First Ride: 2003 Aprilia Pegaso Tibet – Road Tests: First Rides – Visordown

19 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on First Ride: 2003 Aprilia Pegaso Tibet – Road Tests: First Rides – Visordown

First Ride: 2003 Aprilia Pegaso Tibet

When the original Pegaso was introduced it was the most sophisticated single-cylinder production bike available. That was a full 10 years ago, and. today it’s still the most

sophisticated single you can buy, thanks to its twin-choke fuel injection system and having five valves (three inlet, two exhaust) arranged radially in the cylinder head. Things don’t move so fast in this class, largely because the motivation, in the form of big showroom sales, isn’t there. These bikes sell quite consistently but only in relatively small numbers.

The reason for that comes down to the limitations of single-cylinder engines, which compared with their multi-pot counterparts are slow, vibratory, difficult to start and with narrow powerbands. Makes you wonder why anyone should buy one really – the light weight is cited as one reason, but the old Pegaso’s 175kg dry doesn’t stack up very well against a supersport 600cc four, which is around 10kg less (and with roughly 70bhp more to move it), or even an all-rounder like a Fazer, which is slightly heavier at 189kg and still vastly more powerful.

Bikes like the Fazer are in the same price band too, so no advantage to the singles there either. As for simplicity, that Pegaso spec sheet not only includes full engine management, but also a pair of overhead camshafts featuring skew-cut cam lobes to operate two of the five valves at weird angles.

Aha! But.

Actually, there’s no ‘Aha! But. unless you’re a regular off-roader, in which case the lumpy power delivery gets you the best traction possible. There’s only one valid reason for choosing a single as a road bike, and that’s because you just like ’em.


And despite its single-slug handicap, the Pegaso has always impressed. The electric foot has done away with the generic recalcitrant starting and the motor has generally felt lively and willing. In the Tuscany-Tibet (despite the name, Aprilia says you are allowed to do Reading-Watford and several other routes) that’s unchanged, setting aside the inevitable damage done by a decade on the market.

In fact the motor was upgraded for the Pegaso Cube in 1997, but with its roots still burrowing back to the early Nineties when genes were shared with BMW’s F650 and Rotax, you do notice how other engines have moved on since.

But it’s still one of the best singles around. Unlike some it will take being trickled down to 2000rpm in a higher gear without threatening to spit its transmission out the crankcase breather, and it does rev with something like gusto up to 6000rpm, and keeps on spinning if you can’t be bothered to change up, although you don’t go any quicker for that. The vibes are well controlled too, thanks to rubber engine mounts and a single balance shaft, and they don’t interfere with your riding.

Aprilia Pegaso Model Evolution

Aprilia Pegaso Tibet
Aprilia Pegaso Tibet

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