The folks in Noale have a video out now (watch it after the jump), promoting the 2011 Aprilia RS4 125 – the four-stroke 125cc street bike that is a spitting image of the Aprilia RSV4 superbike. With 16hp coming out of that tiny single-cylinder motor and cool styling from its larger sibling, the Aprilia RS4 125 seems like the perfect beginner bike for some teenager in Europe, but we have our reservations about how the bike will sell here in the United States. A classic example of how ideas don’t always carryover, Aprilia seems hellbent on bringing this 125cc bike to a market that demands twice that displacement for practical street bikes.
If the argument is that the RS4 125, with its low power figure, is safer and thus better suited for new riders, then why are the RS4 125’s track/race features being promoted? If this is an aspirational sale, who does Aprilia think it is selling this bike to? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the 16-year-old kid. If this is a track bike for young racers, then why conform to the European power specs, and in what popular racing class is it going to compete? Here in California (the largest motorcycle market in the United States) a motorcycle must have 250cc’s in order to operate on the highway legally, so what adult is going to buy this around town motorcycle with that limitation in place?
It’s questions like these that have us trying to understand exactly what Aprilia is thinking with this model being brought over to the USA (at least with the RS125 you could make a track bike argument for the two-stroke machine). Don’t get us wrong, the Aprilia RS4 125 is a sharp looking bike, and it will be all the rage in places like Italy and Spain where there is an actual market for these machines. For the same reason that the KTM 125 Duke isn’t coming to the US, Aprilia should take a hard look at how the American motorcycle market is different from Europe, and what different features and uses we demand from our two-wheeled vehicles. Selling a 125cc bike against something like the Honda CBR250R just isn’t going to work guys. Good video though.