Aprilia Futura History and Development

Built between 2001-03, the Futura was Aprilia’s take on the fast sports tourer market and aimed squarely at Honda’s VFR.

The bike was powered by the Rotax engine from the 2000 RSV Mille, with a Mille-based aluminium frame, a big fairing for better wind protection, a single-sided swing arm, underseat exhaust and hard luggage.

It also had the most comfortable seat this side of a GoldWing.

Right from the start its angular styling divided opinion and despite good reviews in the bike press it never really sold well. Unchanged apart from a cosmetic update in 2003 (except in the US), it was dropped from Aprilia’s model line-up the following year.

The Futura today

Aprilia Futura publicity shot

Aprilia Futura publicity shot

Today the sharp lines of the bike look far less out of place among modern bikes, and its rarity value means it always attracts attention.

More importantly time has shown that the bike is remarkably good at what it does, from two-up touring with a mountain of luggage to solo scratching with sports bikes.

Many owners in the US, Europe and Australasia have clocked up very high mileages with few problems. In fact, it’s fair to say the more you ride it, the more you like it.

The Futura is held in high esteem by a loyal following of owners, helped by the fact that no manufacturer has yet built a bike that will out-Futura the Futura.

If you’re thinking of buying used, have a look at the buyers’ guide and the other links in the right menu.

Use this link to download the Aprilia Futura sales brochure(PDF Format).

Aprilia RST1000 Futura model history

Aprilia shot of a pair of pre-production Futuras in The Dolomites

Aprilia Futura: Origins

Even before Aprilia’s first 1,000cc sportsbike, the RSV Mille, broke cover, there was talk of the Italian company building an RSV-powered sports tourer. Aprilia aimed to make the most of the Mille’s success by putting the stonking Vee twin motor – built to Aprilia’s specification by Rotax – into as many bikes as it could […]
Exploded diagram of the rear hub and swingarm design

Innovative technology

On paper it’s difficult to see why the RST1000 Futura failed to catch on. Before the Futura came along, most bike manufacturers – with a few notable exceptions – didn’t take sports tourers seriously. The approach was to take the cutting edge sports bikes of a few years back, sling on budget suspension and brakes, […]
tank bag aprilia

So why did it fail?

The Futura was launched in Sicily in the spring of 2001 but using pre-production bikes. at the time only four of the 11 production lines at Aprilia’s Scorze factory turned out 1,000cc bikes, and with the emphasis on producing RSVs, Futuras had to be built in batches. The first such batch of 5,000 Futuras began […]
Blue Hilton RS Touring - a last gasp attempt to get the Futura to sell

Will there be another Futura?

Will Aprilia ever build another bike like the Futura? In 2000 Aprilia bought Moto Guzzi and Laverda in the spirit of aggression that characterised its relentless expansion. But it bit off more than it could chew and the drain in its finances began to show. 2003 saw Aprilia, already racing in World Superbike, enter Moto […]
Futura minus its panels

Aprilia Futura Development - The inside story

In 1998, with the first RSV Milles flying out of showrooms, Aprilia launched a new project to create a new sports tourer with the emphasis on sport. In charge of the project was Aprilia Research and Development’s Technical Manager, Pierluigi Marconi, who had joined the company from Bimota the previous year. Marconi at Bimota Marconi […]
Aprilia Futura cutaway

Aprilia RST1000 Futura: Specifications

These specs are as listed by Aprilia in the sales brochure for the Aprilia RST 1000 Futura. I’ve added a couple of others in in response to questions I’ve received by e-mail. Engine type: four-stroke, longitudinal 60° V twin, with anti-vibration double countershaft (AVDC patent) Cooling: liquid cooled with three-way pressurised circuit. Double radiators. Operating […]
colours blue hilton

Colours and paint

The first production Futuras, built in 2001, came in three single colour paint schemes: They were Stream Silver (sometimes described as ‘Stream Grey’), Flame Red and Blue Infinity. The blue and silver were also used on Caponords, and a 2008 RSVR even appeared in a very similar (if not the same) blue. A new colour […]