Aprilia is an Italian motorcycle company, one of the marques owned by Piaggio.
Aprilia was founded after the Second World War by Cavaliere Alberto Beggio, as a bicycle production factory at Noale, Italy in the province of Venice. Alberto’s son, Ivano Beggio, took over the helm of the company in 1968 and constructed a 50 cc "motorcycle" with a dozen or so collaborators. The first production Aprilia mopeds were named Colibrì, Daniela and Packi. Aprilia later produced a motocross bike in 1970 called the Scarabeo. Produced until the end of the 1970s, the Scarabeo came in 50 and 125 cc versions.
In the 1980s Aprilia added enduro, trials and road bikes of between 50 and 600 cc. In 1981 Aprilia introduced the TL320 trials machine. In 1983 Aprilia launched to St 125 road bike. In 1984 Aprilia launched an improved model called STX, and an enduro, called the ET 50.
In 1985, Aprilia started outsourcing engines for some models to the Austrian company Rotax. In 1985 Aprilia launched a 125 STX and 350 STX. In 1986 Aprilia launched the AF1; a small sports model, and the Tuareg; a large tanked bike for African rallies like the Dakar Rally.
Aprilia has 124 times won 125 and 250 cc class Grand Prix, 15 Road Racing World Championship titles, and 16 European speed titles. Many world champions started on Aprilia such as Biaggi, Capirossi, Gramigni, Locatelli, Sakata and Rossi.
Also in the 1990s, Aprilia entered the scooter market starting in 1990 with Italy’s first all-plastic scooter, the Amico. In 1992, Aprilia introduced the Amico LK and the two stroke Pegaso 125, both with catalytic converters. In 1993 Aprilia launched a large diameter wheel scooter reusing the name Scarabeo with a four-stroke, four-valve engine. Later Aprilia launched more scooters such as the Leonardo, the SR and the Gulliver.
In 1995, Aprilia commissioned Philippe Starck to design the Motò which was shown in New York’s Modern Art Museum. Also in 1995 Aprilia launched the two stroke RS 125 and RS 250 sports bikes. In 1998 Aprilia launched what is its current flagship model the RSV Mille, a 1000cc V-Twin Superbike, and the Falco, a 1000cc V-Twin sport tourer with emphasis on sport. Both bikes used a variation of a Rotax 1000cc engine.
During 2000, Aprilia acquired Moto-Guzzi and Laverda, both historic heritage Italian marques. In 2000 Aprilia launched the 50 cc DiTech (Direct Injection Technology) two stroke engine for scooters which provides high mileage and low emissions, and also the RST Futura, a sport tourer, and the ETV 1000 Caponord; an adventure touring motorcycle. Both of these latter two motorcycles used a variation of the Rotax 1000 cc V-Twin.
Most recently, in 2003, Aprilia launched the RSV Mille Tuono which was essentially an RSV Mille with motorcross-style high handlebars and only a small headlight fairing. Most of the major motorcycle magazines picked it for the best bike of the year. In 2004 Aprilia was acquired by Piaggio & C. SpA, to form the world’s fourth largest motorcycle group with 1.5 billion Euro in sales, an annual production capacity of over 600,000 vehicles, and a presence in 50 countries.
Despite being a relatively small company by global motorcycling standards, Aprilia is very active in motorcycle sports. It contests many Road Racing formulae, including the FIM 125 cc World Championship, the FIM 250 cc World Championship, and the now-defunct FIM 500 cc World Championship.
Mon, 25 Feb 2013
Max Biaggi who? The Roman Emperor’s retirement after winning the 2012 World Superbike Championship marked the end of an era for Aprilia, with the 2013 campaign marking the first without Biaggi since the Italian manufacturer came back to the WSBK scene with the RSV4. If Aprilia misses its two-time WSBK Champion, it sure didn’t show it with a dominating display at the 2013 season opener in Australia.
Mon, 25 Feb 2013
For a company with such a rich history in motorcycle racing including nine World Championships in the 250cc Grand Prix category, it comes as a bit of a surprise Aprilia does not already have a 250cc sportbike in production. From 1994 to 2007, Aprilia won nine 250cc Grand Prix championships with an impressive roster of riders which includes Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri winning titles. Despite making a name for itself racing in the 250cc class, Aprilia does not have a 250cc production sportbike to compete against the likes of the Kawasaki Ninja 250 (and its replacement, the Ninja 300) or the Honda CBR250R.
Tue, 19 Feb 2013
The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has released an updated list of motorcycles homologated for the 2013 Superbike, Supersport, and Superstock racing season. Notable additions include the new BMW S1000RR HP4, the MV Agusta F3 and the Superbike-spec Ducati 1199 Panigale R. To qualify a production-based racebike for FIM homologations, manufacturers have to meet certain production thresholds.
Thu, 07 Feb 2013
Aprilia opened a new chapter in its racing history, unveiling its team livery for the RSV4 for the 2013 World Superbike Championship. The 2013 season will be the first since the Italian brand returned to WSBK racing in 2009 without “the Roman Emperor” Max Biaggi who retired at the end of last season after winning his second title in three years on Aprilia’s flagship V4 sportbike. Despite the departure of Biaggi, who is moving up to the broadcast booth to cover WSBK for Italian television, Aprilia hopes to remain a title contender with the returning Eugene Laverty and the newly-signed Sylvain Guintoli.
Tue, 05 Feb 2013
The Motorcycle Industry Council reported a 2.6% increase in motorcycle sales in the U.S. market for 2012. According to the industry group’s figures, American consumers purchased 452,386 motorcycles in 2012 compared to 440,899 motorcycles in 2011.
Thu, 24 Jan 2013
Aprilia is producing a special edition RSV4 for the U.S. and Canada to celebrate Max Biaggi‘s World Superbike Championship-winning 2012 season. The special edition model will only be available in North America, though we’d prefer if Piaggio could come up with a less awkward name than the 2013 Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC ABS SBK SE.
Tue, 22 Jan 2013
Bulgarian firm Vilner Studio is best known for creating one-of-a-kind designs for car interiors but the tuner has also dabbled in motorcycle design. In its latest two-wheeled project, Vilner gives the 2010 Aprilia Tuono 1000 a makeover, producing what it calls the Aprilia Stingray. The Tuono has always had a slightly insect-like quality to its design, particularly with its headlight and cowl fairing which resembles a wasp’s head.
Wed, 28 Nov 2012
The Piaggio Group announced it has secured a €60 million (US$77.6 million) financing deal with the European Investment Bank to fund the development of new products. The seven-year loan will fund research and development projects at Piaggio’s Italian facilities. The loan is in addition to investments Piaggio already budgeted for the period from 2013 to 2015 to develop new products.
Thu, 15 Nov 2012
At October’s Intermot show in Cologne, Germany, Aprilia announced a number of upgrades to its RSV4 Factory, giving the sportbike more power, anti-lock brakes and a number of other updates. This week at the 2012 EICMA Show, Aprilia extended those updates to it’s slightly less upscale but still pretty damn good base model, the RSV4 R. The production versions of Max Biaggi‘s World Superbike Championship-winning racebike, the Aprilia RSV4 R (all-black in these pictures) and the RSV4 Factory (pictured with red trim) receive an engine upgrade to reduce internal friction and casing ventilation.
Tue, 13 Nov 2012
We got a peak at the new Vespa 946 late last week but Piaggio has now released more pictures and information on the bold new scooter. Presented at the 2012 EICMA Show a year after its original concept was unveiled. The new Vespa 946 is a mix of both the past and the future.