Aprilia trio star on road and track
I recently had the opportunity, courtesy of Aprilia, to ride three of their potent weapons at Sydney Motorsport Park — the Tuono 1100 RF, the RSV4 RF (imitation W) and the bike I had been riding for a couple of weeks on the road, the base model RSV4 RR.
The Tuono RF is the upspec version with Ohlins suspension; otherwise it is basically (other from a few tuning differences) the same as the RSV4 sports bike, just with an upright handlebar and a tiny half fairing.
The last time I rode the Tuono at the track it was a barrel of fun; it loves to wheelstand out of every corner. No difference on the RF. I had been warned that I could get sent home for doing too long a wheelstand but that didn’t stop me launching the RF out of turn five up the back hill and on to the front straight with the front wheel heading skyward.
I did fiddle with the suspension slightly for sharper turn-in by adjusting the rear preload and rebound, and only adjusting the rebound on the front. This is easily done with the fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear. The others who rode the same bike on the day loved the changes I’d made.
Then it was time to give the RSV4 RF W a whirl. The W is the factory race bike kit, although this one was the RF version made to look like the W version. From the RF road version this bike has a race fairing and full Akrapovic exhaust system (with an ECU change to suit).
I instantly loved this bike on the track. Much stiffer suspension and even more power had this thing powering down the front straight so that not even the new Ducati V4, ridden by a current racer, was able to motor past.
Now it was time to give the base model RSV4 RR a few laps. As I had been riding this bike for a couple of weeks I spent some time setting up the suspension to what I thought would be a good package on the track. The riders who’d been on it before me felt it handled better than the RFW but it lacked the better control of the RFW when pushed hard as you tipped in on the brakes.
On the road, the RSV4 RR is one of the most comfortable sports bikes I’ve ridden. The standard suspension settings soak up rough bitumen and the rider can get into position and not feel cramped.
My only gripe on the road is its gearing — way too high for day-today riding. It was a bit high for the track as well, but is easily fixed.
However, if you have to have a litre sports bike for the road — and want to be as comfortable as you can a race bike with lights — then the RR is the pick of the bunch.
Back to the track action! Handling on all three bikes after my adjustments was great. I could push into turn one on the Tuono using no brakes and just changing down one gear at the 100m mark.
On both the RFW and RR, it took a light bit of front brake, down one gear and tip it in.
The tyres weren’t as sticky as I’d normally use but making them last all day was what Aprilia wanted, so rather than being able to nail the throttle on the exit of corners I had to progressively roll it on, which was fine for what I wanted to achieve.
After a couple of sessions on each bike, the wind started to come up strongly. The Tuono was obviously the hardest to ride in these conditions as it offered little or no wind protection, so I stuck to riding the RFW for a couple more sessions until the wind became out of control, so I packed up.
All three bikes are fitted with the latest electronics. I preferred the traction control, wheelie control and anti-lock braking all turned off, which made the bike faster for me. The others riding the bikes had them turned on and felt much safer that way.
For any of these bikes the V4-MP app allows you to punch in the track you’re riding and record your lap times, throttle openings, braking and all sorts of other data.
My pick of the three as far as an “all-rounder’ goes is the Tuono 1100 RF. It’s the best road bike and while it won’t pull as hard as the other two, the smile on your face will be no different.
Aprilia’s Tuono RSV4 RR is a comfortable sports bike on the road.