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Aprilia Pegaso 650 long-term--LAMS compliant [long]

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by FormerUser1, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. Aprilia Pegaso (LAMS-legal !!)


    …6 years of memories, great rides, some busted bones, a drop or 2…, incredible chases up Mt. BawBaw/ Buller/Hotham/GOR etc etc and Peg #4 still crowds the garage.
    It started early 1999…and hasn’t stopped yet. Close to 150.000km over that time/ number of Pegs, witnessing another 150.000km ++ ridden by our Peg-mates through the years.
    Through all this and only one “semi-busted” ride, where a Peg gave up and I had to limp home from near-Dargo to grab the Bandit12 for the Beef ‘n Reef tour.
    Bummer, that was the one Tassie-Tim came along on his Peg the first time, and Garry on his Peg (both decked it trying to outdo each other along the way, too, hehe).
    Didn’t stand a chance with the B12, perhaps it was better, less painful that way…who knows.

    One Pegasisti has clocked way beyond 100.000km now, first engine, no probs.
    Another was close to “click-over” last month….first engine, no probs.

    What is it?
    It’s the Aprilia equivalent of the BMW F650 Funduro, the Pegaso Cube, short: Peg3.
    The 650cc, Rotax-based single, 5-valver (in Aprilia guise, 4-valve for the BMWs).
    One of the first mid-sized road-enduros/ soft-enduros/ chookies/ whatever you want to call ‘em.

    How is it?
    It’s a superb mid-sized jack-of-all-trades. Plush suspension, superb chassis and Brembo stoppers. Good quality bits everywhere, which have stood the test of time/ use and abuse.
    The big single performs extremely well, once above 3000rpm the zip is stunning, gearchanges easy, light and positive. It’s a true gem through the twisties, chassis/engine and brakes working in concert putting many sporties to shame. The tighter the bends, the harder it goes. Huge engine braking allows deeeep entries and back-on-the-gas way before apex. Lean-angles can border on the ridiculous. (don't they...Garry??)

    As shown often, it also makes a comfortable long-distance tourer, even at above legal limits. It runs strong to 160kph, stretching it from there to about 175 tops. Paltry numbers for sporties here, but seen over a day of traveling in a mixed group, the Peg’s always there. Due to the upright riding position, effective screen and supple suspension, 500km and above days (on a continuous basis) are no problem at all.
    Riding always seems effortless, even when pushing the Peg to it’s limits (which are the enduro-style chunky-profiled tyres) for longish periods of time.
    Those tyres then hold the show together when it comes to dirt-roads, a fairly smooth one’s good enough to top out the Peg. Metzeler’s Tourance/ Enduro4, Pirelli Scorpion and Michelin Anakee’s are the hoops-of-choice.

    I’m 5’2”….
    Bad luck, the Peg’s out of reach…literally. Even with one of the rare lowering kits, the min. required height would be about 5’6”, in order to do the slow stuff safely.

    Due to the lack of support from the importer and dealer workshops (for at least the first few years) many small things had to be experienced along the way.
    The weak-spot have been the head gaskets (some gave up after only 20.000km) as a result of not knowing that the head-bolts had to be re-torqued every 12.000km.
    It’s a mongrel of a job, very fiddly due to the very limited space, the exhaust cam has to be temporarily removed to get onto that elusive 5th bolt. Engines that have had it done regularly seem to run forever.

    Impeller-shaft seals should be replaced every 40.000km, regardless. It’s not a big job, the OEM seals are expensive, but aftermarket stuff comes in at $6 for both seal, plus about 1.5 hrs. of work.

    The carby-models of ’97-2000 run twin carbs, only ONE of them has a choke, the other goes straight through. After longer periods of standing or on really cold mornings, the mixture is never rich enough to make her fire up.
    Lifting the seat, holding the airbox-intakes shut using a hand, does the trick immediately.

    The regulator/rectifier is mounted in the shallow space under the seat. With very limited ventilation, the heatsink can get so hot that it fries the cables that are routed across its top. It also whacks excessive charge into the non-sealed battery, evaporating the battery fluid. Re-location to underneath the side-panel is advisable.
    Or the use of a small 12V computer housing fan/ re-routing of cabling.

    The 520-chains and front sprocket cop a hiding from the whacking of the big single’s pulsing and massive engine-braking, 16.000-20.000km out of a good X-ring chain is about the limit.
    Front tyres can have a short lfe-span of around 5-6000km, if one keeps on the steam often, riding the whole bike on the front-end, chookie-style, but on sealed roads.

    And that’s about it.

    The Peg3 and I.E. :
    Peg3 is the carby-version 1997-2000, the I.E the EFI-version from 2000 to 2005.
    The I.E has just been replaced by the new Strada (Supermotard) and the upcoming Trail (this one the direct follow-up model of the I.E.). Both of those run the new, worked-over Yamaha 660cc, which started with the venerable XTZ660/ Tenere 2 decades ago.
    There’s hardly any difference between the Peg3 and the I.E.
    Pro I.E. : Easier starting due to EFI
    Con I.E. : Aprilia reverted back to standard forks from the Pegs’s USD items.

    Pro Peg3: USD front-end is more stable/ stiffer than the later I.E. items. Very complementary to the chassis.
    Con Peg3: Occasional cold-start problems due to missing choke on 2. carb

    Fuel-consumption is totally identical/performance and top-speed as well.
    There’s no preference towards the EFI model whatsoever.

