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Text & Photos: Sundeep Gajjar/ Sunny
Its an even more exotic and ‘under exposed’ brand for the Indian motorcyclist. April –what?, Its January, duh! is the underlining reaction of an average motorcycling enthusiast.
But of course, don’t we know better? If Ducatis were supposed to be the exotic ones, then this one’s right from Timbuktu, this one being located in Italy though.
To be frank most of us have had the maximum experience with Japanese bikes, then British (if you consider RE as one!) and then something else like a Ducati. But with 33 championships, 254 MotoGP World Championship wins and 8 Superbike victories, this is no new kid on the block, but in the Indian context, it very much is.
With price ranging for 14-18 Lacs (ex, for the highest specced Aprilia RSV F), I must say its priced rather ‘economically viably’, if I may use this phrase at all, as compared the initially exorbitantly priced 1098R at close to 50 Lacs!
The RSV Factory was only launched last year by Aprilia by ending a long contract with Rotax for their engines thus allowing them to build the V4 (yes not like the earlier V2) in a super compact form.
My first impression of looking the bike was – it doesn’t entirely look Italian, the rear part yes, but the front somehow reminded me of the CBR600S of 2009 -2010.
The tricolor of Italy was proudly sitting on the forehead of the bike The most striking part of the bike is the tail, after the BMW S1000R, I think this must be the pointiest and most stylized tailends on a superbike ever.
The whole package came across to be ultra compact. The LCD console was big but didn’t evoke that gasp from me which the 1198R’s did.
This was a strictly ‘view-feel-only’ session but I did manage to hear the sounds of it, and it sounded unlike what I heard before (I was hearing the grunt of a V4, which was a first for me I think after the Vmax). But this definitely sounded close the MotoGP bikes, wish I could have heard the music at higher Rpms. I wonder how can such a bike with high decibels be approved by most RAs in the western countries! But all the better for us music lovers here!
I think the price of the two bikes (RSV R and the RSV Factory, which is the highest specced one) will be decided in the coming week. The RSV R should be priced around 154 ex, and the Factory around 18.
To end quickly and leave the detailing to the press release below I would says it’s a very tough call between the Ducati 1198R and the RSV here, but in the end the red might prove to be a little more alluring than the other black red Italian marque.
Read the Official PRESS RELEASE
A revolutionary project and a unique history of victories on the racetrack have come together to create the RSV4. A supersport with absolutely exclusive racing technology, developed around the 4 narrow V cylinder engine developed from the technical know-how that has led Aprilia to victory on racetracks all over the world. Aprilia RSV4 hits the racetrack and the roads with one goal only: to win.
33 championships, 254 MotoGP World Championship wins and 8 Superbike victories : over the last two decades Aprilia has become a modern motorcycling legend. The bikes from Noale have dominated tracks the world over thanks to the genial design, courage and extraordinary abilities of the technicians who pursued innovative solutions by experimenting, innovating and sometimes revolutionising technical schemes that seemed to be unchangeable. Aprilia RSV4 Factory, the bike that brings Aprilia back into the 2009 Superbike World Championship, is the product of this immense technical know-how. It is a highly technologically advanced motorcycle, conceived for racing and for this purpose designed and developed by Aprilia together with the marque’s Race Division, the largest and most advanced of its kind in Europe and one of the most important in the world.
Aprilia RSV4 Factory is a racing machine that, in line with the Aprilia tradition, follows a completely innovative approach in its design and construction. Its narrow V engine, the use of state-of-the-art electronics,plus its lightness and extreme compactness are only a few of the features that make it unique in the world. Aprilia RSV4 Factory is designed and built with the same philosophy adopted by the Aprilia race division. This is why RSV4 Factory is the most “complete” Superbike racing replica, ready for those who want to venture onto the track with a class leading motorcycle.
The engine of the RSV4 Factory is the most innovative and powerful Aprilia has ever built. It is a super compact 999.6 cc 65° V-four cylinder engine designed for maximum power (180 CV), where powerplant engineering comes together with the finest materials and the most advanced electronic control solutions. Aprilia’s engine, in fact, uses a Ride by Wire multimap technology, a solution that opens up new frontiers for engine management, with practically infinite possibilities for further development.
Besides the triple map Ride by Wire system, a sophisticated electronic injection system with two injectors and adjustable height ducts are fitted.
Aprilia RSV4 Factory is an absolute supersport motorcycle, the most complete bike available on the market for bike fans, and its chassis confirms this: designed for the racetrack, it has adjustment features that are typical of racing motorcycles. The adjustable geometry chassis allows parameters such as the position and inclination of the headstock, the height of the swingarm pin and even that of the engine to be changed. The construction technology is also motorsports-derived: the RSV4 Factory chassis and swingarm are made of aluminium with variable section castings and pressings.
