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2001 RC51, 2018 Aprilia Tuono
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I just picked up an abused 2001 RC51 for a fair price, and the plan is to turn it into a trackday special. It wasn't much more than a crappy SV650 would have been, though it'll need a lot of love and luck to make the best of it...

I've been riding for about 20 years, though mostly commuting and street riding in that time. My past bikes include an '88 Honda Hawk GT, 2008 ZX-14 and 2007 ZX-10R. Aside from the RC, I also own a 2018 Aprilia Tuono RR with K-Tech suspension front and rear.

Having recently moved from BC to a part of Ontario with very few good twisties nearby (and the roads that are good have insanely low limits, lots of cops, and are crowded), I've decided to spend a lot more time at the track as a way to get my cornering fix. The Tuono does that surprisingly well, but insurance here is non-existent for anything track related, so the next logical step was to get something less expensive to crash and more suited to purpose, hence the RC51. I wanted torque and stable handling as I'm a big guy, and a 600 needs to be screaming at all times to drag my butt around.
135213


Wish me luck, and I'll be posting soon with some questions about how best to proceed with a 20 year old bike with limited aftermarket support!
 

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2003 Honda RC-51
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15 Posts
This bike was not on Kijiji for that long, I was trying to decide if I was okay with the fairings. Byt the time i decided to message the seller, it was gone! I ended up picking up the SP2 that was listed in Limoges with around 24000 miles. (California bike) Listed just two days after that one was. Grats on your bike though! I work for a Honda powerhouse dealer in Ottawa if you ever need anything.
 

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2001 RC51, 2018 Aprilia Tuono
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If you were looking for a street bike, this one definitely has issues. Has been dropped on both sides, has messy amateur (mostly taped) rewiring and brake line routing around the triple trees, has replaced rads with cheapo eBay units from China, has a wobbly left side slip-on from a lowside that wore through the riveted straps, has a PCIII with a serial connector so rusty you could never make a connection, has a rear brake line so badly routed that it's worn a groove in the swingarm, has a damaged gauge cluster (possibly from sun), has a cheap battery that needed a boost after only a couple of days, has a crash damaged replacement tank that has gummy overspray inside, has mismatched cheapo eBay adjustable levers, has chipped rims from a homejob tire replacement with levers, and not only has cheap plastic Chinese fairings from eBay, but they're damaged from a botched theft attempt.

The good news is the motor sounds decent (as far as my limited ears can tell), and the basics are sound, but the valves haven't been adjusted since the last major service (at least 17k kms ago), so that's a must do ASAP. And I haven't actually revved it hard, so there's lots of issues I could be missing. Definitely a gamble.

I probably overpaid by $500 even after talking the seller down, considering the mileage and lack of care, but I'm specifically looking for a track bike, and it would be a shame to dismantle a minter. More fun to return one to its former glory...

Congrats on your purchase, too! I have a feeling it'll be less of a headache than mine...
 

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2003 Honda RC-51
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15 Posts
You're correct, I wanted something that i could ride to work and do some sunday rides out in the twisties, I ended up dragging one of my licensed technicians with me to look at the bike. It passed safety no problem. I was only able to talk my guy down a few hundred dollars, but I was ready to pay his asking if he didn't budge. Couple of cracks in the rear tail section on mine, but i have new OEM one on order. Another crack on the right hand fairing but discontinued as far as I see. I'm surprised how well maintained the bike was. Planning to drop all the fluids this winter, probably rebuild both masters as well as upgrade the steel braided lines. Other then that just tires and and sorting out suspension and she should be ready for next year!

Grats on your purchase, If you need anything OEM I can probably find it for you if it's available. I have overnight shipment to my shop as long as it's in Canada.
 

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2001 RC51, 2018 Aprilia Tuono
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like the polar opposite of mine! Looking at the photo in your thread, that thing looks mint and babied.

If your fairing is only cracked, I'm sure somebody can weld it back. There's a guy in Oshawa who calls himself the Plastic Surgeon who does that. Here's his website: http://www.theplasticsurgeon.ca/index.html

I'm sure you already know, but John Sharrard at Accelerated Technologies in Buckhorn is the go-to guy for RC51 suspension. He was involved with the Factory Honda CSBK team back when Steve Crevier was winning championships on RC51's back when there was money in the series. He does excellent work, but as is typical for guys like that, you have to be willing to wait...

