Fresh from securing another World Superbike Championship, Aprilia has launched an updated RSV4 and Tuono at the EICMA show. The response it would seem has been pretty tumultuous.
At first glance it looks very much like the outgoing machine, which has won seven out of the last 10 rider’s and manufacturer’s championships. However, the fairing, lights, swingarm and exhaust have been redesigned, whilst the race-proven V4 motor is now producing, wait for it… 201bhp. Bear in mind that such a machine with around 140bhp would live with all-but the very fastest cars money can buy.
The Tuono (the straight-bar equipped, ‘naked’ version of the RSV4) comes in ‘RR’ and ‘Factory’ specifications and features an enlarged 1100cc version of the RSV4’s 1000cc motor for extra flexibility on the road. As is becoming traditional now, the ‘Factory’ version gets Ohlins suspension and a some carbon fibre peripheral bits. Despite the extra capacity, the Tuono develops ‘only’ 175bhp, which is still enough to make it the most powerful ‘naked’ bike on the market.
There is another (rather cunning) reason why Aprilia produced an 1100cc version of their all-conquering engine and that is because it employs an 81mm bore, which just happens to be the maximum bore allowed by next year’s MototGP regulations. Very clever, because Aprilia will be re-entering the world of MotoGP next year and may be able to exploit this to its advantage by making a short-stroke version of its 1000cc motor …
Meanwhile the low-slung, faired RSV4 superbike retains the 1000cc, 78mm bore specification for next year’s World Superbike Championship. That 201bhp figure has come about partly from the development of the CRT-class Aprilia in MotoGP which has brought about an increased compression ratio (now 13.6:1!), cam timing and profile, porting and airbox-related mods like dynamic intakes. ‘RR’ is the standard designation while the ‘RF’ version gets all the blingy suspension and carbon bits. All these improvements, allied to Aprilia’s renowned electronics package means that the small firm from just outside Venice is looking good to retain it’s boast of producing the finest superbike in the world. Having said that, the latest releases from Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha mean that there is going to be a heck of a fight for us all to witness. This is going to be enormous fun.