Aprilia Falco

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Year: 2000 (W). Mileage: 5425. Price: £4399

The Falco is something a little different. It’s a kind of sports-tourer, but it definitely errs more on the sports side, as a big V-twin is not the ideal motor for touring.

Though the mileage was low on our black example, the exposed engine wasn’t looking at its best for the mileage. In fact, a good look over the bike showed the last owner wasn’t the most sympathetic in the world. The back of the black plastic fuel tank was worn down to the white undercoat thanks to a non-covered zip or button that had been rubbing. The sidestand was stiff and hard to use and the small metal tag to help you pull it down was missing. Most importantly, the engine needed a service. The word ” service ” on the LCD clocks was the most obvious indication, but other signs included difficulty in starting and maintaining tickover. The sound of the engine when cold and the subdued response to the throttle all screamed: ” Service me! ”

On the road, further pointers to a less-than-perfect owner started to appear. The suspension felt like it had covered at least double the figure on the clocks. The Falco is normally a fine-handling machine, but this example exhibited the sort of wallow at speed and lack of damping from both ends you would find on a bike a few years older. In such cases you’d usually suspect poor-quality components, but the general condition of the bike pointed towards abuse by the owner.

The Aprilia also had a slight twist in the forks – the left-hand bar was definitely further away than the right one. A closer inspection showed the bike had been down the road. The repair appeared competent and replacement parts decent, but a tiny scuff on the clutch lever bracket and a similar mark on the switchgear indicated not only that it was a crash, rather than a drop, but also that the repairs had been done on the cheap. If it was an insurance job, these items would have been replaced regardless of cost.

That’s not to say the bike had been thrashed. The tyres had plenty of meat left on them and there were no signs of serious cornering or track abuse. Also, the multi-purpose – and, some would say, confusing – array of readouts and gimmicks had been set so the rev light started to flicker once the thin, red needle got to 6000rpm. Maybe the last owner only used the engine’s powerful torque and mid-range and shortshifted all the time. There’s nothing wrong with that, as it’s using the most significant part of the delivery to full effect. You don’t have to rev this motor to go fast.

What the latest model has: Nothing different to previous models, so you really should be able to find a good bargain compared to the price of a new bike. On top of that, with Aprilia’s three-year warranty, you won’t have to worry about the cost of any sort of failure provided it has a full service history (see below).

What to watch out for: The grunt of the Aprilia’s V-twin motor means the bike can be wheelied very easily. While that’s fun, it can soon lead to bent front wheels, knackered chains and loose head bearings. Check all of these before you even venture out on the road for a test ride. As we had already noticed on this example, sidestands are a little suspect. They have been known to bend and even break, scuffing the bodywork in the resulting fall. A caring owner would have fitted crash protectors – just in case.

Aprilia offers a three-year warranty on the Falco, but it needs to be registered to be valid. After each service a token needs to be sent in to keep a record of the service history. Check that the owner has kept this up and sent off the tokens, or you may discover that the warranty is invalid.

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff