Honda RC51 Sportbike Best Used Motorcycles Review | Cycle World


The designated duck killer

Honda RC51

Best Used Bikes: Honda RC51

YEARS SOLD: 2000-2006

MSRP NEW: $9999 (2000) to $11,999 (2006)

BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $3650 (2000) to $6665 (2006)

BASIC SPECS: A dohc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 999cc, 90-degree V-Twin superbike weighing 440 lb. dry and making a claimed 133 hp and 71 ft.-lb. of torque.

WHY IT'S DESIRABLE: “Designated Duck killer,” is how we labeled the RC51 when it was introduced as a 2000 model late in 1999. After winning numerous World and AMA Superbike titles during the 1980s and early ’90s, Honda grew tired of playing bridesmaid to Ducati and decided to build a V-Twin repli-racer of its very own, the RC51.

That effort proved worthwhile. Before it was all over, the RC51 had won two World Superbike championships (2000, 2002) with Colin Edwards, as well as the ’02 AMA Championship under Nicky Hayden.

Despite being heavier than a comparable Ducati, the RC51 was a more user-friendly streetbike, not to mention considerably less expensive. Its ergonomics were not as back-breaking, its suspension somewhat more mellow and its maintenance less time- and money-intensive. And with freer-breathing mufflers installed, the Honda’s big V-Twin bellowed the same booming, bewitching exhaust note as a Duck’s desmodromic motor.

USEFUL RESOURCES: Lots of information about the RC51 is easily found on the ’Net. An obvious such site is, and also is an RC51 forum. And although is a forum named after Honda’s big CBR series repli-racers, it seems to contain more discussion about the RC51 than for any of Big Red’s inline-Fours. You’ll find videos, tech specs and reviews of RC51s on the Web, too, along with sites pitching accessories and performance parts, as well as RC51s for sale. Although the used-bike prices listed here are right from the Kelley Blue Book, a nice RC51 is considered a minor collectible and will likely command a higher selling price.