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Hi All,
(it’s gonna be a bit of a read since I have no one else that shares my infatuation with this bike)

So I joined here back in 2013 even though I was browsing thru the forum for quite some time learning about the RC. Anyway, I had made my original introduction in the thread below when I first started my serious quest to find an RC51.
http://www.rc51forums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9633

Long story short, that search resulted empty handed as the bikes in my area were way too over-priced in my opinion even if I was willing to drive 6-7 hours.
Well after almost 2 years I’m back! I was bored and decided to window shop on kijiji last monday then low and behold, I saw something with potential – a 2001 rc51 23k (kms) already had a PC3, K&N filters and M4 exhaust. The owner was looking to trade for a 2 stroke dirtbike. The listing itself had only been on for a few hours, so I emailed him asking what he was hoping for in a cash price. Over the course of the past week, I coordinated a meeting time with him and bought it yesterday.

I had to drive about an hour to see the bike but had my gear ready and brought along my bro inlaw so he could drive my truck back if the purchase was successful. The other reason I brought him was to keep me from making any stupid mistakes. We have a ton of mileage together on our bikes he understood how bad I wanted the RC – he also knows how crappy I am at negotiating for something I really want.

Anyway, we finally get to see this bike, at first glance from about 10ft away, it looks great (but don’t they all..! haha) The bike was sitting on a trailer as the owner just bought it home out of storage. This made it a little tricky to get up close and personal. As we talked to the owner, he explained how he has only put about 4-500kms on the bike in 2 years and recently changed the oil/plugs/air filters. He obtained it by trading a dirt bike for the experience and just never spent a lot of time in the seat.

Initial impressions:
Fairings were in ok shape and fit fairly snug. I couldn’t quite place why they looked odd to me (I later realized they were 2004 fairings when I got home. The front fender was also busted by the bolts on one side)

Looking at the rubber, the bike had obviously seen some track days which the current owner said had been done prior to his ownership, I believed him. These tires felt hard as a rock and when I looked at the date stamps one of them from was 2004..!!! As I continued to scan, there was evidence of it likely being low-sided/dropped. Little things like the clutch cover now has a carbon fibre shell glued on. The swingarm had minor scrapes/gouges here and there. The rear brake didn’t illuminate the brake light and I would bet there was also rearsets on previously so that stupid spring that’s used on the foot pedal switch doesn’t have the proper tension. The handle bars were replaced with clips on/ crg levers, the grips felt like holding hands with a hobo they were so crappy and cheap. All things I didn’t like but also all things that I could correct and wouldn’t stop me from riding it asap. On a side note, I’m actually hoping the internals in the forks might be upgraded with better springs since it was tracked but I doubt it.

Not to be discouraged I asked him to fire up the bike. And that was pretty much all it took for me to have my cash ready.! The bike sounded great, we let the engine warm up as the inspection continued. No leaks, no strange sounds. I was good to go and asked if we could roll it off the trailer so I could sit on it and get a better feel. This is when I learned the front brakes didn’t have any pressure.!!! He knew right away once that part of the conversation arrived, so did the negotiation. We all had similar suspicions on what it could be (air bubble/master cylinder) and it definitely put a damper on my excitement to ride this rocket home that day.

Long story short, he knocked off an extra $500 based on everything (it was priced to go quickly already) and he ended up delivering the bike to my house so I could start the repairs (I gave him an extra $20 for gas/lunch as karma for being so kind).
After blipping the throttle for a little while in front of the house, I drove over to the Honda dealership since it’s only 5min away to pick up some brake fluid. Bled the front brakes, the right side had some air, the left barely any and voila!!, pressure was right back. Though I’m not sure if it’s common to lose brake pressure in the lines if the bike is sitting for an extended period of time so I’ll be keeping an eye on it the next few weeks.

