Well, I spent some time on the Aprilia yesterday....followed by some seat time on my Ducati 848 and my 05 CBR1000RR as a basis for comparison. Here are some quick impressions riding the bike in TRACK mode/map only, on a cold day (48 degrees ambient) and on damp roads. I took the RSV4-R on some local twisties, and got it up as high as 123 MPH to test acceleration and perceived speed. Stock tires, Metzler Racetec K3, 32 PSI Front (Cold) 34 PSI Rear (Cold). Just under factory recommendations for a single rider.
Total miles so far - around 50.
1. The bike is very comfortable; riding position is great for the street, but easily translates to a more aggressive posture when needed. Tank is VERY comfortable to move around and hang off. Perhaps one of the best tank ergos of any bike I've ridden.
2. Great power delivery. Smooth as hell once you start to roll on. Throttle on off (by wire) is a bit abrupt. Midrange is not as amazing as the High end. Power wheelies are all over the place at 10K RPM in almost any gear (and I wasn't trying). Surprised the hell out of me.
3. Slipper clutch was flawless. Very little engine braking. A lot less than a twin, maybe a touch more than my Repsol with the STM....gearing is VERY tall. First gear is very usable up to more than 70MPH. My sense is that with current gearing, going into first will be key for corner exits on the track. On street twisties, I don't see using more than the first three gears with stock configuration. Will likely have to change gearing to get into the powerband sooner, and make 2nd gear the main gear for exiting relatively slow corners on the track.
4. Sound is badass...even with the ugly stock pipe. Sounds like a combination of a twin, Crossplane R1, and an IL4. Completely unique note. Additionally, is LOUD for an approved stock pipe. I really don't know how they got around that for EPA. This thing is going to fakken HOWL with a real pipe on it.
5. Suspension feels good, even not properly set up. Turns in easily, and held all the corners I went into yesterday (recall that the conditions really didn't permit me to push it), but by comparison it turns in more easily than both my Honda and my Ducati. The Ducati is VERY hard to turn in compared to either bikes
6. More on the power delivery...compared to the Repsol, the power delivery seems very refined. The Repsol feels more like "Raw Literbike Power" wheras the RSV4 gets up there quickly (I rode it mostly between 6-8k RPM), and once you get between 8-12, the bike turns into a Rocket - a beast. The Repsol (recall I have it geared down -1 +2) just feels a lot more aggressive in the low RPM ranges. So, I'd have to say in stock configuration, the RSV4 (compared to both my Repsol and Ducati (both have PCIIIs and custom maps) has less RELATIVE midrange HP than the other bikes. At least, that's what the seat of the pants DYNO tells this guy.
7. The pull on the ride by wire throttle is very comfortable, but lighter than all my other bikes.
8. The placement of the high beam control gets in the way quite a bit, and I consistently turned the high beams on accidentally through my entire ride.
9. The retractable rearsets bugged the shit out of me the whole ride. I move around the bike a lot even on the street, and the rearsets were constantly flipping up as I used the pegs for leverage.
10. A nice touch - the bike has a gear indicator, as well as an indicator that reminds you that the sidestand is down. How cool is that? It also includes a riding session timer, and a lap timer, all of which will be very helpful doing track days.
11. The turn signal control is standard Japanese style. The touch is very light, and while it felt good, there was a less "exact" feel to the indexing.
12. Mirrors were actually usable - but mostly effective when looking at traffic in adjacent lanes. To get a view behind, you have to take your hand off the left clip-on. Better than the Ducati stock, actually, better than the stock configuration on any of my bikes so far. Not as good as my Repsol, where the aftermarket Rizoma mirrors provide an excellent view behind as well as to the sides.
13. Gearbox was flawless. No false neutrals (I had about 4 on my Ducati in just a short ride). Clutchless upshifts on hard acceleration where perfect...and the bike sounded outstanding as it pounded through the gears. Downshifting was equally excellent. The transmission and clutch may be among the best features of the bike, outside of a properly tuned engine and a properly adjusted suspension.
14. Brakes felt just awesome for street duty. Did a few hard braking stops after they were warmed to see how the bike felt, and felt solid as hell...good initial bite, and very progressive. Brakes will not need an upgrade, at least so far.
That's it for now. Will provide more as I get it. Overall, I'm delighted with the bike and how it feels, and really like the unique characteristics of the engine and power delivery.
Most Needed Mods, In LosPer's Opinion:
1. Upgraded rearsets (Stockers are too light and easily move around - creating distraction)
2. A pipe or full system (just because it is going to sound SICK, and the extra HP and midrange tuning will be very useful, especially on the track)
3. Gearing (the bike is geared too tall in my opinion for it's strengths in the high rev ranges)
4. Fender Eliminator (Natural...the tail of this bike is way to hot to leave stock)
All in all, this is a fun and easy bike to ride fast.
Other Similar Bikes I own as basis of comparison and disclosure- for those who don't know me...
08 Honda CBR1000RR Custom Map, PCIII, Taylormade Pipe, Ohlins Rear Shock (Track Only)
05 Honda CBR1000RR Custom Map, PCIII, Arrow full GP exhaust, Full Ohlins (Street/Track)
08 Ducati 848, Custom Map, PCIII, ECU, Full Ohlins (Street/Track)
07 BMW K1200R, Mostly Stock (Street)
Ridden Extensively on the Track
07 Honda CBR600RR
07 Kawi 600
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