Aprilia is an Italian motorcycle company which started as a scooter manufacturer after the Second World War. The company was founded by Cavalier Alberto Beggio, who at first intended to manufacture bicycles but all of this changed when his son, Ivan Beggio, joined the company in 1968.
Helped by a few men, it was Ivan Beggio who built the first Aprilia motorcycle, a 50cc model painted in gold and blue. Because the model registered moderate success they decided to continue making motor vehicles and produced the first Aprilia mopeds, the Colibri and Daniela.
The first “real motorcycle” from Aprilia was the 1970 Scarabeo cross bike which was produced until the mid-seventies, in different versions ranging from 50 to 125cc. What many consider the first true cross bike didn't come until 1974 and this model was tested by Maurizio Sgarzani. After undergoing numerous tests, they developed a street bike from this cross model, called the RC 125. This model was presented at the Milan Salon and was very well received by the public.
Another moped from Aprilia came in 1976, a 49cc called Partner. Later they introduced 49cc Minarelli engines to this model but this didn't make it go faster or sell better.
As regarding motorsports, Aprilia won their first title in 1977, when Ivan Alborghetti managed to win the Italian championship in the 125 and 250cc classes.
It wasn't until the 1980s that Aprilia introduce enduro, trial and road bikes to its range. In 1981 they presented the TL320 trial bike and two years later the St 125. Then, in 1984, they released an improved model, named STX and an enduro bike called ET 50.
Another important move in the 80s was the outsourcing of Rotax engines for some of their models, and the launch of the 125 STX and the 350 STX. Wanting a more rugged approach, Aprilia launched in 1986 a large tanked bike for African rallies, called the Tuareg (no connection whatsoever with the Volkswagen Touareg).
By the time the 1980s were finished, in 1988 to be more exact, the US started to import Aprilia bikes. First, the TRX312M was imported and after that came The Climber, the first mass-produced bike to be liquid cooled.
In 1990, another bike derived from off-road vehicles came, the Pegaso 600, and two years later, Aprilia driver Alessandro Gramigni won the World 125 Road racing Championship title. 1992 proved to be a successful year for Aprilia in motorsports, since Tommy Ahvala won the World Trials Championship on an Aprilia Climber.
What is probably the most important motorcycle from Aprilia didn't come until 1998, when the Italian manufacturer launched the RSV Mille, a 1000cc V2 Superbike and a sport tourer called Falco, which also had a 1000cc V2 engine.
To get back to more recent events, in 2004, Aprilia was acquired by Piaggio, and by doing so they have become the world's fourth largest motorcycle group and they are now able to produce over 600,000 units per year. The management of Aprilia was taken over by Roberto Colaninno, while the company's founder, Ivan Begigo is now Honorary President.