Aprilia responds to BMW's tablecloth trick

Dailies -


Aprilia_Tablecloth.jpgSome companies have substance-free marketing and some win races. After doubleheader wins at Portimao, Monza and Salt Lake City, Aprilia is leading the SBK manufacturer’s championship while BMW is second to last. Both the RSV4 and S1000RR are in their second season of racing. Maybe BMW should spend less time on neat magic tricks. Aprilia calls out BMW in this new video.

Visit Aprilia USA’s YouTube page and they’ll give you a free RSV4 t-shirt.

Aprilia USA commissioned Hell For Leather and Tangent Vector to create this
video. It’s the first of a series of three. Look for the rest in the
coming weeks.

  • Jorge

    Looks like tshirt site is not up yet. My DNS can’t find it.

    • Peter

      According to godaddy.com, rsv4tshirt.com is not owned by anyone yet. I suppose t-shirts are a long time coming.

    • http://Http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Shirt link will be working later today, will update you when it is.

  • http://twitter.com/marshallhaas Marshall Haas

    I love it when brands duke it out via ads. Watched this a second time and then noticed the HFL helmet, wes, and then the text about this being you guys. Awesome, can’t wait to see the next 2.

  • CMC

    It’s a start. I don’t really like either bike but the ads are fun.

  • chili sv

    You wear a watch when you ride?

  • fazer6


    Both bikes are beyond the capabilities of nearly all potential buyers, but it still makes a good point.

  • Michael


    Shit man! I didn’t realize the Aprilia sounded so good! In fact, what I actually thought was, “That’s a big ol’, nasty sound coming out of that sweet little bike.”

    Great video :two thumbs up:

  • http://verywhitenoise.com jonb

    the last 5 seconds are a total win.

  • ryan


    • Fmaxwell

      I guess you just are not a motorcycle kind of guy if you don’t get it.

      • ryan

        I am very definitely a motorcycle kind of guy.

        This sort of inane bullshit however just gets on my nerves.

        • El-Diablo


  • Ninjah

    According to the sidebar on the YouTube site, that free t-shirt is “free” inside quotes: $8.95 S+H.

    Still worth it.

  • Sean Smith



    SUPERSTOCK racing,is not a trick!!!!!!!!!!BMW far better bike to own…..i know,i got 1(tested the Aprilia & no thanks!).Aprilia is doing really well in SBK,but that bike is a “series derived PROTOTYPE”that is irrelevant to us,the customers!Another”mine is better than yours”American style BS propaganda,i expected more from you guys!Ciao ragazzi,ci vediamo in pista!!!!!!

    • Nick


  • http://www.wtfweird.com macfarlane.a

    Well, http://www.rsv4tshirt.com/ IS working now, but not quite how any of us expected it…

    By the way, +100 to the guy who bought that domain out from under the lazy/incompetent wonks @ Aprilia. As someone who works Product Management, I can tell you just how big of a f-up something like this is.

    • MotoRandom

      That is some serious Interwebs WIN right there. I think he should hold out for more than a T-shirt. Nice racing jacket or something.

  • Alex B

    If I had a team of 20 working for me in world superbike, I would probably buy the Aprilia. I don’t so the BMW is for me.

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Okay folks,

    Looks like some smartass bought the rsv4tshirt.com domain before Aprilia, and while comical, I would prefer my t-shirt.

    Also, Grant is a badass (I am assuming that was Grant hooning).

    Lastly, HFL has jumped the shark, but I still approve. If Aprilia asked me to make awesome commercials, I would do it.

  • jamin

    Here is the official link…



  • http://image-craft.co.uk Ian

    Eek… first rule of advertising- get your contact details right!

    Nice job on the ad though. Everyone likes a good 2 fingers up for a chuckle. Me wonders who the victim of the other 2 ads will be…

  • Steve516

    Nice work guys! Great ad, looking forward to seeing the rest of the series :-)

  • Brian

    Anyone can twist the throttle in a straight line, but how fast can you go around a corner? I bet the Aprilia has the better chassis for that. The Beemer is good for pasing someone on the straight and then getting in the way on corner exit…. Plus the soundtrack is nicer on the Ape.

