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Hi all,

Looking into doing up the SP1 a little and whilst hunting down parts on ebay I notice lots being said about the 2000 model being called an SP-Y. I am assuming this is just a year code (CBR 600's had things like the FN etc.) is this a correct assumption? If not is there any difference i should concern myself with when buying SP-1 bits? Also, is anyone able to put my mind at rest, the oldest bike I can find by google etc. are 2000 (w reg). Mine is a V reg. something shady or not? Sorry to add such a weird bunch of noob questions but the guys I bought her from seem shoddy.

Kind regards,

Shaun.
 

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The bike was introduced for 2000 and technically these were VTR1000SP-Y because Y was the designation for that model year. So in 2001 it became the SP-1 although identical with no changes. But in fact it was always sold from the beginning as the SP-1, no doubt for marketing reasons, just like it was called the RC51 in the US when it was NEVER really an RC51 - it's true model code is SC45, but they probably wanted to gain kudos from the RC30 and RC45.

Anyway, in 2002 we got the SP-2 which introduced several changes and it remained as the SP-2 by name, but in fact there were SP-3,4,5, 6 and 7 models which were all identical apart from colour changes.
 

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Is there an s7 model cos i thought s6 was the last?
They were still sold here in the UK in '07, but to be honest, they may well have been '06 models. They certainly were identical, but whether the model year was '07 I don't know for sure. I 'think' they were but as I say, I cannot be 100%.

I'll try and check this out, unless anyone here can confirm they have an SP-7?
 

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the european model of the honda rc51 is a honda VTR1000 instead of a american RVT1000....and yes the europe honda VTR1000 RC51 went into production in 1997 :thumb:
No the vtr1000 is called the firestorm over here, i think its called a hawk or somethin like that in the states? It started in 1997! The sp1 is a vtr1000 with race trick bits etc and was launched in late 99 iirc!
 

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Sadly there's a global f**k-up of the naming of this bike. Yes, there was already a VTR1000 FireStorm (Hawk in US), then in 2000 in Europe they introduced the VTR1000SP-1 although the model was really VTR1000SPY since the annual model year designation in 2000 was 'Y'. BUT in the US they called it the far more sensible RVT1000 which matches the naming system they used previously - VFR -> RVF (race version) so VTR -> RVT (race version).

But the US marketing guys then screwed it up by wanting an RC designation like the RC30 and 45 and so it was called the RC51. BUT this was nonsense as RC30 and RC45 were the true model codes for those bikes, it was coincidental that the old race bike nomenclature had been RCxxx, but Honda was able to add kudos to the name of those bikes by the happy coincidence that their model codes began RC. They were 750s which makes them R and sports bikes for which C is used. The true model code for the SP-1 etc is SC45, but in the US they wanted to name it the RCxx. So now we have umpteen different names with no easy way to distinguish what is being discussed. A global mess.

It should have been RVT1000R worldwide. Period.
 

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As far as i can see the RC51/SP1/SP2 was built specifically to race (and win) in WSB/AMA and other races as direct competition to the Ducati to prove the unfair displacement advantage.Therefore in my opinion it was a direct replacement for the outdated 4 cylinder RC45 750. Now why it was never coded RC in europe was a mystery to me ,but the true heritage of this bike make no mistake is alongside the RC30 RC45, Hence as soon as the rule changes allowed the development of the Blade for racing they dropped the RC51. This bike IS bike racing history and will be remembered as the one that stopped the domination of the Ducatis.
 

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As far as i can see the RC51/SP1/SP2 was built specifically to race (and win) in WSB/AMA and other races as direct competition to the Ducati to prove the unfair displacement advantage.Therefore in my opinion it was a direct replacement for the outdated 4 cylinder RC45 750. Now why it was never coded RC in europe was a mystery to me ,but the true heritage of this bike make no mistake is alongside the RC30 RC45, Hence as soon as the rule changes allowed the development of the Blade for racing they dropped the RC51. This bike IS bike racing history and will be remembered as the one that stopped the domination of the Ducatis.
A couple of things about this.

First of all, I have heard a Ducati boss describe our bike as the "unsuccessful SP-1". Ha, what races was he watching?

Secondly, it's worth revisiting this whole naming thing. Every production model Honda produce has a model code, constructed from 2 letters signifying capacity range and machine type, followed by sequential numbering for each bike they produce of that capacity range and type. e.g. a 750 falls into the range designated by the letter 'R', a 1000cc bike is an 'S' and although I cannot remember the complete spec, I think a 400 is an 'M'. I could be wrong about that last, but you get the drift. The second letter is the machine type. 'C' means "road/sports", 'E' means "off-road" and again there are others I cannot remember.

