Test Drive: Aprilia RSV4 RR

Aniruddh Mishra 09:30 05/02/2016
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Aprilia RSV4 RR.

While I’m usually more than elated zipping around town on my Aprilia Shiver 750, every so often I have the wild urge to throw all caution to the wind and forget that I have any family! It’s at times like these that I straddle a superbike and give in to the primal motorcycling instincts that I usually manage to suppress.

My recent urges had me checking out the 2016 Aprilia RSV4 RR, quite seriously. Now, like any kid who grew up on a healthy diet of science fiction, I always wanted to be a cool android a la Robocop. That all changed when I rode the 2016

Now, if I’m ever going to be the subject of a covert military experiment, I want to be reincarnated as half man-half RSV4 hybrid. And to be honest, I came quite close to the feeling when I rode this cutting- edge motorcycle, with emphasis on ‘cutting-edge’ because it is just that – the result of decades of consecutive victories on the track in the World  Superbike championships.

With 54 championship titles under their belts, the Racing Department at Aprilia, have taken the engineering and development behind their victorious track machines and have spawned the closest experience track racing – the Aprilia RSV4.

The 65 degree V4 engine feels substantially better than ‘in-line’ 4s and is an example of the painstaking detail that has gone into the birth of this all new RSV4.

The one thing that is of paramount importance to me personally is how a bike sounds and feels. This is a very subjective area and different riders have vastly varying expectations of a motorcycle’s acoustics. But I can safely say that the RSV4 leaves no room for polarisation and even at idle, its low NASCAResque rumbling sent delightful chills up my spine.

The one thing that Aprilia’s Racing Department has near-perfected is the marriage of track performance and street character. The longer swingarm on the new RSV4 gives the rider just that bit of extra confidence in high-lean manoeuvres and is a huge contributor to its success in competitive racing. With a claimed top output of 201bhp, the motorcycle is a ravenous beast just waiting to be released at the first twist of the throttle.

Despite that, you never feel     uncomfortable from such power even whilst riding in neighbourhoods like Arabian Ranches, which I did – if only to annoy residents mid-siesta. The Aprilia RSV4 is such a compact motorcycle, that it almost feels like it’s wrapped around you.

The suspension is beautifully configured to make banking and swerving effortless. Changing direction is as easy as looking at where you want to be and it follows obediently. This is one of the lightest superbikes in the market, weighing in at just over 200 kgs full of fluids. This means that it’s also one of the most nimble and manoeuvrable motorcycles your money can buy.

Aprilia is the company that gave the motorcycling world the revolutionary ‘ride-by-wire’ throttle so you can switch between three ride maps, even in motion – Track, Sport and Race. With the new RSV4, Aprilia has managed to not only re-invent this technology, but also enhance it in the form of ALC or Aprilia Launch Control which ensures that the motorcycle delivers the maximum power at the first flick of the wrist and maps it electronically.

Personality is something the new RSV4 has in abundance. It’s the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of this motorcycle that makes it an easy winner for me amidst its competition in the category.  Whether this comes from the torque of the shorter crank, or from its eargasmic engine music, it’s hard to determine.

Aprilia has kept in mind ergonomics as well and I found the wind shielding from the fairing to be fantastic, even though I’m a taller rider by UAE standards. The chassis feels simple to ride unlike the more physically demanding ones from its competition (Ducati Panigale, are you listening?).

While the RSV4 isn’t the best motorcycle for novices, for even half decent riders it’s a very accessible machine. It also has Active Wheelie Control, which means that when the hooligan in you prevails, you can pop on one wheel in a controlled fashion.

There is so much more I can go on and on about, whether it’s the Brembo brakes that have superlative stopping power, or the Aprilia Quick Shift technology, that makes for instant gear changes without compromising the  throttle – but it really boils down to the fact that every time I rode it, I felt like I was entwined with it in twisted yet passionate embrace.

The power from the engine seems endless and the bike will keep going as long as you keep pulling.

The Aprilia RSV4 is easily the best in the entire category which includes some fabulous contenders like the Yamaha YZF-R1M, the BMW S1000RR and the Ducati Panigale R 1299. Although I tried to be as arbitrary as possible I was hard pressed to find fault, aside from the fact that the competition have electronic suspensions. But even the manual suspension on this is awesome! Aprilia have truly re-invented racing with the RSV4. They’ve managed to take a champion of a motorcycle and make it even better and so much more fun!

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