The Aprilia RSV4 is the Italian race-bike brand’s flagship superbike.
It was designed to roll straight from factory to racetrack, dropping just in time to compete in the 2009 Superbike World Champion season.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at its reliability.
Here is the short answer to are Aprilia RSV4s reliable:
The Aprilia RSV4 is very reliable, to the point that some consumers refer to them as bulletproof. Their dependability is thanks to the bike’s continual refinement. There have been concerns about the bike’s conrods, but Aprilia assures the issue was rectified via recall.
How Reliable Are Aprilia RSV4s?
Aprilia’s often have their reliability questioned however this negative stereotype is stemmed from much, much older Aprilia bikes and this really isn’t an issue anymore – especially for the RSV4 which has been continually refined.
The RSV4 is a complex machine though, and you’ll need a good Aprilia dealer who understands it and can fix any issues (very important if you’re not mechanically inclined), however, they can be just as reliable as any other superbike providing they’re properly:
- Boken in
Keeping the bike stock and not messing about with the electronics or remapping the engine will also ensure problems are minimal. Redlining it frequently will reduce the bike’s dependability, as will stunt riding.
The RSV4 Factory is race-track-ready even if it is tuned down to be street legal, which means the engine won’t be working as hard as it potentially could.
Since the pistons are engineered to withstand track-level RPM abuse, real-world operation won’t cause anywhere near as much wear and tear.
Take a look through the forums, and you’ll find numerous consumer-based reviews that celebrate the bike’s dependability with quotes like this:
“Break it in right and change the oil often. I have had no problems with mine but it only has 4200 miles. There is a member who has over 35k on his with zero issues.”
“I’ve had the bike for over two years now and I’ve not had one issue with it, it’s been flawless”
It hasn’t been all plain sailing though, and the RSV4 was hit with a significant recall in 2010 due to faulty connecting rods which had the potential to cause engine failure – affected models required an engine replacement.
A process used by the parts supplier to straighten the rods negatively impacted their strength and reliability.
There are also some reports of problems with the gas tank expanding although this issue is common across various Aprilia models.
The problem comes from the tank not being vented; pressure from expanding fuel (ethanol) can’t escape so the tank has no choice but to expand.
The tank itself is not aluminum or any type of metal, it’s polymer, and owners have had to open their gas fuel caps every day or so to allow some of the air out.
How Many Miles Can an Aprilia RSV4 Last?
A well-kept Aprilia RSV4 should last for at least 62,000 miles although this is largely dependent on the owner’s maintenance and riding habits. Any race bike that is ridden hard or inadequately maintained will require an engine rebuild much sooner.
Like reliability, the lifespan of a superbike is mainly dependent on ownership habits and style of riding. Regular oil changes are critical, some owners change it as regularly as every 2,000 miles.
Here are a few real-life owners who’ve clocked more than a few miles on their RSV4s.
“My Aprilia dealer said the RSV4 engine should be good for a minimum of 100,000km (62,000mi). If you still like the bike after that, slot in a new engine.”
“(Aprilia) engines should last more than 60,000 miles. As long as you service and maintain them, you could get 100’s of thousands of miles.”
“I have 38,201 on the 2010 Aprilia RSV4 Factory. It is running great, with no more oil consumption than my friends with 10,000 miles on it. Use Motul 300v, and almost no freeway miles, all in the mountains or the track. Change oil and filter with every tire change, about 2000miles per set. Tuono is the same motor, slightly detuned, so it should also do very well!”
What is Considered High Mileage for an Aprilia RSV4?
It’s common to consider any sportbikes high mileage after 25,000 miles, this certainly applies to a race-ready superbike like the RSV4. Still, there are various examples of RSV4 riders who have cleared 35-40,000 miles and still don’t have engine trouble.
The details of prior ownership are more important for assessing the lifespan of a used superbike than its mileage, that’s for sure.
If the prior owner:
- stored the bike correctly
- serviced it regularly
- and, if it was a track bike – rebuilt/repaired/upgraded as soon as issues emerged
You might be able to pick up a high-mile RSV4 that still has plenty of life left for a low price.
Note, a low odometer reading could mean the owner left their RSV4 rotting in a garage somewhere until its fuel turned to gunk and clogged the lines; you never know...
When considering the life span of a used RSV4, here are some more critical factors:
- Run the VIN: Aprilia sportbikes are light and easy to steal; superbikes have a higher theft rate than other bikes. If you want to make sure you’re not about to buy a hot bike; run the numbers. Make sure they haven’t been re-cut.
