Judging by the new models that Aprilia unveiled at INTERMOT a month ago and now at EICMA, parent company Piaggio evidently is capitalizing on the racing success of the RSV4. Aprilia has won world titles in the 125 and 250 GP classes by the truckload, but the return on its image has been confined to the racing community. Even the previous World Superbike challenger, the RSV1000, walked off the stage virtually unnoticed. Maybe Aprilia was too focused on the youth market at times, with tens of thousands of very hot two-stroke 125s rolling off the assembly line. That helped make profits soar but did little for the company’s image.
Apparently, this has changed. Aprilia bagged the 2010 World Superbike title by building one of the best sportbikes ever and hiring a four-time 250cc world champion to ride it. The company now knows it can use this achievement as a perfect cornerstone to start rebuilding its image as a manufacturer of top-quality motorcycles. So, after the unveiling of the RSV4 Factory APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) SE at INTERMOT, Aprilia launched the Tuono V4 R at EICMA.
This is not merely an RSV4 stripped of its plastic; it is a naked evolution of that sportbike, conceived for a high-adrenaline, sport-leisure-touring mission. At its heart is the RSV4’s 1000cc 65-degree V-Four, detuned via milder cams from a claimed 180 hp at 12,250 rpm and 85 ft.-lb. of torque at 10,000 to 162 hp at 11,000 rpm and 81 ft.-lb. at 9000. The 13:1 compression ratio and the 48mm EFI throttle bodies have been retained, as have the high-efficiency, lightweight exhaust system and its torque-enhancing butterfly valve. Plus, it uses the same APRC package as fitted to the RSV4 Factory APRC SE, providing wheelie control, launch control and traction control all in one. The V4 R also should get the RSV4’s quick shifter as standard equipment.
Although the Tuono’s frame structure is the same as the repli-racer’s, the chassis has been modified for its new mission. Wheelbase is upped from 55.9 in. to 56.7 in. to better accommodate a passenger, and steering geometry has been slightly relaxed with 25 degrees of rake and 4.2 in. of trail. But unlike the RSV4, neither the steering geometry nor the engine position in the frame is adjustable. Claimed dry weight is 394 pounds, same as the RSV4 Factory APRC SE. Suspension components are from Sachs, while Brembo provides the braking system with 320mm rotors and four-piston radial-mount calipers up front. Sharp and aggressive, the Tuono has a neatly styled top fairing and a matching lower spoiler.
The Tuono V4 R will be available in late 2011 as a 2012 model for the U.S. market; pricing will be determined closer to its release.