To say the RC30 was better than the RC51 because of relative higher at-sale spec is a faulty argument. The RC51 purposely started out as a more basic package than the RC30, but available options gave it so much more than the RC30 to the public, if you had the money. And that is the point. The basic RC51 was cheap compared to the RC30, but it still had great bones. Great bones as seen in its racing success. Spend on one of the 3 HRC RC51 kits, and you get a more capable bike, step by step, to the level of a potential national winning championship bike. Not so easy to get those parts on the RC30. Much of them were never officially available to the public, like the RC51 parts were.
I remember in 2000, when the Honda Canada RC51 bikes were full HRC stage 3 spec, at about $160,000 per bike ($110,000 US at that time, because the CAD dollar sucked). The bike was beautiful and won the championship.
The RC51 was the most accessible HRC bike ever. A reason to celebrate IMO.
So much of this history is gone from the internet sadly. But here is a bit.
Soup :: RC51 Customer race bikes for sale
HRC race kits for the RC51?
And finally, newer bikes have always improved and are faster. On top of that there were particularly a lot of motorcycle improvements between the RC30 and RC51. Both are great bikes but the RC51 will hand the RC30 its ass on the track.
Great perspective... I'd like to fill in some on the bike in between after all every Honda sporting RC are great...
Honda's RC45 was one of the first so called "lab bikes" and compared
to the simple RC30... Honda took a lot stick for the RC45 being too
complicated... All thought Honda has always stride to produce simple
machines their carburated RC30 was a no hoper stuck at the 150HP
barrier... they needed new technology to race upwards of 185HP... the
only solution was computer control Fi... a feature you'll find on
about 90% of the bikes in production today... even the lowly Harley
sports computer control Fi...
The world is changing at the rate of 60 seconds a minute with new
demands placed on electronics everyday... so while complex electronics
was not a really a part of the motorcycle main stream back in 94 it's
surely something we have all enjoy today... I think it's only fair
that the RC45 receives less stick and more tribute as one of the
pioneer "lab bikes" aimed at the public...
What's our benefit as a street rider??? well because of the way Fi
works even at part throttle the RC45 does not suffer it's tall first
gear like the RC30...
HRC RC45 Kit Parts