2023 Aprilia RSV4
- The classic V-4 engine you’ve always wanted—with a claimed 217 hp
- Bargain hunters take note: Base-model RSV4 1100 is competitively priced with Japanese rivals that are far less advanced
- Excellent chassis feel
- Significantly heavier than the latest European rivals, plus heavier steering
- Electronics package is a generation behind the newest contenders
- Lackluster brake performance compared to competition
The Aprilia RSV4 and RSV4 Factory are the latest evolutions of Noale’s V-4-powered superbike, complete with top-shelf components and aerodynamic advances. Above all else: The V-4 is one of the great engines in modern motorcycling. When you’re old and doddering, it’ll be one you tell the grandkids about.
Aprilia unveiled the first-generation RSV4 in 2009 to replace the much-loved 60-degree V-twin RSV Mille. The RSV4 has been continually evolved over the years; its glorious beginning the product of a brain trust that included Claudio Lombardi (previously with Ferrari and later associated with the infamous 990cc three-cylinder “Cube” MotoGP project), Romano Albesiano (current Aprilia Racing technical director), Luigi Dall’Igna (current Ducati Corse general manager), as well as legendary designer Miguel Galluzzi.
With such auspicious beginnings, it’s no wonder the RSV4 has been the pride and joy of Noale for going on a decade and a half. While much has evolved technically in that time, the V-4 heart remains one of the unquestioned gems in modern motorcycling. No twin-pulse firing order here, thank you. The howl of the V-4 boiling over at redline is as close to the modern V-Four Victory soundtrack as you’ll get this side of paradise.
The RSV4′s last major update was in 2021. Both the RSV4 and RSV4 Factory received a race-developed aerodynamic styling treatment, a larger-displacement 1,099cc engine, a new inverted-style swingarm, an improved Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) electronic rider aid package, and a larger 5-inch TFT dash.
The RSV4 is one of those motorcycles you want, even if you don’t want one—if you know what we mean. A legend born of Italian engineering brilliance, the RSV4 has earned its place in the ranks of iconic superbikes.
Updates for 2023
The Aprilia RSV4 1100 and RSV4 Factory 1100 are unchanged for 2023.
Pricing and Variants
There are two variants of the RSV4: the base-model 1100 and the Factory edition. The base RSV4 1100 ($18,999) retains the Sachs suspension, nonadjustable steering damper, and cast alloy wheels of its 999cc RSV4 RR predecessor.
The RSV4 Factory ($25,999) is upgraded with semi-active Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 electronically adjustable suspension, forged wheels, Öhlins electronic adjustable steering damper, and a choice of two Factory edition paint schemes.
Color options include Silverstone Grey and Sachsenring Black for the base model, while the Factory is available in an almost entirely black Ultra Dark and beautiful Time Attack livery paying homage to Aprilia’s RS-GP MotoGP bike.
The Aprilia RSV4 and RSV4 Factory compete with the rest of the superbike class. Its European rivals are the Ducati Panigale V4 ($24,495) and V4 S ($31,595), the BMW S 1000 RR (from $17,895) and M 1000 RR (from $32,995).
From Japan: the Yamaha YZF-R1 ($17,999) and YZF-R1M ($26,999), Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ($17,399), Suzuki GSX-R1000R ($18,199), and Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP ($28,900).
The base-model RSV4 in particular is competitively priced with its Japanese rivals, in some instances offering far more modern electronics and higher-spec components—not to mention the 217-hp V-4 engine. In a lot of ways, the base model is the bargain of the superbike field, given its pedigree and spec.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The RSV4 has a homologation-busting 1,099cc V-4 engine that Aprilia claims produces 217 hp and 92 lb.-ft. of torque. On the CW dyno, it produced 189 hp and 85 lb.-ft. of torque.
Despite those eye-watering numbers, its user-friendliness and overall flexibility are the most appealing traits. An aggressive throttle connection combined with immediate torque allows it to jump off a corner while the ripping mid-to-top-end power seemingly never stops. Despite gearing being noticeably taller than that of its competitors, gear selection is less crucial for a quick lap time—there is just so much power available everywhere in the rpm range. The exhaust note is music to any enthusiast’s ears too.
While the RSV4′s measured wet weight of 465 pounds is some 30 pounds heavier than the lightest up-spec competition, the chassis still offers impressive feedback and the suspension provides predictable behavior when pushed. Chassis response is superb, the only downside being sluggish handling in side-to-side transitions.
Switching between electronic suspension modes on the Factory changes the character of the ride, as Don Canet notes: “Chassis feedback in suspension A2 demonstrated further improvement, providing greater feel for what was happening at the tire contact patch. This, along with improved exit stability and reduced fore/aft pitch under acceleration and braking, allowed me to remain more relaxed at the controls and elevate my pace. Switching to A1 may overwhelm your senses at first if you’re not accustomed to a taut race setup. Given time, the feedback and road feel you get through the bike’s touch points becomes the sportbike equivalent of reading Braille.”
