2003 Honda RC51 SP2

In Japan, Less than 5k, Race by AugustLeave a Comment

Author: August. If there is one bike I have a lot of experience with it is the RC51. I bought my first one late in 2004, it was a 2003 model that was very clean and had some nice mods, I had never ridden one, but I knew it was special and I knew I wanted it. At $9,000 it was way more than I had ever spent on a bike but I have never regretted it.

That bike launched me on a journey that somehow took me to the other side of the world, introduced me to a lot of great people and if I had not already loved Honda motorcycles by that time in my life, that SP-2 sealed the deal. Over the years I went through about 75 of them…yes really, and that’s a story for another day perhaps but for now I want to write about this 2003 SP-2 for sale in Southern California.

I personally think the VTR1000 SP-1 and SP-2 are still a bit under appreciated but that seems to be changing fast. Technically the bike is not an RC51, that was rumored to be a marketing thing pushed by American Honda as the bike is known as an SC45 by Honda. It was produced in larger numbers than the RC30 and RC45 and it may not have been as successful on the racetrack but it is still a very special machine and one that Honda will likely never build again.

It has all the right stuff; a stomping 1000cc v-twin with gear driven cams, very good Showa forks, and beautiful looks that not only are representative of the era when it was conceived but have managed to age very gracefully. As typical with Honda the quality is there, maybe even more so as it was Honda’s flagship bike of the day. If you look at it closely you can actually see how over engineered it is in some areas like the frame which is incredibly stout. The SP-2 features a drop dead gorgeous swingarm and some other small updates but I would grab a nice SP-1 any day of the week as well.

This 2003 SP-2 caught my eye as it seems to be a good value. Clean bikes have jumped in price by nearly 50% over the last two years and I believe will only go higher. Honda did make quite a few and sold them worldwide, but many saw the racetrack and ended up in parts. While people knew they were special twenty years ago they were not quite considered collectible at the time, so few low mileage perfect bikes exist. This 2003 is wearing track bodywork and is missing the lights but has a clean California title and looks to be a good base to start a dedicated track build or even more tempting is restoring it back to a stock looking street bike, the fact that it has original exhaust fitted is a big plus in that regard.

The seller claims the bike runs well, and with showing 31,000 miles I would think it has a lot of life left in it. I believe we will look back in five years and think this was a great bargain and if I had not just bought a 2004 Hayden project bike I would probably be making a call to this seller!

Find this 2003 Honda RC51 in Fontana, California for $4,000 here on Craigslist.