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Aprilia RSV4

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What do you say about the Aprilia RSV4? The past 13 years have seen a number of changes come to the RSV4 (and seen a number of letters come and go, as well), as Aprilia has been consistent in its effort to keep the RSV4 at the pointy end of the liter-bike spectrum.

The 65° V4 engine has grown from 999cc from its debut in 2009, now to 1,099cc in 2021. Similarly, the electronics package has gotten smarter and faster. And of course, the design has (debatably) improved with the latest trend of aerodynamic aids.

This constant unyielding iteration is unseen elsewhere in the motorcycle industry, which instead prefers to succumb to the ebbs and flows of more clearly defined model generations.

This unique approach has allowed Aprilia to constantly keep the RSV4 at the pointy end of the liter-bike segment, but has it paid off for the 2021 model year RSV4 and RSV4 Factory machines, though? That is the topic of today’s story.

To find the answer to whether the Aprilia RSV4 has gotten better with age, and remains at the top of the superbike pile, we took this motorcycle to one of the most iconic tracks in the United States: Laguna Seca. 

We were not disappointed in the result. Let me explain.

For the 2021 model year, the venerable Aprilia RSV4 gets another update to its 13-year-old platform.

The RSV4 has evolved considerably in that timeframe, and over that period, this production motorcycle lays claim to being the first with an IMU, the first with ride-by-wire, and the first with winglets.

While the differences between the model years of the RSV4 can be subtle at times, the 2021 model sees a revamp of the superbike’s aesthetic, especially in terms of how it handles aerodynamics.

Episode 61 of the Brap Talk motorcycle podcast is out with another “weekly” episode, for your two-wheeled listening pleasure. Apologies for the delay on this one – I am pretty sure it was edited with a mild concussion, which will be explained in Episode 62.

The show is worth the wait though, as we talk about riding the new Aprilia RSV4 superbike at Laguna Seca. Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.

When you are at the top of the superbike pile, it can be hard to justify change, and yet Aprilia has been constantly updating the RSV4 ever since it debuted in 2009.

For the 2021 model year, the Aprilia RSV4 and Aprilia RSV4 Factory models get another update, which is again more of an evolution of the existing machine, rather than a totally new design.

That being said, the changes that come to the 2021 Aprilia RSV4 are pretty big this time around, as you can see from the photo above.

Is this the new 2021 Aprilia RSV4 superbike? That is what the internet seems to think, after the eagle eyes at Motomaniaci spotted the machine testing on city roads.

The bike is a mixture of old and new, with the frame and engine appearing to be the same units from the current generation of the Aprilia RSV4.

However, we can see that Noale is using a new under-slung swingarm design, the exhaust can is a new design, and that the bodywork has gone through some serious changes.

The big Brembo brake pad recall continues onward, this time with Aprilia reporting to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the recall affects its V4 lineup.

Accordingly, the recall affects both trim levels of the Tuono V4 and RSV4 sport bikes, for the 2017 to 2020 model years (only the 2017-2018 model years for the RSV4 RF though).

This recall affects 3,287 V4 units sold by Aprilia in the United States, which constitutes all the RSV4 RR, RSV4 RF, Tuono V4, and Tuono V4 Factory sold in the United States during those time periods.

It is hard to believe that the RSV4 superbike from Aprilia is 10 years old now…but then again, maybe it isn’t so hard to believe. The bike hasn’t change that much physically when you look at it (though, changes abound internally), and even the new latest-and-greatest version of the bike can only be really identified by its new aerodynamic aids.

That being said though, the RSV4 is still at the top of the heap, and with the RSV4 1100 Factory, Aprilia is looking to keep its crown in the superbike category. I won’t bore you with riding details now, but feel free to read our exhaustive riding review of this machine.

Getting a chance to snap some photos of the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory after riding it at Mugello, we spent some one-on-one time with this 214hp superbike, winglets and all.

It is hard to believe that the Aprilia RSV4 superbike is ten-years-old this year. Even in the superbike space, which has seen more than its fair share of models languishing through the years, 10 trips around the sun is a long time. And yet, Aprilia has managed to be at the top of the game the whole duration.

Riders will always differ on their preferences, but the Aprilia RSV4 is a regular on the experts’ short-lists. The RSV4 is just an amazing machine, and Aprilia has done a good job of bringing meaningful updates to the model every few years.

With the Euro5 homologation coming in 2021, we are sure to see a successor to the Aprilia RSV4, but before that happens, the Noale brand wants to celebrate its opus with a special model, the Aprilia RSV4 X.

This is the 10th year of the Aprilia RSV4 superbike, and despite that duration, the V4 superbike remains one of the top machines that you can stick in your garage.

Part of this is due to the fact that the RSV4 is an incredibly well-engineered high-tech motorcycle. After all, it was the first superbike to use an inertial measurement unit (IMU) in conjunction with traction control, and one of the first superbikes to have a ride-by-wire throttle.

The other part of Aprilia’s dominance comes down to the fact that the Italian brand has consistently updated the RSV4 every couple of years, helping keep it at the sharp end of the superbike stick. Now if you believe the rumors, the 2019 model year will be no different.