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Honda SP-2 Sports Motorbike Review

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Honda SP1/2 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

The Honda SP1 and Honda SP2 were built to prove a point; that the world's number one bike maker could beat Ducati on the track, using a V-twin. Sadly, that makes the Honda SP1/2 less satisfying, because it has an on/off fuelling set up, too much power for the chassis and a cramped riding position. On the upside, the Honda SP1/2 is beautifully made, sounds awesome and makes 90% of riders look faster than they really are.

 

Watch the Honda SP-2 take on the Ducati 1098 and the Aprilia RSV1000R in our V-twin sports bike test

 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

A truly great motor, ruined by a glitchy fuel injection system, especially on the Honda SP1 which is sometimes unpredictable at low rpm. With 133bhp at 10,000rpm the Honda SP2 is 4bhp up on the Honda SP1, but the later model feels easier to ride, thanks to bigger throttle bodies and a better 12 point injector system feeding it.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Like most V-twins, the Honda SP1/2 series need a bit more rider input than the average four when cornering hard. The ride is harsh on both motorcycles, with a massive twin spar frame as the backbone of the motorcycle and firm suspension. The Honda SP1/2 really needs a racetrack to appreciate the abilities of the chassis, as it just seems too hard and unforgiving on many normal roads.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Honda SP1/2 oozes class. There's little doubt that Honda lost money on each one of them, even at ten grand a pop. Beautiful machined alloy parts, an exquisite swingarm on the Honda SP2, top notch Showa suspension, stunning brakes - the Honda SP series bikes are a techie's delight to look at - and the dashboard looks like it came straight off a Suzuka endurance racer. Spartan but sexy.

Honda SP1/2 (2000-2010)

Detail Value
New price £9,399
Dealer used prices
£7,680 (2006) - £8,920 (2006)
Private used prices
£6,910 (2006) - £8,020 (2006)
  View full used price info
Engine size 999 cc
Power 133 bhp
Top speed 170 mph
Insurance group 17 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda SP1/2 feels like it was made in the HRC race shop, not an anonymous factory. Every detail fits together just right, the Honda SP1/2 has an aura of engineering excellence and durability than many other Honda machines sadly lack. Apart from chinning fuel at 30mpg, the Honda SP1/2 has no real faults and if you were some kind of sick masochist, you could probably despatch on it. 

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda SP1 enjoyed respectable UK sales, but was soon discounted as dealers realised people wouldn't pay vast sums for what was perceived (wrongly) as a jazzed up Firestorm. The Honda SP2 struggled to hold its 10K list price too, dropping to about 8K new in late 2002. All of which makes the Honda SP 1/2 series V-twins true bargains on the used market - you get a top class WSB race rep for very little money and undoubtedly the later Honda SP2 model, in its Castrol colours, is the one to have. Find a Honda SP-2 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

2000:  VTR1000 Honda SP1 launched.
2002:  VTR1000 Honda SP2 launched; new swingarm, fuelling system, ECU map, longer wheelbase, subframe, 6kg weight reduction and Castrol Honda team colours amongst the key changes. Top end work squeezes another 4bhp from the motor.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 170 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.2 secs
Max power 133 bhp
Max torque 75 ft-lb
Weight 194 kg
Seat height 820 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 30 mpg
Tank range 110 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 999 cc
Engine specification 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload rebound compression
Rear suspension adjustment Preload rebound compression
Front brakes Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

See all Honda SP-2 motorcycles for sale

Honda
SP-2

12060 miles

£8,299

Honda
SP-2

8000 miles

£8,300

Honda
SP-2

14745 miles

£5,850

Honda
SP-2

11000 miles

£8,000

Honda
SP-2

22606 miles

£6,690

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(32 reviews)

  • Sublime

    meatbomb

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    The most perfect, beautiful and exciting bike I've ever ridden. The noise the vibration, the torque, oh the torque...

    23 November 2010

  • at last!!

    fozzy955

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    traded my mv f4 1000 ( high priced junk! )for new 08 plate SP2,never looked back. miles better handling than the mv + more reliable.have rode the wheels of it since. snatchey at first but followed advice from usa forum and set up the throttle bodies,much better + micron cans ( remember them!! ).now goes and sounds like it should.if you are thinking about it just do it!!.the sound alone is worth it,no multi ever sounds this good.

    23 March 2010

  • just call me mr edwards

    sp2mike

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    I bought my SP2 last spring after riding a FZR400RR for a year. This is my first "big" bike and it's sooo easy to go fast on, instant pull out of the corners plus you get to feel like colin edwards everytime you go down the gears on the brakes! Only two suspension settings, hard or really hard, and can't really go much further then 95 miles on a tank. don't expect a rear to last too long either!