The to-do list for now is pretty basic for now since I just want to get a feel for the bike.
- Getting new tires immediately. Probably by Tuesday
- New grips (might look to find the stock clip-ons while I’m at it)
- I prefer tank grips to help reduce the strain on my wrist
- I’m a believer in damper/steering stabilizers so that will likely make it’s way on.
- Minor tweaks to stock suspension till tracks days come around then who knows…
- Aftermarket sidemarkers/tail light. Stock looks ugly to me.
Overall, pretty happy. The only thing that bugs me is that I’m not used to having an incomplete motorcycle. There’s little things missing that I probably don’t need: the mount for the front chair guard is snapped off, brake line clips on top of the front fender are non-existant, etc

. Oh and can someone identify what’s supposed to be in this hole inbetween the cluster and triple tree? It’s kinda bugging me, I feel like I’m missing out.. haha








thanks for reading.
 

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Congratulations. There are a few members here local to you.

That hole in the front snorkel is for the oem air flapper. You can/should seal it up. Cheap is tape. Nicer but have to spend some money is modding the original piece or doing a combo with an aftermarket cover. rc51.org has a mods section. It is a good read and includes info on this aspect.

Google rc51 service manual and download it. I recommend buying a copy if you are going to use it much as the page quality if better and it is easier to use a book than a pdf.

I hope the bike works well. It is a mish mosh of parts.

There is a good chance if the brakes had air in them, it is because the caliper seals are shot. That was my experience. I found the brakes got spongy again after a bleed.

People are parting out bikes here from time to time so getting things like oem clip ons shouldn't be too hard or expensive. Always compare to new prices. Partzilla out of the US is a good comparison and the best prices I've seen.

Good luck and enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
appreciate the info and the advice.!

i had already downloaded the manual and was fully prepared to bring my laptop in the garage as needed but can see how just buying a copy would be more useful.
 

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And you will need this site too....

www.rc51.org it has all the fancy mods and tech data.:cool:

Looks like you found a nice ride too. Unfortunately, it is probably the slowest of the years that Honda made. I hear the '03's are the fastest year.;)
 

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Welcome! I sent an email to the previous owner but you had bought it already:)

Glad to see another enthusiast in the same city!

I've got many spare parts should you need them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Haha. Thanks madbuyer.

Thanks cam_ron. I might hit you up once the weather is nicer to look over the bike and tell me what else might be missing.
 

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PM sent with my contact information. I think you'll find that this community is unlike any other. Some great people and discussion.
 

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Now that I've opened my trap on your thread in the general section, here's a big welcome for ya! Getting to be a few of us Cdn Rednecks on board, will gis a shout if I'm ever in Stampede City.
 

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Edmonton here with 05 RC51. Let me know if you get this way for a ride and we do a few weekend trips to revelstoke every year with a week long ride every August in the east and west kootneys. Have fun on the bike.
 

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Hey cerrano, welcome. When are you headed out to the Kootenays? I'm joining up with the NW corner crew in the later part of August. Might be we'll cross paths to or from. Taking the Yellowhead on teh way down into WA, then coming back through the lower Okanagan to Vernon and over Hwy 6.
 

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Welcome JVR1. It's always good to see another RC51 enthusiast pop out of the woodwork from a more sparsely member populated area, even if it's not where I'm from. :D
The bike looks like a good project starter with lots of possibilities.

You can repair the fender, or just get a replacement carbon one from DHC, a fellow Canadian, but be careful - the goods he pedals will make your wallet open itself wide and beg for punishment, but they'll also put a smile on your face. You can get a carbon snorkel too... ;)

There's a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum and lots of info can be found through searching and there's always more things you can do to improve your's as and when you can. It's a measure of the love people have for the RC51 that parts are still available to keep them standard, or improve. It's fantastic to ride a truly sorted example, whether standard or modified...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Shout out to cam_Ron for hooking me up with a fender replacement for an awesome deal. Great guy and it was nice to have a beer with a fellow RC!

Now that I've had a bit of seat time, I'm really motivated to change the sprockets 15/41 with the way it almost lugs <5k rpm(already has a pciii). Also, my previous bike was a 600rr and I thought my movements were really smooth but that hasn't translated well to this bike during 'spirited' rides. Not sure if it's me ham-fisting or the stock hardware. Hoping to do the forks (valves/springs) soon to see if it corrects that.
 