    To each his/her own. All these bikes are really good but watch out because the Japanese do not like to outdone or upstaged. All the Japanese bikes, save the R1, are due for replacement in 2011…

    • Peter

      To be honest, with ABS and DTC, I think most people would be much faster on the S1000RR.

      However, I still the Ape.

  • Ninjah

    I propose the definitive showdown for BMW vs Aprilia: loan an RSV4 to those New York hoons for a repeat of the midnight expresssway run video that they did on the S1000RR.

    Whichever bike generates more hate mail for HFL wins.

    • http://Http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Ninjah, I like your style!

  • DC

    HFL jumped the shark after its 10th e-bike post in one week. I still come back though!

  • The Shrike
  • adeysworld.com

    Good shit Wes!

  • http://www.selfedge.com kiya

    That’s a good look for Apriia, well played.

  • http://www.dainese.com DaineseDan


  • eric

    now that’s funny.

  • RockStarArtist

    LMAO on http://www.rsv4tshirt.com/

    I enjoy the intelligence and the cynicism that is required to do something like that. Hats off to that human.

    Also, a bit dissapointed that the shirt is not really free. Disgusting marketing really, it should say purchase our shirt for $8.95.

  • amsterdam

    So HFL’s slagging off BMW for years is finally paying off?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Since when have we slagged off BMW?

      The one BMW they’ve ever actually let us ride we said was awesome:


      And we’ve consistently covered all their other bikes in a fair way. Seriously can you find a single instance of us saying something overtly negative about any of their bikes except that the S1000RR is horrendously ugly?

      • amsterdam

        Not the bikes, their adcampagnes.
        I have no time to look it up, but I remember the one with the mexican guys, the wrong helicoptershot, some nazi-reference comes to mind,bad typo, etc.
        i’m not a Beemerman myself but I just think it is not a good idea for an independant MotorcycleMagazine to work for any particular client to slagg off another brand…

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Clearly Grant and I work in advertising and marketing, which means we’re able to speak about those world’s in an informed manner. BMW’s made some SERIOUS gaffs in that direction, which you wouldn’t expect from such a large and otherwise well managed (well, outside of this country) company.

          All publications accept advertising, it’s a necessary evil. The trick is to clearly differentiate between sponsored content and editorial, which we’ve made clear in the paragraph below the video. Is there anything factually inaccurate in this article? No, Aprilia is winning, BMW isn’t.

          If you take into account the breadth, honesty and frankness of our editorial, I don’t think it’s reasonable to call our integrity into question.

          • Alex B

            Since HFL now seems to be a fully owned subsidiary of Piaggio, I think it’s also important to note that the video has also been made with more success with one of their scooters (they only broke 2 bottles of beer and dropped a carton of milk) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh1wnZrSVq8

            As for myself, I usually buy one bike a year. Last year’ it was a 1098S. This year, I almost bought the RSV4 factory but was luckily alerted on time of the full engine recall on the RSV4 and bought the S1000RR instead. I have done 5,000 miles on it in three months (2,600 on the track and 2,400 on the road) and am super happy with my decision. I rode the RSV4 on the track and it’s a great bike but does not have near the power of the beamer and I don,t have a team of mechanics on payroll so I’ll just enjoy riding my friends’.

            • Grant Ray

              Alex, we aren’t attacking your manliness because you bought the S1000RR, sheesh. Stop being so defensive. You don’t need to justify your decision or call HFL’s integrity into question when both companies’ offerings are clearly outside the realm of most riders’ abilities.

              • Nick

                It’s obvious to me that Ryan REALLY regrets getting the characterless BMW and it burns his ass everytime someone reminds him he doesn’t have a superbike that makes you feel like you’re riding a superbike.

