I also recommend an SP2 over an SP1.. but I suggest you find a friend or someone at the track to let you ride their RC.. gonna be hard for you to compare the Aprilia to the Honda until you actually ride the Honda

My understanding from guys who have owned both is although they have some similarities being big V twins the Honda is more bang for your buck, certainly more reliable, & easier to get parts when the need arises

My .02
You nailed it. I love the Ape and most reviews put the Mille in the top 3-5 for beginner track bikes next to the SV of course and the R6. However, as you pointed out, something easier to get parts for, and more reliable (electrically speaking) would be nice.
Bang for buck? Not sure on this one, a Mille R can be had all day for under $4k even closer to half that if you find a deal. The R comes w OZ wheels, Ohlins forks/shock and Brembo brakes stock.



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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
Hi everyone. I've been riding for some 20 plus year but have never had an RC51. From the first time I saw one, and more to the point heard one, I have wanted one. I'm really considering selling my current bike and trying to locate a deal on an RC51 so I figured where better to learn about them then from the enthusiasts (you).



Want to know:

? Best year to get one and why?

? Issues that need to be addressed?

? How are they on the track?

? Any other nuances?



My current bike is an '02 Aprillia Mille R with all the updates and bells and whistles. Primary use is for for the track.


I have two SP2's. One for track and one for road. Full Ohlins does indeed transform these bikes. Worth every penny. PCIII and a pipe of your choice is nice, especially if you have snatchy fuelling which is a common complaint on these bikes. Mine is still a bit non-linear, but I'm used to it now.

Main gripe? These bikes are capital H Heavy. Compare it to a 2008 CBR 600RR which is lighter and faster for the same money (but not the same sound). Unless you like weight? Or some other reason to buy the SP2?

Remember, it'll take a big chequebook to make them nimble like a true Hayden race bike.

My street bike is good for Starbucks runs these days. I'll always go for my RSV4 RF if I'm really wanting to ride...


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2004 Hayden
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 07:43 PM
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Sorry for the tangent, but that was a real pearl from SubSailor that you brought to this thread @kwtoxman .

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubSailor View Post
On 2000-2001 VTR1000-SPW that Colin Edwards rode, he complained the frame was too stiff and not allowing the rear tire to hook up properly.
They removed the upper rear engine bolt and made cuts in the swingarm for added longitudinal flex.

The 2002 VTR1000-SPW had these designed flex changes incorporated into the re-design.
Which why Edwards always preferred the 2002 bike over the earlier ones.
It put the power down so much better.

The SP1 and SP2 that we mere mortals ride is only a passing resemblance to the factory bike Edwards rode.
I would suggest leaving the engine mount bolts alone.

The SP1 suspension was more progressive than the SP2's, which had a revised link ratio.
One improvement to the SP1 rear suspension is to replace the OEM lower rocker link with the Kyle Racing link.

This changes the link ratio to a more linear rate over the OEM progressive rate.
It also raises the rear ride height a few millimeters to quicken the steering response by steepening the rake slightly and thereby reducing trail a bit.

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 07:57 PM
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To sum it up, the RC51 is like having a really cool muscle car from back in the day. Still a ton of fun on the street, but not competitive and very pricey for repairs and upgrades as a track bike. imo.
I've given up aspirations of tracking my bike anymore, will buy a R6 for track only eventually. (At least that's the plan for now)

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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