Additional photos of this 2002 Aprilia RS250 GP1 are available here for your perusal.
Founded by Alberto Beggio in post-World War II Italy, Aprilia started out as a bicycle manufacturer before eventually releasing its first motorcycles in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. The Noale-based firm found some success producing mopeds, scooters, and other small-displacement runners, but a trio of Grand Prix world championships in the early ‘90s would forever alter the fate of the once-boutique outfit. Riding Aprilia’s quarter-liter GP mount, the RSW250, Max Biaggi secured back-to-back-to-back world titles in ’94, ’95, and ’96 (plus another title in ’97 with Honda). Like Paul Smart’s Desmo racer had done for Ducati two-decades-or-so prior, the success achieved on Biaggi’s 250cc GP racer put Aprilia on the map and helped to establish the small Italian firm as a true contender on the world stage.
Taking advantage of the factory race effort’s triumphs, in 1994 Aprilia released a road-legal replica version of the RSV250 known as the RS250. Powering the RS was a modified version of the liquid-cooled, 249cc, two-stroke, 90-degree V-Twin from Suzuki’s RGV250. The RS’s engine utilized the Suzuki’s 34mm Mikuni flat slide carbs, though it featured its own Aprilia-designed expansion chambers, barrels, air-box, and exhaust system, a revised ignition and ECU, and a higher compression ratio. Building on the already well-designed single-crank V-Twin developed by Suzuki, the changes made in Noale afforded the RS more mid-range power.
Married to a six-speed transmission, the RS250’s engine was similar to the motor found in Aprilia’s GP mount, albeit with a bore and stroke of 56mm X 50mm versus the race bike’s square 54mm X 54mm setup. The RS generated 29.5ft-lbs of torque at 10,750 rpm and around 70 hp at 11,900 rpm — just shy of its 12,000 rpm redline.
What really made the RS250 special, however, was its chassis design. Derived from the bikes built by Aprilia’s factory race program, the RS250 used a polished alloy twin-spar frame paired with an adjustable magnesium alloy banana swing-arm. The trick alloy frame was fitted with 41mm inverted Marzocchi fork and a mono-shock in the back — both adjustable for preload and rebound damping.
Rolling on 17-inch, five-arm, cast aluminum rims, the RS250 and its race-bred chassis afforded its rider incredibly sharp handling. Slowing the V-Twin was a set of dual 298mm discs pinched by four-piston Brembo Serie Oro calipers out front and a single 220mm unit bit by a dual-pot caliper in the rear.
Its GP-inspired bodywork not only looked the business but gave the RS one very slippery drag coefficient. Tipping the scales at just 310lbs dry (368lbs wet), the RS boasted a top speed of over 130 mph, and a standing quarter-mile time of 12.5-seconds flat. That’s faster than an eight liter, V10 Dodge Viper, Porsche 911 GT3 RS 996, Mercedes SL Class 65 AMG, Aston Martin DB11 V8 Twin Turbo, and countless other six-figure supercars!
The RS250 remained in production, receiving various updates and tweaks – including a significant revamp in ’98 — before Aprilia pulled the plug on the 250 in 2004. Despite a decade-and-a-half having passed since the last RS left the factory, the track-oriented V-Twins are regarded incredibly highly today. MCN has gone as far as to call the RS250, “Simply one of the very best, least-compromised sports motorcycles money can buy”, and VisorDown more recently stated, “The real problem with the RS250 is that if you want one, a good one, you’re too late.”
While we have to agree with both publications, we do have a one-time solution to Visordown’s aforementioned problem in the form of a beautiful bone-stock 2003 Aprilia RS250 GP1 — which was the final generation of the model and the most refined — adorned in the iconic factory rainbow livery. This example has only 8,000 original kilometers (just under 5K miles), and was recently outfitted with fresh tires, fluids, chain, and plugs.
Aside from two extremely minor nicks in the paint, a scratch on the tank and the fairing, and some bubbling on the tank decal, this 2003 example is otherwise pristine, having clearly spent the last decade-and-a-half being kept indoors. It currently is registered in Montana with a clean title, and interestingly, as a final gen RS250, this specimen sports a 17-digit VIN (ZD4LDA0003S104576). Our White Glove service is always happy to help with facilitating the arrangement of out-of-state shipping and registration.
This is the epitome of two-stroke goodness; an ultra-lightweight, wildly nimble, peppy as-all-hell Italian GP replica born out of a world championship-winning race squad. And while all RS250’s are gems, this is undoubtedly the one to have as a low-mile, completely original, final generation GP1 in that glorious factory rainbow and lion’s mane tank livery.