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RSV4 Review and Impressions
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RSV4 Review and Impressions - July 31, 2010, 10:36 PM

I've recorded my thoughts over the course of owning this bike. Here they are all together.



My first ride was around the paddock of New Jersey Motorsports Park and then some of the surround roads. "Raw and visceral" were my first thoughts of the way it sounded. Kind of ominous really, of some wicked things to come.
The more I ride it, the more I like it.
And I knew I'd like it anyways before I even bought it. I've only done about 120 miles too.
The handling is like no other bike I've ridden. It's not as quick handling as my SV650. It just has a different feeling to it, the way it carries its weight low I guess. So far the front end works perfectly for my weight. And the rear could use a softer spring. But these are things I was pretty sure of before I bought it, based on what I read on the Aprilia forum about how the suspension was performing for people of various weights. Even still it really does feel like it's on rails going through turns, stable beyond words.

The motor doesn't seem as smooth as my VFR750. I know it's definitely not as smooth at low RPM.

.................................................. .................................................. .......



After 1600 miles the motor has smoothed out some though it's still rough feeling at lower RPM. I would attribute that to the tall gearing. 1st is good for 100, 2nd for 126mph. Above 6k it's plenty smooth. Below 6k you'd think you were on a twin the way it sounds. At higher RPM there is no mistaking it for a V-4. Since the oil change at 600 miles finding neutral is easier. Neutral being difficult to find seems to be mentioned by a lot of new owners, but the issue seems to going away after changing the oil or avoiding the use of certain oil (Motul). I changed to Mobil 15W-50 since that is the easiest 15W-50 to come by.

It's more comfortable than my '07 CBR600RR. The bars to seat distance is less. RRW magazine lists the steering stem to seat center as 25.6" which is the same as a GSXR1000 and less than all the other literbikes. The MV F4 measures, 31.1"! That can't be comfortable at all. I'm 5'10" 165lbs with gear and I feel that this bike fits me perfectly. I did one 320-mile day. If my back wasn't hurting before I began the ride, I wouldn't have had any pains at the end. It's not very likely I'd be riding it that far in a day again. I didn't buy it for touring. I already have more confidence in going fast on it than I do my CBR. I should have it on the track in the next few months, I still need to get some track bodywork for it.

I finally got around to ordering a Leo Vince slip-on (#8150) for it to replace the 11.8lb stock muffler. It's one of the few options available that isn't carbon fiber. It also doesn't add a muffler bracket like the others. There is no muffler to subframe bracket stock, so why add one? I briefly removed the muffler and started it up. Oh man the sound! That's nice! O-face. I've posted a 'video' of this on YouTube.

The are a few minor inconveniences. It creates a lot of heat, at least compared to the bikes I've ridden. I don't have much liter bike seat time, so maybe others come close for heat production. When it's 80+ degrees it doesn't take long for the temp to reach 213F at which point the fan comes on. Then you feel the heat pouring out the sides of the fairing. The fan does a great job at keeping it from getting much hotter though. The frame gets hot enough that you don't want to touch it. Not a bike for short-wearing squids.

In Jay Leno's review he said he had a good view in the mirrors. I don't really think so, at least not compared to what I'm used to. I get mostly a view of my elbows. The stalks are not adjustable other than being able to fold back 90 degrees. Only the mirror surface is adjustable.

The headlights seem alright. They needed some adjustment upwards. I changed it a little and it was better. I haven't ridden in the dark yet again since adjust it some more. A single Phillips head screw vertically adjusts the entire headlight assembly, high and low, all at once. Initially the high beam wasn't very high and the low beam was more effective. The low beam was too close and kind of gave the feeling of the lights being shined back into my face.


At this point I'm still pretty satisfied with the suspension. The front is perfect for the street and has plenty of adjustment left that it should be great on the track also. The rear is harder than I would like for the street. There is still some spring preload that I can take out to get a little more sag. The spring still may be a little too hard for my preference, though it has potential to be just right on the track.


.................................................. ................................................

The Dragstrip

I've done hundreds of runs on my other bikes, but this was the first liter bike I've run. Mine is still completely stock.

During the early runs it was hot. 85 or so in the shade, hotter on the track of course. The motor was running fairly hot during those runs too. The last run it was dark and the temp was probably down to the upper 70s. It was 75 degs there an hour after I left. Humidity about 65%. Winds were a light headwind early, none later. Elevation is about 300ft ASL. I was weighing 166lbs with gear. The bike started out with a full tank of gas

I started out consistent, but I knew I could do a lot better. One run it popped out of gear, at the top of 2nd I think. Several runs I was hitting the lower than redline rev limiter. And the starts were just plain sucking. Not even close to wheelieing and the bike was really bogging. The last run was much better off the line but I wasn't expecting it to be so much better. I'm certain I could launch it even harder, I still wasn't getting a wheelie. This thing just charges forward. Even at the top of 1st it stayed planted. My CBR600 and SV650 won't do that.

Code:
Time    Lane    RT        60ft      330ft     1/8        1/8mph    1/4      1/4mph
                                
5:29    R    .092    1.816    4.706    6.908    112.21    10.439    137.95
5:53    L    .165    1.776    4.695    6.914    111.71    10.483    137.19
6:17    L    .317    1.767    4.671    6.880    112.10    10.401    138.03
6:46    L    .215    1.726    4.515    6.806    107.91    10.409    135.78
8:46    L    .077    1.774    4.681    6.881    112.49    10.380    139.40
10:02    L    .645    1.687    4.450    6.624    112.72    10.138    139.40
I was going to stick around for one more run but a car took out the timing gear at the 1/4 mi and they were only going to run the 1/8 the rest of the night. I'm pretty sure I could get into a high 9 with it still stock.


