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Driving report: Luchow-Aprilia RSV4

The Aprilia RSV4, tuned by Bikeshop-Luchow

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In the midst of the inline four-cylinder variety in the superbike segment, the Aprilia RSV4 with its V-engine represents an alternative drive form. Bikeshop-Luchow refined one of the noble Factory-RSV4s.

It is always difficult to describe familiar faces or familiar sizes anew. After all, you know what to expect or what to expect. Surprises, at least the positive ones, are often absent. If anything, the bad guys are increasing. So what can be expected when Karsten Bartschat takes part in the PS Tuner GP for the fifth time?

Guess what? A posh built racing motorcycle. Except that this year it’s an Aprilia R.SV4 Factory is an obvious green for a Kawasaki dealer. This fact does not really bother, however, because in the pre-Kawa era of the bike shop, top-quality Aprilias were set up in Luchow.

Contrary to some competitors, Karsten kept his hands off the Aprilia’s engine. Only the timing was meticulously set, the rest is more or less in its original condition. In contrast, the electronics department is full. As the German importer of the Bazzaz components, a Bazzaz ZFi-TC with autotune and automatic switch naturally went to the RSV. To explain: The ZFi-TC is the control unit or brain of the electronics. It includes the option of changing the injection mapping like on a Power Commander from Dynojet, and the traction control tested in the last PS is stored in it. It also controls the automatic gearshift, the interruption time of which can be set individually for each gear in a way that is very gentle on the transmission. With its own lambda probe welded into the elbow and the auto-tune module, the RSV4 Factory is able to optimize the stored mapping itself while driving under real load conditions. Of course, the potentiometer for adjusting the tranction control sensitivity while driving is also on board.

Last but not least, the Luchower-Aprilia is adorned with a data recording system from Starlane, which, however, was not yet connected during the test drives. As I said, full hut with the electronic helpers. And the chassis does not remain untouched. The Ohlins fork had to undergo a revision to improve responsiveness, while the Ohlins shock absorber was replaced by a classy TTX 36 from the same company. The professional appearance is rounded off by LSL rests and handlebar stubs, the Leovince complete system and a CRC fairing with a bubble disc. Since light forged wheels are standard equipment at the Factory, nothing had to be changed here.


A real racer. Both the silhouette and the contour of the RSV4 Factory are very small and compact. The spoiler screen provides good wind protection.

Tea Bikeshop-RSV also welcomes the pilot at lofty heights. At least subjectively, you sit miles higher on an RSV4 than on other super athletes. Objectively, this impression is not confirmed. In return, the Aprilia Vau-Vier pretends to be almost bored cool. The juggler always wants to pretend to the pilot that he is not really pushing forward, although he is already nibbling meter by meter at the lead of the opponent ahead. A true RSV4 phenomenon: The very linear power delivery creates the impression that you are too slow. A look at the clock belies this impression, because with the Factory, the Hockenheimer power course offers easy lap times that are close to the competition, which is sometimes more than 20 hp.

That speaks for the already good, but almost perfectly adjusted chassis on this factory. The Luchower-Aprilia generates a lot of grip on the rear wheel, which in combination with the very well coordinated and finely regulating traction control enables incredibly early and violent accelerations. Especially in the Motodrom passage, i.e. from turning in the direction of the Sachskurve to accelerating out onto the short start-finish straight, the RSV can hardly be bent. Pierce the inside, aim for the narrow line and hold it playfully, and then fire it cleanly from the apex like no other bike. The only criticism of the chassis is the very light rear. On the brakes, especially when coming from the top speed region, for example before the hairpin at the end of the Parabolika, the RSV4 gets nervous. The stern barely stays in line and waggles nervously from side to side. A bad habit that also shows itself with serial RSVs. Experienced burners adjust to this and use their light hindquarters to get the motorcycle up a little with light pressure on the rear brake before turning. Supermoto drive with clip-ons and over 170 hp.

What remains after the encounter with the RSV4 Factory of the PS Tuner GP repeat offender from Luchow? Only good things, because the expectations of the bike were fully met, and the positive surprise came in the form of very good lap times.


Weight: 186.3 kg
Front / back: 52.6 / 47.4%
power: 174 hp
price: 27,900 euros

The Vau-Vier feels subjectively weaker than it is. From 4500 tours onwards, it goes very linearly and turns evenly up to 10,000 rpm. The maximum torque is also available there, which is quite late.


Karsten Bartschat from Bikeshop-Luchow.

Karsten Bartschat
Bikeshop-Luchow Bergstrasse 3, 29439 Luchow
Telephone: 0 58 41/97 40 40

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