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2010 Aprilia RSV4R Comparison Street

Monday, May 17, 2010
2010 Aprilia RSV4R Street Smackdown

The RSV4R comes with Pirellis excellent Diablo Supercorsa SP tires.
The Aprilia RSV4R is the smallest, most compact liter-bike of 2010.
This year our Superbike Smackdown comparison sees another entry from Italy in the form of Aprilia’s all-new RSV4R. Based off the premium $20,999 RSV4 Factory, a motorcycle engineered specifically for the rigors of World Superbike racing, the RSV4R is a Superbike made for us common folk. It achieves its favorable $15,999 price tag via a number of significant changes to the chassis and one single but nonetheless important modification to the engine. Learn all about each of the changes in the 2010 Aprilia RSV4R First Ride.

Before we rolled the bike out of the garage the Aprilia was already the one machine that absolutely everyone wanted to ride first. And who can blame them? It’s absolutely stunning—especially in its Glam White colorway. Visually it’s on par with the fabulous looking KTM and Ducati. Not only does it look awesome but the soulful character delivered from its exclusive V-Four engine simply has to be heard and felt to be believed.

ENGINE

In a sea of standard-issue Inline Four and V-Twin engine configurations, the RSV4 differentiates itself by using an ultra-compact 65-degree, liquid-cooled, 999cc V-Four. Double overhead camshafts drive each of the 8-valve cylinder heads and the 78.0 x 52.3mm bore/stroke measurements is the most oversquare among the four cylinder-powered motorcycles with exception of the BMW. Each piston squeezes fuel received from the dual-stage fuel injection system to a ratio of 13:1, which is identical to the S1000RR, signifying the potential for some serious engine performance on tap.
 
From the moment you press the starter button the Aprilia delivers an exotic riding experience that the others simply can’t match. The howl that emits from the engine is absolutely intoxicating and it’s so thunderous that I’m amazed that it’s legal.

The reason it can get away with this is due to the clever use of a flapper valve inside the trapezoid-shaped muffler. When the bike is in neutral the valve is closed keeping noise to a reasonable 88-decibel level. Drop the bike into gear and the valve instantly opens and belts out the V-Four’s fully unedited soundtrack to the tune of 93 decibels. It sounds even more awesome at speed with a measurement of 112 decibels at 6800 rpm (half of maximum engine speed), tying the Ducati for the award of the loudest motorcycles in the test. It’s amazing considering that the 1198S Corse we tested came with a set of aftermarket Termignoni mufflers.
2010 Aprilia RSV4R
The new Aprilia RSV4R features one of the more simple gauge displays.
If youre looking for a bike with a lot of character the Aprilia should be at the top of your list.
If you’re looking for a bike with a lot of character, the Aprilia should be at the top of your list.


Power wise the RSV4R’s powerband feels like a hybrid of the low-end grunt offered by the Ducati and KTM and the high-rpm power afforded by the Inline Fours. However, looking at the dyno graph clearly shows it’s alignment with the latter. The torque curve is toward the middle of the four cylinders eventually peaking at 9700 rpm with 76.81 lb-ft. This puts it back into sixth position in terms of peak torque production. Keep the throttle pinned and the engine spools up quickly but with less voracity than the ZX-10R or BMW. Initially you can feel some vibration with each power pulse at low rpm, however it fades as the revs increase.

Power down low is respectable as is mid-range but when the engine hits about 10,000 revs it feels like it stalls out for a moment before coming back online in a major way. One thousand rpms later you’re back in business with motor doling out upwards of 155 horsepower until its 159.77 peak at 12,600 revs. The engine maintains peak power for another few hundred rpm before dramatically falling off right before its 13,600 redline.

“I really love the character of the Aprilia’s motor. It delivers a similar level of exoticness ala Ducati’s Desmosedici MotoGP replica only it costs four times less,” said Executive Editor Steve Atlas. “Though I wish it revved up a bit faster and didn’t have that weird flat spot at 10-grand; other than that I’m pretty impressed.”

