Apriliwho? Don’t they make scooters and little two-strokes for Euroweenies? Why yes they do, and suddenly they also make an exotic V-Twin literbike that acts like it wants to go head-to-head with another certain Italian manufacturer. The “R” version, pictured, was even more exotic, with its Öhlins suspension, OZ forged wheels and single-seat subframe. A 998cc 60-degree V-Twin from Rotax provided contemporary horsepower while being compact enough to let the Mille handle with the best of them. All in all, a beautiful debut from a company that’s been building some of MO’s very favorite sportbikes ever since.

Here’s me going off in a 2003 comparo re: that year’s Mille. And here’s Gabe going off about the 2005 model.