For­get the 996…

’98 Aprilia RSV is the Ital­ian twin to in­vest in

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

Over a decade after Aprilia’s 2004 melt­down and takeover by Pi­ag­gio it’s easy to for­get how dy­namic and am­bi­tious the Noale-based Ital­ian firm were in the late 90s and early Noughties.

Hav­ing served their ap­pren­tice­ship in the tid­dler classes, Aprilia, from 1998, de­cided to put not just Du­cati but even Honda in their sights with an all-new fam­ily of big V-twins.

The first, the RSV Mille su­per­bike, was ar­guably the best. Its com­pact, 128bhp 60-de­gree V-twin not just out-punched its Ital­ian ri­val, but was more re­li­able and re­quired less main­te­nance. Its gor­geous, pol­ished alu­minium twinspar frame was not just a work of art, it also de­liv­ered great han­dling, and its roomier pro­por­tions com­pared to the Du­cati gave it plenty of ap­peal to taller rid­ers.

Trou­ble was, the Mille wasn’t quite the suc­cess Aprilia hoped. De­spite Troy Corser’s ef­forts, the Mille never de­prived Du­cati of the WSB crown, nor did it ever quite have its Ital­ian ri­val’s charisma.

On the plus side, though, that does mean the Mille’s still some­thing of a steal to­day – and cer­tain to ap­pre­ci­ate. Ov­erengi­neer­ing and high build qual­ity means the RSV’S both durable and classy. Its per­for­mance still sat­is­fies; a spec that in­cludes Brembo and March­esini still im­presses (even more so in higher R or SP spec) and, best of all, used prices start under £2000 (when a com­pa­ra­ble 996 is well over £5k). Watch out, though, those val­ues are al­ready on the rise...

With used prices start­ing at around £2000, an early RSV is a crack­ing bike for the money

£2000 for this view is a small price to pay Pol­ished frame and swingarm are stun­ning

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