Video Review: 2013 Aprilia RSV4 Factory

Reviews -

By

RSV4-thumb

The 2013 Aprilia RSV4 Factory adds ABS, revised front suspension internals and small ergonomic changes to what was already a very complete, very fast package. Its V4 may no longer grab headlines with “just” 180bhp, but the the slight power disadvantage to bikes like the Ducati 1199 and BMW S1000RR is made up with a cohesive smoothness those bikes lack. Here, I take it to my favorite road in Southern California for an in-depth look.

  • Sjef

    Uh… Wes. The video is set at private ;)

    • BryonCLewis

      what is he doing on that bike that needs to be private?

      • Stephen Mears

        What any of us would do on an RSV4F, no doubt.

        • EliKF

          I would eat a sandwich on it.

          • Stephen Mears

            I was thinking a calzone might be more appropriate.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Oops, fixed now.

      • Sjef

        Worth the wait :) Nice video review.

  • zipp4

    Really like the new videos… would be nice to hear some of that sweet V4 though.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Yeah, we’re knocking out these reviews quickly and easily. On-bike sound is something we’re trying to figure out an idiot-proof solution to in the process.

      • karlInSanDiego

        Re: sound – You and everyone else. Be a pal and do an article on your solution when you crack it. Maybe some behind the scenes showing a little of your video tricks too! I’ve tried a Zoom H1 with a homemade rear facing closed blimp with only marginal success. Industry cheats by recording dyno pulls and using that bike’s custom foley and stitching it back onto video.

      • Corey

        I had basically the same idea as this dude: http://youtu.be/XGFTXRGZTxs

        Run a cable to an external mic (prob with a mic windscreen) mounted under the subframe. I thought it turned out quite well. It’s still a little weird, but much improved compared to the built in mic on POV cams. I’d much rather deal with that sound in post vs trying to edit out tinny sounds and wind noise.

      • M.J. Loheed

        Hey Wes, you actually have two types of audio you guys are trying to capture here. For the pass by shots where the camera is on the side of the road you you can use a cheap shotgun and put the audio direct to the camera. I’ve had great success shooting with the RODE Video MicPro (figuring you guys are shooting with 5D or 7D). For the on-bike sound try a lavalier or lapel mic taped it inside your jacket pocket at about chest level and run it into a digital recorder. You’ll get some hits from your jacket moving but also some really great audio with reduced wind noise. If you make a buffer for the mic in a plastic gumball machine case you might not even get hits. If you slate that audio from your jacket mic it’s pretty easy to synch.

  • kentaro

    This is a friendly reminder to use the outside-inside-outside path of travel :-)

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      As a general principal, yes, but on the road, you’re often just trying to set yourself up for greatest vision through a series of corners.

  • kentaro

    So would it be better to buy the RSV4 R with traction control and do your own upgrades?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Well, figure out which upgrades matter to you and make the decision accordingly. NIX30 forks + TTX36 + forged wheels + M50 calipers + adjustable pivot and engine = more than $5k.

    • scold3d

      The Factory also gets variable length intake tracts (and tighter spacing in the first three gears). Being that I ride the bike almost exclusively on the track, and often use the power in the range that is smoothed by those variable stacks, I chose the Factory. If I were to use it as a road bike, I’d get the R.

  • Jordan

    Bro, can we talk body positioning? I know it there is an element of semantics involved, but I wanted to throw something your way that got drilled into me at my last track weekend.

    • Tyler 250

      What’s that? That your torso has a lot mot mass than your knee?

  • Geert Willem van der Horst

    Wes, you’re quite a big guy right? Is the bike roomy enough for you? I’m 6’3 and I when I sat on in (no.. I didn’t ride it.. ) it felt quite cramped.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’m 6’2″ with a 34″ inseam, so most sport bikes are super cramped for me. The 2013 revisions to the RSV4 are big guy friendly, the cockpit is spacious and the foot pegs in a humane position.

      Adjustable clip-ons and rearsets are going to be your friends though. You should view a stock bike only as an ergonomic starting point.

  • Bret Prins

    Best way I’ve found to get good sound/video. Use 2 Gopro’s at once. One to film the action upfront. Then another under the rear tail for sound only. Just make sure the one in the rear is flush facing down or up. When its hanging down it will almost for sure touch the mud guard.

