Sure, the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is a hugely powerful, mega-fast superbike – but these days, it’s getting a bit common, isn’t it? The words exotic and Honda don’t really go along, but if you really want an exotic Honda, then it has to be the RC51 VTR1000 SP-2. No, it isn’t as powerful as the four-cylinder, 1000cc Fireblade, but the race-bred SP-2’s 999cc, 8-valve V-twin still kicks out 136 horsepower, which should be enough for most people in most situations...
The RC51 SP-1 made its debut in the year 2000, and with Colin Edwards riding the factory racebike, it picked up the WSB championship in its very first year of competition. With HRC developments lavished on the SP-1, the SP-2 again won the WSB crown in 2002 with Colin. That, however, was where it ended for the RC51 SP-2, with WSB regulations moving on to permit four-cylinder 1000cc machines from 2003 onwards.
Though they don’t race it anymore, Honda have kept the RC51 SP-2 in their lineup and its still an absolutely brilliant motorcycle for those who are looking at a proper, HRC-bred racebike for the road.
Read a comparison test between the Honda RC51 and the Ducati 999R here and read about the very memorable V4-engined Honda RC30 and the RC45 bikes here