Aprilia RSV4 Factory vs. The Diamondback

Our American correspondent Larry Cornwell pitches the RSV4 Factory against The Diamondback. Fear and fun guaranteed

Click to read: Aprilia RSV4 Factory owners reviews, Aprilia RSV4 Factory specs and to see the Aprilia RSV4 Factory image gallery.

The slithering black top I’m riding is more like Lombard Street in San Francisco or Col De Turini in the south of France, than an access road. After grabbing a bit too much of the Aprilia’s front brakes, the front started to push, and I thought about the possibility of a roadside memorial and a chorus of violins, 'Here lays the body of another automotive journalist who ran out of talent'.

Now heading towards a steep, rocky precipice at a rapid pace, I dialed up the RSV4’s questionable traction control, better known as my right wrist. The Diamondback route in the North Carolina mountains (locally known as Narth Kackalacky) is not on the same level as the legendary Tail Of The Dragon, also located in “the Kackalack.” However, it was a good alternative after receiving reports that the “Five-O” had polluted the Dragon, with more pork than a “dirty-south” barbeque.

The Aprilia RSV4 Factory, which is nothing more than a street legal race bike, has an infinite number of adjustments. The multitude of gadgets include; Öhlins Trinity forks, Öhlins steering damper, fully adjustable TTX rear shocks, practically every angle of the chassis, the incline and position of the headstock, height of the swing pivot and even the engines position. Rather than tweak the set-up that the RSV4 Factory arrived with, it remained unchanged. And this proved to be the right move, because the wet and messy conditions made the trek tricky enough.

Again, the Diamondback is no Tail Of The Dragon, but the 190 curves at 6,000 feet over a 12-mile stretch of the Diamondback were enough to keep the Aprilia RSV4 Factory on its toes.

As you can imagine, with 182 horsepower on tap, acceleration was dumb founding—a most appropriate description since I was the pilot. Under full acceleration at 14,000 rpm the RSV4 Factory felt like it wanted to pull away from me. Like a mountain climber acting as a loaded spring between two rocks, I had to press down on the pegs and press up against the grips.

The RSV4s keen ability to change direction was on point. Some journalist complained about the high seat height, but at 5’8 it was never an issue for me. Turn-ins were as crispy as a golden piece of fried chicken fresh from the deep fryer. Transition from top dead center to lean was snappy at times, but the grip was solid if throttle management was controlled. The route was never completely dry with most of the black top being damp, wet or covered by dirt, gravel or rocks washed out by the rain. The combination of this and bikes torque had me constantly modulating the traction control unit, especially during the last down pour.

There are plenty of “fast” sport bikes on the market. Some are quick from the factory and others are “faster” after being juiced-up with a few modifications. These bikes are both fast in a straight line and slow in the curves or fast in the curves but not that fast in a straight line. The Aprilia RSV4 Factory is fast everywhere and I do mean everywhere even wet mountain roads. Twisting the RSV4 Factory up to 100mph was a common occurrence. In fact, 100 mph was reached on every ride during this test, some happening without effort. The RSV4 Factory did better than expected, especially considering the conditions. But I can only imagine how crazy, whacked out of this world good the RSV4 Factory could be under perfect conditions.