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.
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