8. Honda RC51 (2000-2006)


Everybody wants an RC30, and that’s why you’re not getting one. There’s a zero-miles 1989 model of Honda’s titanium-studded V-Four endurance racer on ebay UK now for £39,995, and you probably don’t want a bargain-basement one. Sure, if your car breaks down on a stormy night in the country and you find an RC30 in the barn where you take refuge, maybe buy it. But first ascertain your car wasn’t sabotaged by a British-accented person who planted a bent-framed RC in there with a VFR engine.

The RC51, on the other hand, is not quite so rare and is in fact more fun to ride than the RC30 (sez you … -Ed.) and the even rarer RC45, thanks to its big V-Twin torque. Honda only built the 999cc V-Twin to beat Ducati at its own game, which it did, winning two World Superbike titles under Colin Edwards, and the ’02 AMA title for Nicky Hayden. After 2006, a few years after World Superbike allowed Fours to also go up to 1000cc, the ’51 was discontinued.

Nice ones are out there for $5K. Not-so-nice ones are less. The less nice, the less restraint one tends to feel when it comes time to modify. The platform, though, is rock-solid and certainly less expensive to maintain than a desmo Ducati. You can’t open ebaymotors without Honda parts spilling out of your HTML ports.

  • Funguy

    Please, could you please put the top-10 content-stretcher articles on a single page?

    Thank you.

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Is helping you favorite motorbike site milk some revenue off telemetry driven marketing hacks, at zero cost to yourself, such an inconvenience?

      John Burns, with both ambidextrous prose AND impeccable taste in motosicles [sic], can not be cheap.

  • JMDonald

    Damn those guys at SuperBike. Objectifying women. WTFO. It took me twenty minutes to get to the next bike. I hope you’re happy.

    • We don’t really even like that particular bike 🙂

  • curly

    Good article, good choices.
    I think I counted 7or 8 bikes, not counting the H2. Owned 4 or 5 of them.
    Vfr- well, no, rc30?
    1998 R1/several early R6’s

    H2’s command big money from collectors (in Japan), but H1’s are better bikes, and cost a lot less- get a 74 model and spend a little on a John Aylor reed kit, a set of good shocks and a front brake upgrade- go smokin!

    I would substitute 996 for 998(budget bike that hauls). 999’s may not have that look, but they are better bikes, and a bargain, IMHO

    Delete Either the aprilia or rc51, add 929 or 954

    And I would comment that if you could find a mint early R1, you’d be making a rare find. 98’s are all gone, and I would not chop one up to make a “street fighter”

    a Suzuki on the list? 2005 gs xr anything, 30 year anniversary color
    scheme bikes are nice, getting cheap, and of course they haul ass

    Where’s the Kaws? – ever ride a 05-06 636? Or a 04-05 zx10? Insane

    Zx12s aren’t well thought of , but see above

  • fastfreddie

    Personally would list 996 over the 998 as they are very similar and 996 could be got for less money.Also dissagree with your assessment of the VFR 800.Found it bland,but that was comming from a 929 blade,so may have influenced me negatively…