The components are the state-of-the-art in motorcycling technology: Öhlins Racing fork, rear monoshock and steering damper, Brembo monobloc callipers, forged aluminium rims.
Aprilia RSV4 Factory is the new benchmark in the street legal superbike sector. The unique characteristics of the bike are listed as follows:
– Compact, innovative design
– New – and unique – 65° V-four cylinder engine
– Multi-adjustable perimetral aluminium alloy frame
– Adjustable engine position relative within frame
– Asymmetric aluminium swingarm
– Öhlins Racing full adjustable fork and rear monoshock.
DESIGN. The quest for ultimate compactness
Creating the most compact, innovative and gorgeous supersport bike on the market: a tough and intriguing challenge for Aprilia’s style department! This is how RSV4 Factory was created, a motorcycle that sets new performance and riding standards while opening new horizons in ultra-sports motorcycle design. Just a few simple and distinctive styling elements highlight rather than conceal the specific technical features of the Aprilia RSV4 Factory. Its frame and engine stand out as fundamental elements of the motorbike’s design.
In line with Aprilia traditions, the design of RSV4 Factory does not focus merely on looks but it serves technology and performance. Every detail has been conceived not just to be unique and beautiful, but also and above all to be efficient.
The needs of the optimised dynamic intake system feeding the V4 defined the strong-charactered front, with extra-large air intakes that not only develop considerable overpressure in the airbox (approx. 35 mb @ 280 km/h), but also completely separate the headlamps from the bottom of the fairing. This results in an absolutely unique style, never seen before on a sports motorcycle. The look of the RSV4 Factory is absolutely original, technological and definitely aggressive. The triple headlamp cites the original Aprilia maxi sportsbike, that RSV that set new standards for sports twins in 1998.
Smaller, lower and narrower than any 4 cylinder bike before,the RSV4 Factory’s extreme compactness is its strength, together with an almost obsessive pursuit of perfect ergonomics (crucial for perfect riding control), which has always distinguished Aprilia’s road and World Championship dominating motorcycles.
In depth aerodynamic studies minimised surfaces without compromising the bike’s class-leading aerodynamics. The spectacular, ultra-compact tail fairing is one of the most distinctive features of this motorcycle. The LED taillight merges stunningly into the tail, offering excellent luminosity. Even the rear of the RSV4 Factory is absolutely unmistakable.
ENGINE. An exclusive 65° V4
The pursuit of maximum engine performance in a supersport motorcycle must be accompanied by a perfectly positioned engine in the frame. Mass centralisation, swingarm length and optimum weight distribution are ingredients for achieving the most competitive bike, together with the pursuit of maximum power and perfect power delivery.
Aprilia engineers have known for years that a narrow V engine layout is the ideal technical solution for obtaining a class-beating chassis architecture that emphasises the performance of the engine. It is no coincidence that the RSV 1000 twin, launched in 1998, is still universally acknowledged as the sports motorcycle with the best chassis ever. Even the multiple race-winning RSA 250 GP motorcycles (5 world championship victories in the last three seasons) produced by Aprilia’s race division have a V engine. Aprilia was able to draw from its extensive expertise gained in years of unrivalled supremacy in the Motorcycle World Championship; hence, when the time for defining the new Superbike came, after evaluating all possible solutions, a narrow V engine was chosen. A 65° V-4 cylinder engine, the only solution that could ensure unparalleled performance, enabling the outstanding chassis architecture that has defined all Aprilia racing motorcycles for the past twenty years.
Besides the exclusive configuration that makes the 65° V4 unique around the world, the technical advantages of the Aprilia four-cylinder engine can be summarised as follows:
– Perfectly integrated into the frame, with optimal mass centralisation and minimised inertia for benchmark agility.
– Absolute slimness, its overall width is comparable to that of a twin cylinder motorcycle, with huge benefits in terms of ergonomics and aerodynamics.
– The compactness of the engine makes a very oversquare cylinder layout possible, using large bores and subsequently larger valves, helping the engine breathe more freely and achieve higher engine speeds (14,000 usable rpm).
The engine was entirely developed by Aprilia’s Research and Development Division, aiming at offering record performance and ridability in compliance with the strictest reliability and quality standards.
Aprilia’s V4 design exploited the most powerful calculation programmes currently available on the market, resulting in a highly optimised engine layout. By slightly opening the angle of the V (with respect to a 60° V engine), the designers could make use of the larger space to optimise the inlet ducts and maximise engine efficiency. The RSV4 engine has class-leading fluid dynamics attributes that no narrow V engine can match.
The unique timing system makes extremely compact heads possible (measuring only 250 mm high at the rear), especially in the area beneath the frame spars, which are thus much narrower than would otherwise be possible. The lateral timing chain drives the intake camshaft only and follows an optimised path for improved timing precision and chain durability.
