Aprilia RSV4 R versus RSV4 Factory – Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice… | Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions

Aprilia RSV4 R versus RSV4 Factory – Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice…

18 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Aprilia RSV4 R versus RSV4 Factory – Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice…
Aprilia RSV4 Factory

Aprilia RSV4 R versus RSV4 Factory

The RSV4 R is $9000 cheaper than its exotic sibling, the RSV4 R Factory, and goes almost as well!


Sexy Italian styling

Tonnes of midrange grunt

Wonderful exhaust note

Impressive handling

Instrumentation panel hard to read

Low down throttle response

Preceding the release of any new superbike, marketing departments across the board churn out copious amounts of ‘bling, bling’ all in the hope of ensuring a victory in the sales race for that particular marque.

Polished words about how good, how fast, how light, how technologically advanced the latest creation is, and how it all combines to ensure you’ll be the fastest on the track and the next title is a mere formality.

When Italian motorcycle manufacturer Aprilia chooses words promising mind blowing performances, advanced technology and a season of victories you listen. Traditionally the case if they’re talking about their two-stroke grand prix efforts.

Now there is no disputing the Noale factory’s achievements in the 125 and 250 GP classes, but up until recently Aprilia’s efforts in the world of four-stroke competition has fallen somewhat short of their earlier promises. That is until the introduction of the RSV4 Factory.

You only need to look at the Superbike World Championship to get an indication of how much Aprilia believes in its own promises. Making its WSBK debut in 2009, the RSV4 Factory made a promising start to finish fourth overall, including a win at Brno in the hands of Max Biaggi. Not a bad result for the factory’s return to the production-based championship after six years on the sidelines.

With one season under Biaggi’s belt the new 65-degree V-four, four-stroke has found its stride and as I write this he now leads the rider’s title chase by 11pts over Suzuki’s Leon Haslam after seven rounds. Biaggi’s catalogue includes no less than nine podiums, including six race wins. These results have also combined to place Aprilia atop the manufacturer’s championship, just ahead of Suzuki, with Ducati, Honda and Yamaha trailing even further behind.

Without doubt a dominant performance and proof that this time around Aprilia is serious about fulfilling its four-stroke promise.

Biaggi’s impressive season so far is the result of a well-prepared SBK modified RSV4 Factory – launched to the world press early in 2009. An exotic production unit that boasts all the bells and whistles, everything you’d need to take your ego to the track.

The list is impressive: magnesium engine cases, ride-by-wire engine management system, slipper clutch, Ohlins forks and rear shock, Brembo monoblock calipers, adjustable engine mounts and steering head for the sexy anodised aluminium dual beam chassis and so much more. And at $32,990 you wouldn’t expect anything less.

Now all this is great news if you’re bank account looks significantly better than mine, but for most of us this is one bike that may as well be parked at the end of a rainbow. Yet the financially challenged need not feel brushed aside, as the Aprilia boffins have considered us mere mortals too, with the recently released RSV4 R – the little brother of the Factory wet dream.

Priced at $23,990 (before on-road costs) the R is $9000 more affordable than the Factory model.

With such a big price gap does the R look and feel $9000 cheaper? Well I’m pleased to say this is not the case. Far from it actually. You see I had the rare opportunity to confirm this for myself when the keys of an RSV4 R were mine for the weekend. With such an ego-boosting Italian masterpiece at my disposal the first step is to find a friend with a Jap bike to show off in front of.

A quick call was made and a meeting point arranged.

Well you can imagine my surprise when said mate rolled up with an even bigger ego than mine! In addition to the R provided by Aprilia Australia was my mate’s Aprilia RSV4 Factory parked at our meeting point. Although it is not completely standard it provided a glimpse at how close the R really is to the Factory flagship.

On a day which threw everything our way weather wise, the route took in a combination of suburban roads, highways, mountain passes and fast sweepers. All with a variation in road surfaces from ‘wow’ to ‘oh crap’. The first thing that is evident is the RSV looks and feels like a modern sleek narrow Italian Superbike.

It’s actually surprisingly small for a 1000, which is a huge contrast to Aprilia’s last Superbike flagship – the bulbous RSV1000. You can actually mould yourself into the bike, even for all 178cm of me, and you feel instantly at one with the machine. Sure you pay the usual sports bike price of cranked-back neck, weighted wrists, wooden seat and useless mirrors, but its sporting prowess is clear and worth these minor sacrifices.

I think this is one of the sexiest Aprilias to roll out of the factory and at a quick glance you can’t really pick the difference between the Factory and the R. Sure upon closer inspection you will see the trademark gold Ohlins forks on the Factory compared to the black Showa units fitted to the R, but this is the only real stand out difference.

If you take your time you will see the magnesium engine casing on the Factory looks different to the black aluminium R covers, then there is the rear Ohlins shock on the Factory compared to the Sachs piggyback unit. And we can’t forget the little splashes of carbon fibre that the Factory boasts. But besides this most motorcycle enthusiasts passing by during our frequent coffee stops couldn’t spot the difference other than the paintwork.


When you’re aboard the bikes, the initial feel is identical. Both bikes are clearly track focussed and it’s instantly evident that the standard suspension settings are a little hard for street riding. In fact I had to turn back the compression almost as far as it would go to help settle the bike down and improve the feel from the front end.

