When Aprilia unveiled the Shiver roadster powered by a modern 750cc, 90-degree V-Twin, company officials also announced that the same engine had been conceived to grow to 1200cc. At that time, the larger-displacement version was perceived as Aprilia’s weapon for launching its assault on the World Superbike crown. Not so. Top management at parent company Piaggio changed its mind about the project so many times that it progressed at alternating current until the Aprilia RSV4 Factory proved itself more than adequate for racing with no need of a twin-cylinder backup.
At that point, chief project engineer Federico Martini concentrated all his efforts on the development of a solid, reliable, torquey unit that would challenge the mighty BMW R1200, specifically in adventure-tourer applications such as the R1200GS, but with a superior level of horsepower. Then someone on the top floor of Piaggio headquarters in Pontedera requested that the new Piaggio-Aprilia 1200 should offer the same torque characteristics as the BMW. This created problems, since a 90-degree V-Twin will never match the evenness of the impulses of a boxer-Twin. I wonder if someone in the boardroom also suggested that the new Twin should sound like a Boxer?
Once Martini fended off these inconsistent pretenses, he was able to speed up work and finally deliver a modern engine capable of at least 135 hp with an excellent torque spread. Bore and stroke measurements are identical to those announced at EICMA 2007 and equal to those of the Ducati 1198: 106 x 67.8mm. The engine is, however, more compact and lighter than the Ducati’s and would be priced much lower.
This seems to have stirred a lot of interest from Bimota, which feels choked by the high price of Ducati engines. Martini was Bimota chief project engineer in the 1980s, and he still has a lot of affection for the creative little company based in his own native Rimini.