                If power was everything why didn’t people just get Hayabusa’s instead of litrebikes?

                I rode my mates BMW extensively before getting the RSV4 and guess what, sitting on the RSV4 when it’s standing still is more exciting than the S1000rr at full whack.

                • Nick

                  Sorry, I meant Alex.

                • Alex B

                  Hey Nick,

                  I’m glad to hear that you get excited on your bike standing still. That’s pretty much how I feel about my 1098, sounds great, looks great…

                  I dropped my lap times significantly from the 1098 on the S1000 and the bike handles great, flicks crazy fast and has a crazy drive out of turns. For cheaper than the RSV4 Factory, I upgraded the suspension to better than what the Factory comes with (TTX 36, 30mm, etc) and the pipes to Akra EVO. Also, it seems amazing to me that you would not care about top end power on the track. We’re not talking Hayabusa here, the bike handles great.

                  As for my regrets to have bought the bike, I keep begging my dealer to let me trade in my 1098 for his demo S1000 that I would convert into a track only bike and keep my current one as a street bike.

                  The dealer is Gold Coast Motorsports in Long Island, NY and they carry both Aprilia and BMW as well as Ducati, KTM and a few other European brands.
                  They have a waiting list for the S1000 but have had an RSV4 factory on the floor gathering dust for a couple months. So if anyone wants to buy one over the S1000, you could be driving that bike out of there today. Just a phone call away.

                  By the way, how do you explain the crazy demand and sales for the S1000 over the tepid demand for the RSV4 ?

                  As for the attack on Grant’s integrity, I’m not trying to do that, I just think that the line between editorial and advertising is getting really blurry.

                • Peter

                  I don’t think it’s too difficult to explain the higher demand for the S1000RR over the RSV4:

                  -$2,200 cheaper than RSV$R ($7,200 cheaper than Factory)

                  -Everyone knows squids love peak HP numbers, regardless of the torque curve or whether or not they’ve actually seen a track. It’s useful for hanging around gas stations while you debate which bike is better.

                  -DTC and ABS come standard. As well as subpar fit and finish.

                  Besides, the BMW was marketed as a Japanese literbike killer, whereas the Aprilia is more along the lines of Italian exotic. I’m not a marketing expert.

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  I think you’re spot on there. Did I mention there were at least three S1000RRs in the novice group at Monticello Monday and Tuesday?

                • Alex B

                  Hehe, Wes, great display of journalistic independence. At NJMP Lightning last Sunday, there was two S1000RR in Advanced, one in intermediate and one in beginner. All four (including me) we really happy campers.

                  I don’t remember seeing an RSV4.

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  Wait, is this Frenchy French Alex? If so, when are you loaning us your bike as promised?!

                • ryan

                  Wanker, Ive got a Superduke.

                  But the BMW definitely looks a lot better than the RSV4

            • Nick

              So you’ve post rationalised being stuck with the Beemer by saying that you need mechanics to look after it? OK, so if you didn’t need a team of mechanics you would prefer the RSV4? Well, fact of the matter is, you don’t. The engines were replaced and by all accounts the service received wa excellent. So, guess what, you can now sell the piece of crap BMW with powerful engine and electronics and get the infinitely better handling, better built, sexier sounding, proper suspension, real superbike that you wanted in the first place. Of course I must warn you that it’s not the BMW ‘litre bike for dummies’ so be careful with the throttle (you know, the thing humans used to control on bikes?)

            • Nick

              Alex, at least Aprilia replaced the engine. BMW on the other hand just force you not to exceed 9k RPM. Now you might argue that this is only during break in but FFS if there’s a chance that something is gonna break at run in at high revs then you can bet there’s a good chance it will break later on as well.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Oh, and BMW has advertised with us, the creative was just so terrible and the campaign so poorly managed that you probably didn’t notice.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

          amsterdam, please recall we’ve been equally critical of advertising and marketing from several other other manufacturers. We’ve made fun of Aprilia’s use of bad soundtracks and glowing eyes, Harley’s reprehensible mishandling of Americana and the military, Ducati’s questionable puffy heart logo and naturally, Honda’s hilarious swiss chalet video for Shamu.