    28 February 2010

  • Love it :)

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Managed to get my paws on a 2001 SP1 just after Christmas 09. After a string of different bikes from 2 strokes to big twins. These included a TLS, VTR1000F and a Buell XB. The SP is ace, completely fallen in love with this bike and I've only managed to cover about 350 miles so far. Popped over 160 on it this past weekend. Compared to my previous bikes it's very different-the only thing similar is the V-twin engine configuration. The Buell was a hoot but was likely to cost me a lot at some point or eat itself. The VTR1000F was well made but felt more like a tourer-it lacked any poise. The TL was, well, a TL. Good engine-pants handling and build. I'll leave it at that :) The SP is quality-it's well made, excellently finished and the engine is the best V-Twin I've ridden. Plus the chassis can handle the power which makes corner exit drive breath taking. It also has kudos which I feel a lot of modern bikes lack. I'm just in the process of sticking a pair of cans on it-apart from that it's staying standard. Only thing I think it’d benefit from is some suspension tweaks. Tank range varies depending on how you use your right hand and the gearbox. I've never owned a V-Twin that offered brilliant fuel economy tbh. Prices are at the best they’ll get to atm imo so if you see one in the right condition grab it! I can only see the value of these bikes going up in coming years. I'm pretty sure any recent IL4 would hammer this bike on paper. Most will leave it in a straight line drag on the road. It is a riders bike so therefore requires a little more input to get the best from it. I find this style more satisfying :)it does hold a line lovely too. So, 1000 IL4 or SP? After running a 929 Blade for a lengthly period some years back I can give an opinion... Surfice to say I know which I'd rather be opening my garage upto for a ride out :) and I know which I'd rather be on :) Keep your Blades, GSXR's and big bang R1's-park em next to the rest :)…yawn… Sell this? I'd rather lose a kidney. If you want a bike that’s not ten a penny, goes like stink, sounds awesome, keeps with anything modern, handles beautifully and has a sprinkling of HRC magic walk this way. SP’s rock!!! :) And that’s why I bought one :)

    22 February 2010

  • Real world Racer

    BeamishBlade

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Recently sold a two stroke (see Blade reviews for explanation)09 Fireblade and bought one of my all time favourite bikes the SP2. Ducatis look sublime but after a ride out i want to come home on a bike and not sat in the cab of an AA vehicle (obviously not all Dukes are like that ;-p). The SP does not mess about, its 40 HP down on my Blade but it is a very fast road machine. Where the Blade was easy the SP is challenging. Where the Blade wanted to wheely the SP just squats down and rockets fwd. Cr8p in 30 mph zones but get to your favourite A-road and life doesnt get much better. Yes I would'nt be able to beat a similar skill level of rider on my 09 Blade but my satisfaction of ownership and the feeling when I push the starter more than makes up for it. Dont be put off by horror fuel stories I rode to North Scotland and back in a weekend and managed 141 miles from a tank (Scotch Corner to LN4. If you are on it you can get the light on before 100 miles but who cares. This bike oozes quality. How many 1999-2000 bikes are worth 3K? Not too many I'll wager.

    12 October 2009

  • Mutts Nutts

    Rimbo

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Had an SP1 for about three years now and wouldn't change it for the world. I've owned a succession of various in line 4's (CBR's etc) and this thing blows them away. Thought long and hard about what I ACTUALLY wanted a bike for and at the end of the day it was for head turning fun. If this is what you're after, then look no further. Believe me, you can get the most jazzed up, tarty looking Blade, R1, GSX etc turn up at a meet and they'll be appreciated - when you role up on an SP1/2 with your blueflames burbling away, everyone starts looking your way. Ride is hard but liveable (I went across France on mine without any issues), fuel economy is pants (the main review states 30mpg - I get closer to 20mpg) and they can be demanding on tricky roads. All in all though, I lurve it and can't wait for the sun to shine!!

    25 February 2009

  • devil with indigestion

    H2pots

    Average rating rating is 0

    i've owned my sp2 for 3 years. love it. at first it was a snatchy sod at low speed, now great after fitting blue flame cans (sorted fulling no end). sounds like the devil with indigestion...love it. handling is great on the twisties, heavy on wrist through town, but hey... if you wanna commuter buy a cbf. looks differant and sounds it too. honda should be updating it but no change for a while now... nowt out there that takes my eye so i'll be sticking with it (no complaints there)

    29 January 2009

  • devil with indigestion

    H2pots

    Average rating rating is 0

    i've owned my sp2 for 3 years. love it. at first it was a snatchy sod at low speed, now great after fitting blue flame cans (sorted fulling no end). sounds like the devil with indigestion...love it. handling is great on the twisties, heavy on wrist through town, but hey... if you wanna commuter buy a cbf. looks differant and sounds it too. honda should be updating it but no change for a while now... nowt out there that takes my eye so i'll be sticking with it (no complaints there)

    29 January 2009

  • devil with indigestion

    H2pots

    Average rating rating is 0

    i've owned my sp2 for 3 years. love it. at first it was a snatchy sod at low speed, now great after fitting blue flame cans (sorted fulling no end). sounds like the devil with indigestion...love it. handling is great on the twisties, heavy on wrist through town, but hey... if you wanna commuter buy a cbf. looks differant and sounds it too. honda should be updating it but no change for a while now... nowt out there that takes my eye so i'll be sticking with it (no complaints there)

    29 January 2009

  • devil with indigestion

    H2pots

    Average rating rating is 0

    i've owned my sp2 for 3 years. love it. at first it was a snatchy sod at low speed, now great after fitting blue flame cans (sorted fulling no end). sounds like the devil with indigestion...love it. handling is great on the twisties, heavy on wrist through town, but hey... if you wanna commuter buy a cbf. looks differant and sounds it too. honda should be updating it but no change for a while now... nowt out there that takes my eye so i'll be sticking with it (no complaints there)

    29 January 2009

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