Comparison test Aprilia RSV4 R APRC and Ducati 1199 Panigale

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Comparison test: Aprilia RSV4 R APRC and Ducati 1199 Panigale

Tea best Italian superbikes in comparison

The more expensive versions first – few sales and marketing managers act against this principle when introducing a new motorcycle. You want to collect as much sales as possible in the initial euphoria.

As the "normal" motorcycles tested here show, there is fascinating technology for significantly less money.

The big super sports car comparison test in MOTORRAD (issues 10, 11 and 13/2012) was contested by the factory version of the Aprilia and the S version of the Ducati. Both equipped with Öhlins suspension elements, forged wheels and the best braking technology Brembo has to offer for street bikes. In addition, the Aprilia Factory offers variable intake funnels, which optimize the torque curve, and the Ducati Panigale S spoils with LED light and electronically controlled electrical adjustment of the spring elements. Depending on the driving mode – Sport, Race or Rain – the damping changes; it can also be programmed individually. Makes 22,590 euros for the Aprilia and 24,490 euros for the Ducati.

The test machines cost 16,990 (Aprilia) and 19,490 euros (Ducati), a whopping 5600 and 5000 euros less than the premium versions. In return, Aprilia customers receive the APRC electronics package with traction and wheelie control as well as start control for rocket-like acceleration from a standing start without the risk of rollover. A shift assistant for lightning-fast upshifts without taking off the gas is also included. Even the basic version of the Ducati is equipped with traction and braking torque control as well as shift assistant, and ABS is standard on all Panigale models that are purchased from the German branch. Cast instead of forged wheels, Marzocchi and Sachs instead of Öhlins for the spring elements, here and there an injection molded part instead of a carbon fiber, fixed intake funnels for the Aprilia and the Ducati H4-Licht and the need to adjust the damping with a screwdriver – buyers one Standard machines only have to accept minor functional disadvantages. How much the status disadvantage hurts, everyone has to decide for themselves.

VMost of them will probably get over it easily, because the two motorcycles look just as sharp as their noble versions and are always an attraction when they are parked somewhere. When the motors start, the air finally vibrates. That doesn’t necessarily have to be positive, at least in the case of the Ducati. Because the Panigale is loud, and so loud that after three hours of driving on the country road, it gradually becomes too much even for the driver. The production motorcycle is likely to drown out its own IDM Superbike offshoot from Hertrampf Racing, as the author’s strictly subjective comparative hearing revealed. In addition, there is a rather rustic mechanical background noise, which is also not exactly pleasant.

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Comparison test: Aprilia RSV4 R APRC and Ducati 1199 Panigale
The best Italian superbikes in comparison


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Aprilia RSV 4 R APRC.

So it happens that the two Italians donate a lot of driving pleasure even on routes for which they were actually not designed – small, relatively narrow, winding country roads. The crouched posture and narrow stub handlebars are not the ideal combination for this, but with a little willingness on the part of the pilots, the maneuverability that has already been praised can also be used for elegant curve dancing away from spacious racetracks. The expression “readiness for action of the pilots”Means, as with all super athletes in everyday operation, a certain basic tension in the leg muscles, the holding of the hunched upper body mainly through the back, shoulder and neck muscles and the active shifting of body weight depending on the driving situation. If you sit motionless on such motorcycles with your arms stretched out, you won’t have any fun.

As far as the seating position alone is concerned, the racing-like Ducati can even be called almost comfortable. However, the heating coil under the seat, i.e. the elbow of the standing cylinder, inevitably sears the driver’s ham, even when driving and in cool weather. The praise for the handiness can confidently be continued for the upper speed range. The greater gyroscopic forces make both athletes only slightly more sluggish, so turning into fast corners is possible with little effort and extremely precisely. You don’t have to worry about not hitting the line and you can drive quickly and easily. Once again, the Aprilia can pull out a small advantage in this discipline; it spoils you with a bit more serenity in an inclined position. Both are equally good at keeping a nice tight line at the exit of the corners with a real pull on the rear wheel. It may be that the even lighter forged wheels of the Factory and the Panigale S also work a bit better in this regard, but that can only be determined in a direct comparison. Colleagues who rode both motorcycles a few weeks apart could not find any differences in line accuracy. It is therefore clear: if they exist, they are small.

Otherwise it could be said about the chassis that the spring elements are consistently tightly tuned. The roads shouldn‘t be too bumpy. If it does, it uses dry blows, which are best ridden standing up with a slightly raised bum. Like on an enduro, if this comparison is allowed here. Despite all the hardness and firmness, the spring elements work beautifully synchronously. In the course of the test drives, the Ducati even gave the impression that the Marzocchi fork would be better suited to the relatively hard-sprung hindquarters than the S version with Öhlins spring elements. With her, the suspension fork seemed a little too soft in relation to the hindquarters.

Despite the helpful electronics in the background, the engines of the Aprilia and Ducati each make certain demands on the driving skills of the drivers in their own way. The 1199 V2 from the Ducati with the huge bore of 112 millimeters and large inlet cross-sections is not exactly optimized for full torque at low speeds. A steep rise that goes up to 4000 rpm is followed by a kind of high valley in the torque curve between 5000 and 6600 rpm. High because it is around 90 Nm. Valley because the curve in front of and behind it rises even higher. And as luxury problematic as it may sound, you notice it while driving. Accelerating from the high valley at 60 km / h is initially a leisurely affair, not only because the electronics may mistake this exercise for a noise test drive. At full throttle, the transition to the power cane then takes place with astonishing speed, which the driver should not let himself be discouraged. Thanks to its steadily increasing performance curve, the Aprilia remains easier to control.


