“That is the sexiest ride I have ever been on.”
The first words uttered from my lips after three hours experiencing the 2016 Aprilia RSV4 RR.
I knew it was going to be an exciting ride from the moment I saw the bike. A simple walk around is enough to draw in any rider to take a closer look. As subtle as the satin grey colour is, the strategically placed red accents, including the hashtag on the fairing, #bearacer, and 320mm stainless steel, floating, double-disc, red-letter branded Brembo hugging the front and 220mm at the back, plus three adjustable Bosch traction control settings…you just know this superbike is housing a few surprises.
Surprise number one revealed itself immediately upon mounting the saddle. I fit. RR’s are not typically my ride due to the compact rider triangle required for high-speed, racetrack performance. However, not only was this “race replica” designed for legs with a 33” seat height, it also offered length (80.5”) in a 56.5” wheelbase, with a perfect reach across the 18.5 L fuel tank, to the 29” wide bars and no wrist pressure inhibiting rider comfort. Compact yet comfortable. It was as though this ride was made for the taller adrenaline junkie.
As Brian Milligen, CEO of MotoVida, was giving me the run down of the bike, surprise number two showcased. The analogue/digital combo dash gives the rider necessary information in a basic view. However, in 2017 this view has gotten a technology overhaul and more closely resembles a digital cockpit with an assortment of colorful icons representing pertinent information. Quick glance at my display, the neutral ‘N’ was lit and Brian opened the throttle. The symphony of high performance that growled out the 4-into-2-into 1 exhaust took my breath away and could only be compared to its four-wheeled Italian counterparts—Ferrari or Lamborghini. My eyes said it all from behind my visor as Brian laughed. Words were not needed. He knew what I thought.
Powering this Italian Stallion is a liquid cooled, 65 degree V4 positioned as low within the chassis as possible for low centre of gravity and producing 201 HP at 13,000 RPM. Open throttle and maximum torque at crankshaft is 84.8 ft. lbs at 10,500 RPM.
The last time I rode a 1000cc supersport motorcycle was at California Superbike School finessing the art of high speed cornering and braking on a racetrack. The RSV4 has a similar feel, weighs in eight pounds lighter at 450 lbs fluids-in and compared to the hard, compact ride of the bimmer, the RSV4 offers high speed performance without sacrificing comfort.
The front Sachs upside down 43mm, fully adjustable fork tubes offer up 4.7” of wheel travel to absorb those bumps in the road. Rear suspension with a double-sided swingarm and Sachs single shock, adjustable delivers 5.1” inches of travel.
“I’ve tuned it down to start with,” Brian said, referring to Sport mode, the tamer of three ride by wire engine maps (Track and Race round out the options), as well as the (AWC) wheelie control, one of eight traction control offerings, to keep the front end down until I got familiar with the bike’s power.
As I blazed a trail down the highway, I ‘felt’ the bike approaching the zing (my slang: When a bike feels as though it is being pulled back like an elastic band and with a few more rpm, the band lets go and … Zing – the power launches the bike forward). I glanced down at the gauges noting 6,000 RPM at 98 km/h in second gear. The bike was handling beautifully and if not for knowing my speed (and the 40 km over posted limit automatic impound law), I would have comfortably ‘zinged.’ However, I promised to return the bike that day, not seven days later with a big dent in my bank account.
By third, I was lying flat on the tank, slid my back side to the back of the saddle and as the speedometer passed 110 km/h, I changed to fourth, not because I needed to, but because I thought I should. I should have listened to the bike because I geared back down almost immediately climbing a hill.
After a technical overhaul for 2016, the Aprilia RSV4 RR will bring you as close as you can get to a MotoGP race bike from a showroom floor.
MSRP is apprx. $18,000.