Test in detail: Aprilia RSV Mille 2001

Test in detail: Aprilia RSV Mille 2001
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Test in detail: Aprilia RSV Mille 2001

Everything mille or what?

Over 200 detailed changes should make the current Aprilia RSV Mille even better than its predecessor. Sensible model maintenance or hocus-pocus?

A huge debut: A manufacturer that had previously operated with scooters and mid-range enduros is not only venturing into any, but into the hard sports segment? to win the comparison test against some of the most prominent competitors.

This is what happened in the spring of 1998, when the Aprilia RSV Mille launched its attack on market shares and against the bad image that lingers like a dark shadow on the Italian motorcycle industry in terms of workmanship and durability. With success, as we know today.
By the year 2000, the Mille found over 11,000 buyers worldwide, asserted itself both qualitatively, for example in the MOTORRAD endurance test (issue 25/2000), and in the favor of drivers and fans, not only winning numerous comparative tests, but also many a superbike -Races, after all, Troy Corser had a chance of winning the title of the 2000 Superbike World Championship. Whether over 200 modifications for 2001 can still bring about noticeable progress in view of such a good starting position?
Much more cultivated, almost vibration-free and with perfect throttle response, the fresh cell-strengthened Rotax-V2 acts with a 60-degree spread and two balance shafts. The load changes are much smoother, the new one feels more powerful and confident in comparison, and hardly whips with the chain like the old one at 3000 / min and 7000 / min? not a bad start.
The inlet opening of the flow-optimized airbox grew from 38 to 58 millimeters in diameter ?? makes more than double the suction area. Inlet valves that have grown by two millimeters in diameter are opened further by higher cams, and the engineers adapted the layout of the intake ports as well as the piston heads and their valve pockets to the changes. A freshly programmed injection map as well as thicker manifolds, a more finely tuned collector pipe and an externally still rather clumsy, internally lightened silencer round off the search for performance.
Equally 120 horses, ECE-corrected horses measured on the coupling, get the Millen going, with the old one at the bottom and the new one at the top more angry. Hardly measurable differences in mileage confirm the pair racing of the generations, which also use almost the same amount of fuel. Much Ado About Nothing So? Hardly, because various aspects clearly speak in favor of the new one.
Experience has shown that such a Rotax twin needs a few thousand kilometers to reach its full potential. Two or three horsepower are definitely still there. In addition, the 2001er cleans its exhaust gases with an unregulated catalytic converter? surely a step that castrates the performance found in the modification (demonstrated by the unpurified Mille R in issue 2/2001), but which, in view of the exhaust emissions legislation recently passed in the European Parliament, ensures a future with thoroughbreds like the Mille.
And then there is still the already mentioned driving experience. Aprilia’s youngest offspring simply feels stronger and more cultivated, is evidently better coordinated in the partial load range not recorded by the measured values, reacts (still) more spontaneously and more readily to gas signals than its predecessor, and appears more mature on the drive side.
This also applies to driving behavior. Only the somewhat blunt brakes have so far met with louder criticism. This was heard, because what the Brembo system with its four individual pads per saddle offers in terms of effectiveness and controllability is suspect of reference. With one finger you can choose between gentle rolling out and throwing anchors, the characteristic curve of hand force and braking effect is wonderfully linear, there are simply no pitfalls such as applying the brake too hard or fading.
That the Mille counteracts this braking performance with impeccable braking stability and an adequate fork set-up? the original Mille, which is actually also exemplary, pumps easily with a fork? and, just like her mother, does not stand up significantly when braking or accelerating, underlines her mission of smooth driving and fast laps. It has also become more handy. Not quite like her sister “R”, but very light-footed, the Mille dances from slant to slant, consuming very little time to take this. Very simple: aim, brake, whistle, exactly as intended, it steers into the radius.
As I said, it has always been a domain of the RSV, but now it curves even more playfully. How come? Minor geometric changes? a half-degree smaller steering head angle and four millimeters longer caster go hand in hand with the motor, which is five millimeters higher, as well as somewhat lighter brake discs and thus lower inertia of the rotating front wheel. This in turn is offset by the slightly heavier front Dunlop D 207 RR in 120/70 ZR 17 of the new model compared to the lighter and smaller Pirelli MTR 21 Corsa in 120/65 ZR 17 of the original Mille. In return, the contour of the tires plays a role in handling, as does the total weight of the new one, which is six kilograms lighter when fully fueled (18-liter plastic instead of 20-liter metal tank, 10 Ah instead of 14 Ah battery , Silencer 1.5 kilograms lighter) and on the other hand, both with and without a driver, relatively more weight is shifted to the front wheel.
An unmanageable heap of little things, which then manifests itself in slight handiness advantages, whereby the Mille 2001 has not lost any of the previous precision and neutrality when cornering. On the other hand, a bit of their driving stability, because unfortunately the steering damper is missing in the current model, which was never a problem on the old one and which the new one could already need, for example on top-speed bumps on the motorway. In return, the spring elements increased somewhat, although the newly tuned rear Sachs shock absorber with new levers on the racetrack reaches the limits of the adjustment range of the compression damping, albeit not beyond it. And what more could you want?
Maybe even more freedom of movement, especially for long-legged people who have always struggled to fold down small on the Mille. The new, slightly more humped tank takes a big step with a sensationally tight knee, while the now longer bench does the rest. So there is plenty of room for play and, for adults, better wind protection behind the more curved windshield. That’s called progress.
The closer knee joint and the longer bench also create a more pronounced sense of space, because somehow it sits less cramped? or rather, a little more revealing. Because has anyone ever missed freedom of movement on the old Mille while robbing bends? Do you prefer to hold onto the spherical footrest ends when doing racetrack gymnastics? which Aprilia promptly made more grippy.
How are the changes expressed in performance? A small example from the short course in Hockenheim: Fly into the Motodrom on your earlobes and then head towards the Sachskurve with a smack. Both RSVs, which have exactly the same translation, are storming vehemently towards the braking point, but the new one is always three or four km / h faster, and can also brake later and turn in more quickly. A little here, a little there, and a few tenths can be added in no time.
What remains is the impression of a large, voluminous motorcycle. The Mille uses its frontal area to integrate the driver and thus achieve good aerodynamics. With success, as evidenced by the top speed of 267 km / h, with which the new one runs on par with the old one ?? but only with smaller drivers, because larger ones are faster with the new one.
B.There is also a slightly better light with H7 bulbs, a lower chain guard against nasty foot threaders, a significantly smoother clutch and many small optical retouches. For example, a slightly more pointed nose that is pulled down lower, flanked by “air baffles” on the right and left to prevent turbulence in the airflow towards the hands. Or the remodeled stern. The bottom line is that this contributes to the sum of small steps that have turned the good RSV Mille into a slightly more expensive, but even better RSV Mille.

