Back in 2000, Honda decided...
Back in 2000, Honda decided to play Ducati at its own game and build its own V-twin superbike- the result was the RC51.
With the homologation approval period for its limited-production RC45 V-four coming to an end in '99, Honda surprisingly announced that it would be introducing a new liter-size V-twin superbike in its upcoming 2000 model lineup to run alongside the then-new CBR929RR inline-four superbike. With four-cylinder machines still limited to 750cc in superbike racing, it was an obvious sign that Honda was dumping the multi-cylinder route and looking to take on Ducati at its own twin-cylinder superbike racing game. HRC (Honda Racing Corporation, the racing arm of Honda Japan) played a major role in the design of the new twin, which was designated the VTR1000 SP1 everywhere in the world except the U.S., where it was known as the RC51 (even though its actual model designation was RVT1000R).
Although no longer in production, the Honda RC51 represents an important phase in Honda’s—and sportbiking’s—history, and there are still many of them running around the streets and tracks of America. Check out Sport Rider’s retrospective on this classic sportbike, including modification tips and tricks, current used pricing, and what to look out for if you’re interested in one. Go to the Features section of the Table of Contents in the upper left of this page, or click here.