    Accessories available:
    Not much through the local importer/ dealers.
    Staintunes and Laser exhausts are available.
    There’s a long-established / well-sorted accessory market in Europe, available through newsgroups which also provide a wealth of knowledge.
    There are OEM-remote-adjustable rear shocks (Sachs), various fork-springs by the likes of Wilbers/ White Power etc.
    Lowering links are RARE and expensive (as they’re much sought after), some are OEM, most are aftermarket. It’s NOT your standard dogbone item, either. They have to be billet-machined with off-set necks either end.
    Luggage options are aplenty. Ventura to OEM (Givi) to Hepco/ Krauser/ whatever.
    OEM center-stand is available.

    Spares prices/ availability:
    The general price-level on spares is quite reasonable, at or below Jap-pricing.
    Filters are fairly expensive. Many OEM items like most bearings/ seals are cheap and available through bearing shops etc.
    Even the $320/set swingarm/ suspension linkage needle-bearings can be ordered via bearing shops at around $100 total…and are the same brand/number as the stuff tumbling out of the Aprilia-package.
    Quite a few “special” seals can be replaced easily with standard O-rings of the appropriate size (which do just as fine a job, too).
    Most fairing parts are just above half-price of comparable Jap-items. Sticker kits only come complete at $220.
    Clutches are cheap due to a fitting Kawasaki set (but needs one extra steel-plate which has to be OEM)
    OEM parts can take up to 4 weeks from Italy…and if the order missed a certain deadline, add another 2-3 weeks or so.
    Pretty much inline with Kawasaki for instance.
    Wear-items like brake-pads etc. are plentiful aftermarket.

    In the workshop:
    While not complicated at all, some items are fiddly and time-consuming:
    Getting onto the carbs is a MAJOR issue, needing the exhausts removed and rear-subframe dropped to remove the carbs, even to just drain the bowls. There’s NO access otherwise.
    Torqueing the headbolts/ valve clearances are a lengthy affair, again due to limited access. Clutch replacement is easy, but, once more, fiddly, due to the necessity of lining up over a half-dozen splines/ locating-lugs/shafts etc etc., as the clutch cover also contains the waterpump.
    To do a proper oil change with ALL filters (there’s a screen filter in the frame, just below the steering-neck), it takes 4 drainage points and about 40 mins to do.

    The rest is fairly simple and straight-forward.

    The Poly-prop fairings are great for protecting the bike’s vitals in a major way. They also hardly EVER crack/split/shatter due to their material characteristics.
    Paint-jobs and sticker kits are the only repair needed…in most cases.
    The rest is standard stuff, the frame is a great item, as the 2 side-beams are bolted to a steel-spine/neck-unit, with a bolted rear-subframe. Easy work for a frame specialist like Bobby Martin etc.

    All up:
    The Peg3, although older than the I.E. is still the model-of-choice in my eyes, that USD front-end is absolutely sweet.
    Both models (and the F650 of ‘97-2000 for that matter) are slightly more maintenance-intensive than most Jap-bikes.
    They look good, they go well, are comfortable, light and extremely nimble, cost the same to own and run (cheap insurance) as any other bike.
    If looked after properly by it’s previous owner/s and a mechanic-in-the-know, even a 50.000km old Peg3 is a good 2.hand proposition, making for years of fun.
    FUN being THE key-issue with any Peg.
    It’s THE most confidence-building bike I’ve come across in 30 years, ideal for a relative novice and gobs of reserves to explore for a practiced hand.

    Glad you asked:
    Why on the 4th Peg?
    Well, it all started with Goodie seeing a thumbnail pic in an overseas-mag. She liked the looks….I just nodded…yeah, yeah, whatever.
    8 mths later the thing was available in AUS. A1 in Ringwood had a tester…and a fairly fresh BMW F650. Rode them back-to-back. No more questions after that.
    One for Goodie, which I kept pinching over the next 6 weeks, the thing was/ is just too much fun.
    I went for a silver one after that.
    Nearly 3 years later, Chris (Novacoder) had gone “off-track/ erroneous” and had a near-new one standing around, I couldn’t go past that. Trying to sell one of ours resulted in BOTH selling due to demand. I was stuck with the Bandit12 for a little while and turned sour on that. While a good bike overall, this wasn’t the FUN I was used to.
    Along came the V-Strom.
    About a year ago, another old Peg-mate wanted to sell his due to getting the “chop” from the surgeon who operated on his knee and back.
    Another very-low mileage bike, it came at the right price at the wrong time, I’d just prepped Chris’s ex-Peg for 5-weeks NZ-ride. Spent loads of time/ dough in preparation. Overdid maintenance by a mile and then some.
    What the hell…. sold on the silver one and re-did all the prepping on the “new” black one…#4 on the charts, this one will have all maintenance done in-house (bar the first 1000km service by A1).

  2. This the goodbye salute?
  3. Pete, you missed out on the biggest benefit of all... That V6 engine!
  4. :LOL: :LOL:
    Naw...not for a while yet.
    It's still barely run in at 25.000km :D
  5. :oops: :oops: Jeez, I didn't mention that? :LOL: :LOL:
  6. wow that was a great review!

    so are you gonna get the new pegaso strada? looks great! :)