A gear pair at the centre of the cylinder bank transmits drive to the exhaust camshaft. This solution made it possible to obtain an extremely compact head in the exhaust area. The V4 is even more compact than the V60 Magnesium twin mounted on the RSV 1000 R.
A countershaft dampens vibrations even more than in a 90° V engine. The crankcase is a monobloc configuration with integrated cylinder liners for maximum rigidity and consistent performance.
Electronics of the Future
Aprilia’s RSV4 Factory engine features full Ride by Wire technology. There is no direct connection between throttle grip and the throttle valves, which are completely controlled by a latest generation Marelli control unit.
Each bank has a dedicated servo unit actuating the two relevant throttle bodies only. Hence the two banks, and subsequently the quantity of fuel injected, can be managed independently. While this solution has been tried and tested by Aprilia, it has never been applied before on such a powerful engine, thus opening up practically infinite possibilities for power delivery control. This technology immediately benefits the rider who, thanks to the triple mapping that can be controlled directly from the handlebar, can change the engine delivery mode and thus the motorcycle’s temperament at any time.
The fuel supply uses two injectors per cylinderne injector is placed downstream of the throttle valve and a “shower” injector is placed in the airbox and starts working at high loads and revs. The technological excellence of the V4 engine is complemented by electronically controlled variable length intake ducts. At low revs and loads, the long duct favours torque and smooth power delivery. When top performance is required, the upper part of the intake duct raises, thus shortening the duct and leaving the engine free to express its full power potential. A butterfly valve in the exhaust further optimises power delivery.
The transmission was also designed according to the most advanced criteria. To underscore the racing soul of the V4 engine, a cassette gearbox is used, with a multiplate wet clutch disc equipped with a mechanical slipper system to optimise engine braking torque and ensure stability under hard braking.
Lastly, in order to minimise weight, Aprilia’s new engine makes large use of ultralight materials; all valve covers and external housings are made from magnesium.
The V4 engine in short:
Engine capacity: 999.6 cc
Architecture: 65° V4
Power: 180 HP (132.4 kW) at 12,500 rpm
Crankcase: monobloc with integrated cylinder liners
Timing system: 4 valves per cylinder (Titanium and Nymonic) operated directly by a camshaft driven by a mixed chain/gear system (lateral timing chain, central gear train)
Fuel system: Magneti Marelli electronic injection with 2 injectors per cylinder and integrated independent Ride by Wire system for each bank. Three mappings selectable from handlebar. Electronically controlled variable length intake ducts
Maximum rpm: 14,100 rpm
Compression ratio: 13:1
Transmission: 6-speed direct-control cassette gearbox
Clutch: multiplate wet clutch with mechanical slipper system
Exhaust system: 4 into 2 into 1 headers with oxygen sensor and single silencer with integrated catalytic converter and butterfly valve.
CHASSIS. Aprilia’s entire racing know-how
A unique engine like Aprilia V4 could be nothing but combined with an extraordinary chassis that stresses the uniqueness of this motorcycle. Years of races and victories at the top level melts into a racing chassis implemented by Aprilia’s research and development department, with construction solutions and adjustments that only racing prototypes can boast. RSV4 Factory reaps the rewards of Aprilia’s entire racing experience.
Perfect mass centralisation was a must when the RSV4 Factory frame was being developed. Everything was designed in order to achieve the best possible result, starting from the tank position (crucial for riding) with most of the fuel under the saddle in order to optimise motorcycle balance and eliminate any riding differences between full and empty tank.
There is no doubt: Aprilia RSV4 Factory is a true track-ready motorcycle, and a front/rear weight distribution of 52/48 confirms this.
In line with Aprilia race division traditions, the RSV4 structure uses castings and aluminium pressings that are welded to create a far more rigid frame than that of the RSV 1000 twin, which was already a benchmark. In particular, torsional and flexural rigidities were optimised in order to offer perfect feeling and control as well as the ability to handle high power outputs such as those of the Superbike version.
Notwithstanding the higher performance, the RSV4 Factory frame weighs almost the same as the RSV, at only 10.1 kg, a lightness matched only by racing frames. The special construction technology also allows both the frame and the swingarm to show the natural and shining colour of the aluminium, which makes the appearance of the RSV4 Factory very similar to that of a racing prototype.
Designed using the knowledge acquired during GP racing, the spectacular swingarm of the RSV4 Factory, like its frame, is made by combining castings (the internal part and the swingarm pin/wheel connection areas) with aluminium bent sheet elements (the external part) to form a very rigid but super light box section capable of minimising the moving masses, exalting the reactivity and sensibility of the motorcycle to the suspension adjustments. The asymmetric conformation, with an arch section on the right side and a reinforcing arch on the left, made it possible to implement an exhaust system with optimised internal volumes without penalising the rigidity of the swingarm. Here too, FEM modelling was used in the design process to optimise cross sections and thicknesses. The swingarm of the RSV4 Factory weighs only 5,100 grams, close to the absolute standard threshold for this technical element.
