2010 Aprilia 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
In addition to the engineering exclusiveness of a
configuration that is without par anywhere in the
world, the technical advantages of Aprilia's 65°
- 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
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
Claudio Lombardi – RSV4 Engine project
“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
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
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
But the entire RSV4 project was based on the twofold
goal of excelling both in competitions and on the
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
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
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.