Aprilia's RSV4 Superbike awed hardcore racing enthusiasts around the globe when it first broke cover in 2008. The production street bike looked more like a MotoGP machine that had lights integrated into its sleek, arrow-like bodywork.
Aprilia engineers and designers had pursued a lofty mandate: to create the new standard for superbikes by building the fastest, best handling superbike available.
At the heart of the RSV4 is an engine configuration unique to production-based motorcycles: a 65° V-4. Early on in the design phase of the RSV4, Aprilia engineers decided on a 4-cylinder engine in a V pattern as the best platform to extract peak performance.
In addition to being the most revolutionary and powerful engine Aprilia had produced in an illustrious racing history that had delivered 45 World Titles, the plant was extremely narrow and compact allowing for concentration of mass, which aids distribution of weight. This centralization of weight is critical to nimble handling and stability.
The RSV4 took to the track for the first time at the end of 2007. Engineers were intent on refining the machine's base characteristics, refraining from introducing any electronic riding assistance in order to fully understand the machine's performance dynamics.
Traction control and anti-wheelie electronic aids were introduced only after the raw RSV4 platform had been completely refined and perfected.
In 2009 Aprilia added the final element needed to prove their new weapon. Italian Max Biaggi, the "Roman Emperor," was signed to take the new creation into battle in the WSBK wars.
Biaggi had given Aprilia three of its world titles in the 250cc World Championship and his return to the Italian manufacturer brought with it the familiar taste of victory. Right from the start of the 2009 season the RSV4 proved its abilities, winning races and consistently placing well.
But it was the 2010 season that saw the RSV4-going up against the formidable Ducatis, who had laid claim to the series for years-come into its own. The result? Italian Max Biaggi, riding the RSV4, just handed Aprilia the 2010 World Superbike Title with one round still remaining.
Aprilia RSV4 SBK - Specifications
Aprilia 4 longitudinal 65° V4 cylinder, 4-strokes, liquid cooling system, double overhead camshaft (DOHC), four valves per cylinder
999 cu cm
Variable-height intake ducts controlled by engine control unit, electronic injection with 8 injectors and latest-generation Ride-by-Wire technology
Six speed cassette gearbox
Multiplate wet clutch with slipper system
Aprilia Racing ECU managing ignition, injection, variable-height intake duct control, Ride by Wire system and traction control
Adjustable, aluminium dual beam with pressed and cast sheet elements