Overnight Aprilia presented the new RSV4 and RSV4 Factory which now echo the new design language Aprilia first showcased on the RS660 that lends a more modern face and flanks to Aprilia’s flagship sports offerings while dramatically improving aerodynamic performance. Engine performance has also been improved and capacity increased.
Protection of the rider from the air flow increases by a claimed 11 per cent, better isolating shoulders and head. The particular design of the front end also increases air pressure in the airbox by 7 per cent, with consequent advantages for engine performance. The winglets are not added elements on the sides, but they are built into the double-wall fairings.
Development of these two-dimensional surfaces was particularly complex to achieve the goal of combining design and functionality. Its efficiency was analysed thanks to calculations executed by CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software and then in the wind tunnel, before road and track testing.
Development of this solution was followed and fine tuned directly by the Aprilia Racing aerodynamic engineers with the same approach used for racing bikes: the downward pressure of the channelled air improves stability at high speeds, decreasing the tendency to wheelie coming out of corners, at the same time increasing stability in sharp braking; it also improves engine cooling, not to mention deflecting the hot air flows away from the rider.
The particularly small surfaces of the side panels leave the front wheel entirely exposed, with benefits in handling during direction changes, a solution already used by the RS-GP in MotoGP.
The main traits of the fairings speak the typical language of latest generation Aprilia sportbikes, distinguished by dynamic, modern lines with contained surfaces; the characteristic triple LED headlight unit, featuring perimeter DRL lights positioned around the two main headlamps, makes the RSV4 recognisable at a glance in any lighting conditions. The turn indicators are built into the two DRL profiles and they make the front section even more compact.
The lighting system has a few unique features to guarantee more riding safety: thanks to the presence of a twilight sensor, the low beam lights are activated automatically, while the self-cancelling indicators flash in case of emergency braking (this feature can be disabled for track use). last, but not least, thanks to the “bending lights” feature, the pair of supplementary lights in the parabolas light up the inside of the turn, increasing visibility when cornering.
Great attention was focused on ergonomics: thanks to the introduction of the new fuel tank, the new, 9 mm lower saddle and the footpegs that are 10 mm lower (and with better grip), rider integration in the fairing improves, with more on-board space and a more natural and relaxed position even for taller riders. Despite the footpegs being lower, ground clearance improves by 1.5° for both sides, thanks to their more minimalistic design at the ends. The shape of the new fuel tank provides better upper-limb support in braking, thereby decreasing the force applied on the arms during this phase, as well as providing a better resting position for the outer leg in cornering.
In keeping with the tradition of Aprilia’s most sporty models, the new RSV4 was also designed to facilitate the elimination of those elements that are not needed for track use such as mirrors, passenger footpegs and license plate bracket, all of which can be quickly and easily removed.
A particularity which is still exclusive to the RSV4 (and which has always been a characteristic of the previous generations) is the exceptional range of possible adjustments that the standard equipment chassis is able to provide. In fact, the Aprilia is the only superbike that allows the rider to adjust the engine position in the frame, the headstock angle, the swingarm pivot and the rear end height, naturally in addition to the fully adjustable suspension. Just like a real racing bike. The perfectly centralised masses are just one of the frame’s strengths. to achieve this result, each part was studied down to the smallest detail. As on a racing machine, the fuel tank is positioned so that the majority of the fuel sits under the seat optimising bike balance and cancelling out handling differences between full and empty tank conditions.
The RSV4’s aluminium frame exploits the strength and flexibility of cast and pressed elements, which are welded together: a structure characterised by torsional rigidity levels calibrated to provide immediate feeling and maximum riding control. The new swingarm uses the same constructive technology as the frame, but it now has the lower reinforcing brace and it has been simplified with respect to the previous unit, going from the previous seven welded elements to the current three, thereby saving 600 grams of unsprung mass. Furthermore, thanks to the reinforcing brace’s longer arms, the transversal rigidity of the swingarm increases by 30 per cent in the wheel pin area, with significant traction benefits. At the request of Aprilia Racing, the wheel pin adjustment slot is particularly extended in order to allow a wider range of positioning for the rear wheel, an important factor in competition.
On the RSV4 Factory, the semi-active suspension is the Smart EC 2.0 from Öhlins, fine tuned thanks to intense development work that brought the Swedish engineers and those from Noale together for extended periods at the most difficult and demanding tracks like Imola and Mugello (but also on the road).
The ECU that governs the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension has access to all the bike’s electronic systems, meaning it is able to recognise all riding phases and therefore adapt calibration of the fork, shock absorber and steering damper hydraulics thanks to the development of an algorithm, the fruit of collaboration between Öhlins and Aprilia. As a result, this suspension better supports the rider through every riding phase on track, also offering greater feeling with the front wheel, a characteristic that was already at a high level with all previous RSV4 models. In addition, its increased ability to mirror any asphalt unevenness makes for greater ease of use and riding pleasure on the road.
