2003 Aprilia RSV 1000 Mille/R

Hi all,

As some of you may or may not know, I’m looking to get a new bike this summer and so far thought it would be a good idea to get a 03/04 ZX-6R. However during my research I’ve stumbled across the Aprilia RSV1000 Mille (02/03) for on average 800-1000 cheaper.

My questions are does anyone have any experience of these, so can shed a little light on reliability, fun, comfort, etc

I’m fairly sure I’ve heard early naughties Italian V-Twins can have some questionable reliability…



Can’t comment on the RSV but the SXV had/has reliability issues with early noughties V-Twins.

Your best bet would be to ask on the ape forum - they’re a helpful bunch, but you might not get responses till the US are awake


EDIT: The forum is ‘down’ at the minute, it’s hosted by AF1 racing in Texas so it should be back up when the yanks are awake (this arvo).

lol I wanted to actually check whether this was true, perhaps Aprilias were better than early Ducatis…

You will get a definitive answer on the Ape forum when it’s actually working. I know that the more recent Apes are much more reliable, but I only know the SXV in detail and this was a particularly troublesome bike, perhaps the stories you might have heard only relate to the SXV - it wouldn’t surprise me :wink:

Ok thanks. I suppose my biggest concerns are reliability and comfort - would it be ok for the odd motorway journey or would it be excruciating. I’m thinking that given its an older sportsbike it should have larger proportions and so be comfier than a little 600. As for reliability I’ve read that as long as they’re serviced religiously at the recommended intervals all should be good?

I have absolutely zero experience of the RSV1000, but the SXV is kind of designed to be a race bike so it operates on the bleeding edge - there’s a fine line between ‘operational’ and ‘catastrophy’, I know some of the other Apes are similar. I would compare service intervals of any bikes your looking at, the RSV may be cheaper to buy but may be a lot more expensive to run, so could be a false economy.

Good point, I’ll try and find a manual somewhere…

The engine in the Mille is built by Rotax, and is pretty bomb-proof. I have the later model, and service intervals are actually less frequent than the the ZX-6R (I have one of those, too), although I do do an intermediary oil/filter change. I would say the Aprilia is a better built and equipped bike, and servicing costs aren’t too bad. Some parts can be more expensive, but that would only be of concern in the event of coming off. However, the Aprilia will drink more petrol, so if fuel economy is of concern, then this will be something you need to think about. However, as far as riding satisfaction is concerned, I’d say the Aprilia is definitely better. :slight_smile:

I had an aprilia … I hade the Falco … Same engine as the RSV … As said by previous poster the 1000cc rotax lump is nearley unburstable properly looked after . Mine did 50,000 trouble free miles and only ever need 2 exhaust valve shims . The downsides are the clutch slaves are a bit weak and require seals every now and then or replace it with an Oberon or MPL aftermarket unit … Oberon are better .Starter solenoids get damaged if the battery is weak … replace battery and fit a higher amp solenoid from a yamaha and its sorted permenantly . It happens cos the big twin needs lots a CCA to turn it over and the standard supplied battery aint good enough once it a few years old . Its a bike that does require more care than a jap bike but its not difficult and no more expensive than a fireblade or similar . Its am engine that can be tuned chipped and fettled quite easily to give even more stomp and sounds fantastic with a pair of cans on it )))

Num num,

could you please clarify this?

Which bigger ampere/current battery will fit?

I use a YTX12-BS (BS for Bullsh.t) which always dies. Is there a battery which will fit?

I bought the wrong battery, trying this out, and ended up with a YTX20H which is way too big.

I can not remember the exact battery I used . I cant go out and check as I sold it 6 months ago, I think it was a VARTA YTZ14SB that gives 230 CCA . I hear that the new lightweight fangled batterys are the nuts as they are much smaller and you can fit more or less any of them into the box . For the 100amp solenoid … this should be the part number … I think its from some yamaha scooter of some sort … #4KD-81940-00-00 EDIT … and its always a good idea to keep big twin bikes on a battery tender if you ain using them . … Edit edit … And make sure if you do use a dealer he knows what he is doing , my mate took his to some jap bike spanner monkey for nothing more than an MOT and the idiot broke his sprag clutch starting it incorrectly . Raging was my mate … his missus had to hold him back … took the bike away and got it fixed by a better quality spanner man .

