7. 2000 Honda RC51
When Honda introduced the RC51 (also called the RVT1000R or SVT1000, depending where you are in the world) in 2000, it did so with World Superbike domination in mind. Rule changes for the 2000 WSBK season allowed V-Twins a 1000cc displacement, while four-cylinder machines were limited to 750cc. This meant the venerable (and very sought-after) RC45’s days were over.
As we now know, Colin Edwards captured the WSBK title in the RC51’s first year, while Nicky Hayden beat Mat Mladin the same year to win the AMA Superbike crown. Meanwhile, the street version of the bike was so impressive we wrote, “As nit-picky as we are, there was nothing that we could find to fault.”
The RC51 meets some major criteria for being a collector bike: it was a bold move by Honda, it looks great, it achieved racing success worldwide (Colin Edwards vs. Troy Bayliss, anyone?) and the production model is equally adored by consumers worldwide. Later versions received various minor updates, but the introductory (2000) model will likely be most collectible.