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Live Whacking Permalink Archive
click "Live Whacking" button for the latest entries

13 November 2004

Disturbing search string of the day

"Judd Hirsch nude photos"

Whoever you are, you need to see a doctor....


Sex on wheels: Aprilia RSV-R road test

The local Aprilia dealer had the Aprilia test fleet at their shop today, and I got to ride two of them. This one was first:

This years RSV-R is - for my money - the sexiest motorcycle ever made (this photo makes it look rather odd and 'angular'). I jumped at the chance to take one for a spin.

First impressions: very much a head-down, bum-up ride position, with a lot of weight on the wrists, yet strangely not that uncomfy. It was certainly a lot nicer to sit on than the "I'm gonna die!!" ZX-10.

Sadly, along with the beauty of the design, we get some typically stupid 'Italian touches', such as an indicator switch which is right next to the horn, so I kept bleeping the other road users instead of activiating the blinker. And then there were the brake & clutch levers, both of which require a tool to adjust. Funny how all the Japanese bikes manage just fine with finger-adjustable levers?

Anyway, I set off and immediately fell in love with the smooth v-twin engine. Big gobs of torque but with a nice smooth throttle reaction. Well done Aprilia! The clutch and gearbox are similarly silky, making gearchanges effortless.

The chassis is 'racing-stiff", but unlike the zx-10, I didn't feel like I was going to crash on every bloody corner. It is a beautifully composed bike through the bends. Top notch work with the suspension too Aprilia!

Riding this on the freeway was a hoot, a twist of the wrist was all that was required to blast past teenage morons in their crappy, riced-up Mitsubishi Lancers, watching as they turned their heads to catch a glimpse of this brilliant silver rocket rushing past them, the thunderous v-twin engine at full blast. Pure sex I tell you.

It's not all good though. The brakes are crap. Plenty of stopping power but zero feel. They might be the most wooden stoppers I've ever used. Added to the fact that I couldn't adjust the bloody lever to fit my hand, I was taking things a lot more carefully than normal.

The RSV-R is simply the sexiest two-wheeler on earth. It goes like a rocket, glides beautifully through the bends and it turns a lot of heads. I was very suprised by its ergonomics and smoothness.

At $25,000 though, it's no bargain, and it's really only for serious sports riders: those who like doing twice to recommended speed limit through corners, scraping their footpegs into the bitumen. This is a road-legal racebike: It requires concentration, energy and razor-sharp technique to get the best out of it. It was a great thing to ride for 20 minutes, but this really isn't the kind of machine I want to live with from day to day. It's a personal preference.

This is no slight against the machine though. As a riding experience (even with its poor brakes and irritating 'Italian features'), it craps all over the Kawasaki ZX-10, and is way better than the Honda Fireblade. It's more forgiving, more comfortable and a lot more fun than the Japanese production superbikes.

Keep in mind though, other than the cost and the "impractical" nature of the RSV-R, it does have one huge drawback: it's Italian. Our pasta-eating cousins may be great at motorcycle design, but they still don't have a clue about putting them together. You simply need to take it as inevitable that the build quality of your machine is going to be "patchy" at best. While the RSV-R I rode had a high state of finish and felt solid enough, no Italian bike is going to give you hassle-free ownership.

If you simply want a v-twin sportbike, without the "no compromise" discomfort and expense of production superbike, there are much better places to look than the RSV-R. Personally, I'd grab a Honda VTR-1000. It doesn't have anywhere near the high-tech refinement of the RSV-R, but it's still fast, comfy, great-looking and great-sounding. You also get Honda build quality.

One more thing: the VTR is also eleven thousand dollars cheaper. You could install a trick Ohlins suspension upgrade, a full titanium race-exhaust system with some HRC engine mods, and still be $5000 better off.

But if you want something, fast, sexy, exotic, Italian and fun, the Aprilia RSV-R is without doubt the way to go.


