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2010 Aprilia RSV4 R

2010 Aprilia RSV4 RAprilia RSV4 R

RSV4 R2010 RSV4 R

An instant winner. The RSV4 Superbike ridden by Max Biaggi, Shinya Nakano and – for one spectacular foray – by Marco Simoncelli, was an unstoppable phenomenon in the 2009 world championship reserved for production derived machines, with an incredible debut season that culminated in one win, nine podium finishes and a fourth placing in the world championship for Max Biaggi before the final round in Portugal. These superlative results demonstrate - in no uncertain terms - the technological supremacy of a machine that has proved to be competitive right from the first incredible outing of the V4 engine. A project conceived not just to create a motorcycle that delivers the utmost in performance, but one that also allows the rider to make full use of every last iota of its competitive potential. The excellent results achieved by all the champions who have raced the bike have not come by chance.

Aprilia RSV4 R is the latest product of this winning project, a no-compromise hypersports motorcycle: ultra-technological and innovative, a machine that gives riders the means to constantly raise the bar of their own personal limits. Aprilia RSV4 has brought a wind of change into the world of hypersports bikes; Just one look and you know that its genes are made up of the same winning DNA as the bikes that have earned the marque from Noale 36 world championship titles on the racetrack.

RSV4 R is a true Aprilia, above all because it is so incredibly easy to ride, bringing superlative performance within the reach of any rider.

Aprilia RSV4 R represents the beginning of a new generation of hypersports motorcycles: with its essential concept and pure design, it eschews an overfaired look in favour of body elements pared down to the bare minimum necessary for aerodynamic efficiency. The breathtaking beauty of the mechanicals reveals a bike that achieves levels of compactness which, until now, had only been possible in much smaller engined machines and GP prototypes. State of the art technology for the engine and chassis, coupled with extraordinary usability, make this the perfect companion for the rider who wants to reach and redefine his limits with unparalleled feeling and ease.

These aspects of the project not only give the bike such incredible performance but are also what make it so easy to put every last horsepower to good use. Nothing about this bike is commonplace, and this is even true about the technical solutions adopted - this is the world's first full scale production motorcycle with a high performance narrow V4 engine, the most revolutionary and powerful engine ever built by Aprilia. Together with the fully integrated electronics, record breaking lightness and extreme compactness, this engine gives the bike its unique, unmistakable character.

World class components: the fully adjustable upside down Showa front fork and Sachs rear shock, manufactured to Aprilia specifications, ensure superlative performance and offer the rider incredible feedback for absolute control in any situation. The Brembo brakes with radial monobloc callipers, ultralight alloy wheel rims featuring an exclusive design and the Sachs steering damper ensure the utmost in safety in all riding conditions.

With these attributes, it is clear that the RSV4 R is the new benchmark for the full scale production superbike segment. The unique characteristics of the bike are listed as follows:

  • Class beating compactness
  • 999.6 cc 65° V4 cylinder engine.
  • Latest generation triple-map Integrated Ride-by-Wire
  • Cassette type gearbox
  • Slipper clutch
  • Frame and swingarm in anodised aluminium, as used on MotoGP machines
  • Fully adjustable suspension


Usually, when talking about a sports bike, design plays a minimal role as it has always been dictated by set rules demanding large faired surfaces.

This has all changed now, because the Aprilia RSV4 R rewrites the rule book with its incredible, revolutionary looks. Its minimal fairing showcases instead of hides the technological superiority of the bikes chassis and mechanicals. In doing so, the frame and engine cross over from being purely technical or functional elements to become integral parts of the design. Aprilia RSV4 R is clad in an incredibly close fitting skin that emphasises its forms while also being extremely functional and instrumental in maximising performance.

Just look at the top fairing, a brilliant example of how form and function can be fused to perfection. The quest for ideal breathing conditions for the V4 engine gave rise to the bike's uniquely distinctive face. The gaping dynamic air intakes not only generate optimum overpressure in the airbox, but also visually separate the headlights completely from the rest of the top fairing.

The tail fairing is another distinguishing trait of the RSV4 R: outrageously compact and swept upward, its seems to trail away from the rest of the bike.

Smaller, lower and narrower than any other 4 cylinder bike has ever been or could be, extreme compactness is the greatest strength of the RSV4 R. On top of all this is the almost obsessive pursuit of perfect ergonomics (crucial for perfect control) which has always distinguished Aprilia's sports machines.