The desire to offer the first four V cylinder “race ready” superbike in the world led Aprilia to find unique solutions that will hardly be found on competitors’ bikes even in the years to come.
In order to boost chassis performance and make it match the rider’s style and wishes, or features of the track, Aprilia RSV4 Factory ensures a combination of adjustments that are pretty much infinite. The multi-adjustable suspensions, taken for granted on a motorcycle of this level, are combined with adjustments of the headstock position and rake (through interchangeable bushings), the rear end height, the swingarm pin height and – introducing a new capability exclusive to this bike – the engine position in the frame.
Aprilia RSV4 Factory is the most highly adjustable production motorcycle in the world, just like a real race bike.
The Öhlins Racing upside-down fork has 43-mm stanchions and is titanium nitride coated to minimise friction. The wheel travel is 120 mm. Like in race motorcycles, the fork allows precision adjustment for hydraulic compression and rebound damping and spring preload.
The Öhlins Racing rear shock absorber is equipped with a “Piggy Back” nitrogen canister and can be adjusted for spring preload, compression and rebound damping and length, thus allowing the height of the rear end of the bike to be changed to adjust the set-up to the different riding styles and tracks. The wheel travel is 130 mm.
The motorcycle is also equipped with an Öhlins Racing adjustable steering damper.
The front system is without a shadow of a doubt the best system available on the market. Brembo monobloc radial callipers are the state-of-the-art in racing braking systems thanks to their power, high modulability and fatigue resistance.
The dual 320-mm diameter stainless steel floating discs are completely new and were developed by Aprilia specifically for this motorcycle. A rotor with reduced height and asymmetric perforation were used, allowing the braking power to be improved and the front wheel to be lightened by approximately 500 grams. The floating retainer is fastened to the flange with 6 pins only in order to minimise inertia and weight.
The brake pump is the radial type to improve lever feel and response accuracy. The rear braking system is Brembo “Serie Oro” with 220-mm diameter stainless steel disc and two-piston caliper, with racing-type pump and integrated tank.
The search for greater lightness led to implementation of new forged aluminium rims. The original design further decreases the weight (approximately 1 kg less than the RSV 1000 twin) which, together with the new brake discs, minimises unsprung mass and rotating mass inertia, benefiting motorcycle responsiveness.
A real Superbike is special not only as far as performance is concerned but also for the care it is built with. With regard to the RSV4 Factory, the details say it all: no other “race ready” motorcycle has ever been built with such care. The attention paid to its construction not only satisfies the desire for beauty (a motorbike built like RSV4 Factory is in any case gorgeous), but most of all aims at achieving the goal: to win. This is why every detail was thought out to increase performance and functionality, reducing the weight and considerably increasing the product’s quality and finish.
The following components are worth pointing out:
– Instrument panel: the mixed type (digital-analogue), it receives all the information from the CAN line and becomes an integral and crucial part of the self-diagnosis system as it is fitted with memory. It is a real onboard computer, fitted with a dot matrix display inserted in a minimal, extremely modern and compact design that provides all the information relating to the use of the motorcycle, including: shift light, engaged gear indication, indication of the engine map being used and chronometer with time storing memory. Its functionality was improved to reach a level that is even better than that of the best products available on the market, all use modes are controlled from the left hand switchgear unit so the hands can always remain on the handlebar.
– The front headlamp uses three elements that call to mind of the first RSV 1000 twin, proving to be perfectly integrated, even from the structural point of view, with the top fairing and creating a very distinctive front. The parabolic mirror was designed with modern calculation systems that led to an excellent result: maximum visibility at night with reduced weight and size.
– The electrical system was designed in order to achieve maximum functionality, rationality and minimum weight: the result is an extremely clean and compact layout that makes maintenance operations easier and is preset for use on the racetrack as the parts dedicated to the headlamps can be easily removed. Even the turn indicators – with the front indicators incorporated in the rear view mirrors and the rear indicators in the license plate holder – can be removed quickly for use on the track, the real hunting ground of Aprilia RSV4 Factory.
A complete range of accessories is available for Aprilia RSV4 fans:
– Akrapovic racing exhaust system
– Öhlins TTX36 rear shock absorber
– adjustable footpegs
– racing half-handlebars
– fairing protection pads
– high top fairing
– fairing caps for rear mirrors
– rear stand pins
– license plate retainer cover
– motorcycle cover
– dedicated stand
– carbon heelrests
– tank cover with backpack
– tail fairing bag
– carbon exhaust system protection
– carbon fairing pullers.
Then there is a series of options – many of which designed and manufactured specifically for racetrack use. Complementing these options are a dedicated suit and helmet.