Honda only made its RC 51 motorcycle for six years (2000 to 2006), but what a run it had during that time. This spiffy-looking motorcycle won the American Motorcycle Association’s superbike championship once and the World Superbike championships twice. Factory rider Colin Edwards won the two World Superbike competitions, while Nicky Hayden won the AMA superbike challenge. Honda rewarded both riders by putting out special edition motorcycles bearing their names. Hayden, whose win came in 2002, saw his special edition motorcycle come out in 2004. This motorcycle was the same RC 51 available to the public, but bears Hayden’s autograph on the tank and comes with a Team Honda decal kit. It also has a brushed aluminum frame and swing arm. Honda quit racing the RC 51 because of a change in superbike racing rules that made the RC 51 less competitive, and stopped manufacturing it totally in 2006.
The Honda RC 51 goes by two other names. In the United States it is known as RVT1000R while in Europe and Australia, it is called VTR1000. Whatever name it is known by, however, it has a reputation for having lots of torque, good handling, and a liquid-cooled engine that turned this 999 cc motorcycle into one that was fun to ride. The Honda RC 51, especially the Edwards and Hayden replicas, remains sought after today but are reportedly hard to find. Rider forums rate the RC 51 highest in performance, and quality and reliability, with ratings almost as high for ride and comfort, and value. The RC 51 was a high performance machine that performed poorly when it came to fuel consumption, however. Although official gas mileage statistics are not available, riders report having to fill up the 4.8-gallon tank about every 100 miles. In 2004, the RC 51 was available in red or metallic silver.