September 24, 2008 We've been following Aprilia's 2009 V-4 engined superbike closely through its development stages, excited to learn what the company can do with its brand new, fully electronically managed and incredibly compact 1000cc motor. And the first official images and press information have been released. Stunning to look at, the RSV4 will make at least 180 horsepower in roadbike trim (and somewhere around 220 in the version Max Biaggi will race in WSBK 2009) - but more astounding than that figure is the amazing amount of chassis tuning the RSV4 will allow. With adjustable steering head angle, swingarm pivots and even engine mounting points, the new Aprilia can lay a genuine claim to being the most race-focused production motorcycle on the planet.

On top of the hugely tuneable chassis, the RSV4 has fully adjustable Ohlins suspension at either end, and radial Brembo monobloc calipers at the front to complement what you'd have to think will be one of the best handling motorcycle packages ever.

Aprilia's non-competition superbike, the RSV, has used its exceptional handling to beat far more powerful Japanese and Italian production superbikes around racetracks in stock trim, as evidenced by its domination of the 2006 Master Bike track test. The new bike's handling should be even better, mated with a massive increase in engine power.

The V4 engine's final power output has not yet been released - but it will be at least 180 horsepower; right at the pointy end of what the japanese bikes are making in 2009. V4 engines are traditionally able to develop better low-end grunt, as well as a traction-friendly power delivery out of corners, so there's little doubt this will be a lightning quick machine.

The engine and throttle are fully electronically managed, with a fly-by-wire system and switchable engine maps metering the power to the back wheel. There's some sort of traction control system built in as well. Variable length intake tracts will boost low-end torque even further while lifting off when the engine gets into the party end of the rev range to deliver blistering top-end power.

With 250GP ceasing to exist as a MotoGP support category in the next couple of years, Aprilia's primary (and very successful) racing presence will disappear altogether - which is likely why such a huge effort has gone into the design and race-readiness of the RSV4 superbike.

Aprilia are not used to running at the back of the pack in international racing, and the new bike's razor sharp race focus, and the skilled hands of ex-GP God Max Biaggi as the #1 factory rider, are a direct and powerful challenge to Ducati and the Japanese World Superbike teams.

Exciting times indeed! Availability and pricing haven't been announced, but due to homologation regulations for WSBK, the RSV4 will be available soon. As for pricing - with the amount of new technology it's packing, and the top-shelf chassis componentry, it won't be cheap by anyone's measure. Expect around US$30k for the standard version and as much as US$45k for the RSV4 Factory.

More photos, video and the full Aprilia press release over at TheBikerGene.

Loz Blain

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