To celebrate 30 years since Aprilia won its first world championship title, Aprilia (or, more appropriately, the racing division) is introducing this, the RSV4 Xtrenta. Encompassing the same basic profile the RSV4 has carried since its birth over a decade ago, the Xtrenta is defined by the level of aerodynamic work the Noale factory has applied from its MotoGP program.
Before you start peppering me with hate mail about how on earth a Yamaha R7 could possibly be the best Sportbike, let’s remember what our MOBOs are about in the first place. It’s not strictly about performance. If that were the case, then clearly the Yamaha would be pretty far down the totem pole. How the machine works is a factor, sure, but it’s also about a motorcycle’s significance in the greater overall context of its category and motorcycling in general. Considered in this context, the R7 should start to make a little more sense.
Laguna Seca’s most prominent feature is the world-famous Corkscrew – the undulating left-right flick that you enter blind, which then proceeds to drop you three stories as you plunge into Rainey Curve. It’s a thrilling piece of asphalt every motorsport enthusiast should experience someday. But one of the more underappreciated sections of the track, especially for motorcyclists, is the hill leading up to the Corkscrew. Tackling it aboard the updated 2021 Aprilia RSV4 really makes you feel alive.
The obvious choice to follow-up the RS660 in Aprilia’s lineup, the Noale-based factory has now officially released details on the 2021 Tuono 660. Taking a page from the RSV4/Tuono V4 playbook, the smaller siblings share the same relation, as the Tuono 660 is essentially a “stripped down” version of its RS brother, meant first and foremost to be ridden on the street.Everything You
I knew this day would come eventually. I didn’t expect it to take so long, but I suppose good things like the Aprilia RS660 are worth waiting for. You see, as an owner of a Suzuki SV650 that’s almost of legal drinking age (and a former Kawasaki Versys 650 owner), I have a soft spot for bikes in this middleweight category. They hit that sweet spot between power, performance, and price – there’s just enough power to keep things exciting, moderate performance to emphasize the importance of rider skill, and well…SVs are dirt cheap. After all this time, I still haven’t found a compelling reason to replace my trusty little Suzuki.
Has it really been 20 years since the world didn’t seize up at the stroke of midnight, as we feared it might? Yes. Every time I walk out into the garage, my 2000 R1 sitting dormant on its stand (the last year of the first-gen R1) reminds me of what a long time ago that was. Next to all the new bikes it sees come and go, the old girl is positively archaic. In a good, Ann-Margret way, but still. While we’re still quarantining seems like a good time to look back upon what bikes have moved the game forward the most since the millennium.
Talk about staying power. Ten years on and the Aprilia RSV4 platform is still the cream of the crop. With the RSV4 1100 Factory, however, the newest member of the RSV4 family is simply stunning. The way Aprilia has achieved this, though, is a little deceiving. Yes, the 1078cc V4 (sorta) shared with the Tuono 1100 sees some improvements the Tuono doesn’t get, but Aprilia found a way to integrate the increased power into the same magic chassis without upsetting its balance – a task which can’t be overstated. Riding the RSV4 1100, you can tell there’s more punch than before, but it doesn’t blow your socks off like the Ducati Panigale V4 S does. The senses have more time (although, not a lot more time) to process the incoming speed, and the chassis works its usual magic in placing you exactly where you want to be without any drama. The experience isn’t too far removed from the 1000cc RSV4, until you look down at the stopwatch and realize how much faster you were than before.
Blah, blah, blah, we say it all the time – the Aprilia RSV4 is one of our favorite bikes ever. But seriously, it really is special. So how, then, does one improve upon a fan favorite? Give it more power, of course. That’s exactly what we have with the new 2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory. On the surface, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in saying Aprilia telegraphed this move long ago – four years ago in 2015, actually – with the Tuono 1100, even though doing so would make the RSV4 illegal for basically every racing class out there.
In just a few days I’ll be the lucky bas—- who gets to unwind the new Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory around the legendary Mugello circuit as part of the bike’s international press launch. Stay tuned next week for my thoughts on it. However, in anticipation for that event, I thought I’d look back to see what makes the RSV4 such a darling in the eyes of the moto press. So rewind your minds back ten or so years to 2008/2009 and think about the literbike landscape back then. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say with confidence the space looked pretty bland, with the Big Four Japanese, Ducati, and KTM’s RC8 the only real players (sorry MV Agusta fanboys). The field then got a jolt in 2009 with the announcement of both the BMW S1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 – both models promising to shake up the status quo. If you’ve read any motorcycle magazine since then, you undoubtedly know each bike lives up to the claim. Personally, the Aprilia is one of my favorite liter-class bikes out there. Here are seven ways the RSV4 shook up the game.
To say Ducati has a lot riding on the Panigale V4 series is quite an understatement. For Ducati to finally admit its beloved V-Twin had reached the limit of development and abandon it for its flagship model is a huge deal. It meant whatever replaced it would have a lot to live up to. Ladies and gentlemen, the 1103cc V4 more than lives up to the hype. It’s fast, it’s ferocious, and yet, it’s surprisingly easy to ride at the limits of your talent – assuming your skills are enough to warrant you riding a bike of this caliber, anyway. Maybe best of all for Ducati fanboys (and girls) out there – it still sounds like a Ducati but better. The Twin Pulse firing order ignites the front cylinders together before doing the same at the rear, essentially making the Panigale V4 a glorified V-Twin, at least as far as exhaust note is concerned.
Aprilia sprang its latest 201-horsepower superbike on the crowd in Cologne. While the RR might look pretty much the same on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts – and the main addition is the fourth generation APRC electronics that keeps it all in check: Aprilia Performance Ride Control. Now there’s cornering ABS, a downshift-enabled quickshifter, and a host of other refinements including optional V4-MP which lets you access and download via smartphone corner-by-corner APRC calibration. It also manages incoming and outgoing phone calls. You could conceivably order a pizza on the last lap, should you find yourself coming over all peckish.
On the racetrack, the fight between the Aprilia RSV4 RF and Ducati Panigale V4 S was so close, it resulted in one of, if not the, closest shootout in Motorcycle.com history, with the two protagonists separated by 0.2% – two-tenths of a percentage point! – on our scorecards. On paper, anyway, the Ducati emerged victorious for a track tool, but it was only our racetrack ringer, Shane Turpin, who ultimately picked the Panigale V4 S – and its $4k heftier price tag – as his weapon of choice. Meanwhile, both Tom and I would elect to save the extra dough and be perfectly happy with the Aprilia – despite what the scorecard says.
We teased you recently with a dyno shootout between the Aprilia RSV4 RF and the Ducati Panigale V4 S, with the Ducati blowing the doors off the less powerful – and smaller displacing – Aprilia to the tune of 187 hp for the Panigale and 168 hp for the RSV4. This set the stage for our track shootout between the two Italians nicely, as on paper, anyway, the Ducati seemingly has the Aprilia’s number. A bigger engine clearly gives it a power advantage, while 20 pounds less mass on the official MO scales and electronic Öhlins suspension prevails over the RSV4’s extra heft and manual Öhlins bits. But what does that all translate to once the tire warmers come off and fast lap times need to be set?
Our collective love for the Aprilia RSV4 engine is well documented here at MO, so pardon us for a second as we indulge in car news. However, this isn’t just any car news – we’re talking single-seater racecars. More to the point, a single-seater powered by an Aprilia RSV4 engine. The car is called the G1, and it comes from Israeli company Griiip. Over in Europe there’s a dedicated racing class for these cars, but here in the U.S. the G1 is eligible for the Formula 1000 class specifically for racecars powered by 1,000cc motorcycle engines.