          I’m sure we’ve discussed others, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. Please understand that we don’t do so just to be smarmy and pick on manufacturers. We do it because we truly love motorcycling, and we hate seeing these companies repeatedly shoot themselves in the long-term foot.

          David Ogilvy wasn’t joking when he said “The wrong advertising can actually reduce sales of a product.” That emphasis is his, not mine.

  • AceCafeClipOns
  • Rich

    Only one thing matters – wanna’ wager who sells more bikes?

  • http://bcrooks.com ducatista

    Nice spot. I’m the guy that focuses on the ‘design’ part of this blog. I think this spot would work well on broadcast TV. Nice response to BMW’s documentary still bit.

  • Chris

    Best Ad EVER! FU BMW

  • Core

    I look forward to the next ads.

  • The Shrike

    Since nobody seems to be clicking on the link:

    Aprilia may be winning in World Superbike where you can spend millions modifying the machine. However, in world Superstock, where you can only make minor modifications to the bike and is therefore a considerably better indicator of the performance of the production bikes, BMW is trouncing everyone. Ironically Aprilia is dead last where BMW has won every single race.

    2010 Standings Manufacturers – Superstock 1000 FIM Cup

    BMW 75
    HONDA 53
    SUZUKI 45
    YAMAHA 27
    KTM 20
    DUCATI 13

    That said, the tablecloth ad featuring the BMW was lame as hell and the Aprilia response rather witty.

  • Liquidogged

    Cool ad. Aprilia does well in some races, BMW does well in other races. Ho hum. Can I buy a motoczyz or however the fuck the thing is spelled yet?

  • The Shrike

    I like pie

  • Peter

    After perusing the S1000RR forums one day when I was bored, I discovered that new owners are experiencing seized engines. Now BMW is taking care of all the work and expense as they well should, but it goes to show that neither Aprilia nor BMW is perfect with their new superbike offerings.

    The RSV4 is just everything I’ve ever wanted in a bike, that’s all.

  • http://damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    i can’t afford a RSV4, but i’m sure as hell looking forward to my new t-shirt coming! My question is this; can I wear it while riding my Thruxton? Or is that like wearing one band’s shirt to a different band’s concert?

  • Emmet

    Great Marketing! and I just bought the shirt, $9 shipped is still a really good deal, especially judging the quality of the shirt.

  • Trojanhorse

    I’d like to put all the BMW guys in a giant glass jar with all the Aprilia guys, shake it up real hard, and see who wins.

  • Alex B

    Hey Wes, no doubt, the offer still stands. My bike has been taken on the track by 9 people so far. I’d just like to be there when it’s ridden, I offered Grant to ride it on the Saturday after your Friday Aprilia test at NJMP but he could not stay for that track day. I’m doing 3 days on July 4th week end and it would be great if you and Grant came. It’s Thunderbolt with TPM (and Lightning and T-bolt on July 4th).

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Zut Alors! We’ve been talking about doing some track stuff that weekend, so maybe we will be able to join you. If we ride yours that means you have to ride ours though.

  • Alex B

    Definitely, that would be awesome.

  • scott

    Wes, check out the sales figures and you might get a less jaded view of the BMW. That may also suggest that maybe the marketing is working too.

  • GeddyT

    Wow. You can defend yourselves all you want, but there’s a very big difference between hosting advertisements on your site and MAKING them for one of the companies you report on. You guys may have the best journalistic integrity in the world, but you HAVE to see why people might question it under those circumstances?

    It’s made worse when you parrot the bogus marketing line that Aprilia’s WorldSBK wins have ANYTHING to do with the street bike that an Aprilia buyer will receive.

