Aprilia Atlantic 500

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by cabanza, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. cabanza

    cabanza Smooth Operator

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    Any long term owners? How did the scooter age? Quality of the plastics, paint, cost of ownership, etc.
    Thanks for the input!
    #1
  2. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Worse then Piaggio stuff of same age.

    Rectifier problems on the 2002-2004 or so, black plastics go gray
    (and eventually white) and are brittle, painted stuff is "ok".

    I've already written about mixing of oil and gasoline in the 460 master
    engine, and it's worse on older models, 2003 being the most problematic.

    A lot of "issues" threads over on AF1 Forums, you should really be asking
    or searching there.
    #2
  3. fried okra

    fried okra Been here awhile

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    The early Master engines, around 2003-2004 had a too cool thermostat which did not allow the engine to get to proper operating temperature. Problem has been long resolved.

    I've not heard of any problems on the later 460cc Master engines and many have 50K+ miles on them.

    Fried Okra
    #3
  4. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    As I mentioned earlier in some posts, my job is closely related to all of
    scooter/motorcycle shops and stores around Croatia, and I've asked about
    this in at least 15 out of 30 piaggio dealerships here.

    While they're all aware of the thermostat issue, most of them say that
    it's NOT related to the mixing of fuel and oil in the 460cc master engine,
    and don't know what is.

    There have been cases where the 2003-04 masters work fine, and when
    a 2007 has these issues. BOTH will do huge miles IF you keep an eye on
    the oil level and replace it if starts to rise.

    It's really not a big problem, especially since at full throttle the engine will
    burn some of the oil/gas from inside.

    Worst case scenario is driving the bike on short trips around town, cold
    and turning it off before it gets a chance to fully warm up, especially if
    it's around 2003.

    I'd buy any of them though, given a low mileage and service records, and
    just change the oil more frequently (it's not that big of an expense).

    But if you can find the 492cc version, grab it and run away.
    #4
  5. cabanza

    cabanza Smooth Operator

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    I know AF1 is a great source (I've been on the forum since 2003 - you can look me up, I use the same name) but I like this forum too.

    I am also aware that a Piaggio X9 500 would technically be a better buy than an Atlantic 500.

    I've just been looking at a lot of different stuff lately and still haven't made up my mind. I like the looks of the Aprilia and I am aware of some of the issues. I think it's nice to get input from long term owners. Yes, there might be a lot of data about recorded issues out there and yes dealers will tell you about their experience with the product but it's not the same as having someone tell you about their bike.
    #5
  6. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    If nothing else, given your knowledge on the subject already, you could
    save a lot of money with the Atlantic compared to some other popular
    choices.. and Atlantic owners usually swear by them, and wouldn't ride
    anything else (not sure how many of them have tried the X9 EVO, though).

    Some say the last generation atlantic is better then the new one.

    I've just noticed they're dirt cheap locally, the cheapest 500 master based
    scoots on the market, which makes me think people are a bit desperate
    to get rid of them.

    :huh

    I'd just avoid 2003.

    p.s. I think most people here don't even know what an Atlantic 500 is.
    #6
  7. cabanza

    cabanza Smooth Operator

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    We only got the Atlantic until 2004. We never got the updated version. Piaggio sold the X9 500 until 2007 (I think) so it's possible to find newer bikes than the Atlantic. I like the lines of the Atlantic. It almost looks like a 50's Cadillac from the back.
    #7
  8. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    +1, I dig the design too.

    I got just one friend who owned it, was blown away by the low price he
    got it for, but after only a few months and multiple issues decided to sell
    it, it left him beside the road with electrical gremlins one time too many.

    It also had the oil level rising issue, and it was a 2003.
    The rectifier and thermostat were replaced when he bought it.

    Didn't help for either of the issues.
    Too bad, it was mint condition otherwise.

