Aprilia RSV4 APRC Traction Control Comparison

Adam Waheed | August 31, 2012

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MotoUSA investigates traction control and learns how each top manufacturers system performs in this 2012 Superbike Traction Control Comparison Video.

Eager to capitalize upon its racing success in World Superbike, Aprilia has fitted its top-of-the-line sportbike with an advanced, all-encompassing electronics suite dubbed Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC). The technology is standard equipment on all ‘12 RSV4 models including the 2012 Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC we tested.

Without a doubt the Aprilia’s electronics are the most advanced electronics ever fitted to a production motorcycle. The APRC package makes use of similar technology as used on the BMW and Ducati. Like all of the bikes in this test (with exception of the MV), the Aprilia utilizes sensors on each wheel to measure rotational velocity. Added feedback comes from gear and throttle position sensors, crankshaft rpm plus a pressure sensor on the shift lever. The apparatus also includes two electronic gyroscopes (like the BMW) and dual accelerometers (one more than the Ducati).

This gives the Aprilia superior information in terms of spatial orientation with the horizon. If wheel slip exceeds its pre-set threshold the system attempts to solve the problem by modulating the throttle bodies and/or altering the ignition curve for one or more of the engine’s four cylinders. A yellow warning light illuminates showing the system is restricting engine torque and is similar in appearance to the BMW and Yamaha set-ups, though for some reason the BMW’s


Aprilia is the only manufacturer to integrate traction, wheelie, and launch control into one fully integrated package. Each setting is adjustable of one another and can be turned off too. Our only gripe is that it is that the menu system is overly complicated and hard to navigate.

is a little easier to notice while riding. The Aprilia also has the distinction of being the only bike in this contest that offers wheelie and launch control. All three systems can be tuned and/or shut off independently of one another offering the rider a radical amount of control and tune-ability.

Like the other two Italian bikes, the Aprilia’s TC system offers eight-way adjustment with one being the least amount of restriction and eight the most. It can also be disabled. Small aluminum paddles on the left handlebar actuate the system and can be used while riding without the need to close the throttle, which is a big plus. But modifying the sensitivity of the wheelie and launch control proved to be complicated due to the menu system/software’s difficulty in navigating.

Out on track the APRC system felt most similar to that of the R1. Intervention was gentle and felt very transparent. At times it was difficult to detect if the system was doing its job due to how seamlessly it intrudes. It also was able to read road camber accurately with zero inconsistency at any point on track. Through the corners the RSV4 had comparable corner speeds at or near the top of the time

Aprilia RSV4 Suspension Settings:
(From full stiff)
Fork
Preload: 8.5
Compression: 12
Rebound: 9
Shock
Ride Height: +3mm
Preload: 146 mm (spring length)
Compression: 12
Rebound: 16

sheet similarly to that of the BMW and Yamaha. It was also very easy to find the threshold of the system and apply maximum throttle without the threat of the rear tire moving too much. This fostered a high degree of confidence that allows for more assertive bike inputs than if the system wasn’t in place.

In spite of this maximum acceleration force as measured in Turns 6 and 15 were only slightly above average as was top speed, which again may be attributed to its engine performance rather than the electronics. The calibration of the wheelie control was also fantastic and on a level comparable to that of the Kawasaki.

Lap time data shows the Aprilia was able to be ridden the quickest in both the middle of road Level 4 TC setting (Siglin) as well as the Level 1 (Waheed) demonstrating the function and performance-driven calibration of the APRC electronics. Without a doubt the Aprilia offers the most versatile and accurate electronics package allowing the rider to put in faster laps with less work and a higher margin of safety. It’s the best production system money can buy.


Both of our testers loved the APRC electronics package. It was noted as having the smoothest, most seamless interaction. It’s the only system that is truly race-ready off the showroom floor.

RIDER NOTES

CHRIS SIGLIN: “I was blown away by how good the Aprilia’s TC was. I wasn’t expecting it to be that good. My favorite feature was how consistent and smooth it felt. I got comfortable with it right away, which gave me confidence to be aggressive on the throttle. The wheelie control was great too. I could be full throttle over hills and it would cut power just enough to keep the wheel barely hovering over the road. The Aprilia really nailed it with its set-up.”

ADAM WAHEED: “The functionality of the Aprilia’s APRC package is first-rate. I’ve never sampled a better electronics package on a motorcycle. The thing I like most about it is how easy it is to find its limit. It’s also super smooth when it modulates engine torque and the wheelie control is literally perfect. It’s the benchmark of the class.”

Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Level 4
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Level 1

Adam Waheed

MotoUSA Road Test Editor | Adam's insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

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