The chassis truly is one of the standout features of the RSV4.
Both the base and Factory models use Brembo Stylema calipers with dual 330mm discs up front and a 220mm disc in the rear. A Bosch 9.1 MP ABS setup provides cornering functionality.
While the hardware is completely modern, the RSV4′s brakes don’t have as much stopping power as the competition, and it takes a little more force to get the bike slowed down. This is more noticeable at the racetrack.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Aprilia claims 34 mpg for the RSV4.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
Ergonomics are consistent with other track-focused motorcycles. Comfort is a concession when the goal is chasing tenths. If you want utility, look elsewhere—perhaps the RSV4′s naked cousin, the Tuono V4. Compared to other superbikes, the RSV4 has decent room in the seat to move around. You also feel like you sit up on top of the bike, versus “in” it.
Both models do have cruise control and mobile phone pairing. And a pit lane limiter, which is utilitarian in its own way.
The APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) system was updated for 2021, and includes the new AEB (Aprilia Engine Brake) which allows for adjustable engine-brake control that is now independent from the selected engine map. Other components to the APRC include: traction control, wheelie control, three engine maps, launch control, quickshift, pit limiter, and cruise control. The RSV4 features six ride modes (Street, Sport, User, Race, Track 1, and Track 2), ABS with cornering function, large TFT dash, and cornering lights.
The small joystick controller found on the previous RSV4 has been replaced with a more user-friendly four-button arrangement on the left switch gear cluster, so navigating the on-screen options is now far easier with a gloved thumb. With the bike stationary, you’re able to select between vehicle modes labeled Road and Race. Road gains access to street-centric features including cruise control and, if the accessory Aprilia MIA multimedia unit is installed, dash-integrated phone, music, and navigation info. Ride-by-wire engine maps labeled Street and Sport are preloaded with APRC settings suited to general street and wet road conditions, along with the ability to adjust the default APRC parameters with a User ride mode.
All customizable ride modes allow adjustment of Engine Map (throttle response and delivery), traction control, wheelie control, lean-angle-sensing engine-brake control, cornering ABS, and launch control. The Factory model adds suspension control to the list, with a choice between A1 (active track), A2 (active track/sport), and A3 (active road), as well as manual (non-active damping) M1, M2, and M3. Each of the semi-active and manual presets can be fine-tuned to suit your riding style.
With four times the processing power of its predecessor, the latest APRC package lends mortals superheroic powers. Performance is strong, even if the system on some of its rivals feels slightly more refined and consistent over a lap around the racetrack.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Like all Aprilia models, the RSV4 comes with a two-year unlimited-mileage warranty.
Bursting with a claimed 217 hp, the updated V-4-powered weapon brings impressive performance and technology and excellent chassis response.
|2023 Aprilia RSV4||2023 Aprilia RSV4 Factory|
|Engine:||DOHC, liquid-cooled 65-degree V-4; 16 valves||DOHC, liquid-cooled 65-degree V-4; 16 valves|
|Bore x Stroke:||81.0 x 53.3mm||81.0 x 53.3mm|
|Cycle World Measured Horsepower:||189.70 hp @ 12,930 rpm||189.70 hp @ 12,930 rpm|
|Cycle World Measured Torque:||84.9 lb.-ft. @ 10,380 rpm||84.9 lb.-ft. @ 10,380 rpm|
|Fuel System:||Electronic fuel injection w/ 48mm throttle bodies||Electronic fuel injection w/ 48mm throttle bodies|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate slipper||Wet, multiplate slipper|
|Frame:||Aluminum dual beam||Aluminum dual beam|
|Front Suspension:||43mm Sachs adjustable compression and rebound; 5.0 in. travel||43mm Öhlins NIX fork, Smart EC 2.0 electronic management, fully adjustable; 4.9 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Sachs monoshock, fully adjustable; 5.1 in. travel||Öhlins TTX monoshock, Smart EC 2.0 electronic management, fully adjustable; 4.5 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||4-piston Brembo Stylema calipers, dual floating 330mm discs w/ Bosch 9.1 MP ABS w/ cornering function||4-piston Brembo Stylema calipers, dual floating 330mm discs w/ Bosch 9.1 MP ABS w/ cornering function|
|Rear Brake:||2-piston Brembo caliper, 220mm disc w/ Bosch 9.1 MP ABS w/ cornering function||2-piston Brembo caliper, 220mm disc w/ Bosch 9.1 MP ABS w/ cornering function|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Aluminum; 17 x 3.50 in./17 x 6.00 in.||Forged aluminum; 17 x 3.50 in./17 x 6.00 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||120/70-17 / 200/55-17||120/70-17 / 200/55-17|
|Rake/Trail:||24.6°/4.1 in.||24.6°/4.1 in.|
|Wheelbase:||56.5 in. (1,436mm)||56.5 in. (1,436mm)|
|Seat Height:||33.3 in.||33.3 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.7 gal.||4.7 gal.|
|Cycle World Measured Wet Weight:||465 lb.||465 lb.|