Aprilia, the Italian motorcycle and scooter maker, started out making small displacement bikes before producing the 998cc RSV Mille in 1998. That bike was so successful that it gave rise to a number of successor 998cc sport bikes. It was substantially revised in 2004 and, at least in the United States, renamed the RSV 1000 R. A supersport bike that handles well on the street and the track it has been the only two-cylinder production bike to compete successfully with four-cylinder racing bikes.
The latest version of Aprilia’s V60 Magnesium Evolution V-twin engine, with double overhead cams and fuel injectors, is paired with a six-speed transmission and a chain final drive. The standard front suspension on the 1000 R is an Ohlins inverted fork with spring preload and rebound damping; the rear is a Sachs aluminum alloy double banana swing arm. Aprilia’s patented AVDC anti-vibration double countershaft keeps the machine running smoothly and comfortably, while making sure all of its power is at the rider’s disposal. And since the RSV has been clocked at 160 miles per hour, there is indeed plenty of power. Big Brembo 12.6-inch dual disc front brakes and 8.7-inch disc rear brakes will successfully bring it to a halt, however.
The compact RSV is noted for its reliability, and you can trust the Italians to give the bike a distinctive look, with its aluminum frame and carbon fiber body. New front fairing features improve cooling, and the redesigned windshield, with a lower double curve, pays tribute to its track roots. Sleek side panels and tank sides are sleek and close fitting; nothing interferes with the aerodynamic styling.
The Factory model is essentially the same bike, but a few pounds lighter, just 407 pounds to the 1000 R’s 416, and it comes in just two colors—red or black—with a contrasting gold tone. The 1000 R is available in gray, black, and the red-and-gray combo featured by Aprilia’s entry in the grueling Bol d’Or race.