It’s not so much the compression overall that is the problem, and its probably something you wouldn’t notice on a smooth race track, but the high speed compression damping is just a little too harsh for the real world. Mind you I must say once it was adjusted the more aggressive you are the better the front end feedback, and the confidence you gain from it.

The Ohlins units on the Factory rode the sharper bumps with greater confidence especially in the slower turns, the more advanced damping allowing you to feel exactly what the front Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa was doing.

As for the rear, there is nothing in it on the streets. The only place to really notice the benefits of the Ohlins piggyback shock over the Sachs will be on the track.

Both bikes are firm, but managed everything we threw at them very well. What I am interested to see is how the rear shocks manage the heat radiating off the exhaust headers over a number of laps around a circuit. In this environment the RSV1000’s rear shock, combined with heat radiating off the exhaust header reduced the performance significantly.

As the shock became too hot the internal fluid became less effective and the result was a pogo stick of a rear end. But evidence seems to indicate Aprilia has addressed this on the RSV4 by pushing the rear shock as far to the right and the exhaust as far as possible to the left.

About the only other stand out difference when comparing the handling characteristics of the two versions is related to the agility.

There is no disputing the lighter rims and suspension package of the Factory, combined with the geometry and 5kg overall weight saving provides a feeling of nimbleness that even Ducati would admire. But as stability goes, the R with is slightly lazier feel actually comes across as more neutral mid turn on a bumpy mountain pass. I’m sure it would be a different story on a smooth track.

It’s been a big step forward for Aprilia with its advancements in throttle responsiveness over past models, thanks to a combination of ride-by-wire technology and Weber-Marelli eight-injector fuel injection system. But there is still some way to go on the initial application at low revs before it is on a par with the refined response you get from the Japanese counterparts.

The Factory in this area is better than the R and sharper too, probably due to the additional advantage of the variable height air intake ducts. It just seems crisper and more connected.

From 4000rpm the Aprilia wants to move, and I mean move. You feel there are so many horses wanting to pounce, but in a unified and progressive build up to a second 7000rpm rush. At this point the stables open all its doors and the stampede continues unabated until the 12,500rpm mark, when it then tapers off.

I have to say that the R is more fun to play with from around 5000-10,000rpm than any competitor I have sampled and in this range the exhaust note evolves from a growl to a purr – pure audio bliss.

The slipper clutch works faultlessly, even in some of the extreme slippery condition we experienced in the rain. Even when I tried to crash down through the gears aggressively the RSV4 did nothing wrong at all. If you want to drift the bike into a turn I’m afraid you’ll have to master the Brembo brakes.

Which, being Brembo, is as easy as it will ever get. Great performance, strong response and perfect feel.

I also took the opportunity to sample each of the three engine mapping options available to both bikes. There’s T for the track, S for sports and R for road.

Aprilia RSV4 Factory

To sample the real difference between the T and S setting I think the track will be the best place for an honest review. But there is a very clear difference with the R. The initial R setting throttle response is lazier, as if three of the four throttle bodies are activated before a delay by the computer introduces the fourth.

It gives a feeling of the V-four winding up to speed before running out of puff some 40hp short of the T and S settings. A good idea, but not a setting I wanted to use for much longer than it took to write this sentence. For me, the pick was either the T or the S settings, even in the wet.

The throttle felt more connected with the rear wheel and as a result I felt more connected with the road.

To be honest my only real complaint is the dash. Considering the beauty of the bike its seems this area of the exotic Aprilia was an after thought. Wires for the headlights are clearly visible and the instrument panel itself isn’t the easiest to read during the day. The problem stems from the clear flat plastic over the display which reflects the vibrant alloy triple clamps right through the guts of it, making it difficult to read your speed – is it a digital 0, 8 or 9?

So has Aprilia kept its promise? The answer for the road is a resounding yes, and Biaggi seems well on his way to proving the same on the track.

Is the R $9000 cheaper in feel and looks than the Factory? Not at all! And unless you spend most of your time on the track you’ll be over the moon with the saving. Is the R worth the few thousand more than the Japanese?

Well, based on ego alone I want one, but a future comparo between the Italian and its Japanese rivals will tell all.



Type: Liquid/oil cooled, eight-valve, 65-degree DOHC V-four

Capacity: 999.6cc

Bore x stroke: 78mm x 52.3mm

Compression ratio: 13:1

Fuel system: Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection with 48mm throttle bodies. Three different engine maps selectable with bike in motion: T (Track), S (Sport) or R (Road).

Emissions: Euro 3


Type: Six-speed

Clutch: Multi-plate slipper design

Final drive: Chain


Frame type: Aluminium dual beam with pressed and cast sheet elements

Front suspension: Fully adjustable Showa 47mm upside-down forks with Sachs steering damper, 120mm travel

Rear suspension: Fully adjustable Sachs piggyback monoshock, 130mm travel. Aluminium swingarm.

Aprilia RSV4 Factory
Aprilia RSV4 Factory
Aprilia RSV4 Factory
Aprilia RSV4 Factory
Aprilia RSV4 Factory

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