Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello's front straightaway is intimidating. Known as the fastest stretch on the MotoGP calendar, it's neither flat nor straight. A crested slight left-hand bend just after the start-finish line often induces a top-gear chassis weave frightening to even the best racers. On any motorcycle it's unnerving—scratch that—downright terrifying. I'm a few moments away from hitting it flat out for the first time aboard the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory, and I can already feel the butterflies.

Tucked behind the 1100 Factory's windscreen with the throttle at full stop, a quickshifter aids a seamless change to top gear and unleashes all of the Aprilia's claimed 217 hp. At full clip, the digital speedometer reads 311 kph (a scary-fast 193 mph) on approach to the sixth-gear rise. Regardless of self-preservation instincts, I'm motivated to hold the throttle pinned. The RSV4 lofts its front wheel for a split second, gently settling back down and accelerating toward turn one. No pucker, all confidence.

Aprilia officials say the RSV4’s high-speed chassis composure is owed to a pair of aerodynamic winglets derived from the Italian manufacturer’s efforts in MotoGP. Shaped similarly to those fitted to the RS-GP prototype, these added pieces are claimed to produce roughly 18 pounds of downforce at 186 mph. Without a direct comparison of an RSV4 with and without winglets, I cannot comment on their specific aerodynamic effects, but based on my prior literbike experience at Mugello, I can confidently argue that the 1100 Factory’s chassis feels steadier than previous laps cresting the sixth-gear rise. Confidence inspiring when it matters most.

1100 Factory
Like previous RSV4 models, the 1100 Factory feels heavy at midcorner, but presents a confidence-inspiring, planted feel through its chassis.Courtesy of Aprilia

Until now, the impressive claimed power output and MotoGP-derived aerodynamics paint the picture that the top-tier RSV4 is a race-replica machine, likely with superbike homologations in mind. An increase in displacement to 1,078cc, however, will argue otherwise. Aprilia says the 1100 Factory is designed to further increase the separation between the standard RR and outgoing RF models, making it a more exclusive ownership. Not to mention, one that the Italian manufacturer calls the fastest, lightest, most powerful RSV4 ever.

AWC and ATC settings
Exiting corners aboard the RSV4 1100 Factory is aided by a precise intervention of the AWC and ATC settings, which work seamlessly together to provide acceleration the way you desire.Courtesy of Aprilia

Following in the footsteps of the beloved Tuono, the 1100 Factory’s engine displacement climbs by 79cc thanks to a 3mm increase of bore (from 78 to 81mm). The revised powerplant also sees a machined piston crown and combustion chamber, more aggressive intake valve timing, and longer ratios in fifth and sixth gear among other improvements. Redline has been revised, now sitting at 13,600 rpm, which is decreased from the RR’s 14,200 rev limit. In comparison to the standard model, however, the 1100 Factory makes 10 percent more horsepower and torque from idle to redline. Impressive stuff.

Brembo Stylema calipers
The Brembo Stylema calipers offer gobs of stopping power, but the lever lacks feel. A change in pad material or master cylinder would likely resolve the issue. While beautiful, the air ducts do cost an additional $195.Courtesy of Aprilia

Even more remarkable is the engine’s tractable power delivery at corner exit. Initial throttle response is impressive, with a seamless transition between off and on throttle that doesn’t punish aggressive inputs, but still lunges out of the corner for quick acceleration. RPM climbs quickly, yet in an extremely linear manner, making the 1100 Factory a deceptively fast motorcycle. I’d argue the top-tier RSV4 builds power more smoothly than any production literbike on the market, period.

Of course, the precision of the Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) ride-by-wire electronic rider aids play a role here. Toggling between each of the three riding modes—Race, Track, Sport—I settled on the most aggressive Race setting for its increased low-end grunt. In combination with the AWC wheelie control tuned to level 2 of 3, the RSV4 accelerates away from the corner while lofting the front tire inches above the ground before gently setting down upon upshifts.

