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.

  • Cale

    Would moving from a Ninja 250 to a KTM 390 Duke be considered moving up in power and speed? i would love to move to a 690 or an FZ-09 but i think both of those might be just outside of my budget and riding ability.

    • Yes it would be moving-up, slightly, in power and speed.

    • DickRuble

      Yes, barely moving up. Go for the 690, or find a used MZ 660 for a pittance. The FZ-09 might be a bit much, but the 690, a single, should be about right.. If you take too small incremental steps you may never graduate.

      • cathries
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      • Piglet2010

        A Real Man™ would start out on the Duke 1290 if he wanted a KTM.

        Hey, this is the Internet, eh?

        • DickRuble

          That’s what dealers told me when I was shopping for my first bike.
          They: “Get the Bandit 1200” ..
          Me: “well it’s kind of powerful and big, don’t want to kill myself.. ”
          They: “Don’t worry. You don’t have to go fast. You can go very slow with it.”

          But yeah.. if you ride anything smaller than 1300cc, … you know what you are…

      • Kevin Duke

        I disagree that a 690 Duke is reasonable step up from a TU250. The KTM is a serious machine. I’d imagine an FZ-07 would better suit Luke, and I’m willing to bet he’d be very happy on a 390 Duke.

        • Craig Hoffman

          I have a friend with a 690. The enjoyment that comes with doing outlandish wheelies is a personality defect I share with Kevin Duke here, if not the K1600 lofting talent. Ya, I like doing wheelies. Lots of them, and the 690 is one of the better abettors in feeding the wheelie addiction.

          While that trait is admirable, and certainly a danger to my license, the 690’s propensity to suck a rider into abject illegal hooliganism may not make it a bike that is suited to newer riders 🙂

        • DickRuble

          Ok.. I started on a single 660… with three MSF courses as experience… I mean.. he can go back to a moped.. to be extra safe..

          • Kevin Duke

            I don’t know Luke or his riding talents, but if a TU250 comprises anyone’s only motorcycle experience, the 690 Duke will be a handful.

    • Luke

      Cale, I’m in a similar spot. My TU250 has brought me such joy, but I want to experience more bikes. The 390 Duke is on the list, as is the the FZ-07 as potential new bikes. But there are so many tempting others like the V-Strom 650 or the FZ/J-09s. I know I’m not a “liter bike” rider yet for sure, and I tend to gravitate towards lighter bikes which makes me really want that 390 Duke even though it’s another “beginner” bike. (That Ducati Scrambler might be on my list now too…)

    • Reid

      The 690 Duke is a joy to own and ride. It was my first street bike of any kind and it never gave me a moment’s worry. It’s all about the adjustable fueling settings (accessed under the pillion seat near the battery). Leave it in default until you get used to it and then switch it to the more aggressive ride mode to get a better idea of what it’s “supposed” to feel like. The only knock against the 690 is the cost of entry. Honestly, I don’t think a newish rider could do better than the Fz-07.

  • Piglet2010

    The Vulcan S looks like it actually has the potential to ride and handle decently – a cruiser for people who actually want a good motorcycle to go along with being part of the biker culture?

    • Reid

      SHOCKING! A cruiser for people who want a decent machine?! It’ll never sell -___- not enough chrome.

      • Richard Gozinya

        Chrome seems to be passe among the cruiser set. It’s all about blacking things out, and matte paint these days.

  • Kevin Polito

    The Vulcan S reflects an interesting branch of the cruiser genre, smaller-displacement cruisers that are expanding the performance envelope rather than the displacement envelope. The Indian Scout is another in that genre.

  • Kevin Polito

    Sport bikes and adventure bikes seem to receive disproportionate coverage of every minuscule annual or semiannual change, whereas many models of bikes go for years without being revisited.

  • Koczk

    Ten pages? Sorry guys, not reading this one.

    Fishing for clicks is obnoxious.

    • Billlllyyyyy

      Wanting to read an article for free and then complaining that you’ll have to flex your index finger 10 times is pretty fucking obnoxious too.

      • Koczk

        Every other motosite I read manages to stay away from the practice. They all rely on traffic and advertising for online revenues, too. Sometimes there are simply better ways of doing business.

      • john phyyt

        First world problem on steroids! I read this site because it has some of the finest Moto-Journos in the world: And it’s free!!!. I for one really appreciate it: ( a big Thank-you from me)

        Wow talk about a pampered audience:

    • Guest

      ok, don’t read then : )

  • I am looking forward to learning more about the BMW R1200RS. That bike appeals to me so much. Though I doubt it will appeal to my budget…

  • Craig Hoffman

    The GSX 1000 should be a nice bike. Tune for torque all they want, it would be truly difficult for Suzuki to screw up the donor K6 GSXR engine. The bike looks to have good brakes and fully adjustable suspension too. Looking forward to reading about it.

    The Versys 1000 looks like a great day to day bike too. I like that both the GSX and Versys are simple bikes. I don’t want the complexity or need to pay for ABS and traction control. I ride dirt bikes. They teach you all you need to know about traction…

  • Auphliam

    I’ve never been a fan of Katoom’s origami styling, but seriously…How many great bikes can one manufacturer release in one year? I think they’ve earned themselves a pat on the back after this year.

  • Keith E. Sterling

    the R3 will be in my garage the day it hits the floors