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A thing of beauty


I had an hour spare at lunch one day in 2007, walked into a dealership and saw 2 brand new Aprilia RSVR Factory 1000 motorcycles (2005 model). The next day finance was approved and I was the proud owner of the bike you see in the pictures, a real Italian beauty. I had never owned a 1000cc superbike before my bike at the time was a Kawasaki KZ400 I had previously owned 2 GSXR 600’s before that, a 1998 GSXR600 SRAD then a 2001 GSXR600 K1.  So this was going to be a dream realised and a culture shock I suspected.

I was terrified and excited all at the same time, it was only the second time I had ever bought a bike brand new and this was a stunner. It’s one of those rare bikes that looks fast standing still. First ride home was a challenge as apparently in vertically challenged (short) so I could barely get my feet on the floor. A pair of Nice Daytona ladies boots with platform soles helped that problem but the bike would need to be lowered a bit. I made it home safely taking my time running the bike in as instructed so not really using any performance and it all went smoothly.

It’s an aggressive riding style and after the first few rides I always very sore, later I figured out it was the death grip of terror I was holding my entire body in. Within a week I had the 500 miles done to run it in (yes I was keen) so took it back for its first service. Philip McCallen lowered it for me and set up the suspension, I was ready to go.

Up to this point I had been riding very sensibly and carefully (read that as scared), but now it was all systems go and I could give a bit more wellie. Coming off the motorway slip road in second I just wound it on to see what would happen, the fairing was in my face as the front wheel came up and I rolled off and checked I didn’t need to change my boxers. If you’re moving to a 1000cc superbike from a 600cc supersport bike especially a flat 4 600 to a 1000 V-twin watch out, the difference is night and day the power is vicious but amazing and so addictive.

I took a run down some of my favourite coast roads and it was incredible it handles like a dream, almost without thinking about it your round the corner even with my not to accurate lines. The bike was so far beyond my abilities it was a joy to ride, if I thought I had messed up a line or come in a bit fast the bike just took it never missing a beat. The one thing I learnt very quickly was progressive acceleration out of the corners, fortunately without a highside the RSVR has no traction control so it can spin up on you before you realise.

I was a mostly fair weather rider on that bike for the next 5  years I went to rallies all over the UK and Ireland so motorway riding and twisties. The only real drawback to the bike is long runs its not a distance machine so after an hour you have to stop, any longer and you may need a crane to lift you off the bike. Which isn’t a bad thing as the range of 140 odd miles is not great. I made my own luggage rack for it even did some 2 up riding.

I love this bike it is always fun and always turns heads. Even people not into the plastic fantastic grudgingly admit its good looks. If they took it for a ride I think a few more people would ride them. Unfortunately as the posts to follow show it really doesn’t like the British weather and has a few niggles which I had to sort. The bike still isn’t back together and on the road but I’m working on it, enjoy the saga I can’t wait to have this bike back between the hedges.

I know a lot of us myself included like to geek out on specs so below are the published specs for the bike.

Max power 143 bhp
Max torque 76 ft-lb
Top speed 172 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 36 mpg
Tank range 140 miles
Engine size 998cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 180kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17


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