I am an ordinary guy who enjoys riding motorcycles. I love riding all makes and models. I love short rides, long rides, and multi-day road trips. I post reviews about motorcycle gear, motorcycles, roads, restaurants, sights, gadgets and more. The Interesting Facts and Trivia page has a new bit of history added each week. Be safe and enjoy the ride, Oz.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Aprilia RSV4 Superbike Review

Matt's RSV4 in Colorado during the Beat The Heat tour 2019
Motorcycle Reviews
I do not have the time nor the finances to ride all the motorcycles I would like to ride.  I see so many motorcycles I would enjoy riding for an extended time and really test them out. I have never owned a Aprilia, but I once road an RSV4 I have a great friend, Matthew,  who owns one the best looking sport bikes on the market, the Aprilia RSV4.

Matthew has graciously written a complete review of the RSV4 after owning his for 3.5+ years.  Matthew has ridden the RSV4 in multiple states, on the track (including COTA in Austin, Texas) and in various weather conditions.

Please enjoy Matthew's Aprilia RSV4 review.
 Matthew's RSV4
The 2015 Aprilia RSV4 is my second sport motorcycle and my first superbike. This is my review of one of the more iconic sport bikes in modern production.

July 2016
I had just returned from a tour of the Rocky Mountains with Oz. I was on my Triumph Street Triple R, which was my first motorcycle. An excellent machine but lacking in wind protection for my own high-speed style of touring. I had an itch for more horsepower and more capability at the racetrack. While in Colorado, I stopped at a Yamaha dealership as I had my eye on a new gen R1, but I couldn't find one suiting my pricing and color choice.

Back in Texas, I test rode a 2015 R1 and rather enjoyed it, barring a few niggles. At the dealership I had previously purchased my Triple, they had a brand new 2015 RSV4 R on clearance pricing, due to having sat on the show room floor unsold. One test ride blitzing up and down I35 in Dallas made me fall in love with the unique growl of the V4 motor. I traded in the Triple on the RSV4 that day.

The feel of the RSV4
The RSV4 feels smaller than it really is. You very much sit on top of it rather that in it, like many other sport bikes (the Panigale comes to mind). I'm also taller that the average pilot Aprilia envisioned for this bike. At 6'2" I tower over the bike when riding. What some would consider to be cramped ergonomics, I find the bike puts me right in comfortable race position, knees hitting right in the curve of the fuel tank. With 33.3" seat height, it's a tall bike, but my height still allows me to flat foot at stop lights. What's funny is my knees would bother me on the Street Triple after so many miles with its lower and more forward foot pegs. My legs and knees never get tired on the RSV4.

The lines on this bike are second to none. Italian styling all the way.
Ready to roll at COTA for a track day.
 The finish of the bike
The quality on the bike is impressive. All of the controls feel solid under hand and thumb. The welds on the frame are all beautiful, even where they aren't normally visible. The little details like the gas cap and latch snapping closed satisfyingly scream quality. A gripe I have with most super bikes is that their fuel tanks flex when squeezed with your knees (I'm looking at you CBR1000RR). The RSV4 tank has no flex and inspires great confidence when hanging on to it through the corners.

RSV4 dashboard
The 999cc V4 punches hard at around 5500~6000 RPM and then rapidly and predictably rockets upward, peaking at 186HP at 12500RPM. Redline is at 14k, so you have some headroom at the top, but not much. The V4 motor has the characteristic of a broad powerband and doesn't suffer the peak-y-ness of inline-4 motors. At stock gearing, I was able to max out at 180MPH. I've since gone down to -1 in the front to help with around-town riding and make the bike more responsive at lower RPM. It also helps loft the front wheel more easily.

Stock tires for the RSV4 are Pirelli Supercorsas which are the tires I enjoy the most for super aggressive and track riding. On the street, I get by with Rosso Corsa IIs, but I have made good B-group pace on the track with them. The Brembo brakes are highly competent and Sachs suspension can be dialed in for either street or track riding.
Having fun on the track
I've done a little customization to the bike, but it doesn't need much help. A ZeroGravity Corsa windscreen, T-Rex Racing protection, TechSpec Snake Skin tank grips, RG tailtidy, and RhinoMoto bar ends to fit a single CRG bar-end mirror. The Zero Gravity windscreen helps a tremendous amount with wind protection on the highway and at the track; my long torso needs all the protection it can get. The ZG windscreen also makes it easier to get into the full tuck position.

Knee down at COTA
After a couple years of ownership, I installed an Arrow GP2 slipon and flashed the official Aprilia RACE tune to the ECU. There's no need for PowerCommander or any piggyback systems. The official tune is the best one for the RSV4. I picked the Arrow over many other choices due to it being mid-length (not requiring an additional mounting bracket), reasonable priced, and sounded good while not being as loud as many shorty cans. The wide open Arrow lets the RSV4 speak its iconic sound clearly at full tilt.  

Looking good and ready to go
 Longer rides and MPG
When traveling on the bike, I fit Cortech Super 2.0 Saddlebags and the matching Cortech Super 2.0 tail bag for a combined 60 liters of storage. This setup straps to the rearsets and the tail section firmly. I've had this rig up to 130MPH with no shifting or coming loose. For a little extra comfort on long trips, I purchased a stock seat for a Aprilia Tuono, which swaps directly over with no modification and is thicker and squishier, but it does add noticeable ride height. With mixed spirited riding, I average 31 to 35 MPG. The fuel light (no gauge, just a warning light) usually kicks on at 110 miles on the tank.

At home, but ready to hit the road
Final Thoughts
Total weight is the only downside on this bike, 460-ish pounds when fueled and ready to roll. Fortunately, the poundage is only noticeable when pushing around the garage.

I have commuted to downtown Dallas, ridden back roads twisties, taken weekend trips to the Hill Country and even hauled the bike out to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.  I’ve done 8 track days including multiple weekends at the world-famous Circuit of the America. The RSV4 has taken me on the windy roads in the Smokey Mountains, including the Tail ofthe Dragon, and over many mountain passes of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico.  I can put about 300 miles of spirited riding in a day before fatigue starts to set in.
Riding the Tail of The Dragon during 2018 Beat The Heat Tour
The RSV4's handling is its shining feature which breeds confidence in the twisties. The bike feels solid, stable, and predictable at max lean angle, even all the way down to scraping foot pegs, which I've done on the track. The bike wants to be thrown into corners and hangs there until you pick it back up on the gas. Both factory levers are adjustable and have given me no reason to change them out for aftermarket or shorty levers.
RSV4 on the track in Austin
The RSV4 is a superbike that people that know race bikes respect, but people outside of that circle have probably never heard of it. The guys at the Harley shop will ask “Apri- what?” The die-hard Japanese sportbike fans may or may not have heard of the little Italian brand. Read any of motorcycle magazines when they compare the latest and greatest sportbikes every year. If the RSV4 doesn’t outright win the comparison, it’s always the Aprilia that wins the tester’s choice award as they bike they would take home if it were their money.

I plan on keeping this bike for the foreseeable future, but when the day does come for a new fun machine, I will definitely be getting the latest year model of another Aprilia RSV4.

(My VFR is leading the ride for a little at first) 

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