APRILIA RSV4 FACTORY (2021 - on) Review

Highlights

  • More fluid on the road
  • Roomier riding position
  • Quicker on track

At a glance

Power: 214 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.3 in / 845 mm)
Weight: Medium (445 lbs / 202 kg)

Prices

New £23,000
Used £17,500 - £23,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Aprilia’s RSV4 Factory gets a new underbraced swingarm, faired-in aero, new bodywork and electronics for 2021. They’re designed to help it lap faster around a racetrack, rather than make any difference to road riding, but what really moves the game on is its bigger new V4 engine.

The 2019 model was never lacking, but now the power is even more urgent in the midrange, letting you cover ground even more gracefully and rapidly.

Not only have the engine tweaks made the RSV4 Factory even easier to ride, but the slightly more spacious riding position will give taller riders an easier time, which will be music to their knees. The bigger new colour dash is easier to read than before, too, although its graphics aren’t as elegant as some of its European rivals.

Wailing like a MotoGP racer at full throttle the Aprilia still has a sumptuous ride, epic handling and more grip and braking power than a mere mortal will ever know what to do with. It's well built, comes with every superbike bell and whistle around. Although largely reliable, it’s sometimes been questionable on previous models.

The Aprilia RSV4 Factory will be a trackday rider’s dream, but it still feels and looks like a superbike with one foot in the noughties and lacks some of the specialness of a Ducati Panigale V4 S. That said the RSV4 Factory is far smoother, less angry and easier to get the best out of and when it’s 'up on the plane', gliding through the countryside it’s an almost spiritual riding experience.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

You can trace the RSV4’s aluminium frame right back to the 2009 original and it’s remains unchanged for the 2021 model. It still has an adjustable head angle, swingarm pivot position and rear ride height, but the swingarm undergoes a big change.

It's now underbraced, like a MotoGP racer’s (including their RS-GP) and Aprilia claim its subsequent lower centre of gravity improves handling, stability and encourages the rear tyre dig into the tarmac. It’s made from fewer pieces of aluminium, weighs 600grams less and is 30% more rigid around the rear spindle, which sits in a longer slot so racers can play with the wheelbase length. 

2021 Aprilia RSV4 Factory new aluminium swingarm left side

The swingarm makes little difference to life at road speeds, but that’s no bad thing because it’s still one of the best handling bikes money can buy, anyway and glides over tarmac with breath-taking poise and accuracy, with a far suppler and less fidgety ride than its main rival: the Ducati Panigale V4 S.

Taller riders will appreciate the Aprilia’s new riding position, which places you more inside the bike and not as perched over the top. The seat is 9mm lower and the pegs are dropped by 10mm (but ground clearance still improved each side by 1.5°).

Happily, there’s now more room to move around and you feel less caged in, but despite the extra wiggle room it’s still wristy and more cramped than the likes of the Panigale V4 S, Yamaha R1, Suzuki GSX-R1000R and BMW S1000RR, but not as extreme as the 2020 Honda Fireblade or 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10R.

2021 Aprilia RSV4 Factory turning right

Engine

Next up: Reliability

The biggest mechanical change for 2021 takes place inside Aprilia’s bombastic V4 where it grows from 1077cc to 1099cc, to get through Euro5 (thanks to a 1.05mm longer stroke) while still keeping its immense 214bhp intact.

Peak power is delivered 200rpm lower in the revs at 13,000rpm and torque climbs from 90lb-ft@11,000rpm to 92lb-ft@10,500rpm. It also gets a 400 gram-lighter modified exhaust with ceramic tech catalysts.

Any increase in performance is academic because the Aprilia has always been so fast you simply can’t reach the end of the revs on the road, anyway, but thanks to its extra grunt it’s now even easier to gather insane speed.

2021 Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1099cc V4 engine

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Fresh from the showroom the RSV4 is well finished and superbly built, but it’s a mixed bag when it comes to owning one. Some enjoy trouble-free riding and other bump into mechanical and parts supply problems. Doing your research and finding a dealer with a good reputation is a must.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Although Aprilia has all the performance and tech you’ll ever wish for it comes at price – a very high one, but it’s a useful couple of grand less than a Ducati Panigale V4 S, £1800 under a Kawasaki ZX-10RR and £500 shy of a Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.

But it’s £400 more expensive than a Yamaha R1M and three-grand dearer than a top spec BMW S1000RR M Package. Suzuki’s GSX-R1000R is a massive £6000 less.


Find out how the 2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory compared to the competition in this video

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

For 2021 the RSV4 Factory gets a new look and the '1100' dropped from its name. Now its aerodynamic strakes and huge wing, which looks like it’s swallowed a giant frisbee, are integral pieces of the bodywork. As before they only work at track speeds and are merely decoration for the road.

Its slipperier nose and LED headlights are new and the figure-hugging fairing lowers are cut back to expose the front wheel, like a MotoGP bike’s, for extra high speed agility. The fuel tank is reshaped for support under hard braking and to help you get your elbows closer together in a race tuck. Aprilia have even slimmed down the tail unit, complete with a pizza slice-sized pillion seat…good luck with getting on the back of that.

Your view down to the Aprilia’s cockpit is similar to before with the same old top yoke (with an '1100 Factory' logo, even though it’s not called that anymore) and electronic Öhlins fork tops, but its new 5in colour dash is bigger, brighter and easier to read than before. It’s also mission control to the Aprilia’s new-generation electronic riders aids (first seen on the RS660) with a more powerful Marelli 11P ECU and six-axis IMU.

2021 Aprilia RSV4 Factory rear

Traction, slide, wheelie and new engine braking control are all adjustable, as is the ABS and there are now six riding modes to choose from: three for the road and three for the track, including two customisable settings.

The rider aids will all be useful on track, but sticking it in Sport mode delivers the perfect ride and smooth engine response for most bumpy backroad riding, although the on/off throttle response can sometimes still be on the prickly side.

Elsewhere it’s the same finely-honed RSV4 Factory we’ve come to know and love, with Brembo Stylemas, forged ali wheels and retuned Öhlins electronic suspension. Mirrors, pillion pegs and numberplate bracket can all be undone and removed easily for track use, too.

2021 Aprilia RSV4 Factory semi-active electronic Öhlins suspension

Specs

Engine size 1099cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v, V4
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 17.9 litres
Seat height 845mm
Bike weight 202kg
Front suspension Öhlins 43mm USD forks. Semi active
Rear suspension Öhlins single shock. Semi active
Front brake 2 x 330mm discs with four piston radial Brembo Stylema calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 220mm disc with twin piston Brembo caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 200/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost -
New price £23,000
Used price £17,500 - £23,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 214 bhp
Max torque 92 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2019: Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory replaces the 999.6cc RSV4 Factory and features a tuned 1077cc V4 Tuono lump. The chassis remains, but has new winglets, 5mm longer-travel semi-active Öhlins forks with revised settings, quicker steering geometry, a stiffer swingarm, Stylema Brembos, Akrapovic titanium end can, lithium battery, new electronic rider aid settings and a brighter colour dash.

2020: RSV4 1100 Factory gets semi-active suspension, bellypan louvres and a revised front fuel tank section.

2021: RSV4 Factory enlarged from 1077cc to 1099cc for Euro5. Produces the same 214bhp but made lower in the revs and has 2lb-ft more torque. New under-braced swingarm, bodywork, aero, LED headlights, colour dash, uprated ECU and electronic rider aids. ‘1100’ dropped from its name.

Other versions

RSV4 – Identical spec to Factory with heavier cast wheels, Sachs fully adjustable suspension. A saving of over £5000.

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