Designed for racers but built for riders
“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 gray 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 adjustable Bosch traction control settings and 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.
The 2016 analogue/digital combo dash gives the rider necessary information in a basic view. However, 2017 this view has gotten a technology overhaul and more closely resembles a digital cockpit with an assortment of colorful icons representing pertinent information. Of note are the headlamps. Three in all and balanced. I am not a fan of one headlamp running lights so I appreciate when both are on.
As Brian Milligen, CEO of MotoVida in Kelowna, B.C., was giving me the run down of the bike, surprise number two showcased. It has a sound that makes a statement! The bike was purring, 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.
“I’ve tuned it down to start with,” he said, referring to Sport mode, the tamer of three ride by wire engine maps, as well as the (AWC) wheelie control to keep the front end down until I got familiar with all the power the bike had to offer. That would leave Track and Race mode left to discover as well as the remaining Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) factory tuning options traction control (ATC), launch control (ALC) and more. Can’t say I have ever seen ‘launch control’ on a motorcycle but, upon acceleration from city to highway, I quickly learned why it was there.
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 instant power with maximum torque at crankshaft 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 with 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.
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). The technical reference for this would be the bike approaching the power band in the gear. I glanced down at the gauges noting 6,000 RPM at 98 km/h in second gear with at least another 2,000 RPM of play. The bike was solid, smooth and handling beautifully. If not for knowing my speed and the speed limit (not to mention the 40 km over posted limit automatic impound law), I would have ‘zinged.’ However, I promised to return the bike that day, not 7 days later with a large dent in my wallet.
By third, I was lying flat on the tank, slid my back side to the back of the saddle and as the speedometer passed 120 km/h, I changed to fourth, not because I needed to, but because I thought I should. Mistake. I should have listened to the bike because I geared back down almost immediately climbing a hill. My excursion around the Okanagan Valley logged about 300km in distance but did not offer gears beyond fourth. Those are left for the raceway.
After a technical overhaul for 2017, the Aprilia RSV4RR will bring you as close as you can get to a MotoGP bike right off a showroom floor. If you have a need for speed, this is your bike, but make sure you have the skill to handle all it has to offer. To fully explore all this model, I would need a trip to Canada’s latest track addition, designed by Jacques Villeneuve, Area27, in Osoyoos, B.C. or any other appropriate race circuit.
Gear: Arai SignetQ helmet
Alpinestars Stella MotoGP Plus two piece race suit
Alpinestars SMX5 ladies boots
MSRP is apprx. $18,000.