Fresh from clinching the World Superbike championship with Sylvain Guintoli and his RSV4, Aprilia unleashed a heavily revised road-going model in Milan – or, rather, two new RSV4s. The RR, for me, was the bike of the show: resplendent on the stand in its new guise, and packing some serious gizmos. It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do, eh?
So, what’s new? Aside from the new fairing and headlight assembly, the Noale factory engineers wanted to break the magic 200bhp mark, and have done so with a claimed 201bhp – expect 185bhp at the rear wheel. New World Superbike rules dictate that manufacturers will need a better base to go racing with next season – hence the sudden splurge of fresh meat for 2015. Engines will need to roll from the showroom in a higher state of tune, as modifications are restricted next season. While we could never accuse 160bhp of being too slow, the old, sexy-sounding RSV4 certainly lacked terminal poke. Aprilia has injected another 16bhp and skimmed 1.5kg from the engine.
Engine ancillary updates include:
– new CFD-designed airbox
– new upper injectors
– variable inlet tracts are redesigned
– each bank of injectors brag individual servos, allowing infinite control of fuel injection
The real power boost comes courtesy of the overhauled 65° V4 motor. The cylinder heads have been redesigned, with new inlet and outlet ducts. Valve seat seals have been increased and combustion chambers are treated to a new mechanical process. The heads also now have three gaskets.
The valves are now titanium and the springs are all-new, and the cams now have a new profile and are 500g lighter than the previous model’s. Pankl con-rods are 400g lighter and the crank’s pins have been shrunk to 36m diameter.
The crankcase upper have been reinforced and lightened, and inside there’s a new oil sump, which assists with lubrication and flow under extreme lean angles and gas/brake forces. The piston cooling nozzles have also been substituted, and the ‘box now has a hydraulically oil-fed circuit. The exhaust has been completely reworked, and sees new electronic valve management. There are also two O2 sensors.
Having won 18 world championships and 143 GP wins in the 250 class, Aprilia knows how to build a sweet handling chassis. The RR retains the previous RSV4’s adjustability, so if you’re bored at a trackday you can start faffing about/completely fucking with its perfectly good geometry. The engine position, swingarm pivot and headstock angle can all be adjusted.
The good news is, the chassis’ fundamentals have been largely untouched, although the swingarm has been lengthened by 14mm to give the anti-wheelie less work to do, and increase traction and stability.
Thanks to the extra power, the engine has been repositioned in the frame at its lowest possible setting. Subsequently, the weight distribution has been altered slightly, and the suspension gets a fettling to suit the chassis changes.
Aprilia is the only manufacturer to utilise its own electronics package in World Superbikes, and that’s evident from the qualities of the RSV4 in previous guises. The aPRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) is refined and works in conjunction with a new ECU. There are still three riding modes, although ‘Rain’ has been ditched to make room for a new ‘Race’ map, sitting alongside ‘Track’ and ‘Sport’. All three offer differing power options and engine braking settings, and are less aggressive than before. And there’s a Race ABS system from Bosch.
Outside of Honda’s RCV GP shizzle, perhaps the most Gucci of features presented in Milan has to be Aprilia’s V4-MP. MP stands for Multimedia Platform, and essentially connects the RSV4 to your smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing GPS corner-to-corner adjustability of aids like traction control and engine braking. Do a session, tweak the settings on your phone (afterwards) and enjoy bespoke maps previously reserved exclusively for WSB riders.
V4-MP also has data capturing capabilities, so you can download data after every session. And if that’s not enough, the system also tells you where/how to make time over a lap. Whether or not anyone is brave enough to have complete faith in their smartphone whilst giving it the berries on track is another matter.
While the standard RR rolls on Sachs suspension, the optional ‘Race Pack’ upgrade includes Öhlins suspension and forged wheels. The RSV4 RF is a limited run of 500 units and comes with the Race Pack as standard, as well as the race-inspired paint scheme. Racy.