Church of MO: 2002 Aprilia Mille R


Shut UP, no means was this 20 years in the past! Perhaps this 2002 Aprilia Mille R stands out in reminiscence as a result of the yr after 911 was so uneventful? First we invaded Afghanistan, then Congress accepted the Iraq Warfare Decision – and Dick Cheney was appearing POTUS for a number of wonderful hours whereas George W. Bush had a colonoscopy. In different phrases, the loopy hadn’t actually even begun. Anyway, the primary four-cylinder Aprilia was nonetheless means off sooner or later – together with a bunch of unknown knowables – and for those who’d requested Minime or me if the world wanted a four-cylinder Aprilia, we’d have most likely given you a clean stare. Why?

The treatment for the widespread Open-Class Sportbike

Torrance, California, April 15, 2002
Heading out to Fontana for the double-header weekend of AMA racing, deciding which bike to experience out on was a no brainer. Certain, there was a secure stuffed with the newest Open Class Sportbikes, however a number of days prior, one thing horrible occurred.The day we deliberate to go out to the drag strip for the ultimate a part of our Open Sportbike Shootout, Aprilia’s advertising and marketing coordinator Robert Pandya winged his means into city. Initially, he was simply going to drop off the bike, make good with us MO boys, after which head again off to do one thing extra essential. Because it turned out, nevertheless, Signore Pandya had some free time and determined to accompany us on our trek over the mountains, by the woods and out to Los Angeles County Raceway that night. And he was bringing his Mille R with him, with us nonetheless mid-flog on our in-line fours, myself on the 954, Johnny Bee on his beloved R1.

All of us met up (aside from younger Calvin and the GSX-R who would meet us later on the drag strip) on the base of the ‘Crest at a tidy little lunch spot. And after a Solar Valley model of Italian delicacies and a half hearted try by yours actually to make good with a not-so-nice waitress, we had been off.Sitting beneath yon pine tree, the brilliant yellow Aprilia made its presence identified. That too-bright shade accented by flat black touches and a few shiny reddish-pinkish coloring on the fairing lowers positive seems to be mahvelous, even from a distance. Up shut and private with the bike, nevertheless, it’s the main points that catch your eye and also you just about ignore the brilliant environment. Carbon fiber rear fender? Examine. Carbon fiber fairing louvers? Yup. There’s a c-f sprint panel and entrance fender too, and it’s all the actual deal. None of that pretend stuff right here. And that’s just about how the entire bike is, actually.
Up entrance, a more in-depth inspection of issues reveals that the forks aren’t simply gold-colored on some inventive whim, they’re from Ohlins. The shock is simply too, by the best way, and it sits simply in entrance of a swingarm that appears match to be a structural member of a suspension bridge some place. It’s a stupendous aluminum piece, half polished and half flat, with the chain operating by a cut-out in its starboard facet. The Plain Jane model of the Mille makes use of the identical swingarm although, so I suppose seeing it on the R isn’t as eye-catching because the Ohlins bits that exchange the Showa stuff of the fundamental model.

Additionally sourced from the pages of an Ohlins catalog is the steering damper, which you discover peeking up from you each time you test the bike’s reasonably complicated five-buttoned instrument panel (although there’s a cool lap-timer in there someplace), mounted simply above and in entrance of the decrease triple-clamp. Lowering unsprung weight hanging from the up-rated suspension is a set of very cool blue OZ Racing wheels. They’re cast aluminum, wrapped with Pirelli Dragons and exchange the inventory forged items, the bundle offering a weight financial savings of 25-percent. And it’s these high-dollar element bits that add a couple of bucks to the worth of your plain ol’ vanilla Mille. Although I suppose calling the basic makings of a World Superbike title contender “vanilla” actually is promoting issues a bit quick.

