Sportive – 2015 RSV4 test: Aprilia’s racing beast – 2015 RSV4 RR: MNC technical update

2015 RSV4 test: Aprilia’s racehorse

Sportive - 2015 RSV4 test: Aprilia's racing beast - 2015 RSV4 RR: MNC technical update

In 2015, the category of Hypersport motorcycles reached a milestone: the sharpest ones spit out 200 hp and have as much electronic assistance as a real racing motorcycle! Aprilia RSV4 fits brilliantly into this exciting trend… Test !

RSV4 RR 2015: MNC technical update


The heart – even the soul! – RSV4: a 4-cylinder V-shaped open at 65 °, compact and modern, as evidenced in particular by its intake managed by a servomotor installed on each bank of cylinders. In this way, the opening of the two throttle bodies present on each bench – therefore the quantity of the gasoline-air mixture – is precisely dosed on the front and rear cylinders..

For 2015, this block has followed a drastic diet and a good bodybuilding cure: the Italian engine manufacturers announce it "lighter than 1.5 kg"and more powerful … 17 horsepower! That is 201 hp at 13,000 rpm for the Noale bomb and a torque of 115 Nm at 10,500 rpm. Currently, only the Ducati 1299 Panigale does better with an engine atmospheric (therefore without taking into account the H2): 205 hp and 145 Nm !

To achieve this level of performance, Aprilia has worked hard to reduce internal friction and improve intake. The cylinder heads and injectors are new, while the timing diagram has been tweaked to improve the operation of the 4 valves per cylinder, now in titanium and with a larger diameter at the intake (33 mm).

The camshafts for their part adopt a new profile and lose 500 g in the process. An additional 400g have been gained on the new connecting rods. To ensure optimum reliability for this strongly compressed block (13.6: 1) and super-square dimensions (78 x 52.3 mm), Aprilia has redesigned the lubrication circuit, while the cylinder head gaskets are now triple layer.

The gearbox – equipped with an anti-dribble clutch – sees its gearbox optimized to match the new performance. The airbox is fed by a redesigned, straighter duct to increase air pressure and boost performance. Finally, the engine speed increases by 500 rpm, going to 14,000 rpm at the breaker in favor of extension and pure power..

The variable height admission is also evolving in this direction with new cones. The exhaust is redesigned and inherits two lambda sensors (one per bank of cylinders). Finally, the electronic management of the exhaust valve has also been revised..


The cycle part still revolves around a superb aluminum double beam frame, extremely compact and light. Its geometric changes are minimal: the caster angle is slightly closed (from 25.1 ° to 24.9 °), but by adjusting the offset of the fork crown – by 2 mm – the trail increases (103.6 mm). In this way, it is normally possible to improve stability without sacrificing agility..

To improve traction, the new swingarm is extended by 14mm and its pivot point lowered by 2.5mm. Questioned by MNC, the chassis engineer revealed to us that the entire length of the arm was not used, however: the wheel axle is set back only 4 mm compared to 2014. In the event of greater traction needs, it is therefore possible to move it back by 10 mm, lengthening the final transmission chain in passing.

In addition, a recentering of the masses was operated, always with the aim of preserving the liveliness: the engine is thus fixed "5 mm lower in the frame than on the previous model", revealed to us the responsible for the cycle part. The wheelbase remains very contained for a Superbike (1435 mm), even if the poster 30 mm less between its axles of wheels !

The 2015 RSV4 also offers a range of chassis settings worthy of a MotoGP: it is for example possible to modify the height of the engine in the frame, the caster angle or the height of the axis of the swingarm! All these refinements were until now reserved for the Factory version, but now the base model benefits.

As standard (RR), the 2015 RSV4 is equipped – as before – with a fully adjustable 43 mm Sachs inverted fork that swings over 120 mm and a 130 mm travel monoshock with separate cylinder, also completely adjustable hydraulically and spring. A steering damper (Sachs on the RR, Ohlins on the RF) prevents sudden steering movements.

Advertised for 180 kg dry ("about 208 all full facts", according to the Italians), it can receive as an option the" Race Pack "which includes forged aluminum rims and top-of-the-range Ohlins suspensions, offering a wider range of adjustment but also an anti-friction treatment" Tin "at the front In its version limited to 500 "RF" copies, this "Race Pack" is directly installed and the RSV4 receives a "Superpole" dress in the colors of the WSBK model.