The 65° V4 engine: The state of the art in superbike engine technology

For years, Aprilia has known that the narrow V configuration is the ideal engine solution for maximum performance, mass centralisation and dynamic bike balance. Used in the past for the marque's sports twins and revived for the RSV4 Superbike project, this engine architecture immediately proved to be competitive on the track.

The 65° V4 engine in the Aprilia RSV4 R is very closely related to the powerplant which, with Max Biaggi at the helm, has proven to be mind-bendingly quick on the track. An engine delivering incredible performance which also allows a remarkable degree of freedom in the design of the chassis. Thanks to this engine, the chassis engineers have been able to create a superlative chassis architecture worthy of the reputation of Aprilia's finest hypersports machines.

In addition to the engineering exclusiveness of a configuration that is without par anywhere in the world, the technical advantages of Aprilia's 65° V4 are:

  • The engine sits perfectly within the frame for optimised mass centralisation
  • The possibility of creating an ideal chassis layout, with the pinion shifted far forward and a long swingarm
  • Absolute slimness; with overall width comparable to that of a twin cylinder bike
  • Minimised frontal area, translating to huge benefits in terms of aerodynamic efficiency
  • The possibility of very large bores; the slimness of the engine means that the engineers can define very oversquare combustion chamber layouts, increasing the valve diameter and improving efficiency
  • Optimum fluid dynamics with an angle between cylinders greater than the industry standard of 60°, leaving more space for straight intake ducts.

The engine was entirely developed by Aprilia's in-house R&D division, a centre of technological excellence and one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in Europe, which benefits from the invaluable support of the highly successful Aprilia Race Division. The goal of the engineers was not just to achieve class beating performance but also to make the engine much more usable than any of its rivals, because horsepower alone means nothing if the rider cannot make full use of every last ounce of power. The narrow V architecture has resulted in an engine that is incredibly compact in length, offering advantages in terms of mass centralisation and minimising the inertia ellipse, which in turn made it possible to define an extremely high performance chassis.

The innovative timing system (with the chain driving only the intake camshaft, which in turn drives the exhaust camshaft via a gear) has made extremely compact heads (just 250 mm at the rear of the engine) especially in the area beneath the frame spars, which are thus much narrower than would otherwise be possible.

A countershaft dampens first and second order vibrations, making the engine even smoother than a 90° V twin. The monobloc crankcase with integrated cylinder liners ensures maximum rigidity and consistent performance.

State of the art electronics

The electronic management system is another example of the V4 engine's technological supremacy. Full Ride-by-Wire technology eliminates any direct connection between the throttle grip and the throttle valves, which are entirely controlled by a latest Marelli control unit that also controls the ignition and the 8 injectors (the 4 secondary fan pattern injectors come into play at high loads).

Each bank has a dedicated servo unit actuating its own two throttle bodies only. This means that the aperture of the four throttle valves and, as a consequence, the quantity of fuel injected, can be controlled independently. This solution, applied here for the first time ever in a production bike, opens up practically infinite possibilities for power delivery control. This technology offers immediately tangible benefits to the rider, with triple mapping (adjusting power delivery and maximum power) selectable directly from the handlebar allowing the character of the bike to be modified to suit the rider's personal riding style or the track conditions at any time.

  • T - TRACK: no-compromise performance for track use
    Unleashes the full 180 bhp of fury at the slightest twist of the grip. Recommended for expert riders in ideal track and weather conditions;
  • S-SPORT: for exciting road use
    Smooth power delivery. Torque limited in the first 3 gears for greater control. For an exciting but less challenging ride;
  • R - ROAD: Total usability in all conditions
    Power reined in to 140 HP in all gears. Greater usability in all conditions.

A butterfly valve in the exhaust optimises power delivery.

The transmission has also been designed to the meet most advanced criteria to offer the maximum performance possible. To underscore the racing soul of the V4 engine, it is mated to a cassette gearbox with a wet sump lubrication system (with oil in the crankcase). The wet clutch features a mechanical slipper system for optimised engine braking torque control and stability under hard braking.

