Two sophisticated Aprilias that are built for lots of fun, practicability, and teaching beginners how to ride: the 2009 RX 50 and SX 50 meet their purposes with excellence and situate themselves in a class of their own.
Aprilia decided that it was time to make a statement in the 50cc enduro and supermoto classes, so it used all the experience gained by constantly developing the impressive RX 125/SX125 as well as the previous RX50/SX50 generations and it created two beautifully-styled off-roaders destined to beginners and not only.
The smallest off-road blasts in Aprilia’s lineup stand out as the ideal motorcycles for riders willing to learn riding off and on the road, while still needing a practical and good looking motorcycle for those very necessary daily trips.
Of course, the new bikes had to be great performers so their manufacturer fitted them with the most advanced features, which were inspired from bigger siblings. The result is an impressive looking motorcycle that relies on its performance in order to be not just another starter bike, but a true companion for many years to come.
Aprilia started producing first the RX 50 in the early ‘90s (1992, to be more precise) and it soon became one of the most beloved beginner bikes that Europe had to offer. Aprilia proved that it had things sorted out from the very first year as this is one motorcycle that started as a motocrosser and afterwards got a headlight, mirrors and permission to hit the streets. The product that we see today is based on the very same bike that probably carried you when you were a kid and it is now your son’s time to live up to dad’s first riding experience.
Things change, but only in a positive way when it comes to motorcycle development at Aprilia and European attention to details. While the 50cc single cylinder two-stroke engine powered the bike all this time, styling changed significantly resulting in a more refined looking motorcycle. After all, this was a bike that would have to be appreciated by the rider’s friends on Japanese dual purpose motorcycles.
And it did. It did it so good that in 2006 Aprilia introduced the all-new SX 50 as a direct derivation from the long present enduro sibling.
Japan does deliver dual purpose motorcycles with great success, but the think is that those admiring friends are placed on four-stroke motors displacing at least 200-250cc. That’s the whole magic of the RX and SX 50. They introduce a rider to the trails right from the first day of riding and it doesn’t expect you to have a bit of experience from those mini bikes.
The old continent doesn’t offer any alternatives either so all we have to do is to appreciate the Italian bikes for being unique also, not just other bikes that entered the scene for a piece of the cake. Both manage to master their category by unanimity, but would you expect thinks to look any other way if a form of competition will appear? Yes, that’s what I thought so.
Styling is inspired on that of the RXV and SXV , entirely modern machines that practically give the tone in terms of styling for 450/550cc enduros and supermotos, but also 125cc Aprilia models, so if we’ll be witnessing a new 50cc enduro, there will be no doubt which bike was the inspiration source concerning design features.
Redesigned for 2009, the Aprilia RX 50 and SX 50 are simply unmistakable thanks to the levels of refinement and the uniqueness that characterize the two. The new headlights now look less odd and fit perfectly in the overall scenario, making the bikes look stylish in their simplicity. Just like on those inspirational models, the housing now blends in with the front fender, both models looking angry, almost like a short preview of what’s about to come once on their seats. Did I mention the mirrors? Sorry, mirror! Just on the left side.
The red front fender is pretty high positioned, perfect for letting the Marzocchi telescopes to do their job spotless. Looking from the right angle, the side panels appear like boomerangs. The sharp appearance is continued all the way to the bike’s rear end where the passenger side of the seat blends perfectly in with sharp lines.
The 21” front wheel and 18” rear one are made out of aluminum for lightness and excellent reliability no matter the riding conditions.
2009 also brings these cooler paint schemes.
What I immediately noticed after firing up the engine and giving a go on the new RX 50 was that the engine is truly effective and able to deal with virtually every situation that a rider could encounter while discovering the trails and his great, hidden passion for motorcycles along the way. Backing up the high performance thumper is a versatile chassis. In fact, the combination between these two units is what makes the RX 50 so great and well balanced.
The two stroke single cylinder is liquid-cooled and features Aprilia’s reed valve induction. The cylinder is made out of light alloy, resulting into an engine that weighs only 15 kg. It is amazing how that kind of power can be obtained while keeping the weight so down.
