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2011 Aprilia SXV 5.5: Track Test


by Pascal Bastien ,

Nearly four years after testing the first edition, I took up the handlebars of the 2011 version for a short jaunt on a track seemingly designed especially for it at the Mecaglisse complex in Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci, Quebec ( My first impressions? We have here a user-friendly bike whose engine mapping has matured in the right way. It pushes just as hard on corner exit, but proves much wiser overall. The front wheel is relieved of its burden with every shift under acceleration, but the longer throttle travel allows you to keep all that grunt in check and thus clock better lap times.

The new SXV is all about subtly controlled power. A nice useable power band forgives rpm or shifting mistakes and makes it easier to make the most of the fantastic frame.

2011 Aprilia SXV 5.5 rear 3/4 view
Overall, the SXV 5.5 is a veritable technological weapon designed for thrill seekers and fans of gorgeous Italian machinery. (Photo: France Ouellet)

The suspension is made up of a 48-mm fork, coated in friction-reducing TiN, and a shock with adjustable compression and rebound damping. It works with precision and gives the impression that no bump or crack will ever succeed in destabilizing your mount. And its corner exit performance does justice to the impressive V-Twin. It feels like the throttle is directly connected to the rear wheel, and you can deploy your ponies as early as you want without worrying about flying off the track.

Though the extremely grippy tires mounted for the occasion made it a bit hard to drift (a fine art that requires more than a single session to master a new machine), I nonetheless managed to throw the back end around a bit, taking weight off it by way of the überpotent front brake as well as the engine brake, which proved a tad hard to modulate. Be that as it may, the SXV 5.5 is an exciting little number on the track, both for its capability and its delinquent side that has to be tamed.

Overall, the SXV 5.5 is a veritable technological weapon designed for thrill seekers and fans of gorgeous Italian machinery. With its irresistible charm and original mechanical solutions, and especially because it needs to be approached differently from any other two-wheel offering out there, the SXV 5.5 remains a big-boy toy for those who hate doing things like everyone else.

Original, veeeery potent engine
Exotic frame
Irresistible looks

Race-bred seat manhandles your rear
Limited use
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