The years-long feud between Aprilia and Ducati adds yet another chapter. It all started back in 2004, when Aprilia gave life to its RSV 1000 R 60-degree twin-cylinder that, in the hands of Troy Corser, represented a very strong challenge to the dominance of the Ducati 998 and its derivatives on the World Superbike series. From then on, the superbikes of the two Italian makes kept challenging each other both on the roads and on the racetrack. When SBK rules changed, Aprilia created the mighty RSV4 1000 and Ducati lept from the 1098 Testastretta to the 1099 Panigale.

Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory
The 2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory produces 217 hp.Courtesy of Aprilia

Now, Aprilia has focused its energies on the MotoGP championship, but the RSV4 RR still plays a strong role, though it is no longer fully factory supported and so it has a hard life to still be a top contender. When Ducati unveiled the Panigale V4 last year, Aprilia had to respond to the new V-4 challenge by introducing the 2019 RSV4 1100 Factory, the most powerful and elegantly finished Aprilia RSV4 ever.

Aprilia’s 65-degree V-4 has been enlarged to the same 1,078cc of the Aprilia Tuono 1100 by boring the RSV4 unit from 78 to 81mm, while stroke remains at 52.3mm. To get the highest possible, yet fully Euro-4-legal power, Aprilia’s engineers have combined a substantial 13.6:1 compression ratio, an injection system based on four 48mm throttle bodies featuring two injectors each, larger valves, and a very hot cam profile. The wet-sump lubrication system now features a larger oil pump to increase the lubrication flow and keep the oil temperature under control. A second oil pump feeds two oil jets at the base of each cylinder to provide extra cooling to the pistons.

The final result is a compact engine that generates an impressive 217 hp at an even more impressive 13,200 rpm, 200 rpm more than the RSV4 RR uses to generate its 201 hp. This is telling of the very high state of tuning of this unit. Further confirming the higher performance level is the 90 pound-feet torque generated at 11,000 rpm.

APRC electronic suite
The APRC electronic suite includes eight levels of traction control adjustment.Courtesy of Aprilia

Aprilia’s APRC electronic suite has further evolved to a new level to ensure total control of the Factory’s performance potential. APRC includes eight selectable levels of traction control, wheelie control, launch control, quickshifter, and cruise control. In cooperation with Bosch, Aprilia developed a cornering ABS that can be connected to the multimedia platform to optimize its function on the track, setting the ABS action corner by corner. Throttle response can be adjusted in the usual three mappings: Sport, Track, and Rain.

The new engine is harnessed in Aprilia’s twin-spar aluminum frame, but it has also undergone a number of subtle adjustments to the weight distribution and steering geometry to further improve the already excellent dynamics of the RSV4 chassis. The steering geometry has been altered both in the steering rake, down from 24.6 to 24.5 degrees, and in 2mm less offset in the triple clamps. Thus, the front wheel has been pulled 4mm nearer to the center of gravity compared to the RSV4 RR. It follows that the wheelbase has been shortened by the same value while the trail has been increased by 2mm—from 102 to 104mm.

Öhlins suspension
Suspension duties are handled by Öhlins on the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory.Courtesy of Aprilia

All suspension components are top-quality Öhlins units: a NIX 43mm inverted fork and TTX piggyback shock absorber. The RSV4 1100 Factory rolls on forged aluminum wheels in 3.5x17-inch front and 6.00x17-inch rear sizes, shod with 120/70 front and 200/55 rear radials.

Braking is handled by Brembo and is fitted with twin 330mm rotors with latest Stylema four-piston radial calipers. These calipers are more compact and lighter than the M50 Monoblock units.

Carbon-fiber winglets
Carbon-fiber winglets provide downforce at speed.Courtesy of Aprilia

The RSV4 1100 Factory is elegant in dark graphics that expose the carbon-fiber components of the bodywork, including the thin winglets provided near the nose of the fairing to create downforce at high speed. This is by far the most stunning Aprilia RSV4 ever. The use of lightweight materials like carbon fiber, titanium in the Akrapovic exhaust system, and a Bosch lithium-ion battery has brought the weight down to 438 pounds, ready to go with a full tank.