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Ducati 1199 Panigale.

The Ducati makes further demands with the load changes. They take place directly, almost harshly, even in the gentler sport mode and when the gas is plucked with feeling. With a ride-by-wire system, it is difficult to determine what the driver can contribute to the smooth switch from pushing to load operation and what the electronics can do. Even in unknown curve sequences you should strive for the ideal of one load change per curve with the Panigale, otherwise you will tear the line apart.

Even the RSV4 has not yet quite reached the moral maturity when changing loads, which is what distinguishes the Yamaha YZF-R1, for example. But compared to the Ducati, it benefits from the lower wow and flutter of a four-cylinder. It just doesn’t start as hard as the Duc engine. As the comparison with the endurance test RSV4 from the editors shows, it has also developed considerably since its inception. This not only applies to the tuning of the engine, but also to changes in the design of ducts and combustion chambers to optimize combustion.

It has not made her really humble in her thirst for petrol. Just over six liters on 100 kilometers of politically correct country road travel leave something to be desired. The 1000s from Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki drive the same route at the same speed with around one liter less. The Panigale doesn‘t, however, it needs just as much fuel as the RSV4. Minor fluctuations in the tidy of tenths of liters excluded.

A very special specialty is the Aprilia’s racing gearbox with a first gear that reaches over 150 km / h. Without the use of a clutch, it cannot be circled through tight turns. Good for those who have already trained the necessary presence of mind and dexterity. Dexterity when braking, on the other hand, is rewarded by both spirited Italians with pure deceleration pleasure. Both braking systems are powerful, easy to dose and stable. In addition to additional safety, the Panigale’s ABS also offers several modes that are very accurately tailored to various driving programs such as normal driving on the road, driving in the rain or tough racetrack operations. Since no wishes remain unsatisfied.

MOTORCYCLE – conclusion


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Ducati 1199 Panigale and Aprilia RSV 4 R APRC.

Ducati 1199 Panigale

It is beguilingly beautiful and it has redefined the limits of motorcycle technology, especially in the field of electronics. It is also a handy, stable, highly dynamic motorcycle. But it always demands full physical and mental effort from the driver, is demanding and expensive, even as a so-called "normal model".

Aprilia RSV4 R APRC

You can tell the RSV4 is maturing. Load changes, running and sound culture have improved enormously since 2010, and consumption is no longer exorbitantly high. Its chassis with its almost magical combination of lightness and reliability did not have to be changed. Ergonomics as part of this naturally demands a great deal of effort.

Technical specifications


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Ducati 1199 Panigale and Aprilia RSV 4 R APRC.

Aprilia Ducati engine 
type design Oven cylinder oven stroke 65 degree V engine Two cylinder four stroke 90 degree V engine
injection Ø 48 mm Ø 68 mm
coupling Multi-disc oil bath clutch (anti-hopping) Multi-disc oil bath clutch (anti-hopping)
Boron x stroke 78.0 x 52.3 mm 112.0 x 60.8 mm
Displacement 1000 cm3 1198 cm3
compression 13.0: 1 12.5: 1
power 132.4 kW (180 PS) at 12,500 rpm 143.0 kW (195 hp) at 10,750 rpm
Torque 113 Nm at 10,000 rpm 132 Nm at 9000 rpm
landing gear
frame Bridge frame made of aluminum Aluminum monocoque
fork Upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm Upside-down fork, Ø 50 mm
Steering damper Steering damper Steering damper
Brakes front / rear Ø 320/220 mm Ø 330/245 mm
Systems assistance Traction control and take-off control ABS and traction control
bikes 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17 120/70 ZR 17; 200/55 ZR 17
Tires Metzeler Racetec Interact K3 Pirelli Supercorsa SP
Dimensions + weights
wheelbase 1420 mm  1437 mm 
Steering head angle 65.5 degrees 65.5 degrees
trailing 105 mm 100 mm
Front / rear suspension travel 120/130 mm 120/130 mm
Seat height ** 840 mm 820 mm
Weight with full tank ** 212 kg 195 kg
Payload ** 194 kg 175 kg
Tank capacity / reserve 17.0 / 4.0 liters 17.0 / 2.0 liters
Service intervals 10,000 km 12,000 km
price 16,990 euros 19,490 euros
Additional costs 286 euros 305 euros
MOTORCYCLE readings
Top speed * 290 km / h 296 km / h
acceleration
0-100 km / h 3.1 sec 3.2 sec
0-140 km / h 4.8 sec 4.7 sec
0-200 km / h 7.8 sec 7.8 sec
Draft
60-100 km / h 3.5 sec 3.9 sec
100-140 km / h 3.4 sec 3.7 sec
140-180 km / h 3.3 sec 4.8 sec
Consumption highway 6.1 liters of super 6.1 liters of super
Reach country road 279 km 279 km

* Manufacturer information, ** MOTORCYCLE measurements

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