Historic Motorcycle Brands
Aprilia was founded in 1956, by Cavaliere Alberto Beggio, to produce bicycles in a factory near Venice. Motorcycle production began in the 1960s.
In conjunction with a group of factory workers, Alberto’s son, Ivano Beggio, began production of motocross racing bikes, using bought-in engines from various suppliers, including Rotax from Austria and that arrangement continued for many years.
In parallel with the racing bikes, Aprilia produced 50cc mopeds named Colibrì, Daniela and Packi.
Aprilia Scarabeo 50 – James Maeng
Aprilia later produced the Scarabeo in 50cc and 125cc versions.
In 1977 Ivano Alborghetti won the Italian 125cc and 250cc motocross championships on Aprilias.
In the 1980s Aprilia added enduro, trials and road bikes of between 50cc and 600cc and in 1981 Aprilia introduced the TL320 trials machine.
Aprilia SVX 450 – Umeuthen
In 1983 Aprilia launched the two-stroke ST 125 road bike that became an overnight success in Italy and in 1984 Aprilia launched an enduro bike, called the ET 50.
In 1985, Aprilia launched the 125 STX and 350 STX.
Aprilia Tuareg Wind 125
In 1986 Aprilia had achieved number three position in the Italian market and launched the AF1 small sports model, and the Tuareg large-tanked bike for long-distance rallies.
Aprilia Pegaso 600
In 1990 Aprilia launched the Pegaso 600, a road bike derived from off-road mechanicals and powered by a four-vale Rotax single. In 1991 that model was replaced by the five-valve Pegaso 650 and the company built that bike with BMW badging as the F650. (Historic Vehicles’ Allan Whiting owned and loved an F650 for several years in the 1990s.)
Aprilia entered the scooter market in 1990 with the Amico. In 1992, Aprilia introduced the Amico LK and the two stroke Pegaso 125. The Scarabeo name was relaunched on a large-wheel scooter with a four-stroke, four-valve engine. Later Aprilia launched more scooters such as the Leonardo, the SR and the Gulliver.
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 bikes: Biaggi, Capirossi, Gramigni, Locatelli, Sakata and Rossi.
Max Biaggi on an Aprilia RSV4 – Diederick
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 the RSV Mille, a 1000cc V-Twin Superbike and the Falco 1000cc V-Twin sports tourer. Both bikes used a variation of the Rotax 1000cc V-Twin engine.
Aprilia RSV 1000R
In 1999 Aprilia entered World Superbike Championship racing with its RSV Mille and in 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, to provide high fuel mileage and low emissions.
Also in 2000 came the RST Futura, sport tourer and the ETV 1000 Caponord adventure touring motorcycle – both using variations of the Rotax 1000cc engine.
From 2002 until 2004 Aprilia participated in the FIM MotoGP World Championship and from 1999 until 2002 the company participated in the FIM Superbike World Championship. Aprilia returned to World Superbike in 2009 and to MotoGP in 2012.
In 2003, Aprilia launched the RSV Mille Tuono: essentially an RSV Mille with motocross-style handlebars and a small headlight fairing. Many motorcycle magazines chose it as 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.