APRILIA RSV1000 (1998-2003) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"Why buy a Ducati when you could have an Mille?"

APRILIA RSV1000  (1998-2003)

"Why buy a Ducati when you could have an Mille?"

  • At a glance
  • 998cc  -  128 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  165 miles range
  • Medium seat height (825mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

Why buy a Ducati when you could have an Aprilia RSV1000 Mille? OK, the name may not be as famous but the Mille is a superb superbike with a surprisingly reasonable price tag. Looks are distinctive, reliability is pretty good it’s just unfortunate that dealer back up can be patchy.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

When you sit on the Aprilia RSV1000 Mille the suspension barely compresses and you realize it’s 100% sports motorcycle. It’s a delight on fast, smooth roads, tipping easily into corners and firing out with a pleasant balance of stability and maneuverability. A bit awkward in town, on bumpy surfaces or wet B-roads. Excellent brakes.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Aprilia RSV1000 Mille has a compact 60 degree V-twin with a dry sump for extra rigidity and constant lubrication, even when wheelying. At low revs the power’s beefy if slightly lumpy and awkward in town. Dip into the midrange and it’s muscular and really gets the motorcycle shifting fast. Top end power’s immense but not insane like the latest 1000cc Japanese fours. 

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

The Aprilia RSV1000 Mille's reliability’s better than Ducatis of the same age – but not as good as the Japanese. The engine can clock up high miles without any problems but electrical niggles aren’t unheard of. Aprilia dealers are few and far between – and some are better than others. Parts supply can be excruciatingly slow.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

Very competitive new prices and now on the used market the Aprilia RSV1000 Mille can be a bargain. Combine that with the fact they’re surprisingly durable for an Italian sports motorcycle, insurance is a group lower than many competitors and servicing’s not too extortionate and a clean, used Aprilia RSV1000 Mille looks like great value. Find an Aprilia RSV1000 Mille for sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Aprilia RSV1000 Mille's extremely comprehensive clocks and an effective headlight are nice touches on a motorcycle that could be pared to the bone. Comfort clearly wasn’t a primary concern for the designers but it’s ok for one person over moderate distances. Compare and buy parts for the Aprilia RSV in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

12 owners have reviewed their APRILIA RSV1000 (1998-2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.9 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
5 out of 5

2003 RSV Mille R

06 April 2009 by carl27

My 3rd big bike after owning a RS250 and an '07 ZX6R, and boy am I glad to be back on an aprilia. I found the ZX6R handled superbly and it had more than enough power for me, it's comfort however made it nearly impossible to ride for more than an... Read more hour or two. I had a few goes on a Mille last year and knew it had everything I needed, so in Feb I got myself a 2003 RSVR with carbon everwhere and Ohlins suspension/steering damper, OZ wheels, spare race pipe/chip etc with 8,000m on the clock for £3.5k. It's alot of bike for that money! The Mille is a little large by modern standards and I'm sure a modern 600 with a fair rider, let alone a new breed 1000, could sithe past a novice (such as me)on a Mille. I however got the Mille based on it's real world ability. After my previous bikes the Mille feels unrushed and kind of lazy in the way you can role through the corners, the setup on mine does feel stiff (the previous owner could well of had a tinker) but it never loses it's composure and the grunt out of the corners is superb (even in too high a gear). I'm still getting used to the bike (and am missing the Kwak's gear position display) but so far so good, I've got a feeling this ones going to be in my garage for a very long time. Now to find a tidier exhaust...

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

RSVR 2002

30 March 2009 by Carlo19

This is the best handling bike I have ever owned. Its much better than my 2005 cbr600rr. The quality of this bike is up to par with the jap bikes as well. I would recomend this bike to every one. Get one of these now! Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

new convert

16 September 2008 by rsv mille2000

after many years on big il4's i really fancied a change & the opertunity came to buy this mille at a very good price. At first I found it top heavy & the engine felt agriculteral at best, especially in town & I began to wonder if I had made a mistake... Read more after my smooth jap il4's. I have had it for 3 months now & it has really grown on me & now I can not see me going back to the 4's. The sheer grunt punches you out of corners while the CT2's keep perfect traction at extreme lean. The engine really gets going from 4k & will fly round to the 10k mark with ease. The front brake is as you would expect from Brembo on a sport bike, strong & with plenty of feel & feed back, the rear brake, it has to be said, is all but pointless as soon as the bike heats up. The digital clocks, while now a bit dated in looks, have a small array of gadjets like top speed, ave speed, temp, battery voltage & even a lap timer! Overall, once you have got your head tuned into v-twin mode you have a machine that can give great satisfaction & thrills without the dedication of a racer. It is something that you must allow time for though if you are not used to a big twin.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

V-Twins Rule

19 June 2008 by weatie

I had two of these a 99 RSV (2000-2002) and a 2002 RSVR (2002-2004) and they were both wicked. Have to say the R version was loads better with the ohlins kit etc, and in Yellow was always turning heads everywhere I went. I went abroad a couple of... Read more times on the Yellow RSVR and every time I stopped a services to refuel people would come over and look at it. Went on to a jap four after for a couple of years, but now gone back to a v-twin again and now have the 2007 model.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Addictive, involving and frustrating