  • Porter

    HP4 beats it in every category. I know you guys are shootout averse, but the awesomeness of these bikes demands it.

    .

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      In every category but suspension quality, steering feel, turn-in speed, rider engagement and just allowing the rider to get on with riding the damn bike.

      • Porter

        You can turn off the rider aids from what I understand. So that shouldn’t be a reason to dislike it. As far as your other comments, I guess steering feel, turn-in speed and rider engagement are all a result of suspension and setup. No doubt the Aprilia has higher spec forks and shock. But, I have not read anyone complaining about the BMW’s suspension on the track. In fact, it’s fancy dynamic suspension has gotten lots of kudos for it’s level of adjustability. Again, it’s all subjective unless you get us some data and some opinions other than your own.

        • Corey

          This is the only direct comparison I’ve seen between the top bikes: http://youtu.be/2toWydSqqCg

          In this example, the RSV4 Factory produced a faster lap time than the HP4 despite weighing more, and making less power/torque. There’s got to be something said for that. Sometimes the subjective categories have direct influence on the objective ones, and so I wouldn’t say the HP4 beats it in ‘every’ category.

          A small caveat, the HP4 has a slip-on and accompanying tune where the RSV4F does not.

          • Porter

            Now that’s a review. Thanks for the link.

        • Mugget

          … you know if you turn the HP4 rider aids off, the RSV4 will still beat it in the electronics department… LOL. I never heard of turning electronics off as being an improvement, unless they were truly terrible to begin with!

          Also no need to feel bad if the bike you own or like isn’t the “ultimate” motorcycle of the moment. Unless of course you like to paper race with your buddies. People spend way too much time comparing motorcycles and arguing about which is better, it’s much more fun to just enjoy riding what you have!

    • NIGHTSCOUT

      the BMW is brutal in the corners…..

  • MotoBell

    Wes, how would you compare the 2013 versus 2012 factory versions – not detailing the changes which most readers have caught up on. But what mere mortals would feel the difference to be. FastBike magazine for example contents that the 2012 aprc strategies are better unless you are eugene laverty. My intended purpose is to ride mostly track and some canyons(have other bikes for street) – the reason I like litre bikes is the sophistication of electronics (and i love the V4) – the electronics that allow me to be closer to my limit in a safe way. Is a left 2012 a better option for someone like me – at least that is what I feel after FastBike’s recent comparo of a 2012 RSV4 versus 2013 panigale and 2013 S1K (not HP4). I am vertically challenged with 30″ inseam so ergo roominess is not a big concern. 2012 vs 2013 for mortals?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I really like the addition of ABS and the ergonomic revisions sound minor, but actually pay huge dividends. Both Adey and I agreed that we’d go 2013 rather than saving money on a 2012.

      • MotoBell

        Thanks. Ok going to local dealer to check it out – one thing for sure though. This bike is future is a future classic like a 916.

  • alex

    as kewl as the bike is the reliability of BMW trumps all – also you should get out of glendora for a bit and sample west of frazier park

    • NIGHTSCOUT

      O_o How can you use BMW and reliability in the same sentence? BMW cars and bikes are PLAGUED with electronics failures. This is a fact, coming from a dealer mechanic.

      • alex

        Whatever – I have owned and know people who own BMW motorcycles that are going well beyond 100,000 miles reliably – If your so sure Aprilla is superior than it’s about time for a career change right?

        Didnt think so.

        Also having been to the premier super bike school, which is run in some of the hottest weather bikes are tracked in for years at a time that uses BMW bikes and I find your argument lacking facts. + Everyone knows Ducati holds the title for crappy electrical systems, and they are relinquishing that crown any year soon.

        • NIGHTSCOUT

          Matter of fact, in my experience, the Japanese bikes rule reliability, not Aprilia. The BMW’s at the superbike schools are swapped often. Why just last year one of the schools sold their entire fleet on BMW’s…

          • alex

            Some school that doesn’t rank on my careometer as the guys at CSBS told me at the progressive show they are looking forward to getting all new HP4′s and are extremely happy with BMW so far.

            And anyone whose ever owned a Honda knows they are the most reliable on average but Wes is a CBR hater and glossed over their awesomeness for this comparison review. So it didn’t match the topic at hand.

            And before you attempt to debate that I will mention that the resale valuse for the s1000rr are superior to every bike in it’s class based on percentages.