All the adrenaline-pumping fun and excitement generated by the Aprilia takes a heavy toll on fuel supply. The 4.49-gallon tank empties faster than all but the Ducati with an average MPG of 28.2, netting a range of roughly 125 miles between fuel stops depending on how aggressive your right wrist feels.

DRIVETRAIN

A cassette-style 6-speed transmission and cable-actuated slipper clutch complement the engine and shift power through 16/42 final drive gearing. Like the rest of the bikes first gear is tall, meaning that a little more clutch slippage is required to get off the line cleanly. Thankfully clutch lever pull is wispy and offers an elevated level of feel. The Aprilia’s decent bottom end engine performance further assists in getting it moving.
 
In the quarter-mile acceleration test the RSV4R netted a time of 10.06 seconds at 142.7 mph. This put it toward the back of the pack in this close performing group. However, do keep in mind that it was less than four-tenths of a second off the class-leading pace set by the BMW.

Overall we were pleased with the way the gearbox felt. Second through top gear are stacked closely together and the lower final drive gearing helps maximize acceleration. While the gearbox didn’t feel quite as tight as the Japanese bikes it was definitely close and significantly better than the loose feeling ‘box used in the 1198. Equally impressive was the performance of the slipper clutch, with it providing a perfect happy medium between engine braking and freewheeling effect on the road.

ERGONOMICS / COMFORT
The Aprilias  15 999 MSRP is plenty reasonable for the amount of performance and exclusivity you get.
Without question the RSV4R is the wildest bike in this comparison.
The Aprilia’s $15,999 MSRP is plenty reasonable for the amount of performance and exclusivity you get.


From the moment you hop into the seat it’s not hard to notice that the RSV4R was built with one purpose in mind—racing. Of all the bikes tested, the Aprilia features the most diminutive cockpit. It feels no wider than a Yamaha R6 and much shorter front-to-back than all of the motorcycles, including the petite Honda, which shows one of the benefits of its compact engine configuration.
 
This makes it more difficult to get comfortable on if you are over 5-foot 10-inches tall, however short riders didn’t have much to complain about other than seat height, which measures 33.3 inches off the ground, giving the RSV4 the honor of having the tallest seat. Fortunately the narrowness of the chassis and fuel tank negates the effect and makes it easy to touch the ground.

Reach forward to the handlebars and like the Ducati and Kawasaki you’ll instantly feel a good deal of pressure placed on your hands and wrists. We do however appreciate the angle in which the handlebars are positioned as well as how wide they are apart.
 
Next to the Ducati, the Aprilia has the honor of having the most uncomfortable seat. Not only is it thin, the tiny and the high location of the non-adjustable footpegs multiply the level of discomfort with every passing mile. The RSV4R’s narrow front fairing and short windscreen provides the most minimal amount of wind protection. The rear view mirrors are also too small and shake excessively making them useless just like those on the KTM and Ducati.

HANDLING / SUSPENSION

With a full tank of premium fuel we were shocked to discover that the Aprilia weighs just one pound less than the porky Yamaha—a big surprise considering how tiny the bike appears dimensionally. Other than rolling the bike around in the garage you’d be hard pressed to feel the bikes 473-lb curb weight on the road as engineers spent a good time perfecting its center of gravity.
 
Similar to the Kawasaki and the Ducati, the rear end feels a bit high in the air which helps with initial turn-in. Once on the side of the tire the bike felt the least planted as compared with the other bikes. But traction afforded by the OE-fitted Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires is phenomenal and more than enough to obtain knee-dragging speeds around corners. Conversely, on corner exit we were surprised by just how stable the bike was with it resisting the urge to headshake even on rough pavement. We also noticed how resistant the Aprilia was to quick side-to-side direction changes.

Even with its lesser grade suspension components we were still pleased with the way the suspension functioned. Both ends absorbed bumps well and generally delivered a fairly forgiving ride. In fact the only real weak spot in terms of comfort is its small, rock-hard seat and tight ergonomics layout.
The all-new Aprilia RSV4R features a Showa fork and Brembo brakes.
The all-new Aprilia RSV4R features a Showa fork and Brembo brakes.