The braking is entrusted to 320 mm floating discs at the front, clamped by high-end Brembo 4-piston monobloc radial calipers (reference M50). Unsurprisingly considering the degree of refinement of the bike, the master cylinder is in a radial position and the hoses are braided. Ultra-light, adjustable and deactivatable ABS completes this formidable device…

Electronics, piloting aids

The first motorcycle to receive an ultra-complete piloting aids pack as standard in 2010, the RSV4 renews all its "learned chips" such as anti-skating and anti-wheeling provided by an inertial platform installed under the saddle . This is made up of acceleration sensors (lateral and longitudinal), roll and tilt. Thanks to their use on modern mobile phones, these sensors are always more precise and smaller.

Derived from Aprilia’s experience in Grand Prix 250 and World Superbike, this Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) aids pack also includes a start assistant, a shifter and engine brake control whose action is correlated with the driving mode engaged (Sport, Track or Race).

The more sporty the mode selected, the less engine braking there is, especially above 6,000 rpm. Ideal for taking care of your curved entrances without sweating! Another novelty in 2015: the power is no longer restricted on the softer modes, only the way it is delivered differs (soft in Sport, instantaneous in Track).

In addition, the ride-by-wire type accelerator is improved for greater precision, which also makes it possible to refine the entry into action of the traction control and anti-wheeling. As before, the traction control can be configured – while driving – on eight levels from the left stalk.

By entering the dashboard submenus, the anti-nose-up can be adjusted to three levels, just like the ALC (Aprilia Launch Control) departure assistant that the RSV4 was the first to use in series in 2010. On the other hand, unlike the S1000RR and 1299 Panigale 2015, its shifter only works when upshifting: lowering gears still requires disengaging..

An astonishing technical choice but assumed by the engineers, who do not consider it necessary and "more expensiveLikewise, MNC was surprised to find that the semi-active ADD suspensions present on the Caponord 1200 were not offered on this high-tech sports car….

The team on site told us that such a device made the bike heavier and did not make it faster during their tests on the circuit … Of course, but a damping controlled in real time would certainly make it more versatile, especially on the road !

The Bosch 9MP ABS is also configurable on three levels and has electronic control of the lifting of the rear wheel when braking, as on the BMW and other more advanced sports cars.

Finally, the Italian Superbike may be equipped with a telemetry system that runs via a free application on a smartphone. Introduced in a less developed version on the Piaggio MP3, this system makes it possible to visualize precisely on graphs the opening of the throttle, the gear engaged, the angle, the braking force or even the intervention of the traction control, turning by turn.

Better: thanks to the GPS present in the phone, this V4-MP (Multimedia Platform) can intervene in real time on the anti-wheeling or anti-skating. These adjustments are carried out using data pre-recorded by Aprilia’s Racing department on numerous circuits. All you have to do is enter the track at the start of the run and these "data" collected by the Aprilia test pilots appear on the phone screen. All for every curve of the track, just like on a real racing bike !

Naturally, the pilot retains the possibility of driving "with his hand", with his own adjustable anti-wheeling and anti-skating. The application then serves as a model, for example by indicating in real time the zones where it is possible to use less assistance to accelerate harder. Impressive !

In addition to its complexity (even the technicians on site sometimes had trouble agreeing on its functions and instructions for use …), this system has some small "youth" flaws. First of all, the V4-MP application is currently only available on iTunes, so exclusively for iPhone. Android phone owners will appreciate…

In addition, the system requires the installation on the motorcycle of a transponder with Bluetooth connection charged "around 250 € incl.", reveals to us, marketing manager of Piaggio France. Finally, the information delivered by this real data acquisition sometimes seemed to us to be questionable….

For example, the maximum angle reached in a curve would have exceeded 61 °, or very – too – close to that taken by Jorge Lorenzo in MotoGP (64 ° according to Bridgestone)! Same thing for the maximum speed, surprisingly low according to the acquisition: differences of 50 km / h less with that of the dashboard were noted. Admittedly, the speedometer is always higher than that measured by a GPS, but not in such a high range !

The manufacturer acknowledged having to further develop its system, while ensuring that the version available from May 2015 would have solved all these "small" details … Also hope that more circuits will be integrated by then in the Aprilia base: in France for example, only Le Mans currently has pre-recorded data. However, without these "data", it is impossible to take advantage of adjustments in real time….

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