2003 Honda RC51 from Canada


Most reliable v-twin sports bike on the planet!


23,000 - left side radiator leak - had to purchase a new one.

Waiting for the rectifier to crap out - crossing my fingers.

General Comments:

I LOVE my RC51 SP2 and I feel lucky to own such a rare machine, but I do realize this bike isn't for everybody. If you want a 300km/hour 1000cc bike, this isn't for you. If you want something that is light and nimble, this isn't for you. If you want a fuel efficient crotch rocket, this isn't for you. If you want to look and sound like every other I4 crotch rocket on the planet, the RC51 definitely isn't for you! If you want a super reliable v-twin, but you are put off by eccentric Italian engineering, then the RC51 is definitely the bike for you.

I wouldn't suggest anybody to ride a stock RC51; it is a very underwhelming experience! I did the flapper mod, rev limiter mod, added 2 teeth to the rear sprocket and put on titanium Yoshimura slip-ons. With that being said, I love spending time on my RC51. Half the fun is just listening to the booming exhaust note as I ride around town. At the group rides people swarm to my bike and comment on how much they love the way it sounds.

As for the way it rides, the instant torque is addicting. The throttle feels directly connected to the engine and the bike rips forward from 3000 to 10,000 RPM with no delay or surge in power delivery. When coming out of a tight bend and cracking the throttle, the RC51 leaves traditional I4 bikes in the dust as they have to wait until 9,000 RPM to get into their powerband.

The bike is heavy and it guzzles premium gas! The temp gets up to 220F in heavy traffic, but I don't notice excessive heat under my seat. Thankfully the rad fans blow hot air to the side of the bike and not towards you.

When the RC51 gets over 100km/h the bike doesn't want to transition left and right; it just wants to go dead straight. What it lacks in nimbleness it makes up by inspiring confidence with its rock solid handling. Redline shifts, high speed leans and high speed pot hole strikes have yet to produce the head shakes and rear end squiggles my fellow riders complain about, and I don't have a steering damper.

Overall the bike is super reliable and I have ZERO complaints with regards to its build quality for the 7 years I've owned it. The RC51 has lots of grunt for a 2 person cruise and there is "generous" trunk space in the tail. People give me jealous looks as I stuff my gloves, water bottle, disc lock, sunglasses, and my girl's purse and comb under the passenger seat.

With another Japanese v-twin race bike never to emerge again in the future, this RC51 SP2 will probably stay with me for a long time. I bought my RC51 off a 68 year old man who reluctantly sold me his pride and joy because of arthritis and speeding tickets. I might just end up like that old man.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th July, 2015

10th Jul 2015, 13:55

Oh... and I forgot to add the bike has a "must have" Power Commander 3 with a Yoshimura map and the fuel settings are turned all the way up to MAX! Power delivery is smooth and ferocious!

2002 Honda RC51 from United States of America


The RC51 is a battle tank that you will fall in love with


The rectifier burnt out one time, that's it.

General Comments:

It's a Honda, what more can you say about reliability? It's 2015 right now and the bike is 13 years old already. Been in my possession for 5 years, and not even a single time did the bike give up on me. Well, except for one time when the battery terminal was loose, and one time when the rectifier burnt out. That can happen on a brand new bike as well.

You can read all about legendary history about RC51, but I'm going to tell you my honest opinion of what I think of it.

I rode a 600cc bike for 7 years prior to buying a RC51, and after I bought it, on the 3 hour ride back home, the whole time I kept on thinking "what the heck did I get myself into". It was heavy, and rode like a tank. But as I got used to riding the RC51, over a period of time I started loving it more and more. In the beginning my hands would go numb (kind of) because I wasn't used to the vibration.

Now I drive a BMW sports car, and its suspension is really hard, you can feel all the bumps. If I go out on a ride on RC51, and then I jump in my car and go for a drive, my BMW feels as if I'm driving on the clouds. That's how harsh the RC51 ride feels like sometimes.

Long story short, the RC51 isn't the easiest bike to ride on, but once you get used to it, you will fall in love with it. At this time, I believe, only people who'll be interested in buying RC51, are the ones who always wanted to own one. And I'll tell you this, every person who owned a RC51 and sold it, told me they regretted it. A brand new rider should not buy this bike.

Things I love about it? Strong engine, strong transmission, plenty of torque, killer looks (it's the love and hate type, you either love the looks or you hate it). I can stare at it for hours, I love it so much. I love the V-twin sound.

Handling wise, it's heavy, but with right tire pressure & body position, you can hold lines on any track. I've ridden it on the race tracks, it was a lot of fun.

Now my other current bike is a CBR 1000RR (track bike). Yes, compared to that, the RC51 is out dated, heavy, and feels like it doesn't want to move. But if you are experienced, you can handle the RC51 pretty well.

Last season I barely put 300 miles on RC51, brain says "sell it cause it's just taking up garage space", but my heart says "I'm in love with this bike, keep it as long as you can".

Lastly, I wouldn't care to take time out to write about it, if I didn't love the bike, even though it's behind on technology, it's still a classic. Cycle world Magazine has already said that it's considered as a minor collectible.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th January, 2015