Sportive – RSV4 R: Aprilia’s winning comeback! – Aprilia’s winning comeback!

RSV4 R: Aprilia’s winning comeback !

Sportive - RSV4 R: Aprilia's winning comeback! - Aprilia's winning comeback!

Fourth in the SBK Worlds, Max Biaggi proved the velocity of the factory RSV4 in his first season. After having validated that of the Factory model, we still had to check the efficiency of the R whose connecting rods work perfectly, thank you for them !

Aprilia’s winning comeback !

Decidedly, the presentation of the RSV4 R to the European press will not have been the easiest for Aprilia. First of all last November, on the Mugello circuit, the journalists’ tests were seriously cut short – then simply canceled – by a batch of defective connecting rods fitted to the pre-production models.

"This is what our in-depth study has allowed us to discover, and we can assure you that the models present in dealerships since mid-November and those that you are going to test on the track work perfectly, as well as those of the Factory. delivered in the last six months", wishes to reassure us Romano Albesiano, technical manager at Aprilia.

"Your colleagues have been pushing the RSV4 Rs hard for two days, and we haven’t had a single problem", finishes insisting one of the members of the Aprilia team! We can not wait to check this for ourselves, on the Portuguese track of Estoril.

Because after the demonstrations of Max Biaggi in the World Superbike (4th in the championship, 10 podium and 1 victory) and our particularly conclusive test of the Factory version last spring (read our), we couldn’t wait to try the 3rd version of the RSV4 : the R !

Unfortunately, while the technical problem of the first meeting was swept away, the French testers discovered on their arrival on the circuit a wet track. But the sky is well loaded and the wind almost absent: it will not dry up immediately…

Provident, the Aprilia staff brought rain gums for their motorcycles: it must be said that in this "other Finistère", bad weather is frequent. So fitted, and the "Road" mode engaged, Site therefore attacks the first session nicely … very nicely !

At the end of the reconnaissance lap – damn it, the circuit seems narrower and more rugged than on the Playstation! -, the straight line of one kilometer (986 m exactly) is swallowed at high speed thanks to the 140 horses delivered by the V4 in its "R" mode, which we could finally rename "Rain"…

Wedged behind the small bubble, the pilot is quite tossed about by the wind at the shoulders and back. Fortunately, the long saddle – still as hard – allows you to lie down properly on the tank and to isolate yourself from most of the turbulence.

Long before the 300-meter sign, the Brembo brakes were really used for the first time. Only the experts will note the difference in reference and feeling between the 4-piston monoblocs of the Factory and those of the R. In the end, the brakes of the RSV4 R shine in these delicate conditions by their reasonable attack and their perfectly dosable power..

Entering the first 90 ° bend is also particularly easy: the small size of the RSV4 R, modeled on that of the Factory, makes it easier to get around on board and we did it quickly – too quickly at the start! – to dive with rope.

The fact that we can no longer change the position of the engine in the chassis, that of the steering column or that of the swingarm to increase the nervousness – or the balance, it depends – of the motorcycle, as it is possible on the Factory model, will hardly matter for future RSV4 R customers.

After all, as Aprilia rightly points out, the Factory version is intended for top riders eager for championship podiums and benefiting from the services of seasoned mechanics, while the R is aimed at bikers who will ride for their own pleasure or to beat their own. chronos and will simply have their bike serviced at their dealership.

The buyers of the R will also be fully satisfied with the Showa fork and the Sachs mono shock: less "did you see me" than the golden Ohlins, they fulfill their offices perfectly – at least they do it on this tricky track Estoril – and remain fully adjustable.

Besides this barter of suspensions, that of forged rims against a little heavier "castings" participate in the significant drop in the price of the RSV4: – € 5,000 between the Factory and the R! In exchange, we will have to accept the additional 5 kg: 184 kg dry for the R against 179 for the Factory … Between us: a trifle !

In the more open and longer turns, the stability of the bike is perhaps even more striking than its agility. Even if you take the brakes back in the middle of a curve – it’s not easy to spot a new circuit with a motorcycle and unknown tires, you can’t improvise Ben Spies … – the chosen trajectory is easily preserved. !

At the controls of this easy and intuitive sports car, the pilot can really concentrate on his driving. No really, the engineers at Noale know perfectly well in cycle parts: a pity that they will not take part in the Moto2 championship next year with our national Mike di Meglio !

The engine of the RSV4 R also defends itself roughly well: its intake ducts may be stationary – they have two positions on the Factory – the Italian 4-cylinder still roars loudly and propels the pilot from one turn to the next. the other with unshakeable conviction. A real pleasure for the ears, which are used to perceive the sound but also the accelerations !

The second generation of "ride by wire" – the handle / butterfly link is done electronically – does not call for more criticism: the engine responds to the pilot with precision and fidelity. It is true that the driving conditions lent themselves to great caution in the rotation of the right wrist, but even in the "quasi-dry", the jerks on the go-around are very limited..

When it comes to pure performance, the R is practically on par with the Factory: "the torque curves are identical", assure the Italians,"and it is only in high revs that the power curve of the R is a little lower than that of the Factory, although it ends up reaching the same max value of 180 hp at 12,500 rpm".

From the second session, the choice of "Sport" mode – the first three gears are restricted – and the drying track undermines the rain tires … The hyper soft rubber pills excessively and the carcass struggles to resist the increasingly assaults. more noticeable 320 mm double discs and 115 Nm of torque available at 10,000 rpm.

On the handlebars, the feeling even becomes unpleasant: when braking at the end of the straight line, the bike swerves abundantly, its front wheel plays the crab by moving sideways … In short, we think twice when opening wide at curve exit !

Indeed, if the limited-slip clutch prevents any locking then sweeping of the rear wheel during deceleration phases, no device comes to prevent this same rear wheel from slipping – then sending its pilot into orbit ?! – when accelerating…

During the third and last session, the fitting of road tires – the original ones, namely the Metzeller Racetec Interact – however puts some order in all this: the RSV4 R motorcycle notably loses its tendency to fall in turn. It becomes perfectly stable, precise and efficient once again … As long as you know how to take it in "Track" mode – and between areas that have remained wet on the track! -, when his mill is fully expressed !

Unfortunately in France, Aprilia will only develop 106 horses … "The clamping will be electronic and it will not be necessary to change parts to take advantage of the 180 hp on the circuit", however tells us Alain Roger, press manager of Aprilia France.

Finally, we have saved the best for you for the end: the introductory price of 14,999 € is maintained until January 31, 2010. You will therefore take advantage of an additional month to collect as many gifts as possible and ask the "little one. papa Noale "one of the very best – and one of the cheapest – Superbikes on the market !

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