THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Mak­ing me­mories...”

Fast Bikes - - LONGTERMERS -

Some thiev­ing par­a­sites broke into my van and nabbed a load of stuff, among which was my phone and that re­ally pissed me off be­cause it had pics on it from a re­cent blast I had on the Aprilia around Croft cir­cuit. I love that place. It’s al­ways been one of my favourite tracks to race, and I was gag­ging to see how the RSV4 cut it around the fast and flow­ing track. I kind of an­tic­i­pated it’d be a right weapon around there, and I wasn’t wrong. The mo­tor’s torque was mint out of the tighter sec­tions, and I can’t help but smile broadly when think­ing about the way the V4 picked up the pace and rock­eted down the straights.

I’ve rid­den a lot of bikes over the years, but there’s noth­ing com­pa­ra­ble with the drive­abil­ity of the Aprilia. Or its sound­track. Fit­ting that Austin Racing can was one of the best things I could have done to the RSV4. It already sounded a treat but, as my mis­sus put it, it now sounds like ‘I’m un­leash­ing hell’. I like that. Amaz­ingly, it got through the noise test, but I had to keep the baf­fle screwed in tight at all times. Be­ing honest, it’s too noisy with it out, in my opin­ion, so I never re­ally feel chas­tised by the regs.

The rider aids are grow­ing on me all the time and I’m get­ting more fa­mil­iar with what they do, and what set­tings I want. The same goes for the Öh­lins sus­pen­sion, which makes ab­so­lute sense on the track. It makes the bike so ag­ile and planted, you re­ally can’t fault it, es­pe­cially when you fac­tor in how in­for­ma­tive it is at all times. Noth­ing comes as a sur­prise with the Aprilia; you know what it’s do­ing and when it’s do­ing it. That’s great for rider con­fi­dence.

I bloody love this bike. So much so that I’ve spent a fair bit of time check­ing over it and keep­ing it in tip top con­di­tion. It’s not due a ser­vice for a good few thou­sand miles, but what with tak­ing it out on track and gen­er­ally beast­ing it around on the roads, I fig­ured it was de­serv­ing of a freshen up. The brakes on this bike are awe­some and I was keen to make sure I hadn’t been us­ing them that much that the pads were about knack­ered, so a caliper in­spec­tion was a must. They’ve got proper Brembo pads in as stock, and thank­fully mine still had plenty of meat on them. The pis­tons were cov­ered in dust and crap though, so they got a good clean­ing. The brake fluid was also changed, just for good mea­sure, and I ad­justed and lubed the chain. Well, af­ter giv­ing it a proper clean first. The side­plates of the links were lath­ered in crap, so I got stuck in with some cleaner and got them look­ing a mil­lion dol­lars. I’ve al­ways looked af­ter my stuff and I don’t in­tend to treat the Aprilia any dif­fer­ently. The last thing you want is a bike that starts fail­ing on you be­cause of poor main­te­nance. With that in mind, the tyres are look­ing a bit worse for wear, so maybe a change is on the cards in the not too dis­tant fu­ture. The OE fit­ment Pirelli Su­per­corsa SPs have been ab­so­lutely awe­some on road and track, so I’m re­luc­tant to move away from them. As they say up north, ‘I like what I know, and I know what I like’.

Clive’s a big dirty scrub­ber... in the main­te­nance de­part­ment.

Some­times you’ve got to get your hands mucky.

If you love it, lube it.

Stan­dard Brembo pads are hold­ing out de­spite abuse.

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