So, the VFR750R and the RVF750R that followed were bound to have model codes beginning 'RC', (the former being the 30th bike of that type they produced and the latter the 45th) but that has NOTHING to do with the early race bike 'RC' coding. However, I'm sure that Honda pushed the names RC30 and RC45 as a marketing tool to add kudos to those bikes - but nothing was made up or invented for that purpose, those were the REAL model codes.

That's why I object the 'RC51' name, because it's entirely fabricated in order to appear cool. It's pretending to be something it is not. Having said that, it would have been better if the name was used globally, but it wasn't, just in the US. Not only that but the actual model name was different and EVEN WORSE in Europe they used the same VTR1000 name that had already been used on a different bike. How confusing is that and all because of dumb-ass marketing hype.

As I said, RVT1000R says it all.
 

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Lets remember Honda broke their own house rules building this in the first place after the RC45 was out of its depth against the DUCs,so i suppose a different model code was also a break in tradition (in for a penny).I think RVT1000 is better than VTR1000 =(firestorm). But i still think it deserves the RC51 title as a true race bike even if it is a play on the RC30/RC45 heritage.
When it comes to selling bikes heritage sells, Ducati have a long line of "special" bikes FOGARTY/SENNA/MATRIX/BOSTROM/FILA/SP/R/SPS/HODGESON/BAYLISS to name a few.
 

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The RC51/SP1 was released in late 1999,how i know coz its stamped on my frame,my sp/rc was 1 of the 1st of the production line:thumb:
Honda brought this bike out to beat Ducati,which it did,for 2 years in a row:evilaugh: this bike is a racebike with lights,all of the casing have HRC stamped all over it:smilebig: so it deserves to be called an RC51:evilaugh:
 

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My point is that it was NOT an RC51 model code. That was just a name applied to it. IOW, marketing hype/spin.

It was released in 2000. Yes I know the first ones were marked as 1999 'cos that's when they were built. If they want to start selling a bike in March 2000, when do you think they have to assemble them on the production lines? I had one of the first deliveries in the UK and that was 1999 manufacture, but it's a 2000 model year.

Whatever the name, it's an entirely different bike from the FireStorm even though the engines are VERY similar - but so's the Varadero (cable clutch conversion anyone:)

It didn't win WSB 2 years in a row. It won in 2000, lost back to Ducati in 2001, but the SP-2 won it again in 2002 (with an epic final round between Edwards and Bayliss - what a race)

To state that the RC45 was "out of its depth against the Ducatis" is being very unfair to the superb RC45. The truth is that the 750cc RC45 was only out of its depth against 1000cc competition. However, it was by far the only 750 that could ever get close and let's not forget did actually beat the 1000cc V twins and win the WSB Championship one year. But it was by definition an unequal fight. If the rules hadn't changed, I'm sure Honda would still be producing and racing 1000cc V Twins.
 

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I only stated that the 45 was out of its depth against the ducs because it was!
I never said it wasn't a superb bike it just lacked 250cc.
For me the best title for our bikes is the SP title this does away with the VTR/RVT firestorm/hawk confusion and puts it alongside the RC kudos.
 

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Hi all,

I always thought that the letter 'C' in Honda's model designation stood for commuter. Hence all CB250 etc. Honda then would release a sport version hence the addition of 'BR' which meant Commuter Bike Race version. The early FireBlades were derive from the CB900 family of engines and design, which were then modified to make a sport version.

With the 1000cc bikes Honda were producing they had an 'S' designation meaning Street. (hence the SP1 messed things up a little bit) The SP1 engine number starts with SC45--------. meaning 1000cc street bike which is what it technically is in order for it to make homolagation into WSB SBK's being the series is based on road bikes. But the thing is HRC developed this bike hence the RC designation it doesnt fit the model numbering that Honda have used since 1966, but it fits in with the other HRC road based bikes that were raced in the WSB SBK series i.e RC45 etc. But in my opinion I think RC51 designation should only be used on the factory spec racer that Honda sold for privateer's at the time as this had proper HRC ecu, and other performance engine parts which you could fit at price to a normal bike, which would see impressive HP figures.

SP designation fits more appropriately for road version's, because it purely means Sport Production.

