Although over half a century old, Aprilia only came to the US in 1999, so their reputation here is still growing. For years it’s been said that Aprilia is the “Honda of Europe” because Aprilias really work, have very low maintenance costs, and are rarely fussy. We think that recently this moniker applies even more, seeing Aprilia part from the Italian formula of quirky, pretentious, & expensive exotica towards bikes favored because they compete in price and excel in performance. “Branding” and “lifestyle product” are not terms usually associated with Aprilia. Heck, in their logo they don’t even capitalize their name.
One of Aprilia’s great secrets as a motorcycle manufacturer is their love of scooters. Scooters give Aprilia a broader base than most other European manufacturers, which contributes to engineering quality and competitive prices. The down side was insolvency in 2004, caused by a major downturn in European scooter sales. But this lead to Aprilia’s Phoenix-like rebirth as part of the Piaggio Group (includes Moto Guzzi, Vespa, & others), which has added infrastructure and the production, procurement, & distribution advantages of being part of a much bigger company. So, as great as Aprilia’s recent history has been, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Aprilia loves to race. They have won 52 world championships: 2 in observed trials, 39 in grand prix road racing, and 11 in off-road racing. In its second year of competition, Aprilia’s RSV4 won the 2010 World Superbike championship (both rider & manufacturer) and repeated this accomplishment in 2012. For 2013, Aprilia took the World Superbike Manufacturer championship.
Aprilia has a habit of looking good compared to the competition. They gained fame in the ’90s by building BMW’s F650s. The sport-touring Futura was the #1 pick in two magazine comparisons (It won with Sport Rider in 2005 using a 2004 after the model was discontinued!). In 2006, the RSV Factory was the overall winner of Masterbike, where 16 major motorcycle magazines jointly track-test sport bikes at Valencia in Spain. The RSV4 Factory won a similar comparison when it debuted and also one by Cycle World. And Cycle World chose the Tuono V4 as their 2012 Sport Bike of the Year, followed by Motorcyclist Magazine awarding the 2013 Tuono V4 as their Best Naked Bike of the year.