APRILIA SL1000 FALCO (1999-2005) Review

Published: 12 December 2006

"A well-regarded, half-faired, 'street sports' version of the RSV"

Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding

"A well-regarded, half-faired, 'street sports' version of the RSV"

  • At a glance
  • 997cc  -  118 bhp
  • 42 mpg  -  135 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Aprilia SL1000 Falco is a generally well-regarded, half-faired, ‘street sports’ version of RSV which never quite took off in the way it could have. Unique twin beam frame and slightly detuned V-twin made it more streetable, although still very much a sportster. The Aprilia Falco is often overlooked so is a potential used bargain.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Aprilia SL1000 Falco's frame was an all-new double twin spar designed to show off the engine. With geometry bordering on the sporting it allows the Aprilia SL1000 Falco to change direction quickly while maintaining stability. Where the RSV is tall and uncompromising, the Falco has a lower seat and less extreme footpeg positions. The result is that you sit 'in' the Falco, rather than 'on' it, which makes for better cornering with confidence.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Aprilia SL1000 Falco uses a detuned version of the 60° V-twin engine from the Mille sportster. Less powerful it may be, but the Aprilia SL1000 Falco will still reach 155mph and wheelie when the throttle's wrenched in anger. Broader power comes from a twin silencer exhaust and remapped fuel injection, which crops the peak power slightly but bolsters bottom and mid-range.  

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Aprilia has something of a reputation, in terms of build quality and durability at least, as an ‘Italian Honda’, and the Aprilia SL1000 Falco is as good example as any of that. The standard of components, fit and finish is high and there have been few reliability issues. Instead, the biggest blackmark against Aprilia in recent years has been patchy dealer back-up and spares availability.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

Less is sometimes more. By making its roadster less extreme than the RSV Mille sportster it's based on Aprilia broadened its appeal and produced a motorcycle that's both easier and more fun to ride. The Aprilia SL1000 Falco is a bit of a wolf’s in sheep’s clothing (and price) too. If you like the rather subdued looks, the Aprilia SL1000 Falco is a damned good value all-rounder with a sporting edge. Find an Aprilia SL1000 Falco for sale.

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

Equipment 4 out of 5

Angular styling and fairing give the Aprilia SL1000 Falco a unique look while providing adequate weather protection and pillion accommodation. Large grab handles mean an easy time for passengers. Other components shared with the Aprilia Falco's more sporting sibling are the brakes, and they are just as sensitive and powerful as on the out-and-out sportster. In all, far posher than its sober looks suggest. Compare and buy parts for the Aprilia Falco in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

14 owners have reviewed their APRILIA SL1000 FALCO (1999-2005) 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 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent beast

05 June 2012 by grumbleweeduk

I bought my Falco after selling my Africa Twin. It is a good bike for taller guys - I'm 6'5 and i can get comfy on it no prob. Mines derestricted and has RSC carbon cans. Sounds fab! Keeps up with modern 1000's and handles better than my old CBR ever... Read more could! with 45mpg average (verified over 2000 miles) its cheap to run too! BUY ONE!

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

Best Value Italian Bike

19 June 2008 by richtea

Real value for money, and with 118BHP it has plenty of usable power. Ride is firm, not quite perfect, but at the price I have no complaints. Comfy over long distances for lanky gits like me. Warped clutch needed replacing, but was around £150 fitted... Read more as far as I can remember, so its a drop in the ocean compared to price of cans, plastics, etc. Overall a very pleasant surprise - no big expenses, no electrical problems, unlikely to be stolen, and will catch out the Sunday-only Fireblades. Which strangely seem to have copied the red Falco colours. V retro :-)

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

01 Falco

23 May 2008 by jovanostu

Great bike overall, especially for the price. Extremely reliable. Fantastic engine. Only drawback is crappy rear shock, but shocks should be custom anyway. Read more

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 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Love it

10 September 2007 by omayj

Had mine since new and she's great fun. Certainly keeps up with the sportsbikes on a Sunday. Equipment is pretty good for a cheaper bike - brembo brakes etc. Now that she's 2.5 years old, she's starting to have a few problems. Had to replace... Read more the warped front disc and had oval sprockets after France last year. The stand is also a nightmare but thats a general tali bike problem. It's my first big bike, had a Fazer 600 after I passed my test. Love the v-twin and can't imagine going back to a four now. Plus most people don't know what they are so it get's lots of attention. Cracking bike for the money.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 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
5 out of 5

Brilliant Bike

14 June 2007 by D-Rider

Bought new in June '05 for under £5k. This bike never fails to put a smile on my face - it can do just about anything (well, on-road anyway). Excellent Falco community at www.apriliaridersite.com . The motor is awesome and it handles really well. In... Read more standard trim it's a great bike .... but fettling and personalising Falcos is completely addictive. This is my first non-Honda and build quality is at least as good - probably better - than any other bike I've owned. Of course the sidestand mod Must be done and upgrading the shock pays dividends. After that, change as much or as little as you want .... but above all ride it to keep that grin permanently on your face!