    My half sister's Beverly 500 cruiser (492cc) had 20k+ miles on the ODO, was
    squeaking and rattling all over the place, had blown suspension (forks were
    actually leaking oil), but man that engine pulled like a train. No oil issue,
    no smoke, no nothing.
    #8
  9. MotoRandy123

    MotoRandy123 Been here awhile

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    I had a 2003 Aprilia Scarabeo 500, used mostly for back and forth to work (13 miles) and had the fuel smell
    in the oil. I changed it once as I was a bit alarmed at first but then just rode it assuming it was normal!

    I drove it for a couple of years then sold it. It didn't seem to turn in as well as most bikes so wasn't as fun
    in the twisties. Solid bike though and easy to just get on and go!
    #9
  10. supermotosean

    supermotosean Been here awhile

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    :DI'm bringing this back from the dead, just in case anybody cares. Just picked up an 03 AA500 last weekend:
    [​IMG]
    I was working in an Aprilia dealership when these were just a couple of years old, so I'm pretty familiar with them and the "known issues" don't scare me away as they're easy to fix with a minor amount of work. This one has 20k on the clock, but fired up quick & quiet with no unusual noises. To be honest I was really shopping for a Silverwing, but I have to agree with a previous post that these can be had for a song if you're willing (and able) to take care of the quirks. The plastic & seat do seem to age quicker than a comparable Japanese unit, but I was more concerned with mechanicals than the cosmetic issues (marine vinyl and Krylon are cheap!). I like the fact that valve adjustments are screw & locknut (for the do-it-yourselfer) & bodywork doesn't seem to have any more than the million screws I've seen holding every other scooter's bodywork together. Cheapest comparable scoots I could find local was a really trashed Silverwing for $1800 and a carbed Kymco Xciting 500 for $1500. This particular 20 footer (it actually looks really good from that far!) came home for $600 and everything I can think of needing is available from AF1 or fleabay. (It doesn't help that I have a soft spot for Aprilias, quirks and all :D )
    #10
  11. gitder

    gitder Adventurer

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    2003 atlantic6.jpg

    Here's my 2003 I purchased last year for $1600 w/7000k. Did a fly and ride - bought in St. Louis and rode it home to WI. Quickly found the large screen wasn't tall enough. I had terrible head buffeting on the ride home and have since added a Laminar Lip which has greatly improved that issue. Looks super geeky though. Also added some footpegs to the crash bars which provides additional comfort when touring.

    I've owned and toured with a Burgman 650 and a Honda Big Ruckus. First was too much machine and second not quite enough ponies. Later, got a Vespa GTS 250 which is slightly faster than the Big Ruckus but its tank capacity is too limiting for touring. Added a BV350 two years ago hoping it would be the perfect all rounder. It is an all rounder, nimble enough for city and powerful enough for highway with a large enough gas tank. But the seating position was a little too cramped for me personally and I decided I'm better off splitting the tasks. So I held on to the GTS, sold the BV, and searched for a dedicated tourer. Rode the Majesty, Burgman 400 and this (accidentally). I preferred the Atlantic out of the three, primarily due to how I fit / felt riding it. Each has more than enough ooommph, tank size, underseat storage, etc. But like eveyone says, there's no replacement for assplacement (or something like that). Downside is that its older, much less proliferated, dealers don't know anything about it and so you have to make sure you're comfortable doing a lot of the basic stuff yourself. I have a Vespa/Piaggio dealership about 40 miles away and figured they could do some heavy lifting. Well, I bought the scoot with the thermostat replaced, but not the rectifier. That gave out the morning I was on my way to a weekend ride. Had it towed to the dealership but they said they wouldn't touch an Aprilia. So had it brought home and took some time researching and fixing the issue myself. Its been fine since. Point is, its a great alternative for someone not afraid to dig in if something comes up. And once addressed it seems to be a rock solid ride. I plan on keeping it until it dies. Because a) I like it enough and b) no one is particularly going to buy it any longer. This isn't like the Big Ruckus that's developed a cult following due to its rareness. The Atlantic is rare and largely forgotten. Despite the shortcomings I feel that I have a terrific scoot. Now I just need to put on 60-70K (s)miles.
    #11
  12. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer

