After years of success selling road-going 125cc two-strokes to kids all over Europe, Aprilia basically threw in the towel. This was in reaction to complaints from parents that the bikes were too expensive to buy and maintain, and that their kids were having too many accidents. Authorities also complained that they were writing too many tickets to the owners of these buzz bombs.
Aprilia’s lack of attention to these gateway bikes apparently helped fuel a negative trend that has ultimately led to fewer teenagers riding motorcycles in Europe. Some even say that teens have all but forgotten about bikes, instead focusing on other forms of entertainment, such as video games.
Now, a month after KTM debuted its attractive 125 Duke concept at Intermot, Aprilia unveiled in Milan its RS4 125—a sleek-looking, scaled-down replica of its World Superbike-winning racer. Spanish-maker Derbi, which, like Aprilia, is owned by the Piaggio Group, introduced its own small-bore four-stroke, the GPR 125, last year.
The Aprilia shares the Derbi’s liquid-cooled, dohc, four-valve, fuel-injected, 58 x 47mm engine, which produces a claimed 15 horsepower (the legal limit for 125cc bikes in Europe). The RS4 is expected to be available in American showrooms at the end of 2011 as a 2012 model.