Not long ago, Aprilia decided to enlarge their success area from supermoto (SXV ) and enduro (RXV ) to motocross with the MXV 4.5 model. Don’t be fooled by the bike’s similar looks as Aprilia spent a lot of time modifying the platform in order to prove efficient for motocross riding. The frame and fuel tank suffered radical changes, while the engine has been worked on from airbox to exhaust.
Dirt bikes are all about sharp handling and instant engine response, both these characteristics making the rides inviting and leaving riders always anxious for the next track day. Aprilia uses their revolutionary (for the segment) V-twin motor to bring a new kind of riding excitement on the scene and so fulfill the continuously changing needs of motocross riders. But, they had to start with the chassis.
In order to withstand racing demands, the frame was strengthened and engineers made sure that it would lose a few kilos on its way to the bike. The fuel tank founds its place well down into the frame and further back, significantly contributing to a lower and centralized center of gravity. Also, modifications to the frame and gas tank lead to repositioning the airbox in front of the tank, making the filter easier to be changed.
In what concerns the engine, this is used as a stressed member of the chassis, but, at its base, remains the same 77° V-twin, but which features a kickstarter instead of the previous e-starter in an attempt to reduce weight as much as possible. Lightened and able to rev as high as 12,500rpm, the engine allows for extended servicing intervals. That is the result of the engine oil being kept separately from the one in the clutch.
Being a motocrosser, the bike features a four-speed gearbox to value the 450 cc engine’s performance.
The ECU, housed by the airbox, features Full and Soft Power engine maps. Full Power means just that, while Soft Power implies a more docile character, perfect for accommodating with the bike in those first runs or during capricious weather.
Engine retuning for more low-to-mid rpm grunt was done through the titanium exhaust system, which, by the way, you will miss if you blink.
In fewer words, this is Aprilia’s unique idea of a motocross bike and the fact that it conforms to FIM standards for 2010 makes it a fierce competitor for current single-cylinder leaders of the category.
By simply going through the specs sheet, bikes such as the KTM 450 SX-F and the Husqvarna TC 450 seem not that challenging for the Aprilia MXV, but we should remember that this is the bike’s first year of production and the results are yet to come. Also, we shouldn’t forget about the all-new 2010 Yamaha YZ450F , Honda CRF450R , Suzuki RM-Z450 and the Kawasaki KX450 .
Still a relatively new entry, the Aprilia MXV 4.5 must set itself apart from the rest of the crowd and the easiest method to do that is through the unique Italian style. Although motocross bikes haven’t got much to show in terms of exterior design, their shapes being defined by the obvious need of two fenders, a gas tank and a seat, Aprilia manages to turn the odds in their favor once again. The goal was to achieve an aggressive looking dirt bike, one that would reflect the engine’s claimed potential and it’s the little things that end up making this model special.
To begin with, the front fender is very sharp and joined with the angular number plate, just like on the RXV/SXV, while the 7.4-liter tank is nowhere to be seen. This is the result of it being positioned low in between the frame tubes, allowing the aggressive body panels to stand out and yet still blend perfectly in with the two-tone stepped seat.
Despite the Red Off color, this Aprilia is way far from resembling the Honda CRF450R . It has a slender look that sets it apart and it all ends with the boomerang-shaped side number plates, also aggressive rear fender and the under-seat silencer and twin tail pipes, all made entirely from titanium.
Of course, the black anodized aluminum alloy wheels (21-inch front and 19-inch rear) look nice too and, together with the 50 mm Marzocchi upside down fork (black, as well), contrast beautifully with the dominating Red. In between the wheels, the compact V-twin motor is easily noticed as the main jewel in this scenario.
“The MXV’s sophisticated electronic engine management system also has a number of motocross firsts. The Dell’Orto fuel injection system with 38 mm throttle bodies is managed by a programmable electronic control unit (ECU) that allows riders to switch between hard/soft mappings at the touch of a button on the handlebars.” – motorcycle-usa
“At low revs and slow speeds, the engine is torquey and tractable, pulling cleanly through technical sections and out of tighter corners. At higher revs and faster speeds, you’d better hold on tight, because this thing is a rocket! Fortunately there’s a switch that lets you toggle from Hard to Soft engine maps…” – motorcyclistonline
The MXV has a unique feel that takes a while to get used to, with odd weight distribution that makes the bike feel heavier than it should. A wallowing sensation while hitting jump faces was disconcerting and sapped my confidence. Lowering the fork in the triple-clamp eliminated some, but not all of the handling issues. – cycle world
The $8,499 manufacturer’s suggested retail price is almost $1 grand more than what you would pay for any of the four Japanese bikes and we reckon that, in the right hands, the extra cylinder pays off. Still, the Japanese bikes are much sharper handlers than the Aprilia and this might just do the trick as well. It all depends on the kind of rider you are.
Italians are great at designing and building engines and this shows on the Aprilia MXV as well. But while expert riders will see this as a direct indicator towards the parts catalog, the average rider will feel completely satisfied with the bike’s overall performance and, most often, feel that the engine is a little too much to fully exploit from the very beginning.
Engine and Transmission
- Engine: 77° V twin four stroke. Liquid cooled. Single overhead cam with rocker operated exhaust valves, chain timing drive, 4 valve heads, titanium valves.
- Fuel: Lead-free petrol.
- Bore x Stroke: 76 x 49.5 mm
- Total displacement: 449 cc
- Compression ratio: 13 : 1
- Fuel system: Integrated engine management system controlling ignition and fuel injection. Throttle body: 38 mm. Hard and soft mappings selectable from the handlebars.
- Ignition: Electronic digital (batteryless).
- Starting: Kick-start.
- Exhaust: Conforming to FIM standards for 2010.
- Generator: 220 W
- Lubrication: Dry sump. Separate gearbox lubrication.
- Gear box: 4 speed. Motocross gear ratios: 1st 14/29 2nd 15/26 3rd 17/25 4th 19/24
- Clutch: Multi-plate in oil bath, cable operated.
- Primary drive: Spur gears. Transmission ratio: 23/65.
- Final drive: Chain. Transmission ratio: 14/49.
Chassis and Dimensions
- Frame: Cr-Mo steel perimeter frame with aluminum alloy vertical members. Headstock rake angle 26.2°. Lightweight rear frame section.
- Front suspension: 50 mm Marzocchi upside down fork with adjustments for compression and rebound.
- Rear suspension: Pro-Link with Sachs monoshock, adjustable in compression and rebound.
- Brakes: Front: 270 mm lightweight stainless steel floating disc with Nissin floating caliper. Rear: 240 mm lightweight stainless steel disc with Nissin floating caliper.
- Wheels: Black anodized aluminum alloy. Front: 1.60 x 21”. Rear: 2.15 x 19".
- Tires: Front: Dunlop 80/100-21 51M. Rear: Dunlop 110/90-19 62M.
- Dimensions: Overall length: 2,190 mm Overall width: 815 mm Ground clearance: 1,285 mm Seat height: 960 mm Wheelbase: 1,499 mm
- Fuel tank capacity: 7.4 liters.