A machine that has presented us with one surprise after the other, the Aprilia RSV4 Factory
was earning points and achieving podiums in the 2009 World Superbike Championship (SBK) even before it hit the showrooms as a production model. Such timing denotes that the Aprilia RSV 4 was conceived as a race bike before a calmed down street able version was developed.
|Our own Pascal Bastien at ease on the RSV4 at Calabogie. Watch out for the wheelies when pushing a little harder coming out of corners. (Photo: Filip Bertrand)
Well, as I found out during a track day at the Calabogie Motorsports Park (thank you, Turn2
!), the wait was definitely worth it.
Take all the expertise of a renowned bike manufacturer and holder of 33 world championship titles, add the most advanced combustion, metallurgy and electronic technologies in the industry, spend some 25 million euros in R&D, and you get the road-going 2010 Aprilia RSV4 Factory, a wickedly-sexy sportbike achieving all-new levels of athleticism.
The attractive fairing of the RSV4 partially hides the piece de resistance: a wonderful 999-cc V4 that I could look at and especially listen to all day long. This new engine, featuring a 65-degree angle has been developed by Aprilia’s in-house own engineering team. Expect 180 horsepower at 12,500 rpm and 85 lb-ft of torque at 10,000 rpm. Credit goes to race-derived Magneti Marelli electronic injection, forged pistons, a 13:1 compression ratio, four titanium valves per cylinder, electronically-controlled variable-length intake ducts and Throttle-by-Wire technology. At lower revs and loads, the longer ducts favour torque and smooth power delivery. When top performance is required, the upper part of the intake ducts raises, thus shortening the ducts and leaving the engine free to breather better and express its full power potential.
The rider can select from tree different ECU maps. The "R" (Rain) mode limits maximum output to 140 horsepower and dampens throttle response while maximizing traction control to prevent all type of wheelspin (prototype only and new APRC). The "S" (Sport) mode restores full power and lets traction control tolerate moderate rear-wheel slides (prototype only and APRC). Be careful in "T" (Track) mode, which literally turns the RSV4 Factory into a rocket, with instant throttle response and gobs of torque available from 2,000 rpm, and irresistible power near 10,000 rpm – enough to propel you into another galaxy!
|State-of-the-art street and race bikes are more and more complex, not the thing for backyard tuners who like to play with their machine. (Photo: Filip Bertrand)