Click above for more shots of the Aprilia RS4
Aprilia is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to small-bore 125 and 250cc road-racers, as well as in the 450cc off-road and supermoto categories. These successes have led the Italian company to branch out further, this time into the hotly-contested Superbike World Championship. The machine it will be doing battle with is the RSV 4, a brand new design using a brand new engine. That engine is very different from the normal inline four-cylinder Japanese models against which Aprilia will compete, as it uses a V4 design with the cylinders canted 65 degrees apart. The one-liter engine produces "well over 200 HP" in race trim, and a street-tuned version should for forthcoming. It probably goes without saying that we are anxiously awaiting the start of the 2009 season to see how well a small manufacturer like Aprilia can compete against the big factory teams of the Japanese manufacturers. Even more important to us, though, is how well the street version will compete against the other liter bikes already for sale.