The particular technology of the Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension system allows simple and customised calibration of the fork and shock absorbers with two operating modes: semi-active mode and manual mode, both of which can be selected using the buttons on the handlebar. Three maps adjust the suspension in different ways and select the semi-active contribution. A1, A2 and A3.
The first, developed for use with slick tyres, particularly suits circuits with a very smooth surface; the second, for use with compound tyres and at tracks with uneven asphalt; the third is dedicated to the road, characterised by freer hydraulics that better absorb imperfections in the road surface. In manual mode, on the other hand, the three maps (M1, M2 and M3) provide as many predefined calibration types without semi-active assistance, in the same way as mechanical suspension systems operate.
Both in the semi-active and manual mode, the user still has the possibility, within the three aforementioned logic maps, to fine tune suspension calibration based on personal taste and riding style, of particular advantage to more expert and demanding riders.
The Öhlins steering damper is also managed electronically by the Smart EC 2.0 system and can be customised to best adjust the calibration depending on that of the fork and shock absorber.
The OBTi (Objective Based Tuning Interface), visible on the Aprilia RSV4’s colour TFT dashboard, makes for intuitive setting operations. The OBTi operating logic is based on the goals the rider wants to achieve during each riding phase: for example, greater support during braking if one wants more controlled descent of the NIX fork, or greater support in acceleration if one wants greater support from the TTX shock absorber when the throttle is fully opened. There is also the possibility for manual adjustment of the shock and fork spring pre-load.
The braking system on both RSV4 units includes a pair of Brembo Stylema callipers, lightweight and efficient, fitted with extremely high performance friction coefficient pads. The brake callipers can be combined with the pair of carbon air ducts (available as an original Aprilia accessory), which let you control the operating temperature, ensuring the same exceptional braking performance even in the most extreme use.
Unlike the previous range, where the RR version was fitted with the 1000 cc, 201 HP Aprilia V4, the new RSV4 and RSV4 Factory models are now powered by the same 1100 cc powerplant with identical performance. The narrow V architecture has made it possible to make an engine that is extremely compact lengthways which helps to centralise weights and to have an extremely high performance chassis. The timing system uses very particular kinematics: the chain camshaft drives only the intake camshaft which in turn drives the exhaust camshaft via a gear. This allows for extremely compact heads, to the advantage of the frame layout which, on the RSV4, is as compact as that of a Grand Prix bike. the crankcase is monobloc with integrated aluminium cylinder liners to ensure maximum rigidity and consistent performance. The countershaft dampens vibrations.
Compared to the unit that equipped the RSV4 1100 Factory, the engine of the new Aprilia RSV4 benefits from a new bore to stroke ratio, with the latter going from the previous 52.3 mm to the current 53.3 mm (the bore of 81 mm remains unchanged). The crankshaft is new, with an increased crank radius, and the upper crankcase has been adjusted for the new stroke. Engine displacement therefore goes from the previous 1078 cc to the current 1099 cc, thereby benefiting available torque that goes from the previous 122 Nm at 11.000 rpm to the current value of 125 Nm at 10,500 rpm. Power remains the same as the previous version: 217 HP at 13,000 rpm in spite of a powerplant now in compliance with Euro 5 standards and which also allows the RSV4 to exceed the threshold of 305 km/h actual top speed.
A new Magneti Marelli ECU 11MP ECU is introduced which guarantees the possibility of connecting more elements and managing more complex algorithms, thanks to the higher number of pins (from 80 to 144) and thanks to a calculating capacity that is four times faster than the previous one. In order to make the engine comply with the strict Euro 5 anti-pollution standard, a new exhaust system was developed with ceramic matrix substrate catalytic converter, more robust and with lower thermal inertia (reaches operating temperature more quickly, thereby contributing to reducing polluting emissions), despite being lighter than the one used previously on the RSV4 RR.
New active electronic controls system from Aprilia makes its début on the RSV4 and RSV4 Factory, further evolved and implemented than the one that equipped the previous models, which has always been a point of reference for critics and the general public in terms of effectiveness and fine tuning.
The new generation of APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control), the renowned control systems package derived directly from racing, uses a six-axis inertial platform with extremely high calculating capacity, therefore allowing a high potential for detecting the bike’s dynamic conditions and, consequently, extremely fine electronic control strategies.
The fifth evolution of Aprilia APRC is perfectly integrated with the electronic fine tuning guaranteed by the full Ride-by-Wire throttle control which is completely built-in and requires no other components for electronic throttle valve management. This provides clear benefits in terms of weight (compared to a traditional system, the savings can be quantified at 590 grams).
One of the new features of the new APRC is the AEB (Aprilia Engine Brake), the adjustable engine brake control, now independent of the selected engine map.
The new APRC, which comes standard on the Aprilia RSV4 and RSV4 Factory, includes this line-up of acronyms….
