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2010 Aprilia RSV4 Factory Track Test (video)


by Pascal Bastien ,

Surprisingly comfortable
The new Aprilia requires full, non-stop attention from the rider to get the most out of it on the track, with smart ergonomics that contribute to a relatively comfortable riding position compared to top-tier sportbike standards. The race-type clip-ons (not too low), wide and nicely-padded saddle and premium suspension components deliver reasonable comfort both on the road and the track, helping the rider stay fresh and focused. On the other hand, the footpegs are a bit too high and far back, the price you have to pay to prevent your toes from sticking out of your boots after just a short session on the track.

Turn2 riding instructor Éric Moffette demonstrates the technique taught be Fressie Spencer to a multitude of GP riders: head well forward and as low as possible - like Nicki Hayden for example. (Photo: Filip Bertrand)

The stylish instrument panel features a tachometer, shift light, temperature gauge, two trip meters, clock, chronometer with time-storing memory and the usual indicator lights. My only complaint is the too-small active ratio indicator, which I found somewhat hard to read at speed on the track.

Born on the track… for the track
The Aprilia RSV4 Factory is light on its feet, stable and amazingly precise, just like a 600 all out sportbike. In fact, it feels almost as nimble and agile as a 600-cc sportbike. But make no mistake: this machine is not designed for beginners, as you’ll realize when blasting through your first straightaway. That’s some mean power coming out of the V4 and only seasoned hands should try all-out acceleration.

Following a quiet first third of the rev range, the engine starts pushing like a big V-Twin at medium revs and then unleashes full 4-cylinder cavalry as it reaches top revs. Orgasmic sound effects delight the ears as the powerplant picks up speed over long stretches of tarmac (about 230 km/h right before the first corner at Calabogie). The V4 pulls really hard from 6,500 rpm all the way to the redline (13,500 rpm).

When braking or attacking corners, the RSV4 continues to display great stability. The rider enjoys excellent feedback from the road surface thanks to responsive tires, fork and shock. Still, beware of the wheelie-prone front at full throttle, especially when thunder strikes between 7,500 and 13,500 rpm. Fortunately, the premium Öhlins steering damper limits the occasional fishtailing that mere mortals may find pretty overwhelming, if not scary.

Four time World Champion Mad Max Biaggi showing off on the stock RSV4 Factory bike. He and Aprilia, the smallest manufacturer in World Superbike, are well on their way to winning both titles this year. (Photo: Aprilia)
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