Used Bike Review: Aprilia RSV 1000R

Used Bike Review: Aprilia RSV 1000R
Aprilia RSV 1000R Review

Motorways, Mountains,  a V-Twin and a Vulcan…a perfect day?

Last month I was lucky enough to spend a day putting together this Aprilia RSV 1000R review. The RSVR I rode was a 2004 model, which was the first of the “new shape (Gen 2)” RSVR (not an RSVR Factory). Being a huge fan of the RS 125, 250 and original RSV Mille (which made our Favourite Superbikes Of All Time list)  I was very much looking forward to getting going.

It’s hard to believe this bike is now 15 years old. It’s aggressive angles, profile and twin pipes all look as good now as they did back then. A coffee stop at the services heading north on the M6 quickly turned into a one hour chat with various bikers and enthusiasts. This big twin is still a head turner.

Setting off:

From the moment you throw your leg over and hoist yourself into the seat, it’s clear the RSVR is not for the faint of heart. The seat is high and the riding position aggressive. A hold of the starter button leads to a split second lurch of the starter motor before a clap of thunder from the Delcevic pipes (not standard on the bike). A clunk into first and we’re away. 

The bike is initially very lurchy at low speed. It clearly just wants to get going. Negotiating through town wasn’t the best of experiences and finding neutral was an almost impossibility when stationary.

Used Bike Review: Aprilia RSV 1000R 1
Obtaining neutral takes paitence and persistance...or luck!
Getting Going:

Once out onto the A roads, it all starts to make a bit more sense. The hard suspension I was complaining about in town is now doing wonders on the long, fast sweeping bends. Considering the weight of the bike, it carries it amazingly well and it actually feels like your riding a much smaller machine. The low to mid range torque is quite addictive and it pulls hard all the way to the red line. The sound on the A roads was also intoxicating. Plenty of burbles and pops on down shifts and that iconic twin rumble as powering out of corners. 

Leaving the A roads of Lancashire and joining the M6 northbound, the Aprilia seems to settle down a little and is very happy sat at 70(ish) in the outside lane. The fairing does a very good job of diverting the wind and it seems to lift the weight from your wrists as your cruise along. The only criticism was the large, flat fairings act as a big sail to strong side winds. It keeps you on your toes if nothing else.

I opted to pull in just outside Carlisle for a photo opportunity with a Vulcan Bomber that is on display at the Solway Aviation Museum. I would highly recommend a visit if your ever in the area.

2004 Aprilia RSV 1000R with Vulcan Bomber
When the V Twin met the V Bomber

Heading back South, I opted to detour through the Lake District to see how the RSVR compared on the smaller, more technical roads. Fortunately, traffic was light and the bike was a joy to ride. Had I been held up I can imagine a lot of the issues with town riding would have reared their ugly heads again. In the RSVR’s defence, it was never built to be pottering about around town or commuting – it was born on the track.

Closing Thoughts:

Concluding my Aprilia RSV 1000R Review. I found after spending the day with the bike in all honesty there is very little I didn’t like about it. I had even gotten the hang of finding the elusive neutral! Given that you can get a good one starting around £3000, I’m really struggling to see any down side other than it isn’t a bike for the inexperienced. If you’ve got an Italian itch that needs scratching, you’ll find the RSVR cheaper to buy, run and maintain than the equivalent Ducati of the same era.

Engine: 4.5

The Rotax 60 degree twin is a bullet proof and reliable engine. The dry sump will ensure constant lubrication and you’ll find it generally easy to work on. 

Suspension: 4.0

Fully adjustable forks, rear shock and steering damper. It is certainly very hard if riding on bad roads but is near perfect on the track or smooth A road. The RSVR Factory version further improves on this.

Brakes: 4.0

Brembo 2 piston calipers with 320mm Discs up front with a single piston caliper and 220mm disc on the rear. The rear does feel a little under powered, but you get used to it.

Build Quality: 4.5

Great build quality and attention to detail throughout. The welding work is all well worth admiring. The pre 2007 were plagued with a few issues, but these were ironed out in later versions.

Overall: 4.5

Style, performance and something a little different from everyone else. Fairly cheap to pick up and maintain. If your in the market for something a bit special, but on a slightly smaller budget, you should definitely arrange a test ride of an RSV 1000R.

Aprilia RSV 1000R Review