Reading reports from Europe and, most importantly, a recent interview of Aprilia’s president in Cycle News, it is clear that Aprilia has more in mind than gobbling up historic Italian marques, such as Laverda and Moto Guzzi. Yes, Aprilia will invest in and expand Laverda and Moto Guzzi (Moto Guzzi in particular), but Aprilia’s vision is larger still.
Aprilia’s boss, Ivano Beggio, has a love for dirt bikes that goes back to his youth (indeed, the first motorcycle he produced was an off-road bike). Rumors that Aprilia might acquire KTM appear dead, but Aprilia will produce off-road machines, nevertheless. The only question is one of timing.
If you have been reading MotorcycleDaily for some time, you know that we frequently praise Aprilia. Both its racing and its street bike manufacturing evidence careful planning and execution … and winning. Yes, Aprilia doesn’t mess around. Italian passion is combined with shrewd decision making at Aprilia. It shows time and time again.
When Aprilia moves into the off-road realm, expect it to immediately field competitive race bikes and teams in motocross and enduro championships. The “giant killer” that took on Honda and others at the roadracing game, and succeeded, will try to mimic that success off-road.
The quickest way for Aprilia to enter the off-road market would be through acquisition, of course. Even a smaller manufacturer like Husaberg, with its own successful racing heritage, would be a logical target for Aprilia acquisition. Buying a smaller manufacturer like Husaberg would allow Aprilia to more quickly implement its own design and engineering preferences, as well.
It will be interesting to watch Aprilia move into the dirt bike market.