It is very easy to get used to the RX as the bike’s is very user friendly, but this is no boring machine. The Italian manufacturer made sure that once the rider gets a handful of its throttle it will totally forget the displacement of the engine that powers this baby. I was impressed by how the thumper pulls easily from down low and all the way through its rev range, leaving the rider promising not to underestimate a 50 cc bike ever again.
The very best of the bike’s capabilities, especially good power delivery, are also the result of a six speed gearbox that works effectively and precisely, just how a begging rider needs.
On last year’s model, Aprilia made sure that the RX’s frame would be the single piece that connects the steering head and the swingarm pivot and it feels as you go down the trails. Maneuvering the bike is made with complete ease, no matter the speed of which we’re talking, and passing above obstacles is a real piece of cake on the smallest RX. The versatile behavior is indeed implied by the frame, but dealing with the rough terrain are the Marzocchi fork at the front and the hydraulic monoshock at the rear. Both offer satisfying wheel travel space (195mm and 180mm), so this is how a true innovative bike deals with the tough terrain. It feels great when making slalom between tries, although I wouldn’t recommend that to beginners.
The only thing that this bike needed to be absolutely great for teenagers was a good set of brakes, which make their presence felt out on the trails. Actually we’re talking about two piston units and 300mm discs. This is not heard of on a daily basis, is it? Not when 50cc motorcycles are the subject of the discussion. At the rear, things get back to “normal” as we encounter a 180 mm stainless steel disc. Hitting the brakes on this baby is when reality hits you right in the face as the stopping power is at the highest performance level (for the class, of course) and the low weight helps a lot.
For people who are interested in a great performing off-road bike, but they didn’t quite developed their skills yet, the RX 50 is the best instructor ever. Friendly at first and demanding afterwards!
The 2009 Aprilia SX 50 brings that same kind of riding excitement on the streets (despite the fact that the off-road model is street legal too) and even on the supermoto track. The bike is very light and maneuverable, feels natural and confidence inspiring, allowing riders to wish to spend more and more time on its seat without being scared a bit.
Although it only features a different pair of wheels, the smallest SX is quite an introduction to the supermoto world. We tested this small beauty on the track only to notice that it has enough get up and go to keep things interesting and fast enough for riders not to get bored at least in the first two years or so.
We had to keep in mind that this is a two-stroke engine that we were demanding quite a lot from, but it still met our requests, allowing us to say that it could easily be compared with one of those 200-250cc four-stroke motors in case that one of those could ever end up on a super motard. The six-speed gearbox does help a lot as it has a right gear for every riding situation, the rider being only needed to change gears quite often.
The chassis feels refined and forgiving while the riding position is quite aggressive, but just as it should, given the fact that the rider’s legs will rarely sit on the footpegs during sharp corners.
With the 2009 Aprilias RX 50 and SX 50, the Italian manufacturer shows how such small (in displacement) motorcycles can also benefit of the same attention to detail as their bigger siblings do and with great results. While the first is supposed to teach those who just get into enduro riding how things get done in this segment, the second is just a natural extension of the first model, one that reaches the super moto track and doesn’t fail to prove effective in this segment as well.
Engine and Transmission
Liquid cooled, single cylinder two stroke with light alloy cylinder
Bore and stroke:
39.88 x 40 mm
DELL’ORTO PVHA 17.5 carburetor Fuel shut-off on tank
85 W (120 W optional)
6 speed. Ratios:
Gears Ratio: 21/78
Chain Ratio: 11/53
Chassis and Dimensions
40 mm hydraulic fork with leading axle, wheel travel 195 mm.
High strength steel swingarm; hydraulic monoshock; wheel travel 180 mm.
Front: 260 mm stainless steel disc; floating caliper
Rear: 180 mm stainless steel disc; caliper with two opposing pistons
Spoked wheels with aluminum rim.
Front: 1.85 x 21”
Rear: 2.15 x 18”
Front: 90/90 - 21”
Rear: 110/80 -18”
Overall length: 2100 mm
Overall width: 825 mm
Seat height: 880 mm
Wheelbase: 1412 mm