I made the mistake of test riding the new Aprilia Tuono V4 APRC a while back. Why is that a mistake you ask? Because ever since then I have wanted one! Take my money Aprilia!
At the time I was riding my 2007 Aprilia Tuono and loved it. It’s not till you ride a new bike like this that you realise how far technology has come though.
To make things easier, I’m going to refer to Aprilia Tuono V4 ‘mouth full’ as simply the ‘Tuono’. The new Tuono is a naked sports bike based off the Aprilia RSV4 sports bike. Now that’s an awesome machine and all, but for those who don’t want to be crouched over like Valentino Rossi all day, the Tuono is probably the better option. It’s basically the same bike as the RSV4 with a lot of the fairing ripped off, tall bars promoting an upright seating position and some tweaks here and there to suit.
First impressions are that the bike looks great but there is definitely a little bit of Transformers ‘Bumblebee’ in the headlight. It’s definitely not classically beautiful, more purposeful and deliberate with nice lines. The build quality on the bike looks great overall, but I wouldn’t mind some ‘wilder’ paint schemes. This bike was yellow and it also comes in black. They both look really good but I miss the little touches that some older Aprilia’s had, like the subtle lions head emblems for example.
Sitting on the bike it’s quite tall (but not overly so), the bars wide and the seat reasonably firm. I’ve heard complaints about the seat but I did not have any on the test ride. The switches are all of good quality and nice to use but not as classy as I was expecting. I did like how the electronics settings are on toggles next to the left hand grip. After turning the bike on you simply toggle forward or back (+ and -) through the settings, adjusting traction control, wheelie control, etc., very cool. The engine map settings are changed by thumbing the starter, S for sport for me to begin with.
Starting the bike up you are greeted by what is without a doubt one of the best sounds in motoring. This is no exaggeration. For car drivers, imagine a V8 supercar, for bike lovers, a subdued moto gp bike. And this is on the stock exhaust :). Clicking the bike into gear I noticed the bike had a cable operated clutch, no biggy, I was just expecting a hydraulic clutch being a Euro bike and all. The clutch was easy to pull and the action smooth in any case.
Taking off the bike is smooth but not without character. There’s soul in this bike. Taking it easy initially, the Tuono felt compact and easy to maneuver. The brakes were progressive, offering plenty of feel and power. Getting to the front of a set of lights I decided to open it up and test out the electronic quick shifter. Holy wow! This thing rips. The power starts off steady but builds in a massive midrange and top end. When you bang through the gears the exhaust howls and is accompanied by the occasional ‘pop’ in between gear changes. Let’s do that again!
Changing the bike into Track mode and dialing down the wheelie and traction control, things get even more fun. Hold the throttle pinned and the front wheel lifts but is subtly put down by the electronics. It tracks so well under acceleration; add in the quick shifter, power and sound, and your licence isn’t going to last long.
Going through round-a-bouts where I would traditionally struggle on my v-twin the Tuono was a cinch. I was unable to test out high speed cornering but you get the feeling that it wouldn’t be an issue. The suspension was firm but not harsh, no complaints there. The only criticism I could think of is that I wouldn’t mind dropping a tooth on the front sprocket to add a bit more lunacy off bottom. Fuel range is rumored to not be a strong point as well but I wasn’t able to test this.
So taking the bike back was disappointing. The combination of power, sound, handling and electronics is for lack of a better term, awesome. There are other bikes that offer similar performance and electronics (which I will test), but the V4 engine is so intoxicating. The Tuono is now firmly at the top of the list of bikes I have to own.