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Test in detail: Aprilia RSV Mille 2001

Test in detail: Aprilia RSV Mille 2001
Everything mille or what?

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Aprilia has rightly earned its impeccable image, believes Axel Westphal, MOTORRAD editor

I can understand the Rotax test drivers very well. Which back then – around 1997 ?? would rather rely on the Aprilia Mille prototypes than on the Ducati, which also ran in the test fleet of the Austrian engine manufacturer. I suppose the boys didn’t just do this out of sheer loyalty to their bread maker. Up until that point in time, the 916 was regarded as the ultimate Italian super sports motorcycle. I’ve always been a Ducati fan – since I was 20. At most, one or two Honda came into my garage. Later, the Yamaha R1 briefly made me doubt my deep affection for Ducati. It stayed that way until recently. And now the test of RSV mille, born in 2001. Now I have changed my glasses. Because seldom has anything convinced me as much as what Aprilia did. If the first RSV Mille came pretty close to the 996, for me the benchmark here and now is Aprilia. The aggressive styling of the RSV, the beefy Vau Zwo and the precisely functioning chassis alone would not have been enough to dissuade me from Ducati. Rather, the way in which the engineers from Noale have brought a multitude of small and very small improvements to the new Mille. Because they keep their eyes and ears open and like to accept suggestions. Example: Aprilia Claudio Corsetti from Moto Sprint magazine provided three new Mille Rs last autumn and stopped by Imola to get some initial driving impressions. Or Klaus Nennewitz, the Falco developer. It wasn’t too bad to ask test editor Jörg Schüller about his experiences with the Falco. The criticism is taken to heart. And then that: The Mille won’t break. And it’s not too expensive. I’m not ashamed of my new glasses.

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