I get the idea, but I’m not sure if this is a good idea.

Won’t it fry the circuits, or the current dependent operations?

It’s true, the clutch slave cylinder is [email protected], as the o-ring seems to degrade, thus polluting the fluid and turning it black. The action also suffers from a lot of stiction, although I don’t notice this whilst riding. Even so, I plan to upgrade it to an oberon unit before it fails.

Good idea to keep an eye on the battery condition, as many owners have had to replace their sprag clutch due to this. Not heard of the mod mentioned before, but worth looking into.

Another thing to note that’s not been mentioned is the rubbish rear brake. Nothing wrong with the components, as they’re Brembo, but the way they’ve been installed is what causes the problem; the master cylinder is horizontal, and the bleed nipple on the caliper is below the feed. This means it needs quite regular bleeding to keep it working properly, withe caliper removed to allow the air out (bleed nipple needs to be raised). Fitting rearsets with a mount for the master cylinder will probably remedy this, though. Even so, not much of a problem, as the big V-twin has loads of engine braking.

No it wont fry anything … Imagine you cables are like suction pipes sucking electricity from the battery … They only suck what they need hence your headlights with low drain have small wires and the starter circuit has fat wires , Now on occasion the starter needs to draw alot of power depending on where in the cycle it has stopped or other causes … In my case I fried my solenoid after having the tank off etc and it took a few more cranks then normal to start the engine . The part you are replacing IS the weak link it IS that that fries … the rest of the circuit is made for a 100amp relay its just Aprilia in their italian wisdom put in a 50 amp that pops like the wrong fuse put into a plug .

Edit … OO and if your Aprilia is a few years old was bought seconhand there is a good chance it has been done already as some dealers ( the good ones ) were replacing them with the yamaha part as a sort of unofficial recall just so they got less greif from broken down customers .

Yeah the rear brake is crap … but really as you know you do not need it … The big rotax chews up tyres on engine braking alone . And the thing thats really going to perplex you is no matter what slave you fit … oberon ,MPL etc etc … the ferking fluid still turns black … Now I do have a possible solution … My KTM Superduke has pretty much exactly the same clutch system , and guess what , YUP IT also turns the fluid black … But it takes much longer … Now here is the kicker … I do not put Dot Brake/clutch fluid in there … It uses 10w mineral oil the same stuff a citroen hydralic suspension system uses and it makes it smoother and takes longer to turn black . It starts off a nice shade of green and eventually does go black but its slower and aint popped the seal yet . I never tried it with the aprilia as I did not think of it , but if I had it now I would be giving it a go to see what the results are .

Thanks. That makes sense.

Is this one any different from the Yuasa:

They all seem to be 10 Amps?

My dealer always says Yuasa make the best ones.

If it is indeed possible to run a 12 Amp battery which fits the same size as a Yuasa 12YTX12-BS … which size is this?

Yuasa MF YTX14H-BS (240 cca, 1.4 amp) … It is about 3/4 of an inch taller than standard . This can be overcome by using slightly longer bolts and a couple of washers on the bracket that holds it down . Or funnily enough as Aprilia seemed to reaslised their mistake some bikes have a different plate already there … It seems a bit hit and miss but the battery will go straight into some of the bikes made after or around a year I do not recall offhand .


That one won’t fit.

The height is critical: there is a lock plate above the battery to prevent it going in motion.

There is an Exide 12mA battery, as well as Varta one, which is fractionally wider by about 5-7mm. That is just big enough, to stop it from fitting into the tight fitting battery space.

The lock plate is what I am talking about with the bolt modification . 2 longer bolts and the problem is solved . I am sure you battery box is identical to the falco one .

For the gospel on all things aprilia the best place to check out is Af1 aprilia forum … The guys on there have done everything you can imagine on aprilias from batterys to big bore kits and turbos .