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

Great twin!

11 April 2007 by andyh2

Bought one new in 05 and although I don’t have it anymore the bike was brilliant! It compared favourably to the VTR I used to own, having better suspension, a bit more power and even better build quality (really, better than a Honda). The engine is... Read more really good fun / very good low down as you’d expect and the fuel injection is spot on. Equipment is good, comfort is good (for the rider), faring is good and you get trick components (USD forks, slipper clutch)! The only thing I felt the need to change was the rear shock. This included raising the rear a little to speed up the steering, but that was just my preference. Highly recommended, a shame they stopped making them.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 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 wolf in sheep's clothing. Used bargain of the decade

10 October 2006 by danowat

Whilst looking for a sensible replacement for my '01 CBR600F, I wanted something bigger & more comfortable, I was pointed in the direction of the Aprilia Falco. I had never seen or heard anything about this bike before, and on reading as much... Read more info as I could, seemed like the bike for me. It does everything very well, it goes well, has bags of grunt, stops very well, excellent brembo brakes, looks nice, is very comfortable for a bike that is on the sporty side of a sports tourer, on my CBR I would struggle to do 150 miles before aching, I have done 300 miles straight on the Falco and could quite easily have done another 300. Wind protection is very good, it handles well enough to keep up with 600cc sports bikes on the ride, which is more than good enough. The highlight of the bike is its engine, just make sure its derestricted, it pulls, and pulls and pulls, all the way to its 10,500rpm limit. Strengths: Engine, Comfort, Looks, High 6th gear, great for cruising, Headlights are like laser beams, VERY cheap used prices, a HECK of a lot of bike for your money.
Weaknesses: Sidestand, Suspension is a bit harsh for UK roads, fuel economy can be a bit scary if you ride flat out everywhere.

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

A real world bike without pretensions

26 March 2006 by Mcrooters

I sold a VTR firestorm to buy a new 2005 model falco. The falco really is the perfect bike for my needs. I find it hard to think of any way to improve the bike. It feels a class above the honda and more like the 99 R6 I also ride in sharpness terms.... Read more Still running the Falco in I gained so much confidence and formed a bond in under a thousand miles. Strengths: Grunt and handling,the individual aspect of owning a bike that is so low key yet real world fast. Weaknesses: side stand is a bit silly and the wiring looks a bitty exposed

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
3 out of 5

Needs a bit of work but highly satisfying and distinctive

06 March 2006 by blackhill

Stepping up from a zx-6r, i was under 30 and my insurance wouldn't let me have a 750cc sportsbike. big v-twins were the rage (2 years ago) and i looked at an sv1000, which look better but have a poor build quality reputation. i liked the looks, price... Read more and performance of the falco, considering it a worthwhile step up. the bike needs more rider involvement than your typical jap bike, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your mood. Poor residual values due to aprilia discounting is a mixed blessing too. Strengths: the feel of the v-twin makes it a world away from 4-cylinder, the optional luggage is good kit, touring potential (france, italy and spain last may) is superb. And the roar from the wolf exhausts, whilst embarressing in town, was great when i had 3 foot long white flames coming out of it at Monza WSB campsite last year. were you there? great handling on smooth roads. Weaknesses: the standard suspension is too choppy on rough roads, when my mates can easily get away from me. very annoying, but an upgrade (possibly maxton) is on my list this year rather than change the bike. a downsize on the sprokets was necessary due to overgearing plus juddery bottom end power delivery. servicing is a bit pricey, but probably worth keeping it all working well. it can be hard work to ride when you're not in the mood. and the s*d*st*nd gives me temporary hearth failure!!

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

Great power, great sound and great value

21 February 2006 by panpan

Purchased a Falco in 04 as I wanted an Italian Twin without the Ducati money. I wanted it to be really different so I located a full Falco Fighter Kit and had it colour matched to the bike. Later I have added Ohlins suspension front and rear, yet... Read more still its cheaper than a Ducati. I regularly use it on trackdays and its as fast as any of the other Italian Twins. Excellent power, accelleration, handling and braking. Strengths: The bike is set up for the track, it sounds fantastic, looks different and goes well. Weaknesses: The only weakness is the stock suspension. Junk that and the footrests will be on the floor all the way arond the corner!

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 14 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2005
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 118 bhp
Max torque 70.5 ft-lb
Top speed 156 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 135 miles
Specification
Engine size 997cc
Engine type 8v 60-degree V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium trellis
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 190kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1999: Aprilia SL1000 Falco launched.
2005: Aprilia SL1000 Falco discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • APRILIA SL1000 FALCO  (1999-2005)
  • Aprilia Falco
  • APRILIA SL1000 FALCO  (1999-2005)
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Front view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Top view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • APRILIA SL1000 FALCO  (1999-2005)
  • APRILIA SL1000 FALCO  (1999-2005)
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia Falco
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Front view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Top view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Side view
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Riding
  • Aprilia SL1000 Falco motorcycle review - Side view