THE 65° V4 ENGINE in short

  • Engine capacity: 999.6 cc
  • Architecture: 65° V4
  • Crankcase: monobloc with integrated cylinder liners
  • Timing system: 4 valves per cylinder (Titanium and Nymonic) operated directly by a camshaft driven by a mixed chain/gear system, lateral timing chain, central gear train.
  • Fuel system: electronic injection with 2 injectors per cylinder and integrated independent Ride by Wire system for each bank. Three mappings selectable from handlebar.
  • Antivibration countershaft
  • Maximum rpm: 14,000
  • Compression ratio: 13:1
  • Transmission: six speed cassette gearbox
  • Clutch: Multiplate wet clutch with slipper system
  • Electronic management: Magneti Marelli control unit managing ignition, injection and Ride by Wire system.


Aprilia bikes have always been world famous for the superiority of these chassis. RSV4 R raises the bar even higher with a totally state of the art chassis architecture which, drawing from the expertise accumulated by Aprilia in years of racing and victories, tames the explosive power of the V4 engine to offer the rider absolute control over the bike.

Quite simply, the RSV4 R is the best package available today for the rider demanding the utmost in performance in a bike that is as exciting as a track day machine as it is fun to ride on the open road.

Perfectly centralised masses is just one of the strengths of the RSV4 R chassis. To achieve this result, every single aspect has been optimised down to the tiniest detail. As on a racing machine, the fuel tank is positioned so that the majority of the fuel sits under the saddle optimising bike balance and cancelling out handling differences between full and empty tank conditions.

In keeping with consolidated Aprilia traditions, the aluminium frame of the RSV4 R exploits the strength and flexibility of cast and pressed elements, which are welded together in a structure setting new benchmarks in terms of balance and dynamic efficiency. The result is maximum torsional stiffness and flexional stiffness optimised for total bike control. This means that the Aprilia RSV4 R is not just a bike with devastating performance, but one whose greatest strength is precisely the incredible ease with which any rider can access its full potential. The swingarm also uses the same constructional technology as the frame and offers the same perfect balance between flexional and torsional stiffness to contribute to the extraordinary handling capabilities of the RSV4 R.

The unique construction technology of the frame and swingarm allows them both to proudly flaunt the naturally gleaming colour of aluminium, yet another feature that is increasingly rarer in production bikes that contributes to pure racing look of the RSV4 R.


Completing the chassis is a superlative suspension layout - the upside down Showa fork has 43 mm diameter stanchions and features adjustable spring preload and hydraulic compression and rebound damping.
The Sachs rear shock was developed from experience learned directly on the track. This sock absorber boasts a piggy back nitrogen canister (separate and mounted on the body of the unit) and adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping and length, allowing the height of the rear end of the bike to be altered to modify the set-up to suit different riding styles and tracks.

Completing the package is a steering damper, also by Sachs, which ensures impeccable high speed stability and millimetre precision in setting the bike up for turns.


The brake system is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best conventional motorcycle system currently offered anywhere on the market. The monobloc radial front callipers by Brembo currently represent the state of the art in racing brake systems. Literally the best you could possibly desire.

The dual 320 mm floating steel discs employ low profile rotors and asymmetric cross-drilling, shaving approximately 500 g from the front wheel and reducing unsprung mass. The floating retainer is fastened to the flange with 6 pins only in order to minimise inertia and weight.
The brake pump is the radial type to improve lever feel and response accuracy.

The Brembo rear brake system uses a 220 mm stainless steel disc with a two piston calliper mounted directly onto the swingarm


A real Superbike is special not only as far as performance is concerned but also for the care it is built with. The details on the RSV4 R speak volumes of a bike built with an obsessive attention to every single aspect, both technical and otherwise.

The following are just some of the most significant class leading components used:

  • Instrument panel: the mixed type (digital-analogue), it receives all the information from the CAN line and becomes an integral and crucial part of the self-diagnosis system as it is fitted with memory.This is a fully fledged on-board computer, with a dot matrix display set against a minimalist, ultramodern and compact design. Its functions have been improved and are all accessible from three easy to use buttons.
  • Headlight: the triple headlamp layout is not just a reference to the legendary original RSVMille, but designed to offer total night time visibility.
  • Electrical system: designed from the outset to offer maximum functionality and rationality with minimum weight. The result is an extremely clean and compact layout that makes for easier maintenance and is ready for track use, as all components relative to the lights and turn indicators are easily removable.

