Team inline-four or team V4 – Which team are you putting your money on?

Liter-class bikes mostly comprise two engine configurations, either four-cylinders stacked in a single line i.e. inline-four, or four-cylinders stacked in a way that they create a ‘V’ shape i.e. V4.

There’s always been a huge argument between fanboys of either configuration suggesting their favorite one is better. But talking only gets you so far, so the folks at 44Teeth took matters into their own hands and took a ‘19 Aprilia RSV4 1100 and a ‘19 BMW S 1000 RR to a drag strip to find out which one’s faster. Here’s how it went.

The Contenders

Our first contender in this drag race is the Aprilia RSV4 one of the few only V4 motorcycles in the superbike segment.

The RSV4 1100 draws power from a 1077cc, V4 mill that churns out 217 horsepower and 90 pound-feet. Meanwhile, the whole package tips the scale at 439 pounds and comes equipped with aerodynamic winglets to help keep the nose down. It’s also worth mentioning that the bike comes with a road-legal Akrapovic exhaust out-of-the-box to boost performance.

Next, we have BMW’s then-flagship superbike, the S 1000 RR. With a smaller 999cc, inline-four mill, the bike puts out 205 horsepower and 83 pound-feet. However, the S 1000 RR has a neat lil’ trick up its sleeve called ShiftCam which basically helps spread the torque and improve acceleration, especially from lower rpms.

Unlike the RSV4, there are no Akrapovic or aerodynamic winglets at the S 1000 RR’s disposal. The bike here, however, has carbon fiber wheels, helping it reduce its unsprung mass, thus making it lighter than the RSV4.

Aprilia RSV4 1100 vs BMW S 1000 RR Drag Race

So who would win in your opinion? The RSV4 1100, right? Well, that’s what I thought as well. After all, it is the more powerful and torquey bike here.

However, this wasn’t the case in reality. On most passes, it was actually the S 1000 RR that won clear and square against the RSV4 1100.

According to the presenters, even though the RSV4 1100 had more juice, it was harder to launch, thanks to abrupt wheelies which ruined its run. Meanwhile, the BMW S 1000 RR, with its ShiftCam tech, was much easier to launch and put its power down in a very fast, efficient, and smooth manner, giving it the win.

Even when the S 1000 RR did wheelie, it did so in a predictable manner so the rider had a chance to manage the throttle and keep the momentum going, thus resulting in consistently fast times.

Speaking of times, check out the fastest times below:

What Did We Learn?

To conclude, the lesson to take here is that even though the common notion suggests that V4 engines are punchier than inline-four engines, if you throw in a little bit of technological wizardry (like a ShiftCam) on an inline-four, things even out quite exceptionally and make inline-four bikes right on par with V4 engines, if not better.

Plus, as usual, this is a clear-cut reminder to not judge a book by its cover and a motorcycle by its spec sheet.

Watch the full video here: