Aprilia GP racer 1991
Aprilia is an Italian motorcycle company, owned by Piaggio as part of the world's fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer.
Aprilia started as a scooter manufacturer, but has more recently come to be known for its race-winning sportsbikes. Aprilia is most recently best known for its flagship 1000 cc V twin Superbike, the RSV Mille. The Aprilia Mille Factory also apprears in The Rockstar video game: Midnight Club 3
Aprilia was founded immediately 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 Aprilia in 1968 and he constructed a 50 cc "motorcycle" with a dozen or so collaborators. The first production Aprilia mopeds were named Colibr? 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 1977 Ivan Alborghetti from Milan, Italy won the Italian 125 and 250 cc motorcross championships on Aprilias. In 1978 Alborghetti closed the season with two third places in individual races and sixth place in the World Championship.
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. Aprilia rider Philippe Berlatier contended for the trials world championship reaching fifth place, and Loris Reggiani rode an Aprilia GP 250 with Rotax engine to sixth place in the road racing World Championship. Two seasons later, on August 30, 1987, at San Marino Grand Prix in Misano Loris Reggiani?s AF1 won the first World Speed Championship.
In 1988, the first Aprilias were imported into the United States, starting with the TRX312M observed trials model. The following year, Aprilia introduced The Climber, the first "mass-production" liquid-cooled trials bike.
In 1990, Aprilia launched the Pegaso 600, a road bike derived from off-road mechanics.
In 1992, Aprilia rider Alessandro Gramigni won the World 125 Road Racing Championship title. Also in 1992, Tommy Ahvala won the World Trials Championship on an Aprilia Climber. Since then, 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 single-cylinder enduro-styled Pegaso 125 (a more mildly tuned variant of the Rotax 123 engine as used in the AF1), 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 additional scooters such as the Leonardo, the SR and the Gulliver, to name a few.
Aprilia Moto 6.5 designed by StarckIn 1993, Aprilia launched the two stroke RS125 followed by the RS250 in 1994.
In 1995, Aprilia commission Philippe Starck to design the Mot?which was shown in New York?s Modern Art Museum.
In 1998 Aprilia launched what is its current flagship model the RSV Mille, a 1000cc V2 Superbike, and the Falco, a 1000cc V2 sport tourer with emphasis on sport. Both bikes used a variation of a Rotax 1000cc engine.
In 1999 Aprilia entered World Superbike Championship racing with its RSV Mille, and during 2000, Aprilia acquired Moto-Guzzi and Laverda, both historic heritage Italian marques.
In 2000 Aprilia launched the 50cc DiTech (Direct Injection Technology) two stroke engine for scooters which provides high milage and low emissions, and also the RST Futura; true sport tourer, and the ETV 1000 Caponord; an "Adventure Touring Motorcycle" (also known by some as a "Trailie.") Both of these latter two motorcycles used a variation of the Rotax a 1000cc V2.
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.
As of 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. With the acquisition by Piaggio, the newly nominated President of Aprilia is Roberto Colaninno (President of Piaggio & C.), and the Managing Director is Rocco Sabelli. The founder, Ivano Beggio, is the Honorary President.
Despite being a relatively small company by global motorcycling standards, Aprilia is very active in Motorcycle sport. It contests many Road Racing formulae, including the FIM 125 cc World Championship, the FIM 250cc World Championship, the now-defunct FIM 500cc World Championship, and from 2002-2004 the FIM MotoGP World Championship.
Aprilia Racing saw varying successes. Aprilia were extremely successful in the smaller displacement categories, winning numerous races & championships in the 125 cc Grand Prix and 250 cc Grand Prix classes. However, their 500 cc Grand Prix bike was less competitive, and their MotoGP effort, dubbed the RS3 Cube, was technically advanced but difficult to ride and performed poorly in the championship. The Cube did, however, feature many advanced technologies either not seen or only being seen now in other MotoGP bikes - technologies including fly by wire throttle and pneumatic valve actuation systems.
Aprilia also feature in the off-road racing world, with their 450cc V2 motocrosser producing respectable results (including race wins) in both off-road (Motocross) and on-road (Supermoto) categories.
Aprilia is also notable for choosing somewhat atypical engine configurations. For example, they progressed with development of a V2 500 cc Grand Prix bike when other teams were moving to V-Four configurations for what some believed was better & more usable power outputs. Aprilia continued this trend, taking advantage of lighter minimum weights with the introduction of their RS3 MotoGP bike - featuring three cylinders in an inline triple layout, the bike had the least number of cylinders on the Grand Prix paddock. Yamaha had gone ahead with an inline four layout, whilst Suzuki and Ducati went for (differently-designed) V-Four layouts. Honda took the idea even further, producing the championship-winning RC211V, powered by a V5 cylinder engine.