History of Aprilia
Aprilia is a dream come true. The dream of an enthusiast, Ivano Beggio, who made up his mind to create a motorcycle company which would become famous throughout the world. And to become famous in the motorcycling world, racing and winning at maximum level is indispensable. Madness at a time when, one after the other, the great Italian and English companies were starting to disappear with the formidable Japanese in hot pursuit.
How often over the years, even after Aprilia had started to make a name for itself, they accused the Noale company of being "over ambitious". A rider who transferred from Aprilia to Honda at the end of the 1980s said in an interview: "At Noale, we were all a bit dazzled. We even thought we could beat the Japanese!".
The distinctive characteristic of Aprilia is the genius, the passion, the creativity and the faith common to Ivano Beggio and his closest collaborators, from the first motorcycles made by hand at the end of the 1960s, one-offs assembled with the heart, to enter the third millennium with a range going right up to 1000 cc and acquisition of a piece of international motorcycling history, Moto Guzzi.
In 1985, thanks to an agreement with Rotax, the first Aprilia four-stroke, the ETX 350, was launched, followed by the 600. True to the company's spirit, participation was also stepped up in the African raids such as the Pharaoh and the Dakar.
In 1985, the adventure of the World Speed Championships began with Loris Reggiani. At the same time, the commitment to motocross and trials was still strong. With the TX 311, Diego Bosis came second in the World Championship, winning in the United States.
On August 30, 1987, Loris Reggiani won the first 250 cc Grand Prix with the AF1. In the meantime, the road "derivation" model, reaching 30 hp thanks to the RAVE (Regulation Aprilia Valve Exhaust), was an enormous hit among young people - not to mention the later "Sintesi". Aprilia was making an ever greater name for itself on the international motorcycling scene, thanks to its characteristic innovation, image and flexibility.
It was not long before launch of the Pegaso 600, one of the mainstays of Aprilia production, and the Amico, the colourful, easy to ride scooter which confirmed Aprilia's gift for anticipating market trends and needs.
In 1992, Aprilia won its first world championship title - or rather, its first three. The Finnish rider Tommi Avhala won the rider's title and contributed to the constructor's title. A few months later, Alessandro Gramigni won the World 125 Championship.
In 1993, the new Scarabeo 50 was launched, becoming an unequalled success, followed in 1995 by the Moto - designed by Philippe Starck - with its absolutely unique styling. It is no accident that it is displayed at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
The same year also saw the birth of the exceptional RS250, one of the most successful sports motorcycles of all times. In 1996, the Leonardo - the maxi-scooter characterised by an ultra-efficient four-stroke four-valve engine - was launched.
In 1998 it was the turn of Sonic, the brightly coloured micro-scooter aimed at a young public and in 1999 of the RSVMille. This signalled Aprilia's entry into the maxi-motorcycle world, astonishing everyone with its extraordinary ridability and immediately becoming a standard setter in its class.
In the meantime, the company had already won a further thirteen world championship titles.
Aprilia began production at the end of the 1960s with the Amico and the Daniela, the first small diameter wheel mini-scooters. These were soon joined by the Colibrì, the first Aprilia hinting at that sporting spirit which would soon become so familiar - tapering, with a distinctive exhaust, forcing the rider to adopt a position as uncomfortable as it was sporty and aerodynamic. Despite the success of these early products, the most famous Aprilia in this initial period was the Scarabeo which made Ivano Beggio's first passion abundantly clear - motocross.
It was on the dirt tracks that the structure today so well-known and admired throughout the world as "Racing Aprilia" made its debut. It's true that in place of the multi-coloured TIRs, there was a Fiat 238, but the attention paid to graphics and a highly original image was patently obvious. Ivan Alborghetti was the Valentino Rossi of those years, in 1977 winning Aprilia the Italian 125 and 250 titles. Victories which led to a boom in replica bikes. After the Italian Championship, Aprilia went on to compete in the World Motocross Championships with Corado Maddii in the 125s. Few will remember that wearing the team colours in the 250s was the Japanese rider Torao Suzuki.
In the meantime, the Aprilia Development Department threw itself into another field very popular at the time, trials. This proved highly satisfying.
From the racing experience came a number of highly attractive road bikes, in particular the liquid-cooled 125 ST with single arm suspension. The more sporty STX immediately found a place in the competitive 125 road bikes market.
The 50 cc market also smiled on Aprilia and the company introduced motorcycles distinguished by an attention to detail and dimensioning extremely rare in the competition as can be seen in the AF1 or the ET.