I have finally had some time to have a look at what was going on at Intermot, the International Motorcycle Show in Cologne. Some things I have found awesome, some things not quite so, and some things I have just thought, “why?” It is the “why?” that has stayed with me most and here is why ….
I was looking at the BMW S1000RR upgrade and thinking that is a lovely bike that would be great on the Nurburgring or the Isle of Man or anywhere where there are corners and no speed limits. Then I noticed something about it having maximum lean angle and current lean angle readouts and I thought….why? Personally two things immediately sprung to mind, first, having that readout there means you are constantly going to be trying to better the reading and secondly you are going to be concentrating more on getting a better reading when you really should be concentrating on the road and thirdly, because I am challenged at counting today, going round a bend is not about how far you lean over, it is about how you take the corner. Lean angle happens because you are confident in tires, road surface, conditions and line, and that is what you need to be aware of, not what angle you are making with the horizontal or you will end up horizontal. Oh and the fourth thing I realized is that I was looking at a website for the 2015 show…oops…I still stick by what I said though.
Then I went looking for the correct site for the correct year, and, luckily for me found it, and it wasn’t behind a door marked “Beware of the Leopard” (Thank you Douglas Adams)
I have always liked Aprilia, they have produced some lovely bikes and the RSV4rr is no exception. A little exclusivity and a claimed 201bhp is also a very good incentive to buy it but then I started reading more. Now, I am not knocking Aprilia here, or any of the manufacturers but when the first things mentioned about the bike are all the electronic driver aids isn’t it getting a bit sad? The RSV has traction control that can be altered while riding and without closing the throttle, and it has launch control and wheelie control which again can be controlled on the fly. It also has cornering ABS that has a rear lift up mitigation function (?) .
I wouldn't say no....honestly!
Then it got worse, in my eyes, because after reading about all those driver aids the write up then said “for all those tech loving types” …what, that wasn’t technical enough, they have to add more? What was added was the ability to program the driver aids for a specific track using your telephone. Oh I forgot to mention there are three engine maps, sport, track and race….and there we have it. This is a bike that is built for the track, nothing else, they fit lights and give it a quiet exhaust but the reality is this bike has as little to do with every day riding as a Lamborghini Aventador. It is totally barmy, nuts, mad and many other things, but it is also totally desirable, as are the equally bonkers offerings from its competitors, but do we really need all this electrikery?
For me part of riding a bike is about me using my skill to be in control of something a bit dangerous and a bit savage. To ride a big powerful bike should be scary and it should not be for the faint hearted. Doesn’t adding all these drivers aids get rid of all that, doesn’t it make the tiger into a pussy cat? Ok I am an old Luddite and maybe I should just shut up and give it a go sometime (anyone want to lend me one , PLEASE!) but there is one question that really needs to be answered: On a bike such as this why on earth do they fit a cruise control?