            • NIGHTSCOUT

              Yes, Wes is extremely smug, and refuses to give the Japanese bikes a chance. The Japanese inline 4′s are becoming almost as expensive as the European bikes, yet they still sell better than the euro bikes. Statistics account for something. I will not argue resale value on euro bikes, they hold their value no doubt.

  • TP

    Also you can hold on with your knees when the bike gets out of shape under power.

    • Jordan

      That’s what I’m learning on my dirt bike, too. When the thing wants to flip out on you, you can catch it with your knees if they’re working like they should.

  • Mugget

    I gotta stop watching reviews of Aprilia’s…

    Took an RS4 for a test ride because a mate wanted a 2nd opinion on it. (No, I didn’t forget a letter, RS4 is their 125cc 4 stroke that replaces the RS 2 stroke bikes.) Anyway – I’m usually very conscious of not doing anything too adventurous when riding shop bikes, not because I doubt my ability to ride, but because a $3-4k insurance excess has that effect on you!

    Long story short, the bike felt great right away. On the way back to the shop I decided at the last minute to take an extended route back, late braked into a corner and backed it in a little. Felt amazingly in control, I didn’t even worry at all. Which is amazing considering that this was a brand new bike that I’d only hopped on about 10 minutes earlier!

    The only reason I mention the RS4 is to say that if Aprilia makes the RSV4 with similar feel and feedback, then power and electronics be damned – I would take that chassis and geometry over any amount of horsepower and electronic aids! Going by what Wes says, the RSV4 does really handle that good. Damn. I want one!! Good thing I’ve never taken one for a test ride, I would probably sell an internal organ on the spot…

    • Loren Andrews

      In the chance that you might be able to answer this question. I was wondering if the RS4 was available in the states. And if it is, how much does it cost. I have been looking everywhere for info and I cant seem to find any information. I really want one bad as I love low CC bikes.

      • Mugget

        Sorry, I don’t know anything at all about availability in the U.S. I’m in Australia, so I won’t be much help to you.

        I would give your closest Aprilia dealer a call, or maybe try AF1. I know there’s a few people here in the land downunder who have bought/imported bikes (MXV, VDB Aprilias etc.) from AF1, so they should be able to import something for you even if it’s not usually available.

        All the best and happy searching!

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        No RS4s in the US, sorry. There’s just no market for premium, small-capacity bikes here. Pick up a CBR250R and swap on better tires. That’s a seriously fun little motorcycle.

        • Loren Andrews

          I have a Ninja 250. I just really like Aprilia’s bikes but I dont want a liter bike nor the insurance that comes with it. And the 125 looked like the ultimate little pocket rocket to whip around town and tracks with. Plus like everything on that bike looks better than the 250. Fuel injection, inverted forks, digital dash and better brakes. Do you think you could import this bike for under 6K?

  • Dan Bruzzone

    This thread is a bit old but figured I would post on a comment as I own an Ape . I picked up the first 2013 RSV4 Factory that was delivered to Pro Italia on 5/7. I cross shopped an HP4 (practically impossible to get) both standard and high-end models. The high end model was $29k OTD at LBC BMW. The standard HP4 would have cost a tad more than what I paid. I chose the RSV4 because I am done waiting for a V4 Honda super bike (I commute on an 02 VFR that is lightly modded and I love). It is also my first new bike since I started riding 16 years ago.

    I have only ridden a ’12 S1000RR and the Aprilia (recent liter bike-wise). The Ape just feels more…beautiful to ride. It makes an unbelievable sound, it feels like my 06 R6 (track bike) when it comes to handling without the slight nervousness on corner entry (which never bothered me), it has a very tractable power band, the wheelie control doesn’t slam the wheel on the ground (ala standard S1000RR), and it is actually somewhat comfortable all things considered.

    I only put 100 miles on the BMW mostly in Malibu, and it has an amazing motor power-wise. The APE doesn’t feel as fast in that regard. The BMW brakes are tad wonky feeling (you can feel a pulsing sensation in the brake pull) and it just doesn’t have the same front-end feel. With that being said, it is the best Japanese bike out there :-) (that isn’t a typo).

    With regards to reliability the BMW I rode already has warped rotors after 5k miles.

    Both are awesome but feed different types of riders and are cooler than that overrated frame-less bike from that other Italian brand!