After a number of moments spent blabbering on concerning the bits that make up the Mille R, I not-so-subtley advised Pandya have a go on one of many different bikes available. He’d all the time been a fan of the in-line stuff, so it was a simple coup, although I needed to soar forward of John to get the Aprilia’s key earlier than he did. And so, fired up, Aerostiched up and principally fed-up with senseless yammering, we had been off. After just a few miles of less-than straight roads, I remembered why the usual model of this bike gained our final Open Twins Shootout: it’s such a essentially sound machine, and it’s terribly straightforward to experience, too.

Over the course of the previous couple of weeks, we’ve as soon as once more fallen in love with big-bore sportbikes. You are able to do something on them, go anyplace in cheap consolation they usually’re impossibly quick and may make up for an enormous expertise deficit for those who take a while to hone your level and shoot approach. Driving the Aprilia, nevertheless, isn’t any point-and-shooter because it’s carrying across the similar weight as our open bikes whereas producing practically 30 horses much less. The 998 cubic centimeter motor of this Mille-R positive appears respectable sufficient, although it’s the identical unit that the usual Mille makes use of, proper all the way down to the gas/air mapping and exhaust canister.

So up we go, me chasing the hell out of John, each of us being ungracious company to the Aprilia man whose sanity will get the higher of him (okay, and it’s his first time in our yard sand field). As the 2 of us sped off, leaving him behind, I didn’t assume we had been pushing that arduous. Then I noticed that, sure, we’re shifting proper alongside, and the Yamaha’s rear Pirelli Supercorsa isn’t all that heat but. It’s simply spun off the second tight nook in a row, and John’s nonetheless forward of me. A couple of corners later, the tire’s hotter, however so is John, and after we attain the summit he’s nonetheless forward.After we pulled to a cease, as I dismounted and eliminated my helmet, John sat nonetheless atop the Aprilia, then slowly turned his head in direction of me. He stated one thing about “simply whenever you assume you’ve been using one of the best bikes on earth you experience one thing even higher.” However I wasn’t paying consideration, actually. I simply wished to know the way he was in a position to get 30 horsepower extra from the bike than I’d been in a position to extract solely half-hour prior.

What it’s, you see, is what all of the manufacturing facility Superbike and, we not too long ago discovered, the System Xtreme guys all the time discuss. It’s not simply the quantity of energy, they are saying, it’s the kind of energy. Marvel why there’s all of the fuss over four-strokes as a platform for GP racing? Similar deal. It’s the kind of energy the bikes make, and this Aprilia, it appears, makes the very usable sort and it little issues the place the tach needle factors. And it doesn’t harm that the bike’s chassis is such an excellent performer, both.

Mille vs. Mille R

  • 25% lighter cast aluminum OZ Racing wheels
  • Ohlins forks, shock and steering damper
  • Abbreviated rear subframe (saves weight)
  • Carbon-fiber sprint cowl, entrance fender, rear hugger, fairing louvers
  • $3,800 greater price ticket (although shopping for the Mille-R is a few $3,000 cheaper than for those who had been to purchase all of the high-dollar elements individually)
  • Intercourse attraction, nocturnal emissions, and so forth.


  • Motor
  • Chassis
  • Arm that swings
  • Exhaust
  • ECM
  • … and naturally HP

For these of you who’ve suffered by years of inventory suspension, we’ll pray for you as a result of, actually, you don’t have any thought how good this Ohlins stuff feels. In case you are a sick particular person whose pornography is made up of stanchions, seals and stacked shims, right here’s your swinger’s membership. Within the twisties, the stuff works to maintain the Mille fantastically balanced on or off the brakes, mid-corner or on the throttle exiting a bend. Nothing wanting an enormous cedar strewn throughout the street upsets the chassis. Even on the freeway, the place a sportbike not often shines, I might see myself doing a little severe miles on this factor. I believed to myself on multiple event, why don’t touring rigs use Ohlins? Absolutely previous people admire a easy experience, too.
The one factor preserving me from an Iron Butt trophy (actually, it’s the solely factor) is the seating place. Although the seat may be very properly formed and padded, the attain to the bars is an extended one even with my lengthy arms and not-so-petite 6’2″ body. Within the twisties and on the race monitor, the place this Aprilia is designed to reside, the place is smart. It places emphasis on entrance tire suggestions and will get you into a pleasant little sporting tuck. It additionally will get my wrists sore after a 40-mile commute down the 405 freeway, lane-splitting under 20 miles per hour a lot of the means. There’s no stress on the gams although, because the pegs are positioned in an affordable place, and the foot controls function trick little eccentric adjusters to tailor the bike to your specific tastes. Even the clutch lever, brake lever and Ohlins steering damper function little knobs so that you can twist to swimsuit.

