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2001 Honda RC51

Spring Again

Classic Velocity

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Unlike other machines, the RC really needs roads clear of salt and gravel, and large potholes. That means it has to wait for spring rains and road repairs to be unleashed. Finally a weekend where that was possible, and the awakening was a revelation as always. The ton is effortless, and it really likes the high octane ethanol-free juice ! I need to find a track day this year... 

Fall Again

Classic Velocity

I am not sure why mid October always finds me aboard the RC51. Perhaps it is the prospect of limited riding days ahead. Perhaps it is the way the cool air feels at speed juxtaposed against a bright blue sky. Whatever the reason, the Honda completes the picture. There is nothing congruent about it. Like the cold air and the suggested warmth of a bright sunny day, it is a stark contrast. It rips an industrial tear into the quiet masterpiece of color and falling leaves. It blends with nothing. It is disruptive and proud of it. It declares itself to be its own masterpiece.

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Variations on Fast

Classic Velocity

Some motorcycles surprise you with their speed. You suddenly realize that you are going faster than you thought. Some build speed like a freight train, steadily. And some motorcycles have "raw" speed. It feels violent and unrefined. It will catch you out and spit you off if you are not paying attention. Sort of like a race bike. That is the RC51. Today was a set of deserted roads that formed the Classic Velocity TT. Nowhere near the speeds or the danger of the IOM, but good enough to be reminded how wonderfully uncivilized this machine is. Brilliant !

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ps: It also reminds you how quickly the fuel light comes on when you twist that handle on the right a lot....

Sport Bike Weather

Classic Velocity

Finally we have dry roads free of gravel and oil, and suitable for an outing on the RC51. I cehecked the tire pressures (it needed a few pounds front and rear), and headed off to some favorite curves. It had been a record-breaking winter, and the roads were in bad shape, or were patched hurriedly, so no testing of limits on this day. However, the machine reminded me as always that periodically, Honda loses their mind, and sells a slightly tamed Moto GP machine to the public. Brilliant.

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A Vortex of Leaves

Classic Velocity

This is the time of year when engines seem to run the best. The air is crisp and the pace is brisk. Perfect for a few hours of rifling through the countryside and creating a kaleidoscope out of the fall colors. The RC51 has violent acceleration, and it vibrates at a frequency which grabs you somewhere deep in the gut. Piles of leaves swirl in a cloud in its' wake. Sweepers are sublime, the twisties are a rythmic dance. What more could you ask for ? More time.....

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Juice-Less

Classic Velocity

For no apparent reason, the Gel battery on the RC51 went dead. It had not been sitting long, and in fact my first thought was that it just needed charging. However, overnight it seemed to leave the charger in a confused state. Other attempts produced nothing but confused batter chargers as well. Sticking the meter on it revealed that it was done.

At the local parts store, the tech looked at the old one and dated it to 2005. He said that was a long life, and he was surprised it lasted that long. A replacement was had for under $100. Back at the garage, it just seems like a crime to throw away a heavy sealed battery that has no outward signs of damage, but I did. The new one brought the bike to life instantly, but by then I had run out of time to ride....

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