“Mr. Supermoto (Van den Bosch) slides past me as if I was a lost chicken in town. I wring the throttle on the SXV 550 as early as I dare out onto the straight. The small powerful V-twin develops instant horsepower that easily spins up the 180 section Dunlop D208RR rear tyre”. The front lifts and stays up for most of the straight on this sunny day on the go-cart track in Sicily. 2007/2008 RXV's tested here!
Words: Tor Sagen/Photography: Milagro
SXV 450 is literally using the same engine as the S2 race bike. The 4.5 develops a staggering 60 bhp at 13.000 rpm. The engine is developed from scratch at the Noale factory as opposed to the usual Rotax mill from Austria. Aprilia wanted to enter the off-road market with a bang, and has done so with the usual displacements, but in V-twin configuration. You would have to look to KTM and Husqvarna to get some style thrown in with your money on a supermoto. Aprilia has gone all the way in the styling department and everything from brake fluid reservoirs to the diamond shaped frame and body work has got incredible attention to detail. There is no doubt Aprilia planned to launch the SXV as a road bike from the very beginning.
SXV 550 is the most powerful 550 supermoto ever. With 70 bhp and a dry weight of 128kg the power to weight ratio is unbelievable. The power is instant and adjustability as good as a race bike. It is not much that separates the SXV 550 from a full-on race bike. The engine is virtually the same, but suspension and brakes are different. SXV 550 is a world beater out of the crate. Aprilia has designed the SXV 550 to be THE supermoto. Compared to other high end supermoto’s the 60 hour service intervals are not too bad either.
We got the chance to compare the SXV 450 and 550 on a go-cart track in Sicily. I started with the SXV 450 and after a few warm up laps it was evident that the new V-twin is very smooth for such a high performance 450. I really had to work the gearbox to get near the full potential, but still I thought, “fuck me, how’s the 550 going to be!” After the first session on the 450 I swapped straight over to the 550 and I was suddenly in Supermotard heaven. Earlier in the day I had ridden the RXV 550 that was just not pleasant at all on the dirt. The SXV 550 however is just perfect. It has got so much usable power and it can be used from great lean angles as soon as the Dunlop D208RR tyres are warm. Suddenly it was the 550 I preferred, on hard tarmac the SXV is everything you want a supermoto to be. Powerful enough to power wheelie through the whole straight and smooth enough to make you think you will not ever ride a single again! Where you can keep third gear, without hitting the limiter, before breaking hard into the corner on the 550 you need a short click up into fourth on the 450. The gear box lubrication is separate from the engine and I never thought once about the gearbox during the fast riding around the track. Aprilia has designed both the gearbox and clutch for longer life than you can expect from a single. Both SXV’s share parts such as chassis, wheels and brakes. The engine is the only difference. The rear tyre is a Dunlop D208RR 180/55-ZR17 and front 120/70-ZR17, tyres that you would normally see on a superbike. This gives the SXV great stability when leaning all the way over, but might slow it down a bit when flicking from left to right compared to a top-spec single with a 160 section rear tyre. These tyres also allow you to stay on the power for longer and get on it earlier. Both bikes have got a powerful radial Brembo calliper around a single 270mm wavy disc.
More text coming from the Sicily world launch...
2007/2008 RXV's tested here!