The 2010 Aprilia MXV is the Italian-based company's initial foray into the motocross arena. Built upon the success of Aprilia's Supermoto (SXV) and Enduro (RXV) lines, the MXV delivers efficient motocross riding in a carefully designed, if not slightly futuristic-looking package.
The bike's exterior style is everything one looks for in a dirt bike. In other words, it is aggressive and angular. The MXV's gas tank is nearly invisible, as it is positioned low between the frame tubes and hidden by the bike's standout body panels. This gives the bike a remarkably sleek and slender look that is recognizably Italian. The 2010 Aprilia MXV is only available in the company's trademark Red Off color, which at first glance can leave some riders believing that they are looking at a Honda. But under closer inspection, the sharp front fender, two-tone seat, and boomerang-shaped side number plates give the bike its defining identity. The red is beautifully balanced by the bike's titanium twin tail pipes, black anodized aluminum alloy wheels, and black 50mm Marzocchi upside down fork. Think Lamborghini turned motocross.
The 2010 Aprilia MXV has a comfortable seat height of 37.8 inches, making it an easy ride for 16 year-olds and up. Plus, it has a ground clearance of nearly 51 inches and big, chunky tires that are perfectly designed for handling the most rugged terrain. Due to the engine's low placement within the frame, the bike's foot pegs are positioned slightly lower than most other dirt bikes, and this can cause them to drag in seriously rutted corners.
Aprilia has outfitted the 2010 MXV with two ignition settings, the factory default ""Big Bang,"" and the aptly named ""Screamer."" The standard Big Bang setting closes the firing gap between the two cylinders, which enables it to give the rider excellent control and traction for an exceptional ride. When the Screamer setting is activated, however, the firing gap is changed over to the operational standard for a 77-degree, V-Twin engine, and the bike's performance goes through the roof and its 12,500 rpm limit. The Screamer setting is not for beginners, nor for the faint-of-heart. This setting turns an already aggressive motocross bike into a ground-churning, hill-jumping beast. Thankfully, there is a toggle switch that allows the rider to shift from Hard to Soft engine maps.
Driving the 2010 Aprilia MXV 450 is a unique pleasure, but its handling and weight distribution can make it a challenge to master out of the gate. The bike feels heavier than its 238 pounds (dry weight) and its steering has a tendency to feel slow in switchbacks. The springy-soft suspension system, while an excellent performer on desert-style dunes and whoop-inducing jumps, might feel a tad too soft for some riders on tracks that are built for speed. Once one does get a handle on this Italian gem, however, there is a lot of fun to be had. Of course, if you're planning on taking it to an AMA Pro Racing track, you had better think again. The MXV's twin-cylinder engine makes it illegal for use on AMA Pro Racing tracks.