9. Aprilia RSV4 RR

2015 Aprilia RSV4 RF One of my favorite sportbikes, the RSV4, is getting even better for 2015. The problem? Most of its competition is raising its game as well. No matter, with a claimed 205 horsepower at the crank, the RSV4 RR (and the limited edition RF) appears to lose none of the sweet handling characteristics I’ve loved about the bike since day one, only adding more power from the equally sweet V-4 engine.

2015 Literbike Spec Chart Comparo

Aprilia engineers had a whole grocery list of items to sort through to get the power up on the V-4 engine, but the majority of their efforts went towards reducing friction, losing weight, and producing a more complete and efficient explosion during each combustion cycle. Thankfully, they knew to leave good enough alone in the chassis and handling department and only lengthened the swingarm 14mm to help reduce the tendency to wheelie. Had Aprilia debuted this revised RSV4 last year, it might have had a strong shot at one-upping the literbike field, especially its Italian rivals in Bologna. But because 2015 just happens to be the year of the literbike, Aprilia’s refresh gets largely pushed aside in favor of superchargers and electronic suspensions. Personally, behind the new Yamaha R1, the RSV4 is second on my list of literbikes I’m anxious to ride.