APRILIA RS250 (1994 - 2004) Review

Highlights

  • Legendary 2-stroke sports bike
  • Amazing handling
  • Appreciating modern classic

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £3,000
Power: 55 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.9 in / 810 mm)
Weight: Low (311 lbs / 141 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Aprilia RS250 is the last of a dead breed; its ring-a-ding-ding the requiem for meaningful two-strokes and their sweet perfume. Built to ape the Italian factory’s 1993 250GP winner, the motorcycle perched a reed-valve motor in a near-perfect chassis to produce one of the finest handling machines of all time. Bella.

In 2004 the bike went off general sale due to emissions regulations, but will still available as a track-only bike to reflect its incredible handling talents. 

Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to join a forum or other online community to ask owners some questions. We'd recommend Aprilia Forum as a great starting point.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Aprilia RS250 is the enemy of kneesliders everywhere. The chassis is blessed with a supernatural composure that remains unfazed regardless of lean angle. The upside-down forks, banana swingarm and Brembo four-piston brakes aren’t just for show; they’re the best combination of talent since George, Ringo, Paul and John.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Ripped from Suzuki’s RGV250 the Aprilia RS250's single crank V-twin stroker makes you work for your reward. It hits perfect pitch at 10,500rpm, delivering 55bhp with a sweet punch. For anyone raised on multi-cylinder motorcycles it’s initially frustrating, but persevere – nothing worth striving for comes easily. So hone your gear selection, hang on to every rpm and ride it like you stole it.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Skimping on pricy fully-synthetic two-stroke oil is asking for trouble. Without it engine life is very much compromised. You’re looking at a new piston kit (from £65 or so) every 6000 miles, too. Aprilia RS250s are as likely to be owned by youngsters who ignore service intervals and poorly maintain their bikes as enthusiasts. Buy one with service history from a bloke with share in Putoline.

We've got three Aprilia RS250 owners' reviews on the site, and the bike scores 4.7 stars out of 5. However, it's only marked down for the fact that it lacks kit - and considering it's basically a race-ready bike that's no surprise. 

Just ensure you find one with decent history. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Aprilia RS250 is simply one of the very best, least-compromised sports motorcycles money can buy. Nowadays the RS250 is an appreciating modern classic. 

Its competition in period came from the likes of the Yamaha TZR250, Kawasaki KR1-S and even the Honda VFR400.

Equipment

2 out of 5 (2/5)

Race-replica minimalism rules. The Aprilia RS250's seat pad’s thin, there’s no electric start and the pillion provision is a joke. You do get a handy gear shift light, though and the aftermarket is still buoyant. 

Specs

Engine size 249cc
Engine type Two-stroke V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 141kg
Front suspension Compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 32 mpg
Annual road tax £44
Annual service cost £3,000
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 12 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 55 bhp
Max torque 27 ft-lb
Top speed 138 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 13 secs
Tank range 120 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1994: Aprilia RS250 introduced.
1995: Chesterfield colours.
1998: New model, Showa forks, new adjustable rear shock, peppier engine, new seat design.
2004: Aprilia RS250 discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Owners' reviews for the APRILIA RS250 (1994 - 2004)

3 owners have reviewed their APRILIA RS250 (1994 - 2004) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your APRILIA RS250 (1994 - 2004)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 3.3 out of 5 (3.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £3,000
4 out of 5 Aprilia RS250 - MK1 review
19 September 2015 by James Stone

Version: Aprilia RS250 MK1

Year: 1996

Annual servicing cost: £3,000

A truly stunning package for a bike of it's time, superb chassis & brake combination that allows for such accurate feedback and flexibility with your lines through out the corners, tipping the scales at around 130kg's allows for any rider to truly dominate the machine and begs to have your knee slider on the floor at every corner! Then there's the engine, if your new to 2 strokes and have ridden inline/ v-twin 4 strokes then initially your going to find the engine incredibly frustrating and embarrassing as anything below 5,000 rpm is pointless, hand fulls of clutch are required to bring the rev needle into the sweet spot to really make progress but when the power valves open completely at 8,000 rpm you'll be grinning from ear to ear whilst doing your best to make sure you don't drop out of the "power band" with 60bhp and the combined weight you'll be amazed how many much larger CC bikes you'll put to shame. Personally I love the Aprilia RS250 and mine is used purely as a weekend toy, if you plan to do any sort of long distance/ commuting I would strongly recommend looking at another option - difficult to start/hold idle when cold, (highly advised against riding until the water temperature is 50c plus (normally around 10 minutes of light blips/idle to get it there so your drive way/ garage looks like a bonfire) terrible fuel consumption especially when combined with the £15 a litre 2 stroke oil which will last 2-4 petrol tanks... all that aside, as a weekend blaster around some tight A or B roads I couldn't think of a better bike to be riding and the attention it draws where ever you go is great! A short clip of mine running the Tyga exhaust systems - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7of5DgRwQk

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Very impressed with the comfort/ space as I'm 6"2, I will point out that compared to my 600's/1000's it feels tiny, almost like jumping on my road bicycle!

Engine 5 out of 5

The power delivery, smell & sound is so marmite, you'll either love it to bits or have it up for sale the following day.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Generally over all there seems to be little deterioration on mine which has 13,000 miles but like all things it all depends on how & where its been stored. Reliability is always going to be a sore spot for any 2 stroke (if your new to 2 stroke maintenance I advise an evening on google to bring your self up to speed) Even though the Aprilia RS250 is powered by a Suzuki engine they still require top end inspections/ rebuilds every few thousand miles, the life of the engine really depends how its been looked after (warmed up correctly/ high quality 2 stroke oil)

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

Decent on board lap timer, don't expect it to be up there with the new generation of bikes, they don't even have an electric start, good old fashion kick start!

Buying experience: If your looking for a future investment & something to do potentially 1-2,000 miles a year on its a solid buy, I would personally look out for one with an after market expansion chambers that's been up jetted correctly as it really improves the sound & performance for the better.

5 out of 5 My first step from 125s
06 July 2008 by staffsknot

I had a RS250 and loved it to bits, could be a bit niggly starting in the cold and wet but when it was running it screamed around the corners like it was on rails. Great brakes, superb handling and the package meant it could go around Donington Park with some of the big boys and show them up on the Infield. Bad points were two stroke oil costs and sometimes needed some coaxing to start in the cold. Apart from that an absolute screamer.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Cool first bike
14 January 2008 by carl27

My first road bike over 125 and I love it! Picked it up before I did my test off a bloke I know who had it from new, it had done 3k. Rode it/wobbled through last "summer" after passing my test with no problems what so ever. Although I do want a bigger bike I can't part with it, why? well how many ex-RS250 owners are glad they got rid? Loads of character, loads of fun!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Back to top