APRILIA RSV4 RR: A RACE BIKE MADE STREET LEGAL
I woke up in a jovial mood on a Saturday morning before heading to Italian Motorcycle Importers (IMI) in Bryanston. They are the sole importers and distributors of everything Aprilia and Moto Guzzi in sub-Saharan Africa. On this particular morning, I had an appointment with one of the warmest and most welcoming staff members of this prestigious Italian motorcycle brand.
Coming from a long history of owning in-line 4 cylinder motorcycles, I jumped at the invitation from IMI to test ride some of Aprilia’s V4 powered machines. Truth of the matter is, V4 motorcycles have marked their territory in the motorcycle realm a couple of years ago already. In the case of Aprilia, it’s been well over a decade since they had decided to dedicate their craftsmanship and resources into manufacturing V4 engines. Unfortunately for most motorcycle enthusiasts such as myself, we could only read and watch these developments on the internet and other forms of social media. Socio-economic factors play a major role in this undesired outcome.
The IMI team granted me the opportunity to test ride and review their iconic Aprilia RSV4 RR. A bike so aesthetically pleasing, if you’ve never stumbled across it’s remarkable WorldSBK history, you could easily mistaken it for a softy. Engraved in it’s long list of achievements, is earning seven world titles in six years, and winning in its début in the FIM Superstock Cup, the championship dedicated to bikes that are closely derived from their factory versions. Aprilia as a brand, has 54 world titles under their belt.
The RSV4 RR keys were eventually handed to me, some immediate notable features when I hopped on the bike were the standard 17″ aluminium alloy rims with 3 split spokes. 3.5”X17 in Front and 6”X17 in the Rear. For weight reduction purposes, the front fender is made of carbon. It comes with windtunnel-tested fairings overlapped by a bubble screen designed to punch a hole in the wind for low-resistance penetration and maximize performance. Mirrors come with integrated LED’s. The top of the fuel tank is very broad, with deep side pockets designed to comfortably fit the rider’s knees. The RR seems to be slightly higher than most superbikes in it’s category. I am 1.78m and found myself tippy toeing whenever I found myself standing on uneven surfaces.
“Aprilia is known as one of the best chassis manufacturers in the world and the RSV4 RR represents the synthesis of the technical prowess. RSV4 RR is the only superbike that allows the rider to adjust the engine position in the frame, the headstock angle, the swingarm pivot and the rear end height, naturally in addition to the fully adjustable suspension. Just like a real racing bike”. It is essentially a race-bike made street-legal, and can easily be set up for trackdays through the use of the optional Track Kit. #BeARacer has become an operative slogan by Aprilia, highly motivated by the success and many victories that this wonderful machine has enjoyed on the race track.
I ultimately switched the ignition on, and was immediately greeted by a colourful TFT monitor opening a world of mind blowing electronics. We will delve into these features later. Within a few seconds of leaving the IMI premises, I was immediately serenaded by that harmonizing V4 soundtrack and a custom fitted Akropovic pipe. I could already tell that I am riding a completely different caliber of superbike. Aprilia’s primary goal for their V4 project is to increase power across the board, exceeding the threshold of 200 HP maximum peak and at the same time increase the already generous torque at all engine speeds. Starting from the top, the 65° V4 has a new air box with filtering elements perpendicular to the air flow, studied with sophisticated CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) systems in order to minimise load losses and maximum pressure in the intake ducts.
It didn’t take me long to start feeling one with bike. It has seamless handling, smooth delivery of power coupled with an equally smooth quick-shifter. The RSV4 RR is built on an extremely light chassis, yet still remains stable around the bends whilst delivering unbelievable amount of power. Because of the V4’s significant power increase the chassis and weight distribution configuration have been revamped: the engine is mounted in the lowest possible position allowed by its adjustment range within the frame, whereas the fully adjustable suspension has been fine tuned to guarantee maximum control in extreme riding.
As soon as I became comfortable on my ride and started feeling one with the bike, I began exploring the electronics package. One of the most impressive features on the RSV4 is having the ability to navigate through the electronic options on the fly, without having to release the throttle.
APRC(Aprilia Performance Ride Control) is the well-known control systems package derived directly from the winning technology in the World Superbike championship, the most complete of its kind available on the market today.
APRC, which comes as standard equipment on the Aprilia RSV4 RR, includes:
– ATC: Aprilia Traction Control, adjustable on the fly to 8 settings thanks to a practical joystick on the left side of the handlebar, with extremely fine tuned operating logic;
– AWC: Aprilia Wheelie Control, adjustable to three settings, has been recalibrated for maximum performance at level 1 (the least restrictive setting);
– ALC: Aprilia Launch Control, the assisted starting system for use on the track only with 3 settings;
– AQS: Aprilia Quick Shift electronic gearbox for ultra-fast shifting without closing the throttle or using the clutch.
