I recently covered around 3,500 kilometres aboard an Aprilia RSV 1000 Mille and formed quite a bond with the Latin lovely during that time.
The Aprilia felt very high at first. With a seating position that made me feel as though I was sat on top of the bike rather than part of it. This left me feeling a little disconnected with what the bike was doing and it took me a little while to trust the package, particularly the front end. However, once I started giving the bike it’s head I was rewarded with excellent performance.
Suspension is a little on the stiff side but the initial part of the stroke is supple enough to absorb all but the biggest of hits. Stability is quite good but I feel that, like Honda’s SP1, the Aprilia may benefit from a some minor suspension mods to the valving. I have found this in all the V-Twin sportsbikes I have ridden so the Mille is definitely not alone in this department.
The dash layout is complex enough to confuse a 747 pilot. A large digital speedo sits to the left of the conventional round tachometer which features a flashing shift light.
The RSV is the easiest sportsbike I have ever ridden to keep to the speed limit. I don’t know what it is, maybe it is the aid of the large LCD speedo, but in 60 and 70 zones I found myself doing pretty much the exact limit and sitting there quite happily. This in itself maybe a reflection on how pleasurable and comfortable the bike is to ride.
The dash records your highest top speed since you last pressed the reset button. It also has the facility to store up to 40 lap times that you set by pressing the headlight flash switch each time you go over your chosen start/ finish line.
A clock, fuel light, side stand light and temperature gauge are also easily read.
Strapping luggage to the Mille is a bit of a hassle. A lack of good tie down points make things harder than it should be. A tank bag sits reasonably well on the fuel tank but if you need to carry more gear than that, a backpack and/or some sort of luggage rack will have to be fitted to the Aprilia. That aside, many kilometres can be ridden with a minimum of fatigue, as the Mille is an extremely comfortable mount.
This bike turns heads. At various times during my time with the Mille I parked the bike next to various other high-end sports models but passers-by would always comment on the attractiveness of the Aprilia. If I was in the market for a big V-Twin I think the Aprilia would probably be at the top of my shopping list.
The Mille is particularly good value at the moment as Aprilia are offering a $1000 bonus to customers that is essentially a gift voucher to use at the store you bought your Aprilia from. So you can fit yourself out with some new gear or even put the $1000 towards a nice race exhaust for your new Mille.