Never the less all variants RC51, SP1 etc is a fantastic road bike that did succeed the RC30/45's and made a point to Ducati that they couldn't have it all there own way
 

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Hi all,

Just found this excerpt on a web site that might be intersting to you all:-

Honda Model Numbering System

Honda Model Numbers appear in the VINs of all Honda models using the VIN system (to date, this now includes most countries, except France...) (There is more about the construction and use of VINs on this page.) Model Numbers also tend to define the various "generations" of related Honda motorcycle models, though this is not always the case. The 1990-97 VFR750FL-V models share the same Model Number (RC36), but are generally divided into two "generations" (FL-P and FR-V), while the earlier generation 1986-89 VFR750FG-K has a different Model Number (RC24). What causes Honda to assign a new Model Number probably relates to significant changes in engine design, but this has not been confirmed by Honda.
Unlike Honda Parts Classification Numbers, Honda Model Numbers are relatively simple to understand. As can be seen from viewing a list of Honda models and Model Numbers arranged according to engine capacity, since approximately 1979 Honda motorcycles have had Model Numbers beginning with A (50cc to 79cc), H (80cc to 124cc), J (125cc to 149cc), K (150cc to 184cc), L (185cc to 199cc), M (200cc to 349cc), N (350cc to 449cc), P (450cc to 649cc), R (650cc to 899cc) and S (for 900cc and up).
The second position in the Honda motorcycle Model Number is occupied by a letter relating to the type of motorcycle. For example: "C" is a street motorcycle, "D" appears to be a dual-sport, "E" is an enduro (or perhaps an off-road model) and "F" is a scooter.
The numerals in the Model Number do not seem to be particularly significant, with the first model in each category named "01" and the next to be developed taking the next available number. However, it seems likely (or extraordinarily coincidental) that the NC30 was intentionally named after the RC30, but then it is somewhat baffling why the RVF400R, the "baby RC45", was named "NC35" rather than "NC45".
Apparently, this system was too complicated for American Honda to deal with, when they decided to call the VTR1000 SP-1 (SC45) the "RC51" in the United States for what could only be blatant marketing reasons...<g> To be fair to American Honda, model names are often tailored to the local market where the particular model is intended to be sold—and these model names can be different in different markets. A perfect example is the VTR1000F, which is knows as the "Super Hawk" in the United States and the "Firestorm" in the UK (and perhaps in other markets as well). Another example of market-specific nomenclature is the early RC36, which was known as the "Carat" in France. However, in VSource.org's humble opinion, to use a model name that imitates a Model Number that could not possibly have applied to the motorcycle in question (the "RC51" has an engine size larger than 899cc) is a bit misleading, if not cynical.
In addition to the names and designations given to particular models by Honda and its distributors, popular motorcycle models sometimes become better known by their nicknames or their Model Numbers than their "official" names. The VFR400R is probably better known as the "NC30", for example, and the three CBR400 variations are sometimes differentiated by the nicknames "Aero", "Tri-Arm" and "Gull-Arm". Similarly, the RC30 (VFR750R) became known better by its Model Number than by its Model Name, and in some markets the Model Number was used in marketing materials and even found its way onto the rear cowl. By the time the RVF750R (RC45) was released, Honda was fully exploiting the "heritage" aspect of Model Numbers for marketing purposes—no doubt much to the surpris

Gary

 

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So that's filled in some of the blanks I couldn't remember off the top of my head. But there's still some clarification required:-

The 'C' and maybe also the 'B' in the names originally stood for 'Cub'. It was a name I believe Soichiro Honda used. But to imagine any other letters actually stand for anything would be misguided. One has to remember that Japanese logic isn't always 'obvious'. I remember when the CBX1000 was introduced and we had all the blurb from Japan about the bike and also visits by designers etc. When queried about the name they explained that it used the traditional Honda CB but the 'X' signified the ultimate, there could never be a better machine. Well whatever anyone else may think, it was an extraordinary bike, but the next time they used that name (only months later IIRC), it was for the CBX50 - a moped...

They also used the term 'Diamond type frame' which many people to this day think referred to its basic shape. But when we quizzed them about this, they said it was because the frame was "very high quality, like diamond". Yet again, confounded by Japanese logic.

But sometimes they can be clinically logical, such as with NC35, RC30, RC45 etc which are all global model codes that are defined by the capacity, type of machine and the order in which that model was designed, i.e. simply a sequential number. None of this is at the whim of any designer or marketing or sales person.

Everything else is bollox.

IOW, all the other names, like FireStorm, SP-1 FireBlade, VFR750, RVF750, VTR1000, RVT1000 and especially RC51, are all totally made up. It's just marketing BS. There is sometimes a semblance of logic, but that can just as easily vanish with the next name they think up and that can quite easily vary from country to country.

But, what's in a name?
 
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