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2009 Aprilia MXV 450 Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

With the introduction of the all-new MXV 450, Aprilia strikes big and offers an interesting if not surprising alternative to Japanese dirt bikes powered by a 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine. The MXV 450 is the world's first competition bike to hit motocross tracks with a twin-cylinder.

The MXV 450 is a true technological weapon designed for hardcore thrill-seekers.

Same engine?
The new model borrows its 59-horsepower, 449-cc V-twin from the Aprilia SXV and RXV to achieve the same weight and size as a single-cylinder. The race-spec engine remains unchanged, with a 77-degree V angle, replaceable wet liners for the cylinders and a single overhead cam configuration with four titanium valves per cylinder head.

The use of special materials allowed the company to reduce weight while preserving the engine's power and reliability. The central crankcase sections are in aluminum-silicon alloy, external engine casings are in magnesium and valves are in titanium. The electric starter has been replaced by a kick-start mechanism, which considerably lowers weight by eliminating both the battery and wiring. The new single-piece radiator further reduces weight. Also, the transmission is lighter and has lost a gear in the process.

About 99 percent of all supermoto/motocross-type machines use a single-cylinder engine delivering a fat, linear power and torque curve that proves ideal for this type of riding (blasting out of corners is easier). It's hard to understand why someone would go racing with a V-twin, which is more structurally complex and less torquey in this application. However, Aprilia's is a whole different story. This little marvel of engineering offers explosive power delivery, launching you with surprising ferocity.

Technology to the rescue
The Aprilia MXV 450 displays a split personality thanks to a programmable computer allowing the rider to adjust the timing sequence based on his or her preferences. And were not just talking about a button on the left handlebar to alter ignition and injection. The first personality, referred to as "Big Bang", maximizes power delivery when coming out of corners, while the second one, known as "Screamer", provides superior punch near the redline.

The aforementioned split personality of the timing system is a world's first that promises interesting potential.
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