2009 Aprilia RSV4: Max Power
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2009 Aprilia RSV4: Max Power

By JeffWare - 03 April 2023

Test by Jeff Ware Photography by Lou Martin

We’ve ridden Max Biaggi’s WorldSBK bike, so here’s what us humans got back in 2009… First impressions last and the RSV4 certainly won me over when I rode it in 2009…

On the gas, the bike had brilliant top-end power and speed.

Having had recently completed our Superbike Comparo on our then test track The Farm (now 70North), I could not wait to get the RSV4 up there. And I wasn’t disappointed…

This is a demanding track, with 22 corners in 4.9-kilometers. Most of us could cope with up to seven laps at a time on any of the 1000s, then we’d be finished. However, I managed three sets of 10 laps on the RSV4 and was not at all fatigued in the arms, legs or mentally.

Through the demanding esses the new RSV4 was next level.

Through the esses, the RSV4 is the most accurate, light, flickable four-stroke bike I have sampled. I was photographed every lap and in almost all 30 passes, my right knee was touching the exact same tuft of grass sticking up – such was the lack of forearm fatigue. This bike is just easy to ride.

I was the first Aussie journalist to test the RSV4, which was pretty cool. 

Braking performance is sensational. There is plenty of initial bite from the Brembo calipers and modulating pressure is accurate and feels fantastic all the way in. The bike is not at all upset and front feel braking into an apex is good, better than on the road of course. The rear brake was not working at first but became good and although I cooked it a bit, it coped well in the hands of this rear brake destroyer.

The riding position on the bike is sensational on track and there is plenty of room to shift about. Downshifts are quick and easy, the slipper works well and offers adequate engine braking while controlling stability and even at serious lean angles, the bike feels comfy and planted.

Top spec Ohlins and Brembo for the era…
Ohlins shock, something only the Euro bikes came with.

On some of the off camber turns on the track, where some bikes experience a sudden lose, the RSV4 offers a gentle drift that is quickly and easily stopped by pulling it up on the fatter part of the tyres. All very refined and done with finesse. This really is a sensational track machine and very safe, maximising available grip and getting the best out of the tyres.

Power delivery on the track is smooth and tractable but the RSV4 is seriously quick and needs an expert hand if you are playing in the 8000 to 11500,12500rpm top-end area. You really better have your socks pulled up; I’ll tell you!

Super narrow for a superbike of a decade ago…
Now that is a cool number plate! 

Powering off corners, the RSV4 tracks online, does not run wide at all and is easy to tuck in on in a full race tuck – something that is getting harder all the time in this class.

Top speed is something I could not measure; however, the bike managed the same speed at the end of the back chute as the Fireblade in our comparo.

The compact V4 that went on to be a huge success.

I made some slight suspension setting changes on the track and the response was fantastic from the quality forks and shock. Amazingly, all I changed was three more rear comp clicks, two more rear rebound clicks, one less turn of front preload and two clicks of comp on the forks and one click of rebound. The bike was supplied with the front forks 4mm up through the clamps over stock front ride height.

I had a great peak hour commute on the RSV4, a sensational full day country ride, a seriously fun and satisfying track day and then, on my last night with the bike, I decided to head out in wet weather gear in the pouring rain to ride around the Central Coast suburbs and test out R map in the rain. The bike was so easy to ride in the wet that I stayed out until 8:30pm at night. What a bike…

Unlike Ducati’s, Aprilia four-stroke models don’t seem to demand the high prices as they age.


Claimed power: 132.4kW[177hp]@12,500rpm

Claimed torque: 115Nm[84ft-lbs]@10,000rpm

Claimed dry weight: 179kg

Fuel capacity: 17L (4L-reserve)

Engine: Liquid-cooled, 65-degree V-four, DOHC, 16-valve, four-stroke, 78 x 52.3mm, 999.6cc, 13.0:1 comp, Magneti Marelli digital electronic ignition, six-speed cassette style Gearbox, wet, multi-plate slipper clutch,

Chassis: Twin-spar aluminium frame, aluminium swingarm. Rake: 24.5 degrees

Trail: 105mm Suspension: Dual Ohlins inverted TIN-coated forks, Ohlins monoshock. Brakes: Dual 320mm rotors, Brembo monobloc four-piston calipers, single 220mm rotor, Brembo caliper, Wheels: Aprilia forged aluminium, 3.50 x 17in, 6.0 x 17in, 120/70 – 17, 190/55 – 17.

Instruments: Analogue tachometer, digital speedometer, indicators, high beam, oil light, fuel level, trip meters, CAN line for diagnosis, lap timer, map switches, gear position, engaged engine map, shift light.

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