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2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS Track Test


by Pascal Bastien ,

Limited in terms of everyday comfort and practicality, the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS proves to be a real monster on the track with 180 horsepower and ultra-sophisticated electronics. When it comes to shredding tarmac and doing hot laps, no other bike delivers more bang for your buck.

The 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS sends the adrenaline flowing through your body before you even leave the pit lane. The sound and vibration from the engine at idle truly and totally put you in a racing frame of mind. The extreme riding position, in typical Italian superbike fashion, includes low handlebars that remain close to the rider, as well as foot pegs that sit far back. The long seat allows you to fine-tune your position through the various stages of the track -- nicely tucked behind the windscreen on straightaways, and maximally leaned over in corners.

Electronics based on experience
With traction control set to reflect your riding experience, power delivery when shooting out of corners is forceful, yet precise, meticulously bringing the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS back to its feet with some slight, controlled tail-whipping. You can safely resume full-throttle acceleration, with wheelie control quickly going to work to keep the front wheel on the ground, and focus entirely on the proper line to maintain. Helped by a very docile and responsive chassis, it's easy to gain momentum and keep attacking relentlessly.

A blinking indicator on the instrument panel of the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS tells you when the Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) system steps in so you can realize the mistakes you're making and correct them during the ensuing lap. The delicate intervention of the various electronic aids allows less experienced riders to exploit the potential of the RSV4 R more easily by limiting the risk of a fall. Seasoned riders will prefer to set traction control between 1 and 3 to make sure the super-effective nannies don't spoil the fun.

Nimble when you're careful
Having said that, you still have to be careful not to attack corners with too much engine speed, otherwise the V4's inertia beyond 8,000 rpm will paralyse the steering and affect handling. By selecting the right gear, the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS will remain nimble and well balanced. It may be the size of a 600-cc superbike, but it demands rigorous skills and determination like a one-litre steed.

With ABS set at the minimum, you can brake hard and still have some braking power left (trail braking) until the apex. Strong and fade-free, the Brembo M50 setup compares favourably to that of national race bikes. In fact, it's the same as the top-of-the-line Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC ABS.

Road-oriented suspension shows its limits
Designed for a great combination of performance and comfort on the road, the suspension is unfortunately ill-suited for the track. Pitch becomes severe under hard braking, the front wheel bounces in corners with less-than-slick tarmac, and the tail squats under acceleration. Beginners and intermediate riders will likely be satisfied with the fork and shock on the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS, but experts will quickly reach their limits.

Regardless, with a powerful V4 that's easy to modulate, a competent and obedient chassis, as well as a magical APRC system that helps you adjust the bike's dynamics to your riding skills, the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS tops the list of superbikes with a great performance-per-dollar ratio.

2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS
By selecting the right gear, the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS will remain nimble and well balanced. (Photo: Dan Photos)

  • Fantastic APRC system
  • Power is massive, yet easy to modulate
  • Obedient chassis
  • Competitive price
  • Road-oriented suspension not suited for racing
  • Lack of wind protection