10 June 2008 by bigbadmad

This is my first litre bike and was bought by me as a way into 1000cc machines without the insurance bankrupting me. I came from a background and love of inline 4s. At first I thought this was a terrible mistake but as time goes on I've grown to... Read more love this bike more and more. Bad points: • It takes time for an iL4 rider to learn how to ride it and what gear to be in. • No Fuel gauge, just a warning light. • Eats batteries - buy the best battery you can afford and keep it hooked up to an optimate. • Over geared - Get a 16 (or even 15) tooth front sprocket. • Hard work in town - What do you expect it's a big twin, it was always going to need lots of clutch feathering in slow traffic. • Clocks look like they were stolen from British Leyland... • Quite a thirsty bike when doing stop/start riding, sometimes the light comes on (with 4/5 litres left) at 90 miles. • Burns oil. • Starter sprag clutch is real weak point and is very expensive to replace. • It shakes bolts and screws lose with the big V-twin vibrations. • The rear brake master cylinder gets cooked by the down pipes and the brake slowly stops working. • Very tall - not for the stumpy of leg. • Pain in the arse to check the oil. Good points: • Very economical at long distance motorway work - Mine returns about 50mpg sat at 90mph. • Surprisingly comfortable, I've done a 620 mile day from the south of France on mine. • The drive out of corners is deeply, deeply addictive and flatters your riding making you look faster than you are. • The handling on sweeping A roads is very easy and stable. For a big bike it's pretty nimble. I've had it shake it's bars when it's hit cat's eyes etc. but it hasn't slapped despite provocation. • Clocks are incredibly comprehensive if you can figure out how they work • Italian exotica carries a surprising amount of kudos with fellow bikers. I'm always surprised at how much attention my Mille gets. • Even on the standard can it sounds great. • There are loads of bling parts available for RSVs and they are quite easy to tune for even more grunt. • An active and friendly online community. • Once I'd dealt with the awful maintenance of it's past owner mine has been very reliable. • Very handy under seat storage, I've got half an RAC van under there. • That big 'ol fairing is great for distance work and weather protection, this really is a sports bike that will tour. • The lights - especially the high beams - are excellent. • The front brakes are the best I've ever used - Braided steel lines attached to four pad, goldline Brembos! Single finger pressure is all that's needed to stop. • Very tall - good for the bigger riders. • Decent pillion seat, not like the brillo pad most bikes have. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this bike until I took it on some long distance, high paced ride outs with riders who are much more experienced than I am. It was so good on these ride outs that I'm properly impressed by this machine. It flattered my riding and cosseted me through long days in the saddle. It kept up with or kept in sight some very quick machines - New Fireblade, ZZR1400, 'Busa etc. All the good points about the Mille have really impressed me, it's a real rider's machine and the bad points have faded in my estimation. You get a hell of a lot of bike for your money when you buy an RSV. Sure there are bikes out there with much more BHP/top speed but for real world riding this bike will stay with pretty much anything. Try one, you might like it.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Addictive, involving and frustrating

10 June 2008 by Anonymous

This is my first litre bike and was bought by me as a way into 1000cc machines without the insurance bankrupting me. I came from a background and love of inline 4s. At first I thought this was a terrible mistake but as time goes on I've grown to... Read more love this bike more and more. Bad points: • It takes time for an iL4 rider to learn how to ride it and what gear to be in. • No Fuel gauge, just a warning light. • Eats batteries - buy the best battery you can afford and keep it hooked up to an optimate. • Over geared - Get a 16 (or even 15) tooth front sprocket. • Hard work in town - What do you expect it's a big twin, it was always going to need lots of clutch feathering in slow traffic. • Clocks look like they were stolen from British Leyland... • Quite a thirsty bike when doing stop/start riding, sometimes the light comes on (with 4/5 litres left) at 90 miles. • Burns oil. • Starter sprag clutch is real weak point and is very expensive to replace. • It shakes bolts and screws lose with the big V-twin vibrations. • The rear brake master cylinder gets cooked by the down pipes and the brake slowly stops working. • Very tall - not for the stumpy of leg. • Pain in the arse to check the oil. Good points: • Very economical at long distance motorway work - Mine returns about 50mpg sat at 90mph. • Surprisingly comfortable, I've done a 620 mile day from the south of France on mine. • The drive out of corners is deeply, deeply addictive and flatters your riding making you look faster than you are. • The handling on sweeping A roads is very easy and stable. For a big bike it's pretty nimble. I've had it shake it's bars when it's hit cat's eyes etc. but it hasn't slapped despite provocation. • Clocks are incredibly comprehensive if you can figure out how they work • Italian exotica carries a surprising amount of kudos with fellow bikers. I'm always surprised at how much attention my Mille gets. • Even on the standard can it sounds great. • There are loads of bling parts available for RSVs and they are quite easy to tune for even more grunt. • An active and friendly online community. • Once I'd dealt with the awful maintenance of it's past owner mine has been very reliable. • Very handy under seat storage, I've got half an RAC van under there. • That big 'ol fairing is great for distance work and weather protection, this really is a sports bike that will tour. • The lights - especially the high beams - are excellent. • The front brakes are the best I've ever used - Braided steel lines attached to four pad, goldline Brembos! Single finger pressure is all that's needed to stop. • Very tall - good for the bigger riders. • Decent pillion seat, not like the brillo pad most bikes have. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this bike until I took it on some long distance, high paced ride outs with riders who are much more experienced than I am. It was so good on these ride outs that I'm properly impressed by this machine. It flattered my riding and cosseted me through long days in the saddle. It kept up with or kept in sight some very quick machines - New Fireblade, ZZR1400, 'Busa etc. All the good points about the Mille have really impressed me, it's a real rider's machine and the bad points have faded in my estimation. You get a hell of a lot of bike for your money when you buy an RSV. Sure there are bikes out there with much more BHP/top speed but for real world riding this bike will stay with pretty much anything. Try one, you might like it.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

