The Bottom Line
- Formidable offroad abilities
- Tremendously torquey v-twin engine
- Lots of suspension travel
- Twitchy, fuel-injected throttle requires extra attention
- Though street legal, riding on the road can get hairy
- Easy to get into trouble with all that power; non-speed freaks should consider the $8,599 RXV 4.5
- EPA compliant 549cc V-twin
- 5-speed transmission with enduro ratios
- Steel perimeter frame with alloy vertical members
- Double adjustable 45mm upside-down fork
- Aluminum swingarm with compression and rebound-adjustable hydraulic monoshock
- 270mm front and 240mm rear stainless steel disc brakes
- Seat height: 39.2 inches
- Dry weight: 262 pounds
Guide Review - 2008 Aprilia RXV 5.5 Street Legal Dirtbike
Dirtbikes used to be just that-- motorcycles dedicated solely to offroad surfaces. But the popularity of dual-sport bikes has put pressure on dirtbikes to get street legal, and Aprilia's $9,299 RXV 5.5 is now certified for road use.
But don't worry about the Aprilia RXV 5.5 losing its enduro roots. Though it's now EPA and CARB-approved (and equipped with turn signals and the usual DOT-required accoutrement), the RXV is still a dirtbike through and through. Its fuel injected, liquid-cooled, titanium valved 449cc v-twin is stout, its 45mm upside-down fork and rear hydraulic monoshock offer loads of travel, and the whole package weighs in at only 262 pounds, dry.
This lightweight bike's knobby tires and floaty suspension are difficult to manage on the road, but a dream in the dirt. Throttle response is crisp almost to a fault, and the power curve is generous, all the way from the chattering low end of the rpms to redline. It takes serious discipline not to power slide the rear end in the dirt at low speeds, but when you've gathered enough velocity and need that extra bit of power to get you up a hill or out of a rut, the RXV always delivers. Equally unflappable is the suspension, which offers enough cushion for large surface irregularities and jumps. Ergonomics-wise, the RXV 5.5 is as intensely focused as its powerful engine; the narrow seat is a stratospheric 39.2 inches tall, and the rider's forward position puts the onus on precision, as the rear brake and the 5-speed shifter is a foot's twitch away.
Overall, the Aprilia RXV 5.5 is a tremendously capable offroad bike, and no doubt a handful for most riders. But for those who can handle its brawny engine and light weight, it will be hard to go back to "regular" dirtbikes.