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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

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SP-2

16345 miles

£6,495

Honda
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2718 miles

£10,499

Honda
SP-2

22606 miles

£6,690

Honda
SP-2

13900 miles

£6,800

Honda
SP-2

11940 miles

£7,495

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(32 reviews)

  • HRC says it all

    v2kiwi

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I ve been riding an SP2 for 3 years now and it,s not the fastest ,most powerful , or most compliant handler, but every time the Akrapovic ,s wistle a tune you don,t want any other bike. The harder you ride it the better it works. Only Honda with HRC on the engine. I ve even considered buying a new one from england . Its much more satisfiying rocking up at the cafe on a bike that stands out among the eleventeen Blades and 43 R1s. Besides that it,s never gunna be the old modle is it. It,s THE modle. The best Honda money can buy. What do you really want out of a bike. After all we are only riding on the road and any modern sports bike will more than outperform most of our capabillity,s in road conditions. I hit a bouncing rabbit ( kangaroo) once that tames you down a bit. ( livin the dream in oz, We won the Rugby world cup too did ya hear.

    25 November 2008

  • michaelSP2

    michaelpoplett

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Uncomfortable, poor range? Who cares, this bike was not made for shopping,and the seat is not really for sitting in, it's a track bike and a hoot into the bargain. Hello Honda, are you there? You should have kept on with this bike, it leaves a gaping hole in you product range.

    24 November 2008

  • A classic!

    dinan3er

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    It was the bike that actually drew my attention away from cars! Now, experiencing the dream, the bike hasn't failed to excite. Sure, bike technology has made leaps and bounds since the SP1/2s introduction, but the VTR still brings a smile to my face every time I ride it.

    11 September 2008

  • this bike rocks!

    itty

    Average rating rating is 5

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    i live in bangkok, 1 of the worst motorbike cities in the world. english roads are silk in comparison, and no-one on the m25 knows what traffic really is! my past is gsxr and r1, and never liked twins. got sp1, 8yrs old now, never honda serviced! first few weeks, missed my gixxer so much, but as i got to 'feel' this bike more and more, it made more and more sense and i have to admit that this bike rocks!! i ride it like a currier in downtown traffic, then hit speeds of 150mph+ on open roads bumpy like the alps! this bike is mint, excellent quality - nothing even minor wrong with it. amazing shocks, and it loves to fly. nothing has unsettled this bike and i've put it through hell (serious headcase speed-freak!). still miss the noise and all roundedness of the gixxer (750), but the gixxer is so easy to ride (fast), a novice can get a lot out of it. this bike requires relationship-building with owner, and rewards with miles of smiles. there is so much power low down, yet still goes balistic higher up, especially in 3rd and 4th at near full rpm. i just can't describe the attachement with this bike? special in undescribable ways. whoever owns one of these and rides it "with respect" is missing the point. this bike just wants to prove to you that it is even better than you imagine! its not a nutter like the king, but it has in it more than you know, and the more you know and push it, the more it continues to surprise with its invincible capabilities. nearly 2 years and i am still getting surprises with this bike. i will go back to a gixxer soon as speed is the thrill, but there is no other bike that is 8 years old that can rival this bike, and if i can't afford to keep 2 bikes, i will always miss this bike and the amazments it just kep dishing out to me. serious respect to honda! press reviews make me think i should be a tt rider! what are these people talking about? twitchy throttle, heavy, hard to launch, choppy ride, etc? i think they must be 8stone stick-men in touch with their feminine side or lazy by nature? i'm 6ft, 15stone and nothing about this bike is negative for me, not even the low seat height. very comfy, usable and totally solid. the more you learn about this bikem, the more it shocks and the more every single detail makes complete sense. a living classic! QUESTION - IS GASSOHOL 95 OR 91 OK TO USE? (ok, 1 negative which is forgiving, fuel economy - i get more from my pickup than this bike! lol)

    09 August 2008

  • Love It!

    Slicky Boy

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    After much deliberating, I bought my SP1 after selling my R6 and it was the best decision i made. They are a bit of a beast, but I absolutely love the rawness of it - it's what riding a bike is all about (you can ,however, make it a bit smoother by adding a power commander and dropping one tooth in the front sprocket). I don't seem to have a problem with the tank range (it doesn't seem much different to my 6 to be honest) and would recommend one all day long -I get a real buzz from riding it and would never sell it!

    04 July 2008

  • oh

    binky

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    how I miss my SP1 .... only the tank range made change it .... if they did the SP2 in red I'd buy one tomorrow

    04 April 2008

  • The best, simple as that.

    rvf_rc45

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Took a test ride on my SP2 just over a year ago, & was sold straight away, & it hasn't failed to impress since. Considering the kind of bike this is (basically a race bike with lights on) it's so easy to ride, & the quicker you ride the better it handles. It's sort of like a fast VFR, but without the comfort. Having said that it's not that bad, sure in town it's not the most comfortable of bikes, as you'd expect, but get out on the open road & comfort isn't an issue. Similarly fuel consumption isn't as bad as some would have you believe. Even with spirited riding (enough to get me a stretch with bubba) I haven't seen anything lower than 42 mpg, & have even got as much as 50 mpg with relaxed riding. Build quality is superb, as you'd expect from a Honda, but it's not just typical Honda quality, it really does ooze quality wherever you look. Interestingly whenever I park near or next to a Ducati, it's always the SP that gets the admiring looks.

    05 December 2007

  • Everyone should have one

    BRAD-SP1

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I have had my '01 SP1 for about a year now and i use it every single day for work. It puts a smile on your face in the mornings, i just love this bike, even with the quirky throttle, plus it is the most awesome sounding bike on the planet! I have the twat who knocked me off my 600RR to thank for the opportunity to buy this truly superb motorcycle.

    03 September 2007

  • In love again

    BJSP1000

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I owned an SP1 from 2002-2004 and regretted selling it almost straight away. I'd put wp shocks front and back, steering damper, mag wheels, hugger, erion pipes..spent a fortune then bought a gixer 750 and spent the next few years asking myself why???? Six week ago I spotted it for sale in my local dealer went straight in and bought it back. It has 10,000 more miles on it but runs and goes as good as it did first time I owned it...a testiment to Honda quality...and looks as good too. I've had Blackbirds, Vfrs, an R1 & a gixer...the SP! is without a doubt the best bike I've owned. Buy one and you'll not be sorry. Sure there are faster 100 4's out there but the big twin is packed full os soul and raw racebred emotion.

    23 August 2007

  • Like the ad says "just do it!"

    VTR-SP2

    UK

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have admired the SP2 for a long time now, but have been put off by reading too many articles about poor comfort, lack of range, tall gearing etc. But when I took one for a test ride that was it, I had to have it! I am 6'2" and on the wrong side of large but have no problem with the comfort, in fact I feel more at home than on my old busa! I have twice got over 110 miles from a tank without any warning lights coming on and yes the first gear is tall requiring you to slip the clutch, but this isn't a major issue. A bit of suspension work and some nice exhausts to release that V-twin sound and I'll be a happy man!

    30 May 2007

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