Hooning, Italian-style: Aprilia Tuono road test

While the RSV-R may be the sexiest thing on two wheels, and an utterly sublime piece of no-compromise race machinery, this was the bike I really wanted to ride:

The Tuono is essentially a naked, upright, road-oriented version of the RSV-R. It's bigger, more comfortable, easier to ride, and five grand cheaper.

The 'sports-naked' is my favourite class of motorcycle. I own a z1000, which has all the good points of a sportsbike, and none of the bad ones. You could say that the Tuono is a v-twin version of my bike. And as a v-twin fan, that combination was impossible to resist.

First impressions were very good: it had adjustable levers (praise the lord), the switchgear was easier to use (though still not up to Japanese standards), and superb ergonomics.

The reason I like sports-nakeds - other than comfort - is the upright ride position and the big, wide handlebars. The leverage this gives you makes it much easier to throw the bike into corners, correct your line during a corner, makes it easier to use throttle, brakes, clutch and switchgear and doesn't leave your wrists sore and numb.

Just like on my z1000, these factors make the Tuono an absolute blast to ride, almost like a dirt bike on steroids. I felt comfortable on it instantly. Being road-oriented, it has softer suspension than the RSV-R, but is superb in corners. Unlike the RSV-R, the brakes are excellent and give heaps of feedback. And like the RSV-R, the engine and transmission are superb. Overall, the bike gave me the confidence to ride much faster than I could on the RSV-R.

Downsides are minor. The instrument cluster is very hard to read, even in overcast conditions. Not good, Mr. Aprilia. The kill-switch is badly designed and it has the same idiotic horn/indicator setup as the RSV-R. Bleh.

The bike is also very tall. I'm 5'11, and I couldn't put my heels on the ground while sitting on the bike. Short riders will have serious problems getting on & off the Tuono.

While it handles much easier than the RSV-R, it still doesn't handle as well as my z1000, which feels more compact, has a lower centre of gravity and better feedback through the chassis. Then again, my z1000 doesn't have the booming v-twin engine or wind protection. Then again, my z1000 is five thousands dollars cheaper....

It's pointless to have a direct comparison between then RSV-R and the Tuono. The RSV-R is the high-tech, precision racetrack tool, the Tuono is a fast comfortable roadbike. Both of them excel at their intended purpose, though my own riding preferences push me toward the Tuono. How I wish I could afford one.

How I wish I could afford them both.


Pining for a butcher

Sydney blogger Tara's Mum is having trouble coping with recent events:

I think the man's achievements have been all but overlooked, marred by suicide bombers, skewed by Israeli propaganda and demonised by the ill-informed, narrow minded West.


He had many failings, but I believe he acted in the best way he knew how, within the limits he had. No-one will ever encapsulate the face of the Palestinians as he has. Labels will eventually fade. Often, the truth will be revealed, but most definitely a myth will be created, one that is larger than life. But he was but a man.
As he said, in his own words, ``No one can escape his destiny. I am a Palestinian''.


I am sickened by the comments of the Israelis and our own PM, John Howard. It seems the Israelis - and I shouldn't be surprised - are the first to spew disgusting, degrading and misleading comments about Yasser Arafat. As one of the Israeli ministers said ``he was the Godfather of al-qaeda and Bin Laden'' clearly portrays how even in death, Israel continues to demonise and skew the worlds perception so as to remove any feelings of sympathy, de-humanising all Palestinians. It makes me sick. As for our own puppet Howard, his comments, along the lines of ``he should have done more to curb terrorist activities'' just proves how ignorant and stupid he looks. I'm not surprised by his comments, but just pissed that this Kirribilli dwelling, never got-his-hands dirty, living in the land of luxury WASP has the audacity to give such a sound-bite. Howard wouldn't have lasted a minute in Arafat's shoes.

Democratically elected leaders are 'disgusting', but the mass-murdering, child-killing, thieving, genocide-seeking gangster is this woman's hero.

Charming lass.


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