The attractive factor about this newest Mille-R, nevertheless, is that there’s so little fiddling that must be executed to the bike. Actually, other than a minor suspension tweak we made after simply the primary few miles of twisties (the earlier journal tester had the shock’s compression and rebound damping backed all the best way out), we haven’t touched a factor. Actually, we don’t plan on touching a factor, aside from the exhaust, after all. Ol’ Pandya is sending off a pipe and chip to wake issues up a bit, energy and neighbors, each.
No sir, within the meantime, we’ll proceed to experience the snot out of this Mille till we get it on monitor for a bit factor we’re doing fairly quickly referred to as the Open Twins Shootout whereby the fabulous Mille-R will see some stiff competitors within the type of a Ducati 998 and an RC51. Till then, nevertheless, we’re practising for the subsequent spherical of the World Superbike Championship – and the Iron Butt Rally – and I believe with the Mille-R beneath us we’ve obtained a respectable shot at each.


There are bikes for using, and there are bikes for , however one of the best are bikes you’ll be able to experience and take a look at–and that is one. The plain-wrap Mille, for a lot of {dollars} much less, is an hellaciously tasty morsel, however the R provides a deft mix of spices to this traditional Italian delicacies. Seen in profile, these wheels don’t have any spokes; the engineer’s need is all that connects hub to rim. Ohlins suspension seems to be good, however solely after your coccyx has sampled the stuff over an hour’s value of concrete freeway slabs (the identical ones you’ve skilled a thousand different occasions on 100 different bikes), can your tailbone and thoughts unite as one and say, YES LORD! For as soon as, butt and mind agree. All that retains the Mille from being excellent is that my favourite magnetic tank bag gained’t stick with the Mille’s plastic tank.

Does it roost? Yea, verily–and within the time-honored Twin means of by no means slowing down a lot. One thing about these calming pulsations simply permits you to roll confidently into corners for which different, sooner bikes have you ever grabbing handfuls of brake.

Nicer than the brand new Ducati 998? Rockinger than Honda’s new RC-51? These are questions motojournalistic science cannot but reply. Be a part of us subsequent week?

Engine: 60° V twin, w/ anti-vibration double countershaft (AVDC)
Displacement: 997.62 cc
Bore & Stroke: 97 x 67.5 mm
Gearbox: 6 velocity
Gas Injection: 51mm TB Oblique multipoint digital
Ignition: digital w/ two spark plugs per cylinder
Body: Field-type aluminium alloy sloping double facet beam
Entrance Suspension: 43mm Upside-down, 4.7 in journey, regulate for rebound, compression and preload
Rear Suspension: progressive linkage, regulate for compression, rebound, preload, 5.3in journey.
Entrance Brakes: twin 320mm discs, with 4 34mm pistons
Rear Brakes: 220mm disc, twin 32mm pistons
Tires: Solid aluminum alloy
Entrance: 120/70 ZR 17
Rear: 190/50 ZR 17
Gas Tank: 4.8 gal
Seat Peak: 32. in. (totally prolonged)
MSRP: $17,299 (US {Dollars})

Max HP : 112.5 hp @ 8900 rpm
Max Torque : 67.1 lb/ft @ 7100 rpm

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