Sean Alexander, Director of Powersports Editorial
Finding Nirvana

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After lending a hand to MO for various new bike intros in Italy and the South of France, and enduring the successful execution of MO’s largest and longest-ever motorcycle Adventure-Touring Comparison, from the saddle, my #1 highlight of 2015 was incredibly easy to select, but it wasn’t any of those aforementioned treats. It was a set of about six laps on a special motorcycle at Laguna Seca.

These damned things just keep getting better. It’s a total cliche to claim “best ever” each year as planet earth’s talented motorcycle industry invests billions into furthering the art of motorcycle and relegating every other manufacturer to also-ran status. HEY WORLD: OURS IS BIGGER! Surprises are no longer surprising as new mechanical stars dazzle the collected journalists with their dynamic brilliance.

And yet, I was genuinely surprised by the dynamic mastery displayed by Aprilia’s new RF during MO’s 2015 Superbike Shootout at Laguna Seca. In the space of about six laps it gave me the best track experience I’ve ever had on a stock production motorcycle!

No stock production motorcycle has ever been as instantly comfortable for me to ride quickly than Aprilia’s 2016 RSV4 1000 RF, a fact discovered in Turn 11 at the beginning of the first hot lap on the amazing beast.

No stock production motorcycle has ever been as instantly comfortable for me to ride quickly than Aprilia’s 2016 RSV4 1000 RF, a fact discovered in Turn 11 at the beginning of the first hot lap on the amazing beast.

The MO crew began each session rolling around in a group for the cameras, but group shots are done at a moderate pace to keep everyone tightly bunched. During my rotation on the Aprilia, I decided to wick it up entering Turn 5, and it felt so good that I didn’t back off to re-group. Instead what followed was turn after turn of ever-increasing pace. The faster I allowed it to go, the happier the Aprilia seemed. Entering the front straight (six turns later) it was ON! The bike was off the leash and whispering heroic things in my ear, my Chi glowed brighter and leathers grew tighter…

Things began to scrape, the tires began to squirm and then slide, the front in particular responded beautifully, telling the glowing rider to trust it and press on. Press on we did, lap times dropped, other people started going backward quicker than usual, and the Aprilia just kept whispering in my ear while bellowing a most glorious magnum opus from its honking intake and clearly supralegal exhaust. Nothing spooky happened, at all.

Twelve years and seventy pounds! after my last club-racing championship, a fat, stiff and rusty old guy like me was ready to embezzle funds from the family checking account and buy that damned Aprilia right then and there and head for the closest sanctioned race I could find. It was just that good. Then Siahaan crashed the fucking thing.

If I had to pick a runner-up, it would a brief liaison with MV Agusta’s new Turismo Veloce in the south of France. Like an exotic Versys 650 on steroids and blessed with a howling triple-cylinder tenor engine note, this sexy Italian opera singer was comfortable, easy to ride, a quick hooligan, and able to relax when appropriate.

If I had to pick a runner-up, it would a brief liaison with MV Agusta’s new Turismo Veloce in the south of France. Like an exotic Versys 650 on steroids and blessed with a howling triple-cylinder tenor engine note, this sexy Italian opera singer was comfortable, easy to ride, a quick hooligan, and able to relax when appropriate.

  • JMDonald

    It’s been a great year. Here’s to the highlights of 2016. I think I went 120 mph once, 200 is beyond the pale.

  • Old MOron

    Well, I can’t say that I’m most jealous about any one story, but I think Evans’ pick resonates the most. That’s because for the last two years I’ve raced in the M1GP24 Hour, having been inspired by Trizzle’s original story from 2013. http://www.motorcycle.com/events/electric-boogie-record-books

    Keep on living the dream, MOrons. We’ll keep living vicariously. And in some rare instances, we may even emulate you!

  • ‘Mike Smith

    Too badabout the Aprilia. Was it totaled?

    • Not totalled, but it was the only 2016 RF in the country at the time. Aprilia USA techs had to use old non-RF parts to fix the cosmetics for our street test the following week. (It wasn’t Troy’s fault at all, he was T-boned by an overzealous civilian in turn-11, but it was way more fun to blame him for it in my little story.)

      • john burns

        too bad we didn’t total it though, since the publication that got it after us DID destroy it at a track day. Only the good die young.

      • ‘Mike Smith

        Blame away my friend. Never pass on an opportunity to bust some chops. 😉

      • TroySiahaan

        Thanks for throwing me under the bus! 😉

  • Old MOron

    Well, I know it’s a marketing tool, and I know it’s a Xmas tune, but it’s still cool.
    Happy New Year, you MOrons! http://seasonsgreetings.bmw-motorrad.com/?c=YUz2Nc8

    • Kevin Duke

      Thanks for your consistent support, OlMO!

  • John B.

    I most envy Tom Roderick’s highlight montage, but for “Most Persuasive Bike Pitch,” I would choose Sean Alexander’s love at first sight experience with the Aprilia. There’s nothing like having one’s soul stirred. Make that almost nothing.

    Congratulations on a great 2015. The MO crew produces consistently great work product, and that’s an exceptional feat.

  • Max Wellian

    Ya gotta like a job that provides so many great highlights!

  • David

    Ahh, I had wondered what happened to Cernickey. Sad to hear about his legs though.

  • ken mcguire

    Oh come on, Tom. You blokes get to ride the latest and greatest… and get to swim with White sharks. Bloody hell I need a new job.

  • kenneth_moore

    I agree with Old Moron: the “24 Hueres de Grom” is the one I’d pick. The similar events in my life, where a close group of pals are pushing themselves and the equipment to the limit are my best memories, even though they were actually miserable at the time. Like a 36 hour sail to the Bahamas in a Northeaster that left every other boat, and even some ships, sitting in port. We broke the boat, I broke my arm, we hated each other halfway through, but none of us would trade the experience for the world.