I’m not going to lie; I’m a massive Aprilia fan. There isn’t much they could do to make the old Tuono more appealing to me. They look great (they have a face only a mother can love I will admit), are without a doubt the best sounding bike you can buy (along with the RSV4) and go like a shower of shit. So just when I thought they could make it more appealing they go and turn it into 1100. Damn you Aprilia, take my money now! I mean, the old bike absolutely hammers and they have added more power everywhere! Plus IMO they have improved the looks. So off I went to my local dealership to see if I could take one for a burn.
The Tuono comes in a standard version and a Factory version. The demo bike was a standard RR edition in silver. I’m yet to see the bike in blue but if I were going to buy one I would probably go straight for the Factory. Its only $2000 more, has Ohlins suspension and looks dead-set sexy with the RSV4 tail section and fancy pants colour scheme.
Looking over the bike, if you are familiar with the old model it is pretty similar but improved in certain areas. The first things I noticed are the seat is light years ahead of the older model (softer), the bars are now black and slightly narrower (not sure if this is an improvement but the black looks nice) and the new seat cowl has a higher screen. The old transformer faced Tuono does have an aggressive look, but the new RSV4 inspired cowl will most likely appeal to a lot more buyers.
When the salesman started the bike up, I nearly soiled myself. The stock Tuono sounded good, but this might even sound better. To me it has a slightly throatier, deeper sound. It is also one of the few bikes that sounds amazing without an aftermarket exhaust.
The dash is easy to use and read, but is starting to look dated when compared to the beautiful LCD screens offered from Yamaha and Ducati. The only other complaint I have is that the screen has a delay when you scroll through the options. Semantics, but it’s a pain in the ass when all you want to do is change a couple of settings.
Taking off, the bike is comfortable and noticeably smoother than the previous iteration. I didn’t feel any chugging or snatch when accelerating from low revs. And holy fuck does it accelerate! The electronic wheelie control goes into overload in the first couple of gears and really struggles to keep the front wheel down. While the 1000 had a linear power band and wasn’t lacking anywhere, this certainly has more power in the midrange. And the fuelling was fantastic on all engine maps. And the sound! I felt like a child at every set of lights, blipping the throttle to hear it. I loved it. If you were ever going to lose your licence on a bike this is probably it. I constantly wanted thrash it. Kudos to Aprilia for creating a storming engine.
On the handling side of things it was again great. The bike is slim and nimble yet still manages to be stable.
The suspension is more compliant than the 2012 1000’s I have ridden in the past and makes the bike easier to ride when you just want to cruise. It is definitely still sporty though so don’t expect a cruiser. The only complaint I could think of was the rear shock wallowed when accelerating around a bend. The dealer assured me afterwards that this was due to the lack of suspension set up more than anything else. I’m tending to believe him as the old model had no problems in regards to this. I found the brakes to be great, not quite up to the standard of the new R1 I rode recently, but not far off.
The electronics were near flawless. The gearbox is silky smooth and banging through the gears with the quick shifter is oh so easy. I initially had the wheelie control on the least intrusive setting however after some time I changed it to the middle setting. I love my wheelies, but on setting ‘1’ the bike would cut power a little too dramatically for my liking. The electronics put the front down very smoothly but it would then shoot forward. A lot of fun, but I felt the middle setting ‘2’ was smoother in its action.
Overall, I didn’t want to take the bike back. It is a proper hooligan bike but now has an added smoothness, grunt, and compliance. The fuelling is great, the handling is great, the engine is great, and it’s comfortable. Honestly, it’s probably the best bike I’ve ever ridden. I want one.