But the way the twin pulls is something else. You can chug it down and let the roll-on or throttle do all the work. And the way that a single-cylinder four-stroke makes a longer spread of power than a two-stroke, well, the twin-cylinder four-stroke makes even longer power. It takes a while to get used to letting the bike chug down so low on a high-strung motocross bike, but it works. Since it makes a blurry redline all the way up to 12,500 rpm with power all the way, you have to learn the sound so as not to be tapping the rev-limiter, if you want that much power in the first place. The FI mapping is really close with only minor glitches and was happy in a variety of temperatures and track conditions.The four-speed gearbox is plenty for any MX condition, and the spacing is just right. Shifting kept getting better with time on the bike, but having the clutch pull adjusted correctly went a long way in eliminating tough or missed shifts. The power is so long you hardly feel the need for a fifth.The handling was the most surprising thing about the MXV. The steering is light, and the front end gets great traction in the turns. It is like the engineers stole some secrets from KTM and Suzuki here. It is easy to get forward on the long and flat seat despite the wide radiators, and we’re sure the weight and placement of the engine in the combination steel trellis and aluminum cast lower have some effect on this. This on a bike that has a long-wheelbase feel to it, which is a pretty good feeling most of the time, and goes a ways in making the bike relatively stable. The only issue we had with the machine was when it kicks sideways and all of a sudden is not a light MX bike anymore. It gets heavy, and it happens quickly! Aprilia hid the weight well, but every so often it comes back to say hello.Suspension components are pretty good as well. The Marzocchi fork is the 50mm big boy and has all the trick coatings. It is rigid, and we’re sure it helps the sticking of the front end. Bottoming resistance is good, and the clickers go a long way in tuning the bike for each track. In fact, we had it working as good as any MXer at a beat, rough Glen Helen just before the National-no easy feat. Out back the Sachs shock does a matching job but is not as good in the chop, especially considering this is a long-feeling bike. You can dial it to be plush, but you give up some of the push on the front end that makes the turning so good and you actually lose some of the ever important ground clearance that this bike needs. But it jumps just fine, can handle big hits and, for everything but the kickers, it is right on.The Aprilia has great brakes and an especially strong rear stopper. The front is strong and has great feel. The bike also has no lower frame rails and a nice skid plate on the bottom. And the bike uses it. Somehow, especially at the footpegs, the MXV is a little wide and a little low, thus it’s very easy to drag in the ruts. When using the whole stroke of the suspension it will drag the cases on the landing. It isn’t bad and you don’t notice it much until you look at the skid plate and see the scars. Mud tries to pack into the footpegs, though the MXV comes with trick deflectors to keep it out. We’ve been riding our Screamer bike for a while now, but the original Big Bang bike blew a head gasket near the end of its first day out. So we aren’t totally familiar with Aprilia durability just yet, but we’re learning. The machine has a very typical higher level of detail on it, Italian to an “I.” And working on the bike is pretty simple for the basics, but it can get complicated if serious motor work is involved.The 450 MXV will attract that specialist or aficionado of strange machinery. It isn’t a Honda CRF or even a KTM SX, it’s an Aprilia. And in being different, it is very good.
Weight: 190 lb
ProWhen you look at this machine you think that it’s a very special bike, but when you start it and twist the throttle to hear the rapping power of a unique 450, you know that it is special. It sounds like you’re on something straight out of the Ferrari factory. At first I was a little timid on it because the bike is so different you don’t know what to expect. The power of the Aprilia was incredible; you could use the low-end torque or rev the thing out. I did a couple of starts on it and I think the bike could definitely pull holeshots. As I grew more comfortable on the bike I could only wish I could go out with the Aprilia race team to set the bike up for my individual riding technique. The reason I say I wish I could go out with the race team is because in order to use the power to its full potential you’d need to take some weight off the bike and set the suspension for a pro-level rider.Chris Barrett
Weight: 180 lb
ProI love the way the V-twin sounds. The sound alone gives you that feeling of raw power, but she’s not all bark. The power on this bike is super smooth down low, which gives awesome traction coming out of the turns, and then wheelies into a really strong mid. She has decent top-end power that pulls hard, but doesn’t like to be revved out really far. When ridden correctly, the MXV pulls through the gears with little effort (aside from hanging on).I was expecting an off-road type of handling and suspension. Much to my surprise, the suspension worked decent on the hammered Glen Helen track. A tad on the busy side, the suspension didn’t do anything unpredictable and really soaked up some nasty downhill Flying W-pucker-up-and-kiss-your… well… handled some serious downhill braking bumps without any pucker-up characteristics. My only change would be a little more of a calmer, controlled setting through the initial to mid-stroke. Other than that it worked really well.Karel Kramer
Weight: 215 lb
NoviceEven I am not old enough to have ridden the old twin-cylinder desert bikes back in the day, but a few years back John Hateley let me ride one of his Triumphs, and ever since then I have been a little smitten by the idea of a twin-cylinder moto bike. When I rode the off-road Aprilia 450, I realized that I loved the motor but not the rest of the bike. The Aprilia MXV is a whole different animal with ergonomics that work and a much slimmer, lighter feel. This is a real bike. As soon as you get riding, though, you forget about the rest of the bike. This thing is all about the engine. The twin-cylinder EFI was a little fluffy at idle, but after that the thing is a silken monster. It hooks up, and it seriously rips. And the sound is sheer music. I wish all my rich friends had this bike so I could borrow it once in a while. I don’t see this as a rider’s only motocrosser, but man, is it fun to play with on the track!