ATC: Aprilia Traction Control, adjustable on the fly, without closing the throttle, to 8 levels, boasts higher performance operating logic.
AWC: Aprilia Wheelie Control, the wheelie control system that can be adjusted to 5 levels, has more precise operating strategies. Wheelie control can be adjusted on the fly without closing the throttle, like the ATC, thanks to the practical left-hand electronic block.
AEM: Aprilia Engine Map, 3 different mappings available to change the character of the engine and the way it delivers power.
AEB: Aprilia Engine Brake, the engine brake system that can be adjusted to 3 levels, with a specific algorithm that optimises operation, taking the lean angle into consideration.
ALC: Aprilia Launch Control, for use on the track only, with 3 settings, uses highly effective operating strategies.
AQS: Aprilia Quick Shift, the electronic gearbox – with a new strategy – that allows for very rapid shifting without closing the throttle or using the clutch. It is also equipped with the downshift function, to allow for clutchless downshifting. It also allows you to downshift with the throttle open.
APL: Aprilia Pit Limiter, the system that lets you select and limit the top speed allowed in pit lane at the track or simply to make it easier to comply with posted speed limits on the road.
ACC: Aprilia Cruise Control. Electronic management has allowed cruise control to be introduced, very convenient on longer trips because it lets you maintain the set speed without touching the throttle.
In addition to the APRC system, RSV4 and RSV4 Factory come standard with multimap Cornering ABS, developed in collaboration with Bosch to guarantee not only extreme safety on the road, but also the best possible performance at the circuit. With its remarkably contained weight and dimensions, the 9.1 MP system is able to optimize braking and ABS intervention through the corners, thanks to a specific algorithm that constantly monitors various parameters such as lateral acceleration, the pressure applied to the front brake lever, and the lean, pitch and yaw angle, modulating the braking action in order to better guarantee the ratio between deceleration and stability.
The ABS system works in unison with the Aprilia RLM (Rear Liftup Mitigation) system that limits the lift of the rear wheel during more abrupt braking. Cornering ABS, fine tuned in accordance with Aprilia’s specific indications, is adjustable to 3 levels of sensibility. Each of the three Cornering ABS maps can be combined with any of the new engine maps, allowing riders with different experience and skill levels to find the best possible combination for their style.
Six Riding Modes are introduced that aim to not only maximise the riding experience in different conditions of use, but also simplify life on board. the rider just needs to choose the Riding Mode that best interprets his or her riding needs to automatically obtain the best settings in terms of Traction Control, Wheelie Control, engine brake, ABS and the other managed parameters.
There are three Riding Modes for road use:
Street, for daily riding;
Sport, for sporty riding on the road and
User, that lets you fully personalise the electronic controls.
Three Riding Modes are designed for track use:
Race, fine tuned by the Aprilia development team’s experience and ideal for supporting the rider during track sessions, taking advantage of the RSV4’s full potential;
Track 1 and Track 2, which allow more expert riders to fully customise the electronic setup, storing the memorised parameters for their two reference tracks.
Managing the electronic settings is streamlined by the new electrical handlebar controls: the one on the left-hand electrical block is easy and intuitive thanks to the four buttons and the quick-management cruise control and traction control commands.
For the purpose of containing weight as much as possible, the two RSV4 models are fitted with a lightweight lithium battery.
The 5 inch colour TFT digital instrument cluster is also new, boasting exceptional display options. The two screens available for selection, Road or Track (both with automatic night or day backlighting, thanks to the presence of a twilight sensor), correspond with two represented indices.
The list of accessories includes Aprilia MIA, the new Aprilia multimedia platform that allows a smartphone to be connected to the bike, further extending instrument cluster functions, is available as an optional. The Aprilia MIA system provides a connection protocol that reduces smartphone battery drain to a minimum and includes both the infotainment system to manage the voice assistant, telephone calls and music using the intuitive handlebar controls, and the navigation function. With this feature, once your trip destination has been set on the smartphone, it is possible to display the directions directly on the bike’s instrumentation. The Aprilia MIA app also allows the rider to save completed trips and analyse the data acquired directly in the app using the geo-referenced telemetry function.
There are two versions: RSV4 now boasts the same performance as the Factory, thanks to the same 1100 cc V4 engine; it is available in the Dark Losail colour scheme, dominated by black.
RSV4 Factory boasts an even richer equipment package including forged aluminium wheels and the semi-active Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension system (instead of the RSV4’s adjustable Sachs mechanical suspension trio).
RSV4 Factory is available in two different graphic schemes: Lava Red, clearly dominated by colours that are part of Aprilia’s sport heritage. The pairing of purple and red is a tribute to the RS 250 in its 1994 Reggiani Replica version, the last real sportbike of the two-stroke era, still beloved by motorcyclists and highly sought after by collectors. The second graphic scheme, Aprilia Black, alternates glossy black with a few red highlights to highlight the lines of the aluminium frame.
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