.................................................. ................................................

1900 miles to present

Leo Vince doesn't plan to import the muffler I ordered. So I order a custom one from Black Dragon Exhaust. It will have a 86x200mm polished stainless steel muffler with a slash tip and a silver ceramic-coated midpipe.
Images here Aprilia

I bought Catalyst Composites bodywork for the track. I was hoping to get Armour Bodies, but unless someone donates their bodywork for molds they will never be making any. I'm happy with the Catalyst though. Fit was great except for having to grind away the back part of the piece above the oil cooler. The belly pan is a little too wide though. Just barely scraping the peg feelers, I scraped the belly pan too. That will only get worse, hopefully adding some ride-height will help.

In the process of race-prepping I changed the oil again, this time to Rotella 15W-40. No problem find neutral now either. I also swapped out the original 120/190 Metzler K3s for Pirelli Supercorsa Pros, 120/180. I've had the tires for years and need to use them. Handling doesn't seem any different.

I also lowered the gearing with a 15-tooth front sprocket which makes the gearing closer to that of the rest of the liter bikes.


.................................................. ........................................

The Track

From my race report:

It was my first time riding any literbike on the track. It didn’t take long for me to be running times on par with fastest laps on my other bikes.

I was having fun doing wheelies out of turn 5. It was too easy not to. I got a little carried away and distracted though on one lap and was into the next turn a little hotter than I planned to. So I rode off and found out the RSV4 does just fine offroading. Lots of runoff room and no pucker factor. Running off is about unheard of for me, only one other time in thousands of laps and hundreds of races.

As I figured, the front suspension is perfect for me and the rear is too hard. Even full soft the rear shock just wasn’t giving the way I need it to. I especially couldn’t put the power down in the chicane because of three really sharp bumps. If I could get it as compliant and sorted as my SV650 then I could really start putting down some lap times more appropriate for a literbike

One thing I noticed is that time flies on this bike. The GTO felt like one of the shortest GT races I’ve done, yet it ran the full 25 minutes. I was out for the entire Sunday practice session too, about 15 minutes and I would’ve kept going had I not run out of gas. 13 miles after the light came out it cut out on me. The computer was showing that I was getting 33mpg on the track. I’m certainly not getting that mpg once I get to the ‘reserve’. I had just enough gas to eventually get it going enough to get back to the paddock.

.................................................. ............................................

Fuel mileage hardly changes between the street and track. That thought is that there is a lot of cam overlap at low RPM resulted in wasted gas when cruising around at 4-6k RPM.

I now have a Penske 8987 Triple Clicker shock on the way. Hopefully I get can the bike setup as loose as my SV650 and start riding it that way.





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July 31, 2010, 11:10 PM

very candid. Thanks for the write up. It's good to read write ups from actual people vs. mag dudes.


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August 6, 2010, 06:25 AM

fantastic


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August 6, 2010, 06:44 AM

Marry me Travis!!!


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August 6, 2010, 07:14 AM

I dont usually read long write ups like that, but this one was really good.


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August 6, 2010, 07:15 AM

Well done.
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August 6, 2010, 07:42 AM

Great write up! What a beautiful bike. Make sure to post a vid when the new exhaust comes in.


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August 10, 2010, 02:57 PM

In time for the trackday.




Hopefully the muffler shows up tomorrow.


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August 10, 2010, 03:11 PM

you actually ordered an exhaust from mark? wish you would have let me know that before you ordered.


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August 10, 2010, 07:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by blushin View Post
you actually ordered an exhaust from mark? wish you would have let me know that before you ordered.

Why?


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October 4, 2010, 09:22 AM

I saw a comparo that said the RSV4R had a noticable dip in the mid range power due to the variable length intakes being only on the Factory model. Did that seem like an issue to you? I'm on a twin and want to try out a V4 but I don't like the peakiness of an inline 4.
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October 4, 2010, 12:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scot View Post
very candid. Thanks for the write up. It's good to read write ups from actual people vs. mag dudes.

this


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October 4, 2010, 03:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CW AF 03 View Post
I saw a comparo that said the RSV4R had a noticable dip in the mid range power due to the variable length intakes being only on the Factory model. Did that seem like an issue to you? I'm on a twin and want to try out a V4 but I don't like the peakiness of an inline 4.

There isn't any dip on in the power on mine. However at random times (actually only a few times so far) while getting on the gas coming out of a turn it's almost like someone hits the kill switch. With the ride-by-wire throttle I crank on it asking for like 90% throttle, I get it but then all of a sudden I'm getting like 50% and the throttle has this really vague feeling. I'm like WTF? and then it will start accelerating again. It's not something I can compare to any cable throttle experiences. It's really weird, but again only happened twice in 3200 miles and only on the street.




For an update, on the track it continues to be awesome. The FI mapping is perfect on the track. I finally got the rear shock sprung to my liking (500lb/in spring). Penske sent it with a 550 spring. 1:18s at Summit Point with the 550 spring. Down to a 1:36.7 at VIR with the 500 spring, but I also had 38psi front/44psi rear hot and the rebound was at max hard too when I did that. I got slower after setting these things to 'normal'. It will take some more track time to really get the shock dialed in.

After riding around my CBR on the summer for a good part of the summer, the RSV4 really doesn't seem to run that hot in comparison and I actually felt more heat on my legs from the CBR.

I've run it at the dragstrip with the lower gearing too. Those runs were without the muffler too. I ran better times with the stock gearing. The bike would not keep the front end down and I had to back out of the throttle. I don't know how much of that difference is from the gearing or from the lack of a muffler, because with a slip-on or no muffler I certainly feel an increase in midrange power. In the near fututre I'll be running it on the dyno again but this time with the slipon.


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