Words & photography: Jeff Ware, Mark Cooper
“I started riding at the age of 10 on a Dexon minibike my Dad got for me, which we both restored. After that when I was 13 at the family farm my next bike was an old, converted Suzuki CCI 80 with knobby tyres and MX bars. Weird looking but it taught me how to ride on dirt. The third bike was a Honda CB250, but I stopped riding at 21 for many years after I got my first new car, an Escort Panel Van….
“Between then and way back when this all came about 20-years ago in 2001 I used to have the odd ride here and there, but I was living overseas and traveling for work so didn’t get many opportunities, especially while living in New York for five years. In 2002 I started MOTO group and picked up the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi brand management account and I was back on two wheels within the week. I got to ride most of the demo fleet at Aprilia and Guzzi, so I pretty much rode everything that was in the shed. My favourite ride had to be the RSVR-Factory and the Guzzi V11 Cafe Sport.
“I soon owned three Aprilias – a hotted up SR50 pit scooter with a Malossi 70cc race kit, an Aprilia RS250 racebike (which ended up Jeff’s) and being a lover of two-strokes this little RS125. These days I enjoy my track days and weekend rides with the boys up the Putty or down South to Bateman’s. I’m semi-retired and left the motorcycle industry many moons ago but I have great memories”…
A mate told Mark about this bike being sold for $1,800 with no rego, so he couldn’t resist. When he got the bike, every decal and panel was scratched or sun damaged. The thing didn’t even start but after an hour of mucking around with it, she fired up but sounded very, very sick.
“I took the bike to Steve Cutting to get the verdict and it wasn’t that bad. Due to the bike being left out in the weather for so long the carb’s needed a complete overhaul. The power-valve was gummed up and jammed in tight. Brakes were cool and rings had been replaced about 2000km before so the bike just needed a damn good tune and tidy up”.
While Steve took care of the running side of the bike Mark went to work getting the outside sorted. He decided to make a replica of the 2003 winning 250 that Poggiali rode to victory in the World Championship to match with the era of the RS125.
“Having a design business is great when you need to produce decals that you can’t buy off the shelf so the MS and Playstation were done in-house. I also ordered in some standard Aprilia 125 decals from the 2003 and 2004 models from then importer John Sample Automotive.
After removing and respraying the tired old panels, we went to task installing the new decals. It took about five hours”.
After dropping the panels back to Steve and having a new set of tyres fitted she was ready the next day for a ride up the Putty road with Club Aprilia. 400 kilometres and a sore arse later… the little 125 lives around the 10000rpm range and was a load of fun through the twisty bits…
“I have to say the bike ran like a treat, handled like new, got heaps of looks and it was one of a kind. It also seconded as a great little track bike when the urge needed to get the knee down. Overall it was a great project and took three weeks to complete!
WHAT IT COST
Aprilia RS125 2000 model (rough) $1,800
Respray all panels $900
Service, tune, panels install $770
Metzeler tyres, fitted $517
Rego and blue slip $180
New screen $95
Install decals $150
Total cost: $5,762
SPECIFICATIONS: 2000 Aprilia RS125
Colours: Black/Silver, Tetsuya Harada replica (black/red/green)
Claimed Power: 25.4kW[34hp]@11250rpm
Claimed Torque: 20Nm[14.8ft-lbs]@10000rpm
Dry weight: 114kg
Fuel Capacity: 14L
Engine: liquid-cooled two-stroke 125cc single-cylinder, 54.0 x 54.5mm, 12.5:1, Dell ‘Orto PHBH 28 BD carburettor, single muffler, six-speed gearbox, wet, multi-plate clutch, electronic ignition with spark advance CDI
Chassis: Aprilia cast thin wall box section aluminium alloy twin spar frame with cross-ribbing reinforcement, cast thin wall box section aluminium alloy asymmetric swingarm
Suspension: 40mm inverted forks, preload adjustable, 120mm travel, single rear monoshock, preload adjustable
Front brakes: Single 320mm floating rotor front brake with radially mounted four piston caliper, 220mm rotor rear brake with twin piston caliper,
Wheels and tyres: Forged aluminium, 110/70 – 17, 150/60 – 17