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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking into buying a RC51 but more SP1s seem to be popping up.

Aside from performance differences, is one more reliable than the other assuming everything is equal? Thanks
 

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It's like deciding between Anna Nicole and Kim K ...both have big butts and I can not lie !

Either way you go...you will be happy riding her !
 

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I own an sp1, have yet to have any serious problem(s) that I can not fix or figure out.
 

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Any RC51 will give u more fun than 4xample R1 so get even cheaper SP1 and for a differnt in price buy steering damper,PCIII and good exhaust and u will b in "out family" :)
 

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SP2 is rarer than SP1. A lot of small, but significant differences between the two models (More than you'd think).
Doesn't make the SP1 a bad bike at all, but the SP2's marginally better perhaps.
Do a search and you'll find a thread which lists most of the differences. Then decide if the SP2 is worth hunting out & paying a bit more for.
 

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Wouldn't the SP1 be rarer than the SP2 considering the production years? SP1 was in production for only 2 years, while the SP2 doubled that.
 

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Im sure the guys have the stats on number of each model produced. Im almost positive there are a lot more sp2s

Sent from my HTC PH39100 using Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Wouldn't the SP1 be rarer than the SP2 considering the production years? SP1 was in production for only 2 years, while the SP2 doubled that.
Going just by years of production isn't necessarily a good guide. In most cases vehicles are sold in larger numbers at beginning of production than after some years. Revisions tend to increase sales a little, but don't create as much excitement completely new models...

I'm only going by how many more SP1's have been market over the years than SP2's - I've always looked out for RC51's for sale since having mine (5 + years) & it's always seemed to me that SP2's are a bit harder to come by than SP1's...(Yeah, I know, it's hard to find good RC51's period!).
Looking at the numbers for sale in Japan, the figures are about 2 times as many SP1's than SP2's. Is this different in the US?

It would be interesting to see actual production figures, although such details seem thin on the ground.
 

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I haven't done the research on production numbers, so I've got no idea. I see more SP2 for sale in the US, though. I bet somebody here has done the research at one time...would be interesting to find out that Honda produced more SP1s than SP2s overall, though.
 

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Wish i could remember where I found this.


RC51 SP2 Upgrades​
Whatever the multimillion-dollar factory riders want, it seems they get. And if any of those changes happen to benefit street riders, well fine--but it's almost an accident. So it is for 2002: A multitude of tweaks have arrived to make the '02 RC51 more competitive on the track, but the trickle-down effect is that the bike is now much improved for puck-wearing plebes.

For '02, Honda chose to tweak the engine a bit, put the entire bike on a part-by-part diet and significantly revise the suspension, chassis and swingarm. Down in the engine room, the throttle bodies have been supersized from 54mm to 62mm, and the two injectors feeding each combustion chamber now sport 12 laser-drilled jets, rather than the four little garden hoses of the previous bike, for a finer spray. The injection and ignition mapping were tweaked, also, resulting in throttle response that's as smooth and creamy as a nougat filling. (Don't tell Nicky; he's got a sweet tooth.) The new motor feels same-same in terms of power output; Honda claims a two-horsepower increase for 128 hp at the crank--but the low-rev snatchiness is nowhere to be found.

The engine is warmed over, but as Honda's Doug Toland said at the intro, "All of the 'magic' of this bike is in the chassis." The new Pro Frame looks similar to last year's and has the same amount of rigidity, but weighs 260 grams less and is more linear in its absorption of stress thanks in part to the new stamped engine hangers (previous units were cast). Also new is a steering-damper boss up by the steering head, but on the stock geometry you'd be hard pressed to make this bike shake its head on the street or track.

Even though the steering-head angle has been reduced one degree to 23.5 degrees--the steepest of any Honda--the RC51 feels planted at all speeds, even at 130 mph through Willow Springs' infamous Turn Eight. There you sit, tucked behind the splendid new windscreen that's 1.2 inches taller than last year's, sensing no instability from either end of the bike. Of course, the new swingarm (890 grams lighter) is 16mm longer and aids the stabilization effort.

Right above that sexy new swingarm is a revised shock (115 grams lighter). It's been repositioned to allow room for aftermarket exhaust systems, but also had its linkage ratio tweaked (4 percent softer on the bottom, 5 percent softer on top), even though spring rates are the same. Nine percent more compression damping has been added along with 11 percent more rebound. Up front similar tweaks have been applied. The fork (145 grams lighter) is now 9 percent softer on compression, up 16 percent on rebound, with the same spring rate. Fork travel has also been increased from 4.7 to 5.1 inches. These changes make the bike feel plush and controllable--a far cry from the wooden feel of the previous bike. The suspension is simply awesome now, soaking up midcorner ripples yet never getting out of line or doing anything untoward.

Steering effort is drastically reduced on the new bike. The RC51 is no 954 in terms of flickability, but the new bike turns in with an ease and precision that's head and shoulders above the old bike. Pick your line, shove the bar and you're there. The previous unit's brakes were fine, but the new four-piston jobbies are even better. The old brakes were extremely progressive--once activated you only had to move your finger a smidge to stop the bike. The new brakes are totally linear and require more lever travel, providing better feel, easier modulation and more feedback.

Speaking of feedback, the RC51 comes wrapped in a new flavor of Dunlop rubber named D208. The 208s are quite soft for a street tire, which allows them to heat up quickly and throw down GP-like grip. Feedback from both the front and rear was excellent, with excellent straight-line stability and precise steering at high and low speeds.

Our only complaint (and we think some folks at American Honda's marketing department will back us up on this) is that the bike looks exactly the same as last year's. Europe gets a bitchin' white/grey, but we get the same paint job as before. If you go out and buy the "new" model with all the killer updates, you want people to know, but it's literally impossible to tell the two bikes apart from a distance.

Paint job aside, the changes made to the RC51 for '02 signify a Paul Bunyan-size step forward. Oh, did we mention the '02 RC51 is the same price as last year?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the input so far guys.

I wasn't looking for production numbers or performance. To be honest, the performance is plenty enough for me.

I just wanted to know about reliability mainly. It may be cheaper to buy SP1s first, but will I need to spend more later on etc...
 

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I doubt SP1's cause anymore issues than SP2's on average.
Although I've never had nor ridden an SP1, there's no bad choice to make. Most love their RC51's, regardless of SP1 or SP2 and being Hondas they're good quality well built bikes.

Popular modifications to the SP1 seem to be changing to the SP2 rear swing arm (Partly because it's prettier? :D), cooling modifications (There's only one fan on SP1's, two on SP2's, I think) and the aforementioned Power Commander to help iron out the fueling glitches on SP1's, when combined with exhaust system upgrades. Most fit them to SP2's as well.
Have heard of SP1 fuel tanks cracking and developing leaks too, but that seems fairly rare. Also, as the SP2 was sold more recently used parts are more readily available for it, some say. Depends on what you can find / afford - buy the best you can.
 

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Build Quality and Reliability are not an issue between the two. The SP-1/2 currently rank highest or second to (CBR 1000RR) amongst all motorcyles surveyed for two years running by RIDE UK for reliability and build quality. You cannot make a bad choice here. Just be sure in what you plan to do with it, that may point you one way or another. I was never interested in pre 02' models. I bought an 02 VFR instead of an RC51, now I have both. Happy all round.
 
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