By Dennis Dumapias
I make no claim that the early-gen RSV Mille is one of the best motorcycles ever made, or that it holds a fabled status like its other Italian counterparts such as Ducati’s 916, or MV Agusta’s F4. The RSV Mille is Aprilia’s first hand at a superbike, but other than that, there’s really nothing remarkable about the bike as far as the general motorcycle population is concerned.
But I have history with this bike.
It was love at first sight the first time I saw it on the screen when I watched the movie Torque (2004). I hadn’t heard of Aprilia before, but the Mille’s diamond headlamp and matte black paint scheme with a splash of red was enough, and Aprilia’s lion decal emblazoned on each side really made an impression on me.
I legitimately dreamed of owning one.
The Dream Come True
It wasn’t until early in 2008, almost two years after I started riding, that I got the chance to own one. It may not have been in the colors I wanted, but I finally owned the only motorcycle I ever called a “dream bike”. To my pleasant surprise, it rode every bit like the dream I’d always had. Prior to my Mille, I had never owned a bike that looked as good, sounded as good, and that I could be even more proud to own. It was also a first of many for me – my first v-twin motorcycle, first literbike, and first Italian motorcycle. There weren’t enough days during the week for me to take the bike out for a ride. I was just in love with it.
Unfortunately our pairing was short-lived, because nine months later at Buttonwillow Raceway I would total the bike from an on-track collision with another rider. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt, but my dream ride looked like a nightmare, and as a result, my heart broke over what I did to it.
My insurance company covered the incident, paying me out the value of my Mille as it was deemed a total loss. But while I had the money to try and buy another, I couldn’t bring myself to find another Mille. At the time I felt like I didn’t want to put myself through that again. I didn’t want to own another just to possibly mangle it again at some point. So instead I bought a replacement bike that I made no emotional connection with. Just something that served its utilitarian purpose.
And though in the years since then I would, from time to time, type in ‘rsv mille’ in my local classifieds, just to see what’s currently in offering, I never did consider buying another one. I never contacted anyone selling one, let alone see one in person to consider.
Up until now, eleven years later.
Two things piqued my interest like nothing before when I saw this bike: it was in the colors I’ve always wanted, and at less than 6,500 miles on the odometer, it was barely broken in. I was intrigued at the possibility of how great of a condition the bike could be in with such little use, despite being a 17-year old specimen. Still, I reserved my judgment until I saw it in person. So I contacted the seller and arranged for a day to see it.
The day came, and I almost wish I never went to see it.
I was right. It looked every bit as good as a 17-year old bike can look. In fact, it still had the original chain and sprockets from the manufacturer, and the same tires it rolled out of the dealer floor with.
It turns out that the current seller bought it from the very first owner, who bought it brand new, however the first owner never got to ride it because as soon as his parents realized he had bought a motorcycle, they made him sell it right away. So in truth, the current seller was really the only user the bike had ever had. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it doesn’t suffer from anything other than what nearly two decades of natural wear brought on it.
I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. Not only was it a second chance of owning my dream bike, but an even better rendition of the dream I already had.
It took every bit out of me not to bring the bike home with me, but that’s exactly what I did.
I own too many bikes. I’m self-aware enough to recognize that owning four bikes simultaneously is unreasonable, regardless of each bike’s purpose. I could’ve taken home the Aprilia as a fifth addition to my gallery; I have the room for it, and my wife is familiar enough with the history I have with the Mille to not be surprised (or mad) had I brought the bike home. But the truth is that even someone as moto-crazy as me has a threshold, and owning five bikes is pushing it in my opinion.
That’s why I’ve never owned more than four at any given time. Whenever I got the urge to try something new, I usually moved one out to make room for the latest. But where my gallery stands right now means there’s only one bike I could consider letting go to make room for the Aprilia. It can’t be my Triumph Speed Triple because it’s my daily driver, and quite frankly the best commuter bike I’ve ever had. It can’t be my Yamaha R1, because that’s my track weapon. And my vintage Suzuki two-stroke will forever be a mainstay because I had never seen that bike pop up before I bought it, and to this day I’ve yet to see another one.
So the only bike I could even consider moving is my MV Agusta F4. But can I do it?
Even though I had never ‘dreamt’ of owning the F4, being able to lay claim to owning one of the most beautiful production motorcycles ever made is a sentiment that I cannot underplay. So while the F4 may have never been a dream bike for me, it is very well a dream bike for many.
But can I let it go to relive the Aprilia?
Should I even?
Sometimes I struggle with my dreams.