    A more honest caption under the photo would have read:

    “Some companies have substance-free marketing and some win races. After doubleheader wins at Portimao, Monza and Salt Lake City, Aprilia is leading the SBK manufacturer’s championship while BMW is second to last. On the other hand, BMW has one EVERY World Superstock race this season, while Aprilia is dead last–and this series more closely approximates what an average rider will do with a stock bike. Both the RSV4 and S1000RR are in their second season of racing. Maybe BMW should spend less time on neat magic tricks. And maybe Aprilia should figure out how to win without gear driven cams, one-off swingarms, a MotoGP electronics package, and adjustable engine mounts that no buyer will ever touch. Aprilia calls out BMW in this new video. Well, actually WE call out BMW FOR Aprilia in this video that we made for them because they paid us to. But, trust us, the Aprilia is way better.”

    I don’t own either of these bikes, nor want to, but I wouldn’t like to see this sort of thing in one of my print magazines and the same goes for the electronic variety.

    I’ve left Ad-Blocker off up to this point to support the site seeing hows the content is 99% great and free, but I might have to revisit that policy if the articles themselves are ads.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Geddy, while I admire the sentiment you’re expressing, I think you have somewhat unrealistic expectations. The traditional media model, the one used by all publications from The New York Times to Old Guys and Motorized Bicycles Biannually is advertiser funded. The media outlet develops a readership and advertisers pay to have their message presented to those readers, sometimes with traditional advertising and sometimes with more involving content.

      We’ve very clearly stated that Aprilia paid us to do this. We’re not trying to hide anything. Does that make the video any less fun? No. Is it a sponsored message that you should take with a grain of salt? Yes, the same as any other advertising. Does it impact our editorial integrity? No more than any other time anyone writes us a check, which is to say not in the least bit. Can you cite any examples of our editorial apparently being corrupted by ad dollars? No, because it isn’t.

      Do you write to Cycle World when you see an ad for a new bike next to a positive review for it? You should.

      • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

        He’s just trying to keep you guys honest, and on your toes :)

        These things can be a slippery slope, and there are enough pseudo-review-blogs out there for people to be skeptical.

        • Peter

          Agreed. At least you guys aren’t endorsing products from manufacturers because you were given them for free.

          At least not yet. This happens too frequently on blogs. Is there anywhere I can go that hasn’t been invaded by corporate? North Korea I guess.

  • GeddyT

    Thanks Mark D, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say.

    Trust me, I appreciate this site and visit often. This one just seemed a little bit much. Again, there’s a fuzzy gray line and I think everyone has a different view of what crosses it. A full page ad next to a positive review for a bike is in that gray area, but somewhat understandable. It’s ad space that the company paid for and location in the magazine that the company probably requested. Although it doesn’t look GOOD, there’s no concrete evidence there that the review was compromised. Especially considering that there’s probably a full page ad for each of that bike’s competition elsewhere in the same magazine.

    Where I might start to reconsider my subscription is if, in the positive review, the magazine “supported” their positive view of the bike with the word-for-word company line from the adjacent page.

    In fact, I find the magazines tend to be pretty good about using wording such as, “So and so company is quick to point out in their ad copy that such and such feature is a big improvement, and in this case we tend to agree.” I can accept this in a review. But the reviews that say, “The Yamaha R1, derived from Valentino Rossi’s world championship-winning M1…” really rub me the wrong way, and would do doubly so accompanying an adjacent full page ad from Yamaha with the “MotoGP technology for the street” slogan on it.

    I guess for me what put this on the wrong side of that gray line was not the video itself (I agree, it’s fun), but the accompanying caption, erroneously suggesting that Max Biaggi’s WorldSBK success has ANY bearing on the quality of the retail product, kind of put it over the edge. At this point you’re no longer reviewing a product, you’re working for Aprilia.

    Being supported by advertising is very different than being a single manufacturer’s PR firm. And, you’re right, I can’t off the top of my head think of a single instance of bias by the crew here in any of their reviews, which is why I’m already back at the site checking for updates. But just trying to warn you that other people might not be so forgiving.