- Assess the Bike’s Overall Condition: If you can see signs of neglect or repairs untended to, chances are the owner wasn’t very proactive. That said, if the owner kept records and receipts from the RSV4’s service history, it’s a good sign that the prior owner probably appreciated the motorcycle.
- Ask for Service Records: Some sellers are more detailed than others. Ask if they kept records or any form of documented history of their RSV4 ownership.
- Test Ride: A test ride can bring attention to any notable problems. I always bring a friend who knows about bikes; for the RSV4, it’d help bring someone who knows how to ride a superbike this high-tech already, as they can push it as hard as need be to assess the engine’s condition.
- Bring a checklist: Its best to be prepared and having any questions or concerns written down will ensure you don’t forget anything.
What Are the Best Model Years to Buy and Avoid?
Aprilia is no stranger to upping their aerodynamic, efficient race machine every year, and they certainly didn’t skip this past one.
The 2022 model features a double-layered fairing, integrated aerodynamic winglets, and an inverted swingarm ripped straight from the race-bike industry.
And that’s not to mention the new electronics package with advanced APRC, an increase in torque, the upgraded chassis, and an HP boost that brings the 2022 RSV4 up to a mighty 217.
For 2017, the RSV4 received a notable facelift.
Aprilia upgraded its suspension with a stock Ohlins Race set-up, hooked up a new braking system, and updated its electronic control package to include a Cornering ABS mode.
They even threw on a quick shifter that year.
These upgrades combined with the 201 HP Euro 4 Motor and an industry-dominating race chassis give 2017 a quarter-mile improvement time overall in the preceding years.
Worst Years: 2010
While every iteration of the RSV4 has been a high-class Italian superbike, Aprilia improves the bike’s tech and performance packages with each model year.
Naturally, the first-year model, 2010, is the least ideal option as the bike has only improved with time.
Conrod failure was one of the 2010 RSV4 models’ biggest issues, however, this was resolved via recall.
According to online publications, the bad batch of conrods led to some of the 2010 models blowing their motors in the middle of a media demo.
The recall gave all the affected models a brand new engine with the proper conrods.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Yamaha R1 Last?
What Usually Breaks First on an Aprilia RSV4?
The first, and in some cases only, thing to break on many of the Aprilia RSV4s out there was the side stand sensor switch used to cut the engine if the side stand is employed while the bike is gear.
This switch is also responsible for triggering the illumination of the light in the instrument cluster.
Over time this component can fail due to corrosion or general wear-and-tear, as with side-stand sensor switches on most modern bikes.
The switch placement beneath the kickstand at the bottom-most part of the bike leaves it vulnerable to get splashed with water, mud, dirt, and debris, unfortunately corroding the switch’s electronics over time.
- There are various methods an RSV4 rider can employ to fix the switch; replacing it with a new sensor is an option, and a cheap and easy one a that.
- Still, some riders feel the component doesn’t offer them much utility, as even if they take off with their side stand extended, it’s rigged to snap up at first contact.
- These riders either silder the connection shut or use an Aprilia Sidestand Bypass part. You can pug into the connector to disable the switch altogether.
Note: Bypassing the side stand switch voids your warranty in some cases. Consult your Aprilia dealership to see if you’re safe to do so.
Aprilia RSV4 Maintenance Cost:
Here are a few examples of RSV4 maintenance prices:
- $350 a set for tires
- $250 OEM brake pads
- $208 for stator replacement
- $70 for a new battery
- $175 for chain and sprockets
- $150 for fork seals, bushings, snap rings, washers, dust seals, and fluid
- $100 for the wheel bearings front and rear
- $54 an oil change
There are other ownership costs to factor in, such as:
- Jacket = $200
- Gloves = $100
- Winter riding gear = $200-$500
- Rain gear = $75-$300
- Helmets = $100-$500
- Fuel = $15 a tank
- Storage =$?
- Insurance =average cost of superbike motorcycle insurance is $721 a year.
4 Tips to Make Sure Your Aprilia RSV4 Lasts Long
- Have your RSV4 serviced by a mechanic who is familiar with Aprilias, ideally at a reputable dealer.
- Clean it often and dry sufficiently to prevent dirt and debris from settling in the engine and causing rust.
- Store it properly, safe from harmful moisture and sunlight to prolong the lifespan of gaskets, seals, lines, and other parts, not to mention the finish.
- Ride your RSV4 superbike regularly. The Aprilia RSV4 is made well; however if sat unused and neglected parts will break down much more quickly.