1997 Honda CBR1100XX, Aprilia RSV 1000r, European vs. Japanese Bikes and Basic Motorcycle Training Questions | Answers


On The Cheap
After reading your Smart Money on Aprilia’s second-generation RSV1000R twins, I found a stone-stock 2006 Mille R for sale in the local fish-wrapper for a price too good to pass up. The bike is in great shape with 12,500 miles on the odometer, but it’s a little slow compared to my buddy’s Ducati 999. What can I do to get a little more power on the cheap without diminishing reliability?
Rodney Ward
Kokomo, IN

According to our go-to Aprilia guru, Amauri Nunes, switching the engine’s command/control ECU to Map Variant 2 and replacing the stock mufflers with something less restrictive will buy you another 5-10 horsepower, and the uncorked engine runs noticeably smoother at no extra charge. “Map Variant 2 runs in open-loop mode,” Nunes explains, “so you don’t have the ECU trying to keep the air/fuel mixture as lean as possible, and ignition timing is optimized for performance instead of being compromised for emissions as in Variant 1. An open airbox is another popular modification, as is disabling the air-intake flapper valve, but neither offers any significant performance benefits.” Nunes adds that the standard 16/40 gearing squelches noise along with performance, so start with a 15-tooth countershaft and take it from there.

Basic Training | FAQ
I’m a beginning rider going for my learner’s permit, and training for a full motorcycle license. What is a good streetbike to start on? Or should I start with a dirtbike?

Your training wheels should be light, manageable and unintimidating. Anything that feels too big probably is. If you’re tall enough, a clean, used 250cc dual-sport is agile, forgiving of rookie mistakes and cheaper to fix in the inevitable tip-over. Mastering the basics off-road is a great idea. Dirt is softer than pavement. There are considerably fewer trucks, busses and other potentially painful distractions. And you’ll learn how to cope with dicey surfaces, which puts you at least one giant step ahead of the average street rider. Besides, it’s fun! Start with a trip to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s website (www.msf-usa.org), where you’ll find great ways to get started, on or off-road.

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