A Tempestuous Italian Beauty that will blow you away!
I bought an RXV550 on the basis of internet research that claimed they overshadowed the awesome Honda CR500 for performance. While I had not (at the time) owned a CR500, my eyes glazed over with power lust and I was hooked!
First thing to say is that the bike is drop dead gorgeous: the alloy swingarm leading up into the trapezoid frame side frame member sets the tone of the bike. The Italians now how to make beautiful machines, and the RXV is no exception. Underneath the frame is a V-twin engine that puts out 70HP!!!! This creams just about any other stock dirt bike. Up front is a pair of beefy Marzocchi USD forks with a well matched single shock rear end. The beast is setup for road use: full instrumentation, indicators etc, but the stock 7L fuel tank is a bit on the small side, and I would recommend replacing it with a 12L version as soon as you can. The early models gained a notorious reputation for the case sealant failing (which allowed coolant to mix with the engine oil, necessitating a full engine rebuild) but most of those early engines have now been fixed.
So what's it like to ride? Holy TOLEDO! In nearly 40 years of riding, I have never ridden a more powerful dirtbike, or one that inspires such awe. When you open the throttle, it is seriously all you can do to hang on. This is a bike that spends most of its time spinning the rear wheel...it is hard to forgive ANY tyre trying to cope with putting that much power to the ground. You spend much of your time sideways- you don't use the handlebars to go around corners, you use the rear wheel. And as such, this is not a bike for tight, heavily wooded trails: this is a bike for wide open trails where you can let it have its head.
The bike is electric start only, which can be a problem if you have a flat battery, and this does happen from time to time. Like a beautiful Italian primadonna, she is finicky and demands attention to give her best. DO NOT buy this bike unless you have mechanical aptitude and do not mind getting your hands dirty to get the best out of it: for example, you have to remove the engine from the frame to check the valve clearances. But if this sort of thing does not worry you, parts are in good supply (esp. online from AF1 Racing in the USA) and there are some excellent forums which can give you advice.
While the bike can give you some trying times, there are few machines on two wheels which can give you a grin to match the one you get when you twist the throttle on an RXV550!
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