I appeciate the offer on the OEM bits. I'm really hoping I don't need many, though, as that'll mean bigger issues than cosmetic ones on the bike!
 

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2003 Honda RC-51
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15 Posts
thanks for the links and direction as to where to go for RC suspension, I'm still rather new to the RC itself. I'm still going to buy that new tail section just to have, I feel as though it's easy to break from me just being lazy swinging my leg on and off the bike. I'm assuming that's how the original damage happened. I do plan to repair the current one and I'll continue to use it for the time being. Parts are getting scarce from what i see on my fiche. Surprisingly enough i checked for license plate holders for SP2's and found that there was 3-4 left in canada but discontinued afterwards. Mines actually never been cut, but I've debated on getting one just incase i wanted the superbike undertail. I can source a lot of aftermarket parts as well....just not for the RC51. Can always hit me up, but it seems as though Kyle racing is the way to go. After one of the major suppliers here lost their contract for Ohlins, I don't think there has been a replacement. Same with Brembo. There has never been a Canadian supplier for them either. Ordering Rc19's for other people has taken me weeks sometimes months to get in :(
 

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2001 RC51, 2018 Aprilia Tuono
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, the Motovan thing has been a real headache. Tried to order some Vortex bits at a large semi-local shop recently (2 Wheel Motorsports), but no dice. I try to avoid ordering online wherever possible, as I like having dealerships around, but it's tough for niche parts. It's even worse for Aprilia. Even the dealers use AF1's website to find the correct OEM part numbers, as Piaggio's system is so unfriendly...

Keep that plate unit intact! There's a lot fewer stock units than modded ones at this point. Or at least make sure you have a stock one in hand before cutting anything down...
 

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2003 Honda RC-51
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15 Posts
Ottawa lost their only Aprilia dealer. The Tuono was pretty high up on my want list but since there's no real dealer in Ottawa. Besides I should just take full advantage of working for a Honda shop!

Motovan's been a bit better, but they lost a lot of contracts over this year. I heard the only ones they paid were Shoei and 5ive. Naturally they lost michelin which was a blow to my shop. My Parts Canada discount isn't as good as my Motovan one and Kimpex didn't anticipate that Motovan would lost Michelin and didn't carry near the amount of stock to deal with the demand. Thibault needs to pick up the slack and stock Michelin lol. I see Parts Canada picked up Zero gravity. There might be a few ZG screens for the RC's soon!
 

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2001 RC51, 2018 Aprilia Tuono
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I'm surprised losing Michelin was an issue for the shop. Figured people would just order the equivalent from Dunlop, Bridgestone, Pirelli, etc. as nobody makes bad tires anymore. I guess it pushed people to order from the US online?

I've also heard that getting tires and other rubber products generally this year has been tough, but not sure why...
 

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2003 Honda RC-51
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Michelin markets their tire really really well. In the sport bike land itseasy to switch someone, but not so easy to switch someone that wants Road 5's or Commander 3's. As for rubbers its simple. OEM rubbers were backordered from most manufacturers. A good example of you look at it from a Honda point of view is when all factories closed down for Covid...Honda put all their focus on producing Automotive parts vs powerhouse parts. People with Marine engines requiring Impellers were kinda screwed this year. In most cases, almost all marine products were back ordered. As dealers order oem rubbers they run out and outsource to aftermarket products. Which in increase in demand and no OEM replacements aftermarket gaskets were the next best thing to get in our already short riding season. It sucks, but hopefully things will be better next year.

People didn't really purchase online, but the way parts canada has their dealer discount set up makes it harder for us to stay competitive in Ottawa. If you're buying tires at Fortnine pricing you're paying too much lol.
 

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2001 RC51, 2018 Aprilia Tuono
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Discussion Starter #11
Makes sense about rubber products. Covid has turned all sorts of supply chains upside down. Apparently part of the reason toilet paper was in short supply (aside from the hoarding) was that commercial use plummeted, while home use skyrocketed. Manufacturers couldn't change their distribution systems fast enough to keep up, hence the empty shelves.

My impression is that buying at Fortnine is paying too much generally, though their YouTube channel is fun.

Had a chat with a green rider at my last Shannonville trackday, and he was bragging what a good deal he got on Fortnine because they sold him a set of Pirelli Diablo Rosso III's for less than his local dealer quoted for a set of Diablo Rosso Corsa II's. He just assumed III was better than II, and I didn't have the heart to tell him...
 
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