After taking the stunning 2019 Aprilia V4 Naked rocket ship out, I’d happily wave goodbye to my GSXR
I’ve always had a thing for naked bikes, and an infatuation with European bikes with less than clean reputations, hence my love of the KTM naked range, practically every MV Augusta ever built and of course, the Aprilia Tuono, although I do love the RSV4, I’ll talk about that another time!
When I had the opportunity to ride this, I did a happy dance around the house and was there as soon as I could be – who wouldn’t?
Upon seeing the bike, I knew that there was 0 chance I could reach the floor on it, so pushed it over to a kerb to allow me to get closer for a better look at it.
Bring on the short jokes..
On first glance, its very cleat that the Tuono is an absolutely stunning machine, and really follows with the looks from the RSV4 using a similar sporty rear end. There really isn’t a single area of the bike that is unappealing to look at (well, maybe the massive stock exhaust..but who doesn’t change theirs?)
The first thing I noticed was the dash, I love a bit of tech and having some buttons to play with, so the display here really intrigued me as it looks a little complicated to start with and there were more than a few strange and unusual buttons in a different layout that I’m used to.
Aprilia have their own electronics package (but no fuel gauge)
Aprilia Performance Ride Control which is inclusive of 3 rider modes;
These modes adjust the throttle response as well as the engine braking, allowing you to chose how the bike acts in different scenarios with adjustment to suit your riding.
As most modern bikes do, the Tuono comes with wheelie control and it has 8 traction control settings, these are adjustable using + and – buttons on the under the bar, and are surprisingly easy to get used to using them on the fly.
The bike also has a pit lane limiter and launch control as expected for something of this caliber but it also has cruise control, which surprised me a little, although I didn’t test any of these three features.
Here is something really special, Aprilia have added semi-active Ohlins suspension to the 1100 Factory, and in their own words they have called it “The most advanced electronically controlled suspension system in the world.”.
You can even chose between semi-active and manual suspension using the toggle button as you’re going. It has huge levels of customisation and calibration, adjusting second by second to the roads and your riding – you really can feel the difference.
The brakes are perfect, there is no better summary for them, the Brembo M50 calipers are quite simply the best, they have a great initial bite and give a great progressive feeling when applying pressure to the lever without throwing you over the bars.
Unless you really want them to, then they could
There are also 3 levels to the ABS. The Tuono also comes with cornering ABS further filling you with confidence while riding it knowing that it’s not going to wash out from under you if you need a little tap on the lever if you’ve come into a bend too hot.
All of this is continuously allowing you to push your self and the bike further and further while still feeling safe and in control of each situation.
Obviously I had to take it through the twistiest lanes I could find, which it tackled with ease, the bike is full of grunt and mid range power, delivering everything you could want as you want it.
However, I did at multiple points end up on a gravelly track..
The sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa’s never even got close to letting me down, warming up quickly and giving great grip on every road type. For anyone unfamiliar with the tyres they have a great, yet tall profile. This paired with the Aprilias’s aluminium wheels really helps you to turn quickly, its amazingly agile and oh so light for an 1100cc motor, the longer wheel base and the V shaped engine really giving it it’s center of gravity and making it feel planted.
The bike practically forces you to unleash your inner hooligan, it tips so easily into the bends that you have no time to hesitate or try to plan the corner, it happens and it happens perfectly, then when you whack the throttle back open on corner exit, it wants you to lift the front wheel up in the air..
The bars were something that took a little getting used to for me, with it being a hugely different seating position to my own bike, the bars felt very wide for the first few minutes, after that, I got on with them perfectly, not even noticing them, previously moaning that they made my shoulders ache. The width of the bars and the position of them really helps you direct it where you want to go with great precision and stability.
The bike is noticeably tall, with the seat height at 825mm and the seat is pretty firm, meaning if you’re 5’4 like me, you’ll struggle to stop at traffic lights without sliding off the seat and catching the bike- a struggle I feel like I’ve now mastered.
The fuel economy isn’t amazing with the display readying a little below 40mpg while riding, but does anyone buy a rip your arms off naked V4 for the fuel economy? I doubt it!
This bike also isn’t your ideal commuter, the ride by wire throttle is a little jerky below 3,000RPM, either wanting you to roll off, or give it a handful of throttle, of course we all choose the latter.
The power delivery is amazing, I haven’t ridden anything quite like it.
With the Tuono housing a 170bhp engine beneath you and 89lbs-ft of torque at 9,000RPM it tears your arms off from somewhere around 4,000RPM and really sees red from 8,000RPM eye wateringly dragging you along with it, if you can hold on tight enough.
The gearbox is another impressive point, with the bike having one of, if not the best quick shifters I have used. The pressure required is enough to assure you that you’ve changed gear, but not enough to make you ever twice about using it.
Of course the bike also is equipped with an electronically assisted auto-blipper, perfectly matching the revs on the downshift allowing faster and more precise gear changes.
The engine is unchanged from that of the previous (2017) model and is filled with character, chirping along as you stretch it through the rev range and cycle through the gears, it even sounds great with the standard system. It really is a powerhouse waiting for you to unleash it and it doesn’t care where and when you do it.
It’s main competitors are;
-BMW’s S1000R – 160 BHP-from £13,050
-Ducati’s Monster 1200R – 148 BHP – from £16,495
-Yamaha’s MT10-SP – 156 BHP – from £14,299
-KTM’s 1290R – 172 BHP – from £14,799
The Tuono is only just the highest in price at £16,999
You do however get a lot of bang for your buck, possibly THE best brakes, the stunning V4 engine, confidence inspiring tyres, an amazing electronics package, superb build quality, a beautiful exterior and not forgetting the semi-active suspension. Although it is somewhat of a riders bike compared with some of the competitors, with it being so sharp and focused.
The bike just wants to be ridden fast, it’s full of charm and is stunning in appearance, drawing attention wherever you take it, rightly so.
I’m sold on it, running around telling everyone that they need to get a test ride booked in to experience the magic themselves
If they can wrestle it off me..
So I’m in love, now just to get a part exchange price on my GSXR..
Feel free to let me know what you think in the comment box below..