RSV Factory

28 October 2007 by norris

I bought my 06 model at 3 months old with just over a thousand miles showing. I've had every Jap sports bike R1/Blade/ZX/GSXR etc and after 30 years of inline fours they were all beginning to feel the same, plus the latest models are to be honest... Read more getting too small for a 6ft 2" 15 stone man who has a pillion 99% of the time. I've now owned the RSV for 12 months and have clocked up 8000 miles..Great bike that needs time to grow on you as its so different from the inline fours. Nothing has broken gone wrong in that time. I've had it serviced once (6250 mile intervals) I find it very comfortable for long journeys with plenty of room to move around, I was crippled on my last R1 because of it being so small and cramped..One niggle though is the fuel consumption, the bike does get ridden hard but it drinks fuel at an alarming rate. Overall though I've been so impressed I would by another when the time comes to change. One word about spares..Managed to drop mine while putting it on the paddock stand, snapping the mirror off. Got one over the counter at my local dealer (Cobb & Jagger)and a brake lever off ebay (£8.00 as apposed to £62.00)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Awesome!

17 June 2007 by Cheeky-Monkey

Acquired a mint 2002 Mille in April 2007 with only 3300 miles on the clock. Awesome bike! Love the looks, the stonking engine, and the thumping sound it makes everytime I open up the throttle. Beautiful.... I always wanted a V-Twin and no regrets at... Read more all trading up to this from my last bike which was an R6. The R6 was extremely good fun but the RSV is in a different league....If you've ever pondered about an RSV...go try one...you'll be smiling for a while!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Italian exotica with looks to die for

14 February 2006 by rluddington1

Bought this fine example of a 2002 Mille last September after a series of Jap inline fours and Honda V4's. At first I was very worried about reliability, but did my homework and could't find a bad word to be said about the bike. 6 months later and... Read more the reviews were correct. Not a single thing has gone wrong with the bike and she starts first time, even after being laid up for several weeks, mid winter. I have treated myself to a Full-on race pipe (sounds incredible) and have carried out a derestriction mod' and she really flies. The bike already came with a 16T front sprocket which aids town riding but you still suffer in town from aching wrists, well with my weight you do! Engine and all alloy frame are a masterpiece of engineering and that rear swinger is plain gorgeous. Strengths: Value for money (600cc Jap money), Handling, Build quality. Weaknesses: Ins group 17, Prices falling (Good news for buyers), Parts delays (took 3 weeks to get a couple of replacement bolts that had corroded).

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great bike!

09 January 2006 by gm0185

Just traded up from an RS250, and I loved that but what a change, the acceleration alone surprised me not to mention the engine braking, but the thrills remain unchanged, and my clutch hand isn't sore anymore. I highly recommend the Mille, it... Read more just pulls and pulls and pulls. Strengths: Value, Comfort, handling and style and genuine wow factor! Weaknesses: Highish riding position, stiff clutch and a bit of a notchy gear box, and what's with the hole in the hugger, just baffles me that one! But these are minor gripes.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 12 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2003
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 128 bhp
Max torque 73 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 165 miles
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type 998cc four-stroke 60-degree V-twin
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 187kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression, ride height
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1998: Aprilia RSV1000 Mille launched.
2001: Major update including more power and new bodywork.
2003: Suspension, brakes and gearbox uprated. Burnished steel exhaust and modified plastics on rear section.

Other versions

Aprilia RSV-R: High spec version of the RSV1000 Mille. Single seat, superior suspension, lightweight Oz wheels.
Aprilia RSV Mille SP: Ultra-high spec platform for race bikes. Adjustable frame, Ohlins suspension, carbon bodywork, alloy tank, sand cast cases – and a £23K price tag.

Photo Gallery

  • APRILIA RSV1000  (1998-2003)
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • Aprilia RSV1000R
  • APRILIA RSV1000  (1998-2003)
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • APRILIA RSV1000  (1998-2003)
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • Aprilia RSV1000R
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia RSV1000 Mille motorcycle review - Side view
All related bikes for sale