RSVP From an RSV4

Jeff Cobb
by Jeff Cobb

Aprilia’s RSV4 Factory has to be one of the most interesting and adrenaline-inducing literbikes around, and that’s just part of why we gave it an Honorable Mention in our Best of 2010 Sportbike category.

We recently had opportunity to put on a poor but passing Max Biaggi imitation with one particularly fine example. This RSV comes courtesy of our friend Kaming Ko, who often helps us on test rides.

Our short spin on this tricked-out speedster whetted our appetite for a racetrack rendezvous with Kaming’s even more rare Ducati Desmosedici for a tasty Italian V-Four exotic vs. semi-exotic shootout.

Kaming’s RSV4 recently was kitted with forged-magnesium O.Z. Racing/Aprilia factory wheels, a full Akrapovic exhaust system, the latest race map settings downloaded to its ECU, and track gearing. It will soon be shod with made-in-England Dunlop NTEC 211GP DOT race tires – size 200 rear – but it gripped just fine with original Pirellis as shown here.

All these pics were taken within five minutes of first straddling this street-legal racer, and just how confidence inspiring this bike is can be seen by the easy knee dragging (with not-a-little hanging off) on this diminutive, Ohlins-suspended machine.

I wanted to keep exploring the limits, but 1) it wasn’t my $25,000 bike, and 2) we were on public roads, and 3) additional cost of losing it might have been a trip over a cliff.

What a tease. And that’s why we’re posting this: just to let you know we’re slaving away here at to bring you only the best. It is hard work, but our personality tests all pegged us as the self-sacrificial types, so we hope you appreciate it!

Getting down to business, one thing immediately noticeable on this bike is the abundant torque churned out by the V-Four motor which is now mopping up in World Superbike racing. The road was too tight to fully spin up the motor, but this thing is no doubt a screamer on top as well.

Kaming’s MotoGP-bred Desmosedici ought to give some perspective when we finally get these two matched up.

When that happens, the newsworthy question du jour will be: is the $72,000 Ducati really so much better than the Aprilia costing one-third the cash but offering near-equal visual and aural appeal and quite respectable performance?

Life’s tough around here. We have so much work piled up. But we’ll be sure to let you know. Just don’t say we never do any favors for you, okay?

-Jeff Cobb

Related Reading
2010 Literbike Shootout: Aprilia RSV4 Factory vs. Ducati 1198S vs. KTM RC8R
2009 Aprilia RSV4 Factory Review
2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR Review

Jeff Cobb
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