    Maybe I’m still having a hard time getting it through my head that print media and online media are just different and different rules apply.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Geddy, this is a good discussion, thanks.

      It wasn’t my intention to draw a direct line between Biaggi’s wins and the quality of Aprilia’s product. Sorry if what I wrote gave you that impression.

      I guess in my view, racing is marketing, or at least the most important form of marketing for race-replica bikes like these. If anything, the video then highlights that Aprilia’s marketing effort with its racing is proving more successful than BMW’s marketing effort with its racing. Does that even make sense?

      Ultimately, there’s probably no objectively “best” liter bike, they’re all ridiculously fast and ridiuclously awesome. Subjectively there’s some differences in experience but that’s about it. I like the Aprilia because it’s really challenging, others may like the extra power of the BMW.

      I don’t want for their to be a blurry line between advertising and editorial on HFL at all and I’m not happy that you’ve gotten that impression from this article, maybe I need to do a better job of distinguishing the two next time. I figured readers would have fun watching it, maybe jive with the message, but understand that it’s paid-for content.

      Where are you reading these print bike reviews that differ from ad copy? England?

  • The Grudz

    You clever fuckers! That was so great! I laughed loudly at the end. Nice work.

  • johnnyb

    Wes darling, it’s really quite simple. If you got paid for doing the Aprilia thing while you’re putting yourself out there as an unbiased motorcycle tester, you’re over the line.

    Like a senator in an airport bathroom, you can talk about your wide stance all day, but people are just going to get the wrong impression when you’re groping around under there, whether you’re guilty or not. (That’s why the stall wall is there.)

    I am at my Cycle World desk right now, matter of fact. And I can assure you nobody from the ad side has ever told me what to write about a motorcycle. With our lead time, we don’t even know what ads will run. Hmmm, we just picked the RSV4 as our favorite an issue or two ago, and glancing through that issue I see zero Aprilia advertising. I don’t know if we have ever had any Aprilia advertising? It’s not my department.

    Pretty ironic you so enjoy accusing “the print mags” of exactly of what you’re guilty of here.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      So wait, CW staffers read month-old HFL posts when they’re supposed to be working? Interesting.

  • johnnyb

    Yup. It’s part of my working isn’t it?

    • Grant Ray

      Didn’t you write copy for Marshall Advertising’s Yamaha account?

      Stones, glass houses, etc.

  • johnnyb

    I also read Bike, Motorcyclist, Superbikeplanet, RRW, Australian MCN and about 50 other things when I’m not busy being feted by the manufacturers. Feel free to check out cycleworld.com, we’re working on some improvements, tho i don’t think any OEMs have asked us to make any ads for them.

  • johnnyb

    Yeah i did and now I don’t anymore. Is that confusing? One or the other. Not both.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Harry Mallin

    I just want to go on record here: Brammofan.com accepts NO ADVERTISEMENTS AT ALL. Guess that makes me more unbiased than any of y’all. (Brammofan jumps up, does the Brammodance, mounts his Brammo Enertia and rides into the Brammosunset, his journalistic integrity intact.) Oh, and one more thing: Brammo.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Now that’s journalism.

  • http://twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    I may be late to the “CW versus HFL” game, but it made me think of this HFL article or this one. Though not genuine “reviews” of a bike, they’re as as close as HFL gets. HFL haven’t painted a rosy picture of the RSV4. The impression was that it’s unforgiving and amazing.

    It’s interesting to me that these ads, made well after the previous two articles, are raising flags but the Stop/Motion Exhibit didn’t seem to raise any.

    Readers should be critical of any information, especially when manufacturers are directly involved. Just look at what happened at Motorcyclist. Everyone brings bias to the table, sponsored or otherwise, so we all ought to gather a variety of resources to sift out the truth.

    Do your own math. My call: HFL is all good on the RSV4 front.

    Here’s to hoping the links work.