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Good man Cam-Ron! :)

15/41 is a good choice.

The standard rear shock can be a bit hard, but should be fine until you feel the need to upgrade. Standard suspension on an SP2 isn't too bad, the forks especially are pretty good as std. I guess SP1 is similar?
You may want to adjust, or find someone who knows how to if unsure. Perhaps we could start a thread for adjustment settings so people can share their's and compare. I won't go into how to adjust suspension as it would be a long post and I'd probably cock it up describing how too - there's stuff on the net if you search... I'd try that before re-working the forks on a nice relatively low mileage bike like your's. Do check for oil leakage though. It's not difficult to take the fork tops off and check the air gap if unsure. Just use the correct socket & extensions, etc or your burr the anodising off. Oil gets thinner as it is used, but should be OK initially, depending on how hard you'll ride it. Also use a cable tie to see what your fork travel is at with maximum braking...

With the SP you'll have a lot more engine braking than with the CBR; you have two big slugging 500cc pistons oscillating after all with some decent compression!

I'm only guessing why you might find instability from gear changes? I've seen videos of many riders not rev matching their down shifts - so if I assume you're not and you are already doing it - forgive me!

If you're not already used to rev matching perfectly you'll find it can get quite unstable as you change down, or you'll have to let your clutch out slowly to compensate. Neither is ideal. It pays dividends to be very accurate with rev matching as you brake. The HRC throttle tube helps a bit with this too, it's easy and will become 2nd nature once you are used to it and makes your downchanges quicker...
The alternative for some is a slipper clutch. I have a JTR kit which uses original clutch plates which I'll be putting up for sale soon...Rare and desirable, but I won't use it as I prefer rev matching, it's a lot more fun to play tunes going down the gearbox before going into corners. :D

When introducing another friend to his SP2 here, we found it also really helped him to ride like his upper body is like a sack of potatoes (Colin Edwards once said this, which is probably why I like the analogy :D): really lean your upper body over and drop your elbow and it makes the bike flow a lot more than if not doing this. Try it, maybe? It's a lot heavier a bike than a CBR but should steer plenty sweetly enough for road use if well set up and makes for a very quick way to get through the countryside, even as near std.
 

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Glad to help out with the fender. Come by for a beer anytime.
Keep those forks we discussed in mind when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the advice stig. I like to think my body position is decent based on comments from track days on my previous bike but I could be wrong since this is a different beast

I am rev matching and get my braking done before the turn.

Inevitably, I'm guessing the cheaper and safer solution is to slow down my pace and then speed up in increments to isolate my problem. Discipline vs money... But I don't have either hahah
 

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OK, so let's assume it's not body positioning or the actual matching of revs on down changes that are causing instability. Are you rev matching whilst braking, or letting off the brakes whilst doing it, then applying brakes after down changes? If so, imagine what effect this will have on your forks and geometry. Smoothness is one key to stability.

Also, how is your tire wear? Are the pressures correct? Is your chain well adjusted? Suspension settings?

It'll be something simple, it usually is - but it's difficult to pin point by discussion. Perhaps go to a track day and have an instructor watch and tell you what he may see isn't right?

Sounds sensible to slow your pace and get to know the bike first.

It's a big beast, but beautiful to ride when you're at one with it. It's been about 9 years I've had mine and even now when I haven't ridden for a few months (winter) and I get out on it again, it always surprises me how awesome a machine it is. So responsive and accurate to place in corners, it never fails to leave a pleasant buzz in my head after a good ride. I'll never get tired of it, the passion only seems to grow! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Tires are new and have only been on the street so there's not much of a pattern to tell me anything. I usually run 32/32.

Chain tension is good. I didn't play around a ton yet with the suspension but I might record the settings and do the whole pull-tie thing on the forks before the next couple rides

Im trying to plan a track day for mid June so I think I'll make a big effort to focus on throttle control until then. Its just damn hard when I want to hear the beast roar! :cool:
 
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