A source connected to Aprilia has exclusively revealed to Hell For Leather that the 2011 Aprilia RSV4 will be gaining 8bhp over the 2010 model and a switchable traction control system. That power boost comes courtesy of a slightly increased compression ratio and new timing chains. Other additions include traction control; a new, less ugly exhaust can and revised gearing.
Notably absent from the list of upgrades are anti-lock brakes. The current king of formulaic superbike shootouts everywhere is the BMW S1000RR, which employs ABS and a fancy traction control system in order to keep elderly journalists and inexperienced liter bike buyers out of the gravel. Realizing that enabling a wider range of riders to exploit the ability of near-200bhp liter bikes is the new frontier of performance, other bike makers are scrambling to catch up with the squinty BMW.
No firm details on Aprilia Traction Control are yet available, but the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 — incidentally coming to the states now despite Aprilia USA’s previous assertion that it wouldn’t be — will also use the system. Traction control looks to be the big fad for 2011, there's at least two other superbikes debuting this fall that will use either radically new traction control systems or move its adoption to lower price points.
Aside from the traction control pickup on the rear wheel, the ’11 RSV4 will be identical on the outside to the ’10 with the exception of a new, smaller exhaust canister. The source of much criticism for its ginormous proportions and general ugliness, the current exhaust was necessary to meet stringent European noise and emissions regulations. No word on how they’ve managed to meet those same restrictions with a smaller canister, but logic would suggest a larger collector hidden inside the belly pan.
According to the source, gearing will also be modified, with the first three gears becoming taller, while the top three are shorter. This is sort of a common sense move, allowing the incredibly powerful V4 to remain controllable at lower speeds, while addressing the criticism that it was over geared for real track work, at least in the higher gears. The rear sprocket will also increase in size from 40 to 42 teeth, effectively shortening the overall gear ratio, which seems to suggest that the now taller lower gears will be close to those on the ’10 model, while the top three will be even shorter than the above modifications suggest.