The thoughts of those who created RSV4 R.

Leo Francesco Mercanti – Head of Product Development and Racing for the Piaggio Group.

Aprilia RSV4 R is the result of a project developed with the precise aim of redefining the parameters of a sporty bike. It's the utmost expression of the Aprilia culture: Races, Passion and Technical innovation.
After astonishing the entire world of enthusiasts by demonstrating the extraordinary competitiveness of the RSV4 right from the start, Aprilia's launch of the " R " version will take it back to the top of the supersports market.

RSV4 R is an on-the-road racing bike that offers everyone the fantastic mix of power and dynamic equilibrium typical of the most sophisticated competitive vehicles. RSV4 R is powerful, but accessible and easy to use, combining record power and weight levels with grace of handling, power delivery and electronics to guarantee the best overall performance.

Today's level of technology is such that forward leaps are more and more difficult.

With the RSV4 project, Aprilia has accepted the challenge: the bike took shape on a blank piece of paper, without any influences or heritage from existing models. We merely asked ourselves what the ideal sports bike should be like, and then we created it. Choosing a unique engine configuration, the V4, just because it's the best choice when you want to maintain that equilibrium that everyone recognises in our sports bikes.
We wanted it to be small, compact and lightweight. It was a real challenge, but now we can see the tangible result of what we imagined, with its aggressive design and essential lines, that's the best reward for all our efforts, without compromises. Aprilia RSV4 R is a real racing Aprilia, that only the experience of 35 world speed titles can help you to create.

If the RSV4 R is good for Max Biaggi, it's good for you as well!!

Stefano Sterpone – Piaggio Group EMEA Sales Manager

The Aprilia RSV4 R is a new challenge that we are enthusiastically bringing to the market, and we are confident that it will meet with approval of both our Dealer partners and our Customers.
The performance achieved since the introduction of the Superbike RSV4 Factory to the market has been very good, and the sales volumes reached up until today have been even higher than our best expectations.
I am confident that this success will continue also with the new “street” version designed for the true experts and fans of Italian supersport bikes. I say that also because today Aprilia can rely on a strong, specialised and particularly motivated Network that has been awaiting for a long time an Italian product whose quality exceeds that of our competitors’ product and which is able to arouse enthusiasm on the track as well as on the road.

Our commitment is therefore to turn the success achieved by this motorcycle on the track into a commercial success and a daily thrill for our Aprilia Customers.

Romano Albesiano – Head of Bike Design and Development for the Piaggio Group.

The RSV4 mission was well-defined from the word go: to be the world's fastest sports bike both on the track and on the road. This was true for the Factory version, and is still the case for the R version, too.

If we had the advantage, for the Factory version, of "arms" absolutely out of the ordinary in terms of vehicle equipment, it's on the R that the positive basic features of the RSV4 project really emerge in all their glory, to the extent that we've gone well beyond the performance levels of our best competitors. The riding pleasure and feeling of overall equilibrium are sensations that every rider should experience. And even in comparison with the Factory, the difference in terms of lap times is minimal, or sometimes inexistent.

It's worth remembering that various possible engine configurations were taken into consideration when the project was first set up: 3 in line, 4 in line, V4 with 90° cylinder banks, and narrow V4.

The narrow V4 was chosen firstly for its guarantee of extreme compactness of the masses, and secondly for the need to capitalise on the great and positive experience built up over the years with the twin cylinder RSV 1000, in terms of general vehicle equilibrium.

I should point out that of the three possible layouts, the one we chose was, at the time, definitely the most expensive in terms of development costs and the cost of each single vehicle. A difference that obviously becomes even more marked when compared with any type of twin cylinder.

Aprilia's challenge with the RSV4 R therefore became that of offering the customer greater value compared with all our competitors' products, but at a similar price, or even lower.

In my opinion, the fact that we obtained this result is an important technical and industrial success for both Aprilia and the entire Piaggio Group. We believe the Aprilia RSV4 R is the sports bike with the absolute best quality-performance/price ratio in the world today.

Claudio Lombardi – RSV4 Engine project manager

“Unique” is a word used so often for new products that it's lost some of its meaning. And yet this is the only adjective that I can find to describe the engine of the Aprilia RSV4.

