We knew Aprilia were working on something, so when the press release for the new RSV4 and RSV4 Factory landed in the 44Teeth inbox all of a sudden, it didn’t come as a massive surprise. But when I opened it up and saw that it was only a page and a half long, I was a little disappointed. I was expecting to read about a few tweaks to the suspension, perhaps, and a couple of new colour schemes. Oh, how wrong I was. This isn’t just a makeover; this is a serious overhaul.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with this one, because Aprilia have worked on nearly every aspect of their superbike, so let’s start with the first thing you’ll notice first; the aesthetics. The new styling, they’re telling us, has been inspired by the little RS 660 that was launched at the back end of last year, with the shapes and angles modelled after hours in the wind tunnel. It seems a little peculiar, to me, to model your flagship sportsbike on something that’s half the price and that’s aimed at new riders, but I’m sure there is method behind the madness. And the RS 660 is a decent looking bike, to be fair.
Before we move away from the subject of aerodynamics (and aesthetics, to some degree), you’ll notice that the winglets are no longer bolted onto the side of the fairing. Instead, they are built into the twin walled fairings. This is said to improve stability at high speeds as well as improve engine cooling, as it rams fresh air onto the side of the engine. I also think it looks a bit more neat and tidy.
Speaking of ramming fresh air into things, Aprilia have managed to increase the airbox pressure, which leads us to the engine. And it’s a new one. Well, sort of. Details about the ‘revamped’ engine are a little scarce, but we do know that it’s up from 1,077cc to 1,099cc, and there’s a new exhaust system. And although it maintains it’s peak power of 217bhp, it does gain a little bit more torque (although they haven’t told us exactly how much more torque, yet).
To help you get a handle on all that power, the new RSV4 comes with a new Marelli 11MP ECU with a new six-axis IMU. That’s a much more powerful electronics system, so hopefully that means an improvement in the operation of the Aprilia Performance Ride Control systems. If you had to mark down the outgoing RSV4, it would probably be on the operation of its APRC systems. The tweaked APRC suite includes a new engine braking function, TC, wheelie control, ABS and all the usual suspects. You get six riding modes, three for the track and three for the road.
To help you navigate through the APRC settings, there’s a new dash and apparently the electrical controls are more “functional and intuitive”.
The DRL headlights are all LEDs, and they include the “bending light” function, or cornering lights, if you speak English. Whether you are riding in the daytime or the night time though, the new RSV4 ought to be more comfortable than the last one, with a new seat and fuel tank which allows more space and a more natural riding position. Sounds lush.
The press release also talks about “drastic changes to the chassis architecture”, although as far as I can see, it’s just a new swinging arm. To be fair though, it’s lighter than the last one and, a bit like their MotoGP swinging arm, is designed to lower the centre of gravity of the bike and increase stability when you’re hard on the gas.
There are still two options, the standard RSV4, and the RSV4 Factory. They both have the 1,099cc engine, but the Factory comes with forged ally wheels, Brembo Stylema brake callipers, Öhlins EC2.0 electronic suspension and a massive fanny magnet, fitted as standard.
Prices and more details to follow…