A small displacement, low-powered sportbike may seem like an oxymoron to some, but in reality, these small displacement machines breed some of the most talented riders. It’s no surprise that bikes like KTM RC 390s and Ninja 400s destroying beginners on liter bikes on the track have become something of a meme. Indeed, in the right hands, a small and nimble sportbike can well and truly set some impressive lap times.
As such, it’s really unsurprising that most mainstream manufacturers have at least one small-displacement sportbike designed to appeal specifically to track enthusiasts, as well as the casual commuter looking for a sporty machine. In recent news, Italian motorcycle manufacturer Aprilia is currently developing a new 250cc parallel-twin engine that’s expected to power a small sportbike under the brand’s iconic RS range of sportbikes. A recent article by motorcycling publication iMotorbike highlights that the RS250 is set to return, but in a much more modern guise, and packing an all-new parallel-twin engine.
Unlike most other parallel-twin engines, however, Aprilia’s upcoming 250cc unit seems to have a central cam drive situated between the two cylinders. This unique setup is said to reduce flex of the camshaft and crankshaft under heavy loads, indicating that the upcoming RS250 could be a thoroughbred racing machine designed for the track.
Thanks to the fact that Aprilia is under the Piaggio group, which has the resources of several other manufacturers to its disposal, Aprilia’s new 250cc unit is currently being developed by Zongshen-Piaggio in China. That said, Aprilia is no stranger to Chinese R&D, as its small sportbikes, the RS125 and GPR250R sold in the Chinese market were developed and manufactured by Zongshen.
If and when Aprilia releases the RS250 in the global market, chances are that the Italian manufacturer will make itself more accessible to novice and intermediate track riders looking for a lightweight, adequately powerful machine to take to the circuit. Surely, models like the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R and CBR250RR will be facing some stiff Italian competition.