Aprilia launched the new 2008 SXV, a motorcycle which had already made a name for itself as the first twin cylinder supermotard in the world. So it is understandable why designers and engineers constantly kept improving this motorcycle, delivering a leader for the class.
2008 Aprilia SXV 4.5-5.5
Born on the race track, the Aprilia SXV is the supermotard that breaks all the rules it doesn’t agree with. It first proved it with the help of its V-twin engine, and now it does it again by taking the levels of performance and handling even higher.
It is a common and the most used tactic in motorcycle development to create an engine that delivers the perfect amount of power at the needed rpm levels while trying to keep the weight as low as possible. This is what basically Aprilia does, but if you wonder why you keep finding it on the first place in every supermotard race that it enters, we’ll say that the Italian manufacturer’s vision related to the V-twin engine had more success than the single cylinders which are the usual for the class.
It is obvious that the name SXV and the bike itself, is strongly related to the RXV model produced by the same manufacturer starting with 2007 model year. The RXV was destined to become an incredible enduro motorcycle, and it did, while the SXV headed towards supermotard success. It dominates the tracks in Europe, but here in the States regulations are a bit tricky to ignore and the bike is not allowed to participate the AMA Championship because of the V-twin engine configuration.
Even so, people buy these things for pure fun and let’s face it; they are built for the track.
The prohibited engine can displace either 449cc or 549cc, but no matter the cylinder capacity, riders are trilled by great engine performance obtained with the help of four valves per cylinder and a single overhead cam. Vibrations are out of the question thanks to the 77 degree cylinder angle.
Popular among racers and lovers of this sport, the Aprilia SXV is just starting its career as the most competitive supermotard out there.
2008 KTM 450 SMR
Allowed to compete and doing a very good job is the KTM 450 SMR which features a single cylinder, 4-stroke engine displacing 449.3cc. KTM follows the same recipe as Aprilia and keeps the bike as light as possible which makes it suitable for S2 Supermoto competitions. All the main features of the bike like the chassis and the engine are created for delivering the best of performance while the additional equipment such as the brakes are incredible powerful and able to put an end to all the excitement.
2008 Suzuki DR-Z400SM
For 2008, Suzuki offers the DR-Z400SM completely renowned and ready to hit either the streets or the race track. It will do extremely well in both of these environments because apart from performing good thanks to a 398cc, four-stroke, single cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled engine, it is also incredible versatile.
2008 Aprilia SXV 4.5-5.5
Everybody loves Italian styling and many people say that if they could ever find the performance of a Japanese motorcycle on such a bike that would be the best motorcycle for them. Because the Aprilia SXV is the best performing motorcycle in its category, designers made sure that the looks would attract as powerfully as the engine.
You simply can’t confuse the SXV with nothing else out there. The bike is aggressively styled and it practically redefines Supermoto looks by being designed with extreme attention to details. Aprilia proves that the exterior doesn’t mean just a pair of side panels, a headlight and a seat, but virtually every single element that can be seen. In order to keep the lines flowing and the customer amazed, the manufacturer designed the brand new aluminum frame and swingarm so that they will blend together in perfectly and look much alike.
The exhaust system is centrally located so that the bike would look pretty much the same from on both sides. The front fork looks massive and the mudguards have a lot to do with that, but what definitely catch the eye are the front fender and the stylish headlight. Impressive is the way these two are practically designed to look like one.
The seat is two-tone colored, pretty much like the entire bike. Red and Black is what it’s all about.
As soon as I got onto its seat I needed to see how the mighty 42.5 V-twin engine performs because even though I’ve ridden supermotards before, the throttle only fed one cylinder. This time it was a whole lot different and I couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about it.
The impressive powerplant is exactly what you would find on Aprilia’s racing machines and it feels. Grabbing a handful of its throttle generates an immediate reaction which seems to last forever. The throttle response is extremely impressive and the fact that this feel is sustained all the way up to a12, 500 rpm redline is amazing.
Also amazing is the fact that even at those rpm levels the vibrations can’t become bothering because Aprilia positioned the two cylinders at a 77 degree angle, perfect for a non-vibrating engine even without balancer shafts. I enjoyed accelerating powerfully out of the corners, barely managing to change a gear that another corner soon followed. Aprilia feeds the impressive powerplant with the help of an electronic fuel injection system featuring 38 mm throttle bodies and 40 mm on the 550 version. I must say that the injection system has very much to do with the strong pull of the engine and the sustained feel that I keep talking about.
I could only test the bike properly on the race track because the city doesn’t value its capabilities the way I like it. Here I tested the bragged ECU that comes new for 2008. The switch on the handlebars determines the bike to either use its full engine potential in conditions of maximum grip, or to keep things smoother when the tires are dusty. I had a real fun time using this innovation and I am happy to say that it works properly, leaving the rider fully worry-free. I could simply gas it up to the max no matter if I was riding on pavement or bare ground. The only problem for me was to remember to switch between the different mappings. I then got used to it and the bike performed impressively.
Even though the engine is fitted with a single overhead cam, it doesn’t show it as the four valves per cylinder complement for the second cam that everyone expected for. Engineers kept the engine as light and as compact as possible and still managed to add an electric starter to keep things easy and fancy. I reckon they did a damn good job.
The reason why they designed the engine as compact as possible was because this unit was to be an integrated part of the chassis having the purpose of increasing rigidity of the tubular steel perimeter frame.
Handling the SXV is even easier than it seems, but you shouldn’t play with its throttle while cornering. That is if you are not familiar with it. I was starting to get familiar with its behavior and my courage soon grown. I could no lean it true to its abilities and it brought the biggest smile on my face.
Much to do with that smile had the suspensions which are totally revised for 2008 in order to prove efficient no matter the surface or riding regime. The aluminum alloy swingarm featuring variable section contributes decisively at the rigidity of the entire bike and providing that very needed reassuring feel coming from the back. The rear Sachs monoshock increases traction leaving the rider more confident in opening the throttle at half turn. The 48 mm upside down forks that I was saying that look massive do their job absorbing any eventual bumps ff the road, but what I most appreciated is how they perform when the throttle is wide open and the gears are pretty high. Coming down from such speeds involves stability and the front end has plenty of it.
Did I mention the brakes? Everybody knows that Supermotards should brake as strong as they accelerate and because the SVX accelerates like no other it was fitted with FTE calipers and a 320mm wave discs in the front. Rear end comes to a stop with the help of a 240mm disc and a single caliper. When powerfully hitting the brakes it feels exactly the opposite of the accelerating feel so engineers did their jobs properly. I didn’t had any problems while braking on or off the pavement as I was to excited with the throttle, but I guarantee you won’t experience any trouble whatsoever.
People who have reached a certain level of experience on both motocross and superbike machines will find the 2008 Aprilia SXV 4.5-5.5 as an incredible combination of these two totally different categories so the satisfaction would show a whole other face as they are introduced to the sport. As long as you don’t feel like taking it to the AMA championship, thinks should be ok.
I could name the VBD Replica a racing replica of the simple version as it takes the already impressive features to a whole new level of performance which can only be best valued on the track. The new clutch and new gear ratios are meant to make shifting faster and smoother while a brand new electronic control unit fits the VBD Replica and makes shifting without the clutch possible.
The frame lost a bit of its weight and the upside down fork is now an even more impressive 50 mm. The only things that needed to receive an upgrade were the brakes which are now Brembo single piece radial front caliper applied on a 320mm wave disc.
Styling is also different. For 2008, the special version gets a pair of Alpina wheels (16.5” front and 17” rear), loses the headlight and adds a carbon fiber fuel tank that blends perfectly in with the stepped seat.