“Overall I’d give the Aprilia’s handling a ‘C’,“ said Atlas. “It turns in okay—not quite as quickly as one would expect for a bike that looks this small but still on a similar level as the Suzuki and faster than the Yamaha. For the street the suspension wasn’t that bad at all. It was way more forgiving than the KTM and Ducati, yet it was hard to ride for long distances because of how uncomfortable the seat is.”

BRAKING

While the Aprilia makes use of premium Brembo components fore and aft we weren’t impressed with the overall performance of the brakes. In our braking test the Aprilia was toward the back of the field recording a stopping distance of 131 feet from 60 mph.
 
This is surprising considering the RSV employs Brembo radial-mount monobloc calipers up front that grip down on large 320mm diameter discs just like the Ducati and KTM. Out back a single 220mm disc and Brembo twin-piston caliper keep rear wheel speed in check. Both brakes also benefit from stainless-steel brake lines.
 
The problem can most likely be attributed to lack of front brake feel. While outright stopping force is at a high level it’s hard to achieve because the brakes simply don’t deliver enough feedback through the lever to really allow a rider to comfortably use them near the limit of lock-up.
 
INSTRUMENTATION /  ELECTRONICS

Instrumentation is comprised of Aprilia’s signature orange-backlit mixed digital/analog instrument panel. A round swept tachometer is bordered by a LCD screen that provides everything you need to know. While the instruments are easy to read they don’t look as cool as the Ducati’s and the menu system is more complex to navigate through in comparison to the
The RSV4R is one stunning motorcycle.
The RSV4R is one stunning motorcycle.
Beemer’s intuitive display. 
 
In the electronics department a handlebar switch allows the rider to choose from one of three engine maps: Track, Sport and Rain. Each map has a corresponding change in engine power and throttle response. Overall we preferred the Sport setting as it made the throttle feel far less touchy than Track mode without sacrificing power output.

FINAL THOUGHTS
 
Although it ranked at the back of the pack, if you’re looking for the wildest, most charismatic motorcycle then look no further than the $15,999 Aprilia. While it was held back in some of the performance-oriented and subjective scoring there wasn’t a person who rode the bike that wasn't in awe of the bike’s unique personality and sheer fun factor. If Aprilia could somehow reduce the weight, increase fuel economy, and make the bike more comfortable to ride they could easily have a winner on its hands. 

 
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2010 Superbike Smackdown: Street Video - Part 1
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2010 Aprilia RSV4R Street Gallery
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2010 Aprilia RSV4R Specs
2010 Aprilia RSV4R. Note the very compact overall size.
Engine: 999cc liquid-cooled V-Four, 16-valve DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 52.3mm
Compression Ratio: 13:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-injection
Clutch: Cable actuated wet multi-plate ramp-style slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: Chain 16F/42R
Frame: Twin-spar aluminum
Front Suspension: Showa 43mm inverted fork, 3-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.72 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Sachs gas charged shock absorber, 3-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.11 in. travel
Front Brakes: 320mm discs with Brembo monobloc 4-piston radial-mount calipers; radial-pump master cylinder, stainless-steel lines 
Rear Brake: 220mm disc with Brembo twin-piston caliper
Front Wheel: 6-spoke cast aluminum 17 x 3.5-in.
Rear Wheel: 5-spoke cast aluminum 17 x 6.0-in.
Tires: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70-17, 190/55-17 
Curb Weight: 473 lbs. 
Wheelbase: 55.9 in.
Length: 80.3 in.
Rake: 24.5 deg. Trail: 4.13 in.
Seat Height: 33.3 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.49 gal. Average MPG: 28.2
MSRP: $15,999
Colors: Glam White; Aprilia Black
Warranty: Two years, unlimited mileage
Recent Aprilia Sportbike Reviews
Aprilia RSV4 APRC Traction Control Comparison
Find out how the Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) electronics perform versus the competition in this traction control comparison.
2012 Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Track Comparison
Aprilia’s aiming to take win this year’s Superbike Shootout with its RSV4 Factory APRC. Read how it does against the world’s best sportbikes.
2012 Aprilia RSV4 APRC Factory Street Comparison
The 2012 Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC is back in the Superbike Smackdown to do battle. Read on to find out how it fared agaist the competition.
2011 Aprilia RSV4R APRC First Ride
We put the high tech Aprilia RSV4R APRC and its traction control system to the test on Southern California's backroads. Read more in the 2011 Aprilia RSV4R APRC First Ride.
2010 Aprilia RSV4R Comparison Track
MotoUSA takes the latest Superbikes and put's them to the test in our annual Superbike Smackdown. Check out the 2010 Aprilia RSV4R.
2010 Aprilia RSV4 Factory Comparison
For our Modified Superbike Comparison we used the Aprilia RSV4 Factory as our stock benchmark machine.
Biaggis Aprilia RSV4
In the eleventh hour MotoUSA hopped aboard the most touted and praised new motorcycle in World Superbike. Say hello to Max Biaggi’s Aprilia RSV4.
Aprilia Sportbike Dealer Locator
2010 Aprilia RSV4R Highs & Lows
Highs
  • V-Four engine!
  • Compact size
  • Stunning appearance
Lows
  • Could be lighter
  • Uncomfortable seat
  • Ergonomics cater to smaller riders
2010 Superbike Smackdown 0-60mph
2010 Superbike Smackdown 0-60

