SINGAPORE – This evening sees the debut of two new Italian high-performance motorcycles, the Aprilia RSV4 and its naked counterpart, the Tuono V4.
Although visually similar to the bikes they replace, they have undergone substantial mechanical revision. “To the naked eye the bikes might look the same, but actually from ground up they have been redesigned, revamped,” says Eugene Mah, the managing director of local distributor Mah Pte Ltd. “These are all-new bikes.”
The RSV4 is Aprilia’s top-shelf superbike offering and sees considerable improvements over the previous model. Because Aprilia competes with the engine in both World Superbike and MotoGP, unlike the Tuono, the V4 engine’s capacity has remained 999cc.
Its internals have been significantly improved, though, with lighter moving parts such as the pistons, conrods, camshafts and a new upper crankcase. The valves are now fully titanium (the exhaust valves were previously steel) and larger than before, and the combustion chambers are even machined by CNC units. There’s also a new oil system and a redesigned airbox and variable air intake system.
Aprilia claims 201bhp, which is par for the course for a modern litrebike with machines like the BMW S 1000RR and Ducati Panigale 1299 making a claimed 193bhp and 205bhp respectively.
With a wet weight of 203kg, the bike has an almost one to one power-to-weight ratio, making it, kilo for kilo, more powerful than cars like the Bugatti Veyron or Ferrari’s new 488 GTB.
It’s worth noting that the RSV4 gains 16bhp, which is a huge amount for a small, compact litrebike, so Aprilia’s engineers also modified the chassis to cope with the increased grunt (such as increasing the swingarm length). In ergonomics terms, the handlebars are taller and flatter, and a new fairing claims better wind protection.
Also improved are the bike’s electronic systems including traction control, wheelie control, quickshifter.
The RSV4 is offered in a few trim levels, but the top tier models are RR, which has Sachs suspension, and RF (shown here) which has top-shelf Ohlins suspension, steering damper, forged aluminium wheels and a unique ‘Superpole’ graphics scheme. The latter is limited to 500 units worldwide, with 10 units allocated for Singapore..
A Race Pack version of the RR brings it up to RF spec but without the Superpole graphics. The RR goes for $29,373 OTR (with insurance, road tax etc but no COE), while the race pack costs an additional $2,140. The RF retails for $36,863 OTR.
Aprilia pioneered the supernaked segment in 2003 when it stuck handlebars and chopped bits of fairing off its RSV superbike and created the first Tuono (pictured below). That created a bike with plenty of performance, but a better riding posture for everyday use.
Since then the bike has become something of a definitive hypernaked machine, with V-twin power giving way the the V4 engine of the RSV4 in 2011.
The latest, modern incarnation of the bike sees it take the engine from the previous RSV4, but it’s now been bored out to 1,077cc, hence the new name Tuono V4 1100. Some of the new engine internals from the RSV4 are carried over (conrods, new crankcase etc).
The result is peak power jumps by 5bhp, but it’s further down the range that gets the most flex – the already brutal Tuono midrange is now even more muscular, with Aprilia claiming a 20bhp increase at 8,000rpm, plus peak torque increases approximately 5Nm to 120Nm.
READ MORE: BMW’s Tuono Rival Tested: BMW S 1000 R
Like the RSV4, the geometry has been altered for improved control, with rake increased, trail reduced and the swingarm lengthened by 4mm. Identical on the Tuono is Aprilia’s host of electronic rider aids as found on the RSV4 – you can select riding modes as well as modes for the Race ABS system.
Like the RR and RF RSV4 models, the Tuono 1100 RR has Sachs suspension, while the 1100 Factory (pictured here) packs Ohlins shocks and forks and a steering damper. The bikes are priced at $28,269 OTR for the RR and $30,409 for the Factory model.
The prices represent terrific value for money in Singapore, especially in bang-per-buck terms. But high performance is a core value of the brand, says Simone Niccolai, the managing director of Piaggio Asia Pacific.
“The DNA of Aprilia is very easy to identify: our roots are in the racetrack,” says Niccolai. “What we gain from our experience on the racetrack, we always try to bring into the road bikes.” The RSV4 has been a consistent winner in World Superbike racing (winning the title three times).
Among the various versions that go on sale today, the RSV4 RF is the closest to what the Aprilia factor takes racing. Alas, the 10 units in Singapore have already been spoken for. The fastest bikes, it seems, go to the fastest customers.
Additional reporting by Leow Ju-Len