An engine that's the result of a “high risk” project and of the challenge launched by Aprilia's chassis engineers towards the engine experts: to produce an engine with a high level of specific power (180 cv/l) - therefore four cylinders - without jeopardising the manageability and manoeuvrability offered by the twin cylinder RSV 1000. These were the necessary features:

  • the mass extremely “concentrated“ around the vehicle's centre of gravity in both the longitudinal and transversal directions;
  • the maximum control of the driving torque supplied by the engine.

The engine experts' reply to this challenge was:

  • narrow V architecture (65°);
  • fully electronic engine management, using Ride-by-Wire.

No engine in this category - supersports production - had these features: we had to develop a project right from scratch, without any points of reference. It was a huge challenge, as is always the case when you're developing real innovative products. The team that I had the pleasure of leading was rewarded by the unanimous success and appreciation earned by the RSV4, as well as the great competitiveness demonstrated straight away in the Superbike World Championship, with the irreplaceable contribution of the great Max Biaggi and the technical and sports know-how of Aprilia Racing.

Today, the R version of the RSV4 project offers sports motorcyclists a product that's accessible, yet still maintaining the motoring performance levels that are the foundation stones of the project. I'm sure it'll be as successful as the Factory version, extending it to an ever wider clientele.

Gigi Dall’Igna – Technical Racing Head for the Piaggio Group.

Throughout the period of the RSV4 project, right from the first meeting with that famous “blank paper” on the table, two teams - the racing one and the production one - worked side by side. We compared ideas on every aspect, evaluating the various proposals to arrive at an agreement every time.

It's no secret that the engine configuration (a V4 that's absolutely unique in the production world) was chosen with the precise aim of winning on the track.

But the entire RSV4 project was based on the twofold goal of excelling both in competitions and on the market.

From the performance point of view, all the dimensional and technical calculations were made within the racing department. Mr. Lombardi, who worked with us to develop the engine, was the key player of a great job; the resulting engine offers as standard certain technical features that we regularly use on the racing version. For use in SBK, also the transmission is a faithful ally: the fact of having a totally removable solution - just like for the RSV4 R - allows us to work on the gear set-up directly on the track, so we can adapt the bike to any surface. The slipper clutch and Ride By Wire throttle grip (which we'd already introduced back in 2002 for the MotoGP RS3) are particularly interesting, too; in our case it intervenes in the hard braking phase, managing the engine brake.

Miguel Galluzzi, Director of the Piaggio Group Style Centre

We worked painstakingly on the style of the RSV4, knowing we had a beautiful mechanics that deserved to be left on full view. That's how the idea of a minimal fairing was born, and from there our experience in the wind tunnel drove us to push that concept to the limit. We simply realised that a short fairing evacuates the heat better. At the same time we were able to reduce the width as well, thanks to the exceptional measurements of the V4. The limited dimensions of the tail fairing make it stand out, so it seems to be moulded from the bottom up; it's a sort of design symbol in this search for minimalist forms. And all this still assures a degree of comfort that I believe to be extraordinary for a supersports bike like the RSV4R.
Throughout the process, our clear aim was always to create a bike immediately recognisable as an Aprilia. This goal led to design choices like that of the three headlamps – as a tribute to the first version of the twin cylinder RSV – that allowed us to open up important slits for airbox respiration, and the design of the rims (resulting from the exceptional racing experience of our company).

Mariano Fioravanzo – Head of Sports Bike Design for the Piaggio Group

It was clear from the start that the RSV4 wasn't just a question of developing a bike, but of creating a project made up of various steps, with the overall aim of bringing Aprilia back to the top levels of world motorcycling both on the track and in the market.

A project whose goal was to plough a furrow in the world of supersports bikes and which, for this very reason, developed around the most practical choices in the search for top levels of performance and sporting flair.

Ironically, the brand new RSV4 R was the most complicated step from the engineering viewpoint, as we had to maintain all the special features of the sisters SBK and Factory, but on a bike designed to offer performance and technology to everyone, and with a product ready to let every rider reach his own limit straight away, raising his personal crossbar lap after lap.

To reach this goal, we concentrated above all on the development of the suspension system, settings and mapping. The end result was amazing, even for us, as the new RSV4 R is extremely effective with high performance levels, but can also be used by less specialised but equally expert, demanding riders. Further proof of the excellence of the choices made on the RSV4 project.