Beau Horton’s Honda RVT 1000 RC51

Beau Horton is a self-confessed Honda RC51 lover, as are many folks out there. Here he regales us with his personal love affair with Honda’s direct challenge to Ducati – the RC51. 

“Where n = the number of motorcycles you currently own, the correct number of motorcycles to have is n+1.”

For those of us who live by this philosophy but don’t have the capability to finance a garage full of the baddest bikes in history, we cycle through them, buying and selling used bikes to experience it all.

Every so often you get one that is so wildly impractical, heavy, gas-guzzling, loud, and an obvious ticket magnet; but, let’s be honest, if you did have a garage full of bikes, this is the kind that you want to keep around. A motorcycle like this is not even a good weekend warrior – more of a secret and selective indulgence of carnage and hooliganry.

In my life, this is the Honda RVT 1000, aka the RC-51 SP1 and later the SP2. This is a monster of a bike with 1000cc of V-Twin POWER. A guttural grundle-rumbler. Some say “the bike that proved Honda had soul.” The Ducati killer. The Thunderpig.

I’ve owned not one, but two, of these over the years, and pretty soon I’ll be due a third.

They’re wildly expensive for their age, and the yearly insurance premium alone is usually worth more than the bike itself. It would be impossible to pass the “ride around in a cute circle” test (while driving at an outsider’s observation of a “responsible speed”) to get your license because the handlebars simply would not allow you to turn that tight. It’s nearly 500 lbs wet. There’s no gas gauge. The riding position is nothing short of “track-only.” It will overheat in the SoCal desert if you’re not moving with any purpose.

Why on Earth do I keep coming back to the RC-51? Because it’s awesome, dammit! The two-time world champion has history and heart to make up for its lack of… well, everything else. 


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