This was the bike that brought the most adverse comments. Some loved it, some struggled to get on with it. Whatever, the personal views on its abilities, no one disputed the mega engine, though. The RSV is a rocketship, even if its lazy, torquey motor makes it feel like you’re going 40mph slower than you really are. That’s the truth, but don’t expect a magistrate to take it onboard when you’re in the dock facing a whopping speeding fine.
Smith: " This is definitely the one for me. It’s not the most powerful, but it is the most useable. The chassis is completely planted, you just open the throttle and get on with the job. And it was only 0.1mph off the R1’s top speed, as well. Amazingly, despite its undeniable size, it was only a tenth of a second off the pace of the diminuitive RS250 through the chicane. It never shook its head once, or gave me a scary moment. This is the bike to beat. "
Hill: " I got my joint fastest lap on the RSV, although it didn’t feel like it at the time. It’s so deceptive. It beat the R1 and mirrored the GSX-R600. I felt more comfortable entering turn one, with its huge bump, on this than I did on the GSX-R. But the GSX-R was actually quicker down the straight and in the chicane. It’s a great bike. "
Crutchlow: " I got my fastest lap and second fastest top speed on the RSV. It was also quick in turns one to four, but I didn’t like it in the chicane section. It felt too top heavy there to turn quickly. You can surprise a lot of people on this bike, especially on tracks with bumps to unsettle the suspension. Take it to Mallory, destroy the opposition and you’ll see what I mean.
King: " I also got my fastest lap and second highest top speed on the RSV. It was also very quick through the four corners and the fastest, for me, through the chicane. It even pipped the RS there. Mega bike. Buy one. "
Farr: " I don’t get on with V-twins and it shows. I like to rev a bike, torture it and boot it up and down through the gearbox without fear of the back wheel locking up. Yes, the RSV has a slipper clutch to stop that happening, but it still doesn’t feel quite right. So I was surprised to find I managed my joint second fastest time on the RSV and even more surprised when the top-heavy beast posted the quickest time through the chicane. It has masses of power and a chassis so unflappable it’s in another league. I just wish I could adapt my riding style to suit. "
OVERALL: Buy this and no one’s getting past. The ultimate tool for justifiably arguing your bike’s the quickest, full stop. It might not have the most horsepower, the lightest weight or the shortest wheelbase, but it’s massively useable and that’s what counts.
Fastest lap: Smith 1:12.00. Hill 1:15.00. Crutchlow 1:18.00. King 1:18.00. Farr 1:19.00. Average 1:16.4.
Max Speed: Smith 158.2mph. Hill 144.0mph. Crutchlow 146.3mph. King 147.8mph. Farr 147.8mph. Average 148.8mph.
Mid T1: Smith 69.9mph. Hill 79.3mph. Crutchlow 69.35mph. King 62.4mph. Farr 70.8mph. Average 70.3mph.
Mid T2: Smith 49.6mph. Hill 45.8mph. Crutchlow 45.7mph. King 46.2mph. Farr 43.0mph. Average 46.06mph.
Mid T3: Smith 111.2mph. Hill 103.4mph. Crutchlow 94.3mph. King 98.6mph. Farr 94.4mph. Average 100.4mph.
Mid T4: Smith 71.6mph. Hill 69.06mph. Crutchlow 65.5mph. King 62.3mph. Farr 62.9mph. Average 66.27mph.
Chicane: Smith 9.7sec. Hill 12.2sec. Crutchlow 14.7sec. King 12.0sec. Farr 14.3sec. Average 11.7sec.