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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

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

Honda
SP-2

miles

£75

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(32 reviews)

  • The finest real world sports bike

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
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    Engine

    Having owned a few superbikes since passing my test in 2010 (Gixxer 750, RSV4R Aprilia, Duc 996R)the SP2 is the only one that really ticks all the boxes for me. It has the comfort and ergonomics of the Gixxer, the charisma of the RSV4 and a better soundtrack than the Duc. I got tired of having to ride everywhere at 8000RPM on the Suzuki just so there was instant power to overtake, I got bored with neck ache on the Duc, and the sphincter loosening power of the RSV4 (plus the lack of wind protection on its mini-moto dimensions) made the Aprilia a bike that could only be enjoyed when in the right mood.. No, the SP2 is a real world superbike that just works on the road - it's small, but comfortable, it's got instant power but doesn't need electronics to stop you looping it, it has charisma in spades but isn't a pain to live with (it's a Honda after all. And the noise from the carbon Akrapovic cans is pure adrenal music - it barks on start-up, it bangs, crackles and pops on over-run, and on full power the hard edged blast is awesome! There is currently no other bike on offer, new or used, that tempts me to want to change the SP2, I just love everything about it! If only Honda (or any other manufacturer) had the courage to offer a real world superbike like the SP2 today - just make it a little lighter, improve the range to 150 miles, tweak the styling to bring it up to date and I think they would have a winner. My advice is to grab an SP2 while there are still a few about..

    19 March 2014

  • Alternatives?

    Detritus0010

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I've had my SP1 since 2001. Reg RC51 HRC. Keep test riding shiny new metal then get her out of the garage for a blast over the moors and fall in love all over again. There is no alternative

    09 September 2013

  • HRC on the road

    paulsp

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    The shere quality of my sp2 tells me it,s from the HRC stable and not your typical mass produced road bike. After years of in line fours it came as a bit of a shock at first but now I would not change for anything else. If you,re worried about a bit of low speed snatch (minor) or the pathetic tank range then you should not be looking at this bike in the first place. On the other hand if you are prepared to junk the overweight; over baffled cans and fit a power commander then you have a hell of a beast on hand that will give you all the bike experience you can ever want! (or handle) A true classic!

    18 April 2013

  • Perfect

    shaunrimmer

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Engine

    I've had my SP1 for 6/7 year now and its the mutts nuts as far as I'm concerned. I'm a reasonably big bloke and this was the last of the proper muscle bikes, so it doesnt feelm like I'm riding a mini-moto! I've got a set of blue flames, with the baffles out and the sound is to behold! Downside is fuel economy, but quite frankly if you're worried about fuel economy, then you're looking at the wrong type of bike - better off taking a look at a nice Bandit or Fazer!!!

    05 April 2012

  • Buy one and fall in love

    pumpkinescobar

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I've had my SP1 for nearly 5 years now and, inevitably, I've occasionally thought about getting something else. But then I think, what would I replace it with? As many other people here have mentioned, it's a bike Honda built to prove a point, so that alone makes it special. The noise, ye gods, the noise! Gear driven cams, handles like it's on rails, bulletproof reliability. It's not perfect, but that's what gives it personality, right? :) To get the best out of it you certainly need to spend a bit of money (nice cans at the minimum, plus the suspension needs sorting), but for something with this much character, quality and style (how many other 10 year old bikes look this good?) it really is worth it. To DARMHA900SS below: A PC will sort out most of your issues, it's a decade-old big twin so it's always going to be a bit lumpy. 20k miles is barely run in, enjoy!

    04 November 2011

  • HELP!!

    David Green

    Average rating rating is 5

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    This is not a review, it's a plea for advice. I am about to do the best thing I have ever done in my life, or the most stupid thing. I am English but I live in Brasil. I have just found a Honda RC51 RVT1000 (2000 Model)with 20,000 Miles on the clock. It's the same bike as a European SP1. I would like advice about how to cure the "on-off" throttle responce at town speeds. Is it an easy fix with a power commander? If so, which one do I need? Any help would be greatly apreciated. Bikes generally cost a fortune over here but this one is going for a good price.

    28 September 2011

  • It Rocks and then some

    Alexandra

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Best bike i have ever had. I always wanted this bike when it was released and waited ten years before i could finally afford one. What can i say? It is perfection. Ignore all the negative comments. Most people who write stuff, have never ridden one. I fitted a Power Coomander and low and behold i get 150 miles before the light comes when travelling. My blade or cbr6 only managed 110 miles average. I now get from brighton to manchester on one fuel stop. She handles like a dream, got to be firm yes. I could waffle on for ages. Ride one and make your own conclusion. Yes she is like Usain Bolt out of the Blocks. Ride one, and realise as Honda says, What dreams are made of.

    02 September 2011

  • Best bike i have owned

    fitzy2009

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Ive owned many bikes over the years from suzuki to ducatis and have been riding for 14 years now. Every bike i have had i have found fault with so have changed them in less than a year. I have now owned my sp1 for 3 years now and its never let me down. When i bought it i had test rode a 2006 rsv and was set on getting one, then i rode the sp1 and then just had to buy it. Had the money to buy an sp2 but loved the red of the sp1. This bike feels like it was made for me. Its not the fastest bike in the world but with the right rider as fast enough to keep up with most bikes on the road. I have test rode all the latest 1000cc superbikes and none feel and special as my sp1. Yes the new crop of bikes are faster but i didnt jump back on my bike and think it was slow because its not. Best bike i have owned!

    30 August 2011

  • Let down

    Feakster

    Average rating rating is 3

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    "It's ok"... That's the best I can do to sum up my 3 weeks of ownership. I bought this with the expressed intention of selling my RSV, but I ended up selling the SP2. I couldn't help but feel a tad let down. All the reviews and hype about this bike said it was brilliant. I have no doubt it's very reliable, and that it'll be a future classic, but after you fork out your £3k - £6k you have to ask yourself "what have I really got for my money?" From the point of view of riding... you have fat pig that gets dragged wide by it's titanic weight in fast or long corners, an excessively snatchy throttle to irritate you in slow corners or round town, & a petrol black hole to financially f*ck you off (It's worse than my RSV... an impressive feat!). It's a very pretty bike, but you can't help but want it to be better than it is... & the sad fact is that it just isn't.

    19 August 2011

  • Motorcycling Icon

    sandmacker

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I thought long and hard before settling for the SP2. I looked at the Aprilia RSV factory and the Ducati 999/916 SPS. Why the Honda ? Reliability and build quality. This bike is one of the motorcycle greats, and in my short time with it, I've come to realise this is one of the best investments I've ever made. It has everything you need on a bike , and what is does have is pure class. Comfort and fuel range in my opinion arn't an issue considering the way it is mean't to be ridden , being > hard. And in that it shines. It's a very intergrated bike with it all coming together so sweetly. Over the course of history there are certain motorcyces that truly step up as one of the greats ; The Vincent , Ducati 916 SPS ,MV 750 RC 45 and so on . You'd be hard pressed not to inclue the RC51 in that list. HRC do not press their name into the motor sidecases unless they know it will deliver, and it did. A bike that was purposely built to be the best in it's game. By now you know what it does, and you know by these other reports it excels in what it is meant to do. Be a fantastic ride Did it succeed ? Now tell me your not going to get one.

    16 July 2011

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