Wednesday, June 13, 2007

David Howard: Aprilia RS250 + SXV 550 = RSV-R 550!

The Aprilia RS250 - a GP bike for the road. Pity you can't buy one anymore...

Across all bikes in all segments, the two-stroke race-rep Aprilia RS250 is one of our most favourite motorcycles ever. The bike weighed a mere 140kg, and its 250cc v-twin made 60 horsepower at 11,000rpm, which means a specific output of about 240bhp per litre. Not very far off from the 280bhp per litre of Casey Stoner’s current 800cc MotoGP Ducati! Pity, then, that the RS250 doesn’t exist anymore.

The RS250's specific output, in terms of bhp-per-litre, is close to current day 800cc MotoGP bikes!!

But while we simply sit and bemoan the fact that the RS250 is no more, London-based David Howard has gone and done something about it. The 46-year-old school teacher, who used to race Suzuki RG500s in the 1980s, took an RS250 chassis and bolted an Aprilia SXV 550 engine into it. And the RSV-R 550 was born!

David Howard's SXV 550-powered RSV-R 550. Awesome!

Howard says getting hold of an SXV 550 engine was a bit difficult, and he ultimately had to buy a brand new SXV 550 just so he could use its engine – but he still completed the entire project in just four months. He says, ‘After watching episodes of American Chopper, I figured that if they could build a bike to a deadline, than so could I!’

The Aprilia SXV 550 is pretty cool on its own, but the RSV-R 550 is where it's at, for on-track performance

Howard has kept the SXV’s 549cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled v-twin basically stock, but he’s fitted a Gibson exhaust system and a power commander unit, and ditched the airbox. The engine now makes 71bhp, which means plenty of performance in the lightweight RSV-R 550.

For those who can't be bothered with building their own special, the stock RSV1000 should just about do... :-)

What advice does Howard have, for those who plan to build their own special? ‘Planning is the most important thing – don’t just let your project evolve, have a clear idea what you want to achieve and workout a timeline so that you can keep working on the bike.’ Aprilia News blog has an interview with Howard here. This is Howard’s website, which is under construction right now. And here's one place from where you can download tons of Aprilia wallpaper.

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