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. Other manufacturers are getting into this segment, or reportedly have plans to as in the case of Triumph and Yamaha. Aprilia may soon join those ranks, with Indian website MotorBeam reporting Piaggio is developing a 250cc sportbike.
Aprilia does have a couple of small-displacement sportbikes in the four-stroke RS4 125 (pictured above in black) and its 50cc two-stroke variant (pictured in white). Both models share styling with Aprilia’s flagship RSV4 sportbike. Citing some unnamed sources, MotorBeam reports Piaggio may produce a new model featuring a fuel-injected 250cc single-cylinder engine producing somewhere between 25 to 30 hp.
Like the RS4 models, the new 250cc sportbike would come equipped with 17-inch wheels, an upside-down forks, a six speed transmission, and radial-mount four-piston brake calipers. By comparison, the Ninja 300 and CBR250R are equipped with regular telescopic forks and two-piston brake calipers (three-piston calipers in the case of the ABS-equipped CBR250R). If that wasn’t enough, the Aprilia RS4 125 is also available with a quickshifter derived from its WSBK racing program.
MotorBeam reports the new model (the RS4 250? The RS250?) will be designed primarily for the Asian and Indian markets, so it may not receive the higher-spec components of the RS4 125, but if it did, it would likely command a premium price. The new model would also make sense for the European market, but here in North America, we’re still waiting for the RS4 125, even though Piaggio announced it would be available in late 2011.