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    Always loved those bikes. Looking good!
    #12
  13. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    I've only known one Atlantic owner and he was heads over heels about it and had no plans to sell or trade it until either he or it dies.
    #13
  14. Mater17

    Mater17 n00b

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    Supermotosean,
    Would you be so kind as to elaborate briefly on the "known issues" and the remedies? I bought a 2003 AA500 and love it. I've addressed the thermostat issue successfully. I am very concerned about the fuel/oil issue. The bike lacks the symptoms, but this issue can be an engine killer and I want to insure it is addressed. I have had it for a year and put 3000 miles on it in that time. The charging system also needs help and I am working on that now. Thanks for your help.
    #14
  15. supermotosean

    supermotosean Been here awhile

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    Central Florida
    You're taking care of the charging and have already replaced the thermostat so you're way ahead of the game. The only other issue I knew about was the fuel tank getting excess heat from the radiator and bubbling extra fuel through the evap system and filling the crankcase with more fuel. I'm in the process of deleting the evap system on mine so this becomes a non-issue for me. It will no longer be 50 state legal, but I have no plans of moving to Cali so I think I'll be alright :D.

    So to sum up, make sure you have the hotter thermostat (according to some), replace the reg/rectifier with a reliable Japanese unit (Honda, etc.) and make sure the evap system can't pump fuel into the crankcase. Those are the three biggies I know about, I'm always open to suggestion if anybody has any others to contribute.

    *I say according to some about the thermostat because I think that particular issue can have more or less effect depending on where you live and your riding habits. As I'm in central FL and ride freeway almost exclusively, I'm not overly concerned with my particular scoot not getting warm enough*
    #15
  16. Mater17

    Mater17 n00b

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    Thank you again for taking the time to share your knowledge. Hopefully I will have the charging system sorted out in the next two weeks. I will then check the diagrams on the evap system and adjust as necessary.
    #16
  17. Skullman

    Skullman Membered

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    Hey Good to see this Brought back to Life! The Atlantic 500 is a Good all around machine! I packed a Girlfriend around Toured, Camped and Ran Sweep for a Scooter
    Club in the South Bay San Jose Cali on Her. Now I'm in the North West and She's still Pulling Duty! I have more Fun on Her then My Harley's and Meet the Greatest Folks! Mine's a 2004 so no thermostat problem but first year I had her had to take care of the Rectifier with a Honda. Latest problem Oil Seal let go behind the water pump a bit more then I wanted to handle plus I wanted to insure no future problems so had Dealer deal with it! Yeah, there are still Dealers out there that will work on em! Which was a good thing cause the side case had a fault in it so all was replaced. Yeah, Parts are available!

    Check eBay for Honda Rectifiers Cheap!

    Sure would like to see more posts of your Atlantic 500's!

    Skully {:{}

    Running Sweep Pinnacles Run South Bay Scooter Posse
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Qaz

    Qaz Been here awhile

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    #18
  19. talmage

    talmage Adventurer

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    My 2003 is ageing well. I've had it about nine months. All of the plastic looks good. It's out for the 3750-mile preventative maintenance this week.

    I commute with it on highways and city streets. I love how effortlessly it gets up to speed and passes slower vehicles. I don't know what the people in cars think when they see me sitting mostly upright at 75MPH. I hope they wish they were me. :-)
    #19
  20. Mater17

    Mater17 n00b

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    OK, here is a quick update on repairs made to my 2003 AA500. Modifying the EVAP system was easy. I plugged the vacuum port at the throttle body land disconnected the rollover valve from the purge valve. The fuel tank now vents to the rear of the scooter through the rollover valve.

    As for the voltage regulator, I found that the main harness and associated wiring had suffered a meltdown. This required a rewire in 10 gauge wire with a 30A circuit breaker (I wanted a Maxi fuse but couldn’t source a Maxi fuse holder). I replaced the voltage regulator with one from Rick’s Electric and now have 14.5 volts at the battery all the time. I think I’m good to go.

    Thanks!
    #20