Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ridden: Aprilia SXV 450

As far as motards are concerned, you don’t get much better looking than the Aprilia SXV. It features typical Italian flair with stylish twin pipes exiting under the top of the rear mud guard. The shiny Exel rims feature a 170 section rear tyre on the back and finish off the motard appearance spectacularly. The sharp angular features portray a machine designed to do one thing, and that is supply excitement in abundance. 

The SXV 450 features a compact V-twin engine layout unlike the traditional single cylinder Japanese MX bikes that have been converted to Motards. As a result you get a fantastic engine note and improved low RPM control. Aprilia have also eliminated the need for balance shafts and increased the power output thanks to the 77degree V twin-layout.  

First impressions will dictate to you that the SXV was designed to race. Although what kind of race I am not sure. The powerplant loves to rev and it struggles to maintain a constant RPM. The brakes are also massively powerful for the compact frame. The SXV features a 320mm front wavey disc with FTE caliper. There is also a 240mm rear wavey disc. Snatch at the brake too hard and you will endo without question.

The Pirelli tyres fit the SXV well and provide plenty of grip. Thanks to the lightweight design, the SXV is flipped over from corner to corner with ease. There is also a digital race-like dash and LED tail light. So from a design perspective the SXV is fantastic. However as I found, the SXV is a heart over head purchase.
The reason you may want to reconsider the purchase of an SXV is due to its typical Italian pedigree. Service intervals are incredibly close together. The brakes, although hugely powerful, ware out quickly. For every hour you spend riding this machine you will spend a further 3 hours tinkering in your garage at perfecting this and servicing that. Then next time you climb aboard the SXV all you think about is how far you will get before it requires some more TLC.

In addition to this, the Aprilia workshop could not even perfect the oil service. Upon collecting my bike from an oil service, I rode 10km to find that oil was being pumped out the airbox and onto my rear tyre. Luckily a fellow road user noticed my oil slick before it was too late.

Once the oil saga was fixed, my SXV blew a fuel pump fuse for no apparent reason, leaving me stranded yet again. Once that was sorted, the SXV sat in my garage for two weeks, when I went to start it, nothing. It didn’t feel like working, leaving me hugely frustrated.

The SXV unfortunately suffers from bipolar disorder. Every bit of excitement the SXV produces is matched with an equal amount of frustration and anger.

Do you want to buy one? Well if your girlfriend is on call with a trailer to pick you up and you have a fat wallet then go for it. Until then I would recommend the DRZ-400sm.

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