2003 Aprilia RSV Mille studio side view

YEARS SOLD: 1999–2003

MSRP NEW: $13,499 ('99) to $13,499 ('03)

Blue Book Retail VALUE: $3,170 ('99) to $4,390 ('03)

BASIC SPECS: A 998cc, liquid-cooled, 60-degree Rotax V-twin with electronic fuel injection, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, and a unique pneumatic slipper clutch serves as a stressed member of the RSV's twin-beam alloy frame. The engine is more compact than a 90-degree configuration but also has more inherent vibration. Aprilia soothed those shakes with its clever AVDC (Anti-Vibration Double Countershaft) system. Midlife updates included revised styling, an upgraded shock, and the use of Brembo monoblock calipers while the final year of production saw closer gearbox ratios.

WHY IT'S DESIRABLE: The RSV Mille—Italian for "thousand"—holds the distinction of being the first large-displacement motorcycle produced by Aprilia. Upon its Stateside debut, the Mille far exceeded our expectations in performance and refinement. Power delivery is strong and seamless, gear changes are smooth and light, and the handling strikes a nice balance between agility and stability, with good feedback. The engine has proven to be very reliable, thus adding value and appeal for those seeking a pre-owned Italian sport machine.

THE COMPETITION: Aprilia's Mille and Mille R helped fuel a golden era of V-twin superbikes with Ducati 996, 998, and 999 models along with the Suzuki TL1000R and Honda RC51 all going head to head on both street and track. During the Mille's tenure, Superbike rules evolved from 750cc to the current 1,000cc four-cylinder allowance, with the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Yamaha YZF-R1 leading the charge.