I waited much too long. The Aprilia is a rush in every respect. Too many slow bikes allowed me to forget what it's like to just annihilate a section of road and scare myself witless in the process. I think even if I stop riding the Aprilia for some reason (no parts, shaky dealers) I'll just park it in the living room and look at it.
Used Aprilias are fairly inexpensive right now, the company has become unstable (Italian business, big surprise) and they were just bought by the Piaggio company. It's spooked the market so some fabulous bikes can be had fairly inexpensively. True, you can still get a Japanese sport bike for fewer dollars and probably have fewer issues but trust me, nothing...nothing...has the look and feel of an Italian bike. The Japanese built great machines, the Italians manage to build spirit into their motorcycles.
A few details on the bike: It's a 2001 SL1000 Falco with slightly over 8000 miles on it. Normally when you look at a bike in Cycle Trader On-line the pictures make the bike look way better than it is when you finally see. The seller always seems to forget to mention the dent in the other side of the tank, the cracked plastic and the coolant leak "that stopped by itself."
In the case of the Falco, the picture showed a gorgeous bike, so much so I rushed off to see it the next day. In person the bike proved to be even better than in the pictures. Zowie. I looked it over very carefully trying my hardest to find some reason not to buy it but couldn't. Too red, too Italian, too sexy, too clean. Moto lust fogs the mind.
Steve, the previous owner, clearly is preoccupied with keeping his bikes clean just as I am mine. A clean bike is a happy bike and a happy bike won't let you down (knock on wood). In fiddling with the bike yesterday I did finally find a dirty spot; Steve had neglected to clean the underside of the top of the chain guard. Slob. ;-)
Other good things about the bike: The stock mufflers have been replaced with Aprilia's carbon racing canisters and re-tuning chip. There is a disclaimer on "silencer" information section of Aprilia's web page that says "The silencer is intended for closed-course competition purpose only and is not to be utilized for any other purposes. This item is not to be installed upon or used on any motorcycle used for street or transportation purposes on public roads or highways." I feel so naughty.
The restrictions added to the bike's airbox and ECU to make it more acceptable to USA bureaucrats have been cleaned out so the bike makes it's full compliment of Euro spec horsepower which is said to be about 118 HP at the rear wheel. Visit here if you want more info and to see some dyno charts for a similarly equipped Falco.
For those interested, Aprilia pics from yesterday's brief wanderings can be found here.
More Aprilia ramblings to come, of that you can be sure.