1,078cc
Aprilia bumped the displacement of the RSV4 up to 1,078cc via a 3mm larger bore. The result is an added 16 hp, bringing total output to a claimed 217 ponies.Courtesy of Aprilia

After Aprilia technicians spooned on a fresh set of Pirelli Supercorsa SC1 race rubber for the late-afternoon sessions, I continuously decreased the level of intrusion of the ATC traction control. Starting on level 5, I found the system to hinder acceleration at corner exit by cutting needed horsepower, even while decreasing lean angle. Level 2 became the sweet spot. Pitching the RSV4 into Mugello’s Arrabbiata One and Arrabbiata Two—two fast, third-gear right-handers—proved the system’s capabilities. A slight trace of throttle between the corners cracked the rear end loose into a subtle drift, but never increased to anything more, even with added throttle input. Let’s just say, it’ll make you feel like a superhero.

titanium Akrapovič silencer
Use of a titanium Akrapovič silencer saved 4.2 pounds, contributing to the 1100 Factory’s claimed 439-pound weight, fully fueled.Courtesy of Aprilia

While the RSV4’s chassis proved combative against high-speed chassis weave on the front straight, it did exhibit a slow suspension wallow under hard acceleration exiting slow corners. Slowing the rebound of the Öhlins TTX rear shock by two clicks offered slight relief, but I assume that a softer spring would resolve the issue. The rear end seems to fight to stay compressed, springing back uncontrollably as load is reduced.

Öhlins TTX rear shock
An Öhlins TTX rear shock outfits the back of the RSV4 1100 Factory. While it is a top-shelf component, we were forced to tinker with the settings to find the correct feel at corner exit.Courtesy of Aprilia

The 1100 Factory’s sure-footed, confidence-inspiring feel returns at midcorner—one that puts you in control of the motorcycle, make steering corrections if needed, and trust that the front tire will stick lap after lap. There is no denying the RSV4 is heavy at side-to-side transitions, however, requiring more effort to wrestle it through tight chicanes or fast esses. Slippery footpegs are no help here either. The lack of grip through your feet forces you to compensate with your arms, raising the level of riding exertion. Aftermarket rearsets are a quick fix to the problem, but an added cost.

The motorcycle that I tested came equipped with carbon-fiber air ducts for the brake calipers, which are said to lower temperature at the Brembo Stylema calipers by as much as 20 degrees Celsius. The additional cooling is said to reduce brake fade throughout a racetrack stint. As gorgeous as their carbon weaves are, they come at an additional cost of $195 for the pair. Would I buy them? Probably not. Although I never experienced brake fade on the 1100 Factory, I cannot recall any recent experience that I did on another RSV4. And besides, the added cooling benefits don’t help the lack of feel presented through the lever.

RSV4 1100 Factory
The RSV4 1100 Factory in all its glory, all for $24,499.Courtesy of Aprilia
winglets
MotoGP aerodynamic technology meets the consumer literbike market. The winglets derived from the RS-GP prototype are claimed to produce 18 pounds of downforce at 186 mph.Courtesy of Aprilia

Questioning whether the RSV4 1100 Factory is as “premium” as Aprilia claims? A $24,499 price tag will have your answer. Regardless of the cost, there’s no question the Factory is Aprilia’s fastest and most powerful RSV4 to date, and the aerodynamic winglets offer stability and another level of MotoGP technology even you could buy. Not to mention how much of a hero it’ll make you feel on the straightaways—even Mugello has nothing on this bike.

Specifications:

MSRP: $24,499,
ENGINE: 1,078cc, V-4, 4 valves/cyl.
BORE X STROKE: 81.0mm x 52.3mm
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE: 6-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: 217 hp @ 13,200 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE: 90 lb.-ft. @ 11,000 rpm
FUEL SYSTEM: Marelli 48mm throttle bodies w/ RBW
CLUTCH: Multi-disc, wet, cable operated
FRAME: Aluminum dual beam main chassis
FRONT SUSPENSION: 43mm Öhlins Nix fork adjustable for compression, rebound and spring preload; 4.9-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION: Double-braced aluminum swingarm, Öhlins TTX shock adjustable for compression, rebound, and spring preload; 4.7-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE: 4-piston Brembo Stylema calipers, dual floating 330mm discs; Bosch 9.1 MP ABS w/ cornering function
REAR BRAKE: 2-piston floating caliper, 220mm disc; Bosch 9.1 MP ABS w/ cornering function
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR: 3.50 x 17 in. / 6.00 x 17 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR: 120/70ZR-17 / 200/55ZR-17
RAKE/TRAIL: 24.5°/ 4.1 in.
WHEELBASE: 56.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT: 33.5 in.
FUEL CAPACITY: 4.9 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT: 390 lb. (dry) / 439 lb. w/ full tank of fuel
CONTACT: www.aprilia.com