We’re out in Los Angeles for the month on the pretense of having meetings and doing features, but really we’re here to escape winter and ride some freakin’ bikes. We normally go further afield, to less populated areas to ride fast bikes fast, but figured when in Rome...The Snake, a 2.2-mile section of Mulholland Highway uphill from The Rock Store in Malibu is the most infamously good road in Southern California. Every weekend, thousands of motorcycles descend on it, some quite literally. The scene caused even attracts photographers, videographers and cars full of spectators all hoping to catch a crash, but mostly just mocking squids. Yesterday, we took the Aprilia RSV4 there.
Photos: Grant Ray
We’ve written about and ridden the RSV4 a bunch, but mostly on track. New York area roads just aren’t really fun places to ride stiffly-sprung, extremely loud, ass up, head down superbikes.
How’s the RSV4 perform on the road? Well, about like how it does on the track. If you ride it like a girl it rewards your lack of effort with reluctance and vagueness. Brake early and turn in slowly and it’s hard to hold a constant line as it wanders around failing to deliver feedback. A bit nerve wracking when you have an audience. But nut up and throw the thing in hard on the brakes and it’s rock solid and full of feel. The V4 fuels faultlessly once you start giving it some throttle and kicks in hard from 5,000rpm on up. It’s an extremely compact package, meaning steering is extremely fast, but somehow it manages to be very stable too. It’s not easy to ride, requiring immense faith that some feedback will be there when you enter a corner very fast, but once you do so there’s enough feel to wear the front tire to the edges. It's a level of challenge, involvement and, as a result, reward which is absent from most other modern liter bikes.
We had our friend Adey ride for these pictures and photos. You can normally find him tearing up The Snake on his all-black R1. Figured he’d make better visual material than us trying to scrub off about 5 months of rust. It was 80 degrees in Malibu yesterday but we haven’t seen above-freezing temps back home since October. And boy does our riding show it. Adey discovered the pox that plagues bike journalists — riding different bikes all the time is hard! But, after a few laps up and down he’d found his confidence and looks pretty strong captured here. Check out Adey's YouTube channel.
We’ll be bringing you more tales from Southern California’s endless summer soon.