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Comments
Chris -After a year of reviews...  October 29, 2010 12:05 AM
It's interesting to see how different various publications rate some bikes. MC USA says "It turns in okay" and Kevin Schwantz says the RSV4 is the only bike he's ridden which was similar to Stoner's GP7 in "being able to turn like a swingball in mid rally". I'd like to see MC USA post their suspension settings for their tests.
Ken -WHO DOES NOT LOVE THIS BIKE???  May 30, 2010 07:09 PM
Everything this bike is what a bike should be. Styling - check. Engine sound - check. World Superbikes - check. Final 250cc race in Valencia - check. everyone loves this thing because its like that bike you dream about before you go to sleep at night. i cant wait to get my hands on it one day, regardless of what the magazines says i want to get THIS bike. i mean ergos and all those little problems they say would go away once you have this in your living room and not competing it with the other bikes on the street.

that winning BMW looks like as if someone fell asleep designing the front end, that Honda hmm did someone forget to put on the side bodyworks? the Suzuki, Kawi are ok.

the Yamaha has the engine note from Valetinos bike woo hoo. the Ducati is well a Ducati what else can say....

and that KTM OOOOHHHHHfff ok it looks good and performs well, ok BUT - MotoGP - x, World Superbikes - x, other forms of intresting racing - x, Rob someone for his 20 GRAND when he can get a 13 GRAND sexy ass Aprilia- check! i hate that KTM for being 20 GRAND for nothing! comon with that money you can get an R6 and an 848.
MR.ROBOTO -Has a pretty girl entered the room?  May 22, 2010 06:45 AM
How in the world can I even begin to entertain the thought of giving this article any degree of credibility when statements such as . . .“Overall I’d give the Aprilia’s handling a ‘C’,“ said Atlas. “It turns in okay—not quite as quickly as one would expect for a bike that looks this small but still on a similar level as the Suzuki and faster than the Yamaha." . . . Are we to think that Yamaha really has a "D" in handling? Well, lets see, same bike as last year that won with an "A" has now a ???? See, thats what happens when a NEW pretty girl enters room and some !!!!! Come on, settle down, sleep with the BMW if you need to but stay focused.
Mcguire -sewer rat  May 19, 2010 01:33 AM
I owne one of the old RSV Milie R and I would agree that aprilias are more track oriented than most superbikes. But what you hate in town you will love at 70+ mph. The bikes are simply designed to go fast, and I have the points on my drivers liscense to prove it.
R34 -8th Place???  May 17, 2010 04:31 PM
hmm, well considering this bike was born on the track...makes sense
Moof -...  May 17, 2010 03:00 PM
I bought the Factory and I'm loving it personally. I think for the End user like me it is really about whatever you like the look of most. As you said these bikes are so close in comparison. I just had to go with the RSV4 because I know I couldn't have been happy on that ugly BMW or generic Honda.