APRILIA RSV4 1100 FACTORY (2020 - on) Review
- Electronic Öhlins suspension
- Lightest and most powerful RSV4 ever
- Fully loaded with tech and carbon
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Welcome to the 2020 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory review. But what's in a name? Aprilia's RSV4 lineage stretches back all the way to 2009 and in that time very little has changed on the outside. But underneath its familiar curves it’s been constantly developed to a point where in 2019, with its new 1.1 litre engine and weight-saving measures it became the lightest and more powerful full production RSV4 ever.
- Latest news: 2021 Aprilia RSV4 Factory revealed
But just a year later, the range-topping Factory gains another string to its bow in the shape of electronic Öhlins suspension, which Aprilia says is worth half a second a lap around Mugello and smoother on the road.
It’s still one of the fastest production superbikes around a racetrack, flexible on the road and with such a high spec level, better value than its exotic superbike rivals. New electronic suspension delivers Öhlins goodness in all conditions and is the cherry on top of over a decade of development, where every step of the way the Aprilia has flourished to become more refined, faster, evocative and ever eager to please. It’s still tiny and uncompromising, which will put some people off, but it’s hard to know where they can go with the RSV4 now - it’s that impressive.
The Aprilia sits with the track-focussed exotic superbikes, like the small and peaky Honda Fireblade SP and wrist and bum-killing Yamaha R1M. The friendlier, but fast BMW S1000RR M Package and Ducati Panigale V4S are easier to live with for the road.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Now the Factory’s suspension (and steering damper) self-adjusts electronically, like the '19 Tuono’s, but it doesn’t have gas forks, like the 2020 Blade SP. Constantly changing to suit the conditions the semi-active units are no longer a compromise between hard and soft. The old Öhlins set up weren’t exactly filling-shakers and the quality of the ride and the confidence they gave in corners was immense, but now the RSV4 is that bit plusher over bumps and more controlled when you push hard. But it hasn’t morphed into a tourer overnight - it’s still taught, high and barely sinks down when you plonk yourself on.
Aprilia’s traction, wheelie and engine braking control were upgraded in 2019 and are still among the best business. They remain untouched for 2020, but Rain, Sport or Track rider modes now link into the semi-active suspension.
At the touch of a button you can have a stiff, supportive RSV4 for trackdays, a soft one for the wet or somewhere in between for dry roads. Delve into the set-up menus and you can fine tune it further or lock the Öhlins into its fully adjustable manual mode. Like the S1000RR you also get cruise control – a godsend for motorway blasts.
Its adjustable aluminium chassis was upgraded in 2019 with quicker steering geometry, a braced swingarm and longer travel suspension and remains the same for 2020, as does its lithium battery and titanium Akrapovic, which saves 5kg.
Available as part of the 2018 RSV4 FW (Factory Works) Kit, the now standard carbon fibre wings generate 8kg of vertical downforce at 186mph. They prevent front wheel lift at very high speed and add stability in fast braking zones.
Find out more about the Factory Works Kit in the video below:
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Italian’s 1077cc 65° V4 motor is a mechanical marvel. Yowling, howling, full of grunt and searing revs, it’s what makes its Tuono sister such a formidable super naked and tuned to give 214bhp (with high compression pistons, extra oil cooling jets, new mapping and lary inlet cams) it’s the brawn behind the RSV4’s electrifying speed.
It replaced the old litre lump last year and remains unchanged, but during our 2019 superbike shootout the Aprilia was quick enough to see off the Panigale V4S and S1000RR on track. On the road it’s so flexible you don’t need to stomp up and down the gears to keep things flowing, like its peakier rivals. It averages 40mpg a does 162-miles to a 18.5-litre tank.
Watch the 2019 superbike group test here:
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Our owners’ reviews are generally glowing for the RSV4 and the naked Tuono version, but there are reports of the odd mechanical, electronic and quality control problems, which have even affected Aprilia’s press bikes we’ve tested. It shouldn’t put you off buying, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
It still doesn’t have LED headlights, which will disappoint some and its 2020 satin black paint isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it has all the goodies boxes ticked and like its rivals, it has cutting edge rider aids, a lithium battery and a top draw up/down autoblipper.
Designer brakes, suspension and wings give it a more exotic feel than the cheaper BMW S1000RR M Package and forged aluminium wheels put it ahead of the more expensive new Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. Its generous swathes of carbon goodies and beautiful, blued and purpled titanium Akrapovic exhaust makes the even pricier Ducati Panigale V4S look decidedly ordinary.
But it’s still an exotic superbike with a price tag to match, so it’s not cheap to buy, run or insure, but shop around and you’ll find great deals on the previous non-electronic Öhlins RSV4 1100 Factory, which is still a belter.
How does it compare to its latest rivals? Check out the video here:
Styling has remained largely unchanged since the RSV4’s inception, but its angular lines seem to get better with age, especially when they’re embellished with MotoGP-esque carbon fibre bellypan louvres and a new front fuel tank cover.
But it’s still one of the smallest superbikes you can buy, so if you’re not racer-shaped its tall pegs will squash your knees, compared to an R1, S1000RR or Panigale V4. It also keeps the carbon wings it sprouted last year, which will stop it taking off at Mugello and magnificently powerful Brembo Stylema calipers, which are now finished black.
Accessory carbon brake scoops are also available. They direct cooling air through to the calipers, helping them run 20% cooler with 5mm less lever travel.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 16v V4|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||18.5 litres|
|Front suspension||Semi active Öhlins NIX 43mm forks|
|Rear suspension||Semi active Öhlins TTX single rear shock|
|Front brake||2 x 330mm discs with four-piston radial monobloc Brembo Stylema calipers. Cornering ABS|
|Rear brake||220mm rear disc with twin-piston caliper. Cornering ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||200/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||40 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||-|
|Used price||£17,000 - £17,500|
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How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||214 bhp|
|Max torque||90 ft-lb|
|Top speed||186 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||162 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2019: Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory replaces the RSV4 Factory. A tuned 1077cc Tuono motor slotted in an RSV4 chassis, it also has wings, 5mm longer-travel Ohlins forks with revised settings, faster steering geometry, a stiffer swingarm, Stylema Brembos, Akrapovic titanium end can, lithium battery, new electronics settings and a brighter colour dash. Brake scoops available as an accessory.
- 2020: Semi-active Öhlins suspension and steering damper replaces mechanical units. New carbon front fuel tank cover.
Aprilia RSV4 RR – Cheaper, lower chassis spec version with 999.6cc V4 motor and full electronics.
Owners' reviews for the APRILIA RSV4 1100 FACTORY (2020 - on)
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