Fast Bikes - - LONGTERMERS -

It was eight years ago that I first saw an RSV4 and it made me go all warm in­side. What a weapon; I had to have one. I’m a sucker for race bikes and there was some­thing about the Aprilia that just blew me away. It was tiny, sounded straight out of Mo­toGP and had a look like noth­ing else on the mar­ket. But it also cost a small for­tune, which has meant I’ve been sav­ing ever since to make that dream of own­er­ship a re­al­ity. I’ve lost track of how many pig­gy­banks I had to raid to get there, but last Septem­ber I scraped enough cash to­gether to head into my lo­cal dealer and buy this beauty.

It’s still early days in our re­la­tion­ship but I’m al­ready lov­ing that de­ci­sion. I never re­ally got chance to ride it much over win­ter, be­cause I didn’t want the bad weather and road salt to muller it, but I’ve been mak­ing the most of ev­ery de­cent day we’ve had this sea­son to learn a bit more about the bike and get a feel for what’s on of­fer. It’s not dis­ap­pointed me in the slight­est, with the big­gest smile pro­ducer be­ing its mo­tor. I had to run the bike in be­fore I could give it a good thrash, but I’ll never for­get the first time I opened up the throt­tle in vengeance; I nearly pissed my­self I was laugh­ing that hard.

The mo­tor’s a rocket and it makes its oomph all the way through the revs. That’s awe­some on the roads, be­cause it means you’re not mess­ing around look­ing for gears all the time. I like the gear­box too, and the elec­tron­ics make gear changes a dod­dle. This bike’s got quite a lot of tech, such as the fancy pad­dle sys­tem trac­tion con­trol, but I’ve still got to get my head around most of it. There’s a whole bloody book on its giz­mos, which I’ll have to get round to read­ing.

I want to make the most of what the bike has to of­fer, from its tech to its han­dling. On the road the way this bike dances is un­real. It’s so flick­able and al­ways feels planted, but the race-spec Öh­lins can rat­tle your fill­ings out on the bumpier of roads. That’s all part and par­cel of own­ing a rac­ing pedi­gree mo­tor­cy­cle though, isn’t it? I didn’t want an arm­chair; I wanted a weapon. And that’s ex­actly what I’ve got.

There’s so much I want to do with the RSV4, in­clud­ing tak­ing it on plenty of track­days, but I’m also keen to change a few of the stan­dard fit­ment parts. This bike looks a treat, but I reckon a bit more car­bon fi­bre wouldn’t go amiss. A race sys­tem is also a must, and I want to get some crash pro­tec­tion on it asap. I’ve just spent a small for­tune buy­ing the bike, but I reckon I could spend the same again in mak­ing it into ex­actly what I want. We’ll soon see. Where did I put that credit card?

Clive’s a happy lit­tle chappy! Up at the busi­ness end... Ev­ery inch of the Aprilia screams racer. Sleek and re­lent­less power is the RSV4’s big­gest hook.

A race sys­tem’s a must...

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