In addition to the second generation APRC system, RSV4 RR comes from the factory standard with the highly advanced “Race ABS” antilock braking system, designed and developed by Aprilia in collaboration with Bosch to guarantee not only extreme safety on the road, but also the best possible performance on the track.
|Engine type||Aprilia longitudinal 65° V-4 cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid cooling system, double overhead camshafts (DOHC), four valves per cylinder|
|Bore and stroke||78 x 52.3 mm|
|Total engine capacity||999.6 cc|
|Maximum power at crankshaft||201 HP (148 kW) at 13,000 rpm|
|Maximum torque at crankshaft||115 Nm at 10,500 rpm|
|Fuel system||Airbox with front dynamic air intakes. 4 Marelli 48-mm throttle bodies with 8 injectors and latest generation Ride-By-Wire engine management.Choice of three different engine maps selectable by the rider with bike in motion: T (Track), S (Sport), R (Race)|
|Ignition||Magneti Marelli digital electronic ignition system integrated in engine control system, with one spark plug per cylinder and “stick-coil”-type coils|
|Exhaust||4 into 2 into 1 layout, two oxygen sensors, lateral single silencer with ECU-controlled bypass valve and integrated trivalent catalytic converter (Euro 4)|
|Alternator||Flywheel mounted 450 W alternator with rare earth magnets|
|Lubrication||Wet sump lubrication system with oil radiator and two oil pumps (lubrication and cooling)|
|Transmission||6-speed cassette type gearbox1st: 39/15 (2.600)2nd: 33/16 (2.063)3rd: 34/20 (1.700)4th: 31/21 (1.476)5th: 31/23 (1.348)6th: 34/27 (1.259)Gear lever with Aprilia Quick Shift electronic system (AQS)|
|Clutch||Multi plate wet clutch with mechanical slipper system|
|Primary drive||Straight cut gears and integrated flexible coupling, drive ratio: 73/44 (1,659)|
|Secondary drive||Chain: Drive ratio: 41/16 (2.562)|
|Traction management||APRC System (Aprilia Performance Ride Control), which includes Traction Control (ATC), Wheelie Control (AWC), Launch Control (ALC), cruise control (ACC) and speed limiter (APT), all of which can be configured and deactivated independently|
|Frame||Aluminium dual beam chassis with pressed and cast sheet elements Available adjustments:headstock position and rakeengine heightswingarm pin heightNon adjustable Sachs steering damper[Adjustable Öhlins steering damper]|
|Front suspension||Sachs Fork with 43 mmÆ stanchions; [Öhlins NIX fork with TIN surface treatment]. Forged billet aluminium radial calliper mountings. Adjustable spring preload and hydraulic compression and rebound damping. Wheel travel: 120 mm|
|Rear suspension||Double braced aluminium swingarm; mixed low thickness and sheet casting technology.Sachs monoshock adjustable in: hydraulics in compression and rebound, spring preload [Öhlins TTX monoshock with piggy-back, fully adjustable in: spring preload, wheelbase and hydraulic compression and rebound damping. New progressive linkage. 130 mm [120 mm ]wheel travel.|
|Brakes||Front: Dual 330-mm diameter floating stainless steel disc with lightweight stainless steel rotor and aluminium flange with 6 pins. Brembo M50 monobloc radial callipers with 4Æ 30 mm opposing pistons. Sintered pads. Radial pump and metal braided brake hose|
|Rear: 220 mm diameter disc; Brembo calliper with two 32 mm separate pistons Æ32 mm. Sintered pads. Pump with integrated tank and metal braided hose Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with cornering function, adjustable to 3 maps equipped with RLM (Rear wheel Lift-up Mitigation) (can be disabled).|
|Wheel rims||Aprilia aluminium alloy rims with 3 split spokes, [forged aluminium alloy, completely machined, 5 split spokes].Front: 3.5”X17”Rear: 6”X17”|
|Tyres||Radial tubeless.Front: 120/70 ZR 17Rear: 200/55 ZR 17 (alternative: 190/50 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17)|
|Dimensions||Wheelbase: 1435 mmLength: 2055 mmWidth: 735 mmSaddle height: 845 mmHeadstock angle: 25°Trail: 104.8 mmWeight: 204 kg weight with a full tank of fuel|
|Consumption||6,67 litres/100 km|
|CO2 emissions||156 g/km|
|Tank||18.5 litres (including 4-litre reserve)|
If you’re looking for a class leading sports motorcycle that offers superb power and scalpel-sharp handling, Aprilia RSV4 RR is the bike for you.