The Life and Death of the Aprilia Shiver and Dorsoduro


The Aprilia Shiver and Dorsoduro are kind of the forgotten ones in the Aprilia range. Everybody raves about the Tuono and RSV4 so the 900’s just kind of just left to sit in the corner, swirling a cup of brandy while pondering the meaning of their mechanical life. I mean, here are two mid-size bikes with a lot of things going for them. Fun and torquey v twin? Check. Sweet handling? Check. Good looks? Yep. But sadly, it’s looking like both are going disappear into the nether. So let’s check out why Aprilia’s mid-size twins are going extinct and look at their history.

The Shiver 750 and maxi-moto Dorsoduro 750 were first introduced in 2008. They were the first bikes made by Aprilia since its purchase by Piaggio in 2004.The project manager for the Shiver was Piero Soatti. In his words, “Until the takeover by Piaggio, we had a way of working that we can define as more passionate than rational!’’ How very Italian. The Shiver was designed to be an everyday bike that still retained that ‘soul’ and excitement Aprilia is known for.

The Shiver 750 was first released in 2008.

At the heart was an all Aprilia made and designed 749cc, 90 degree, 8 valve v-twin, putting out 92hp and 60 ft pounds of torque. The bike had three changeable riding modes, adjustable suspension and the rear shock was mounted linkage free on the side of the bike for all to see. And most importantly, it was a good bike! The Shiver is known for its sweet handling, quality suspension and fun, torquey engine.

The wild looking Dorsoduro 750 was released in 2008 and uses the same platform as the Shiver. And it’s a bit…different. Think of it as a cross between an early KTM Duke 690 and a Ducati Hypermotard. The bike has a vastly different riding position to the Shiver with quicker steering and shorter gearing. The Shiver GT followed in 2009. Aprilia added fairing to the bike which made it better for touring and highway stints.

The Dorsoduro 750 was a sweet bike, but a bit heavy and down on excitement.

The 750 was made to be scalable, and scale they did. The Dorsoduro 1200 was introduced two in 2010. The 1200 was a beast, but surprisingly easy to ride. Created as Aprilia’s take on the Ducati Hypermotard, the Dorso 1200 ended up being a grownups motard that just happened to have a stonking engine. The engine was designed by Federico Martini and was roughly based off the legendary Ducati 1198 motor. Martini wanted similar overall power, but more torque. The result is 130hp and grunt city. The engine was only slightly heavier than the 750, but put out 40 more horsepower and was 2mm narrower.

The Shiver 750 got an update in 2010. The seat height was lowered, the riding position was changed by moving the foot pegs further back and the bars further forward, the rear wheel width was changed to speed up the steering a little bit, the front brake rotors were upgraded and the suspension firmed up. Another thing, they changed the colour schemes. I really like red and black 2010 Shiver, it’s a great colour combo IMO.

There was also the Dorsoduro 750 Factory. Like the RSV4 and Tuono Factory models, has higher spec suspension (Sachs, not Ohlins), the suspension was stiffened up all round and the bike got a lashing of carbon fibre to save weight.

So that’s a bit of a history on Aprilia’s Dorsoduro and Shiver range. Aprilia had a nice recipe going on with these bikes, and both the 750 and 1200 models are first-rate bikes. Unfortunately the bikes had some glaring faults. All the models suffered from questionable fuel economy and at 499 lbs, they really need to lay off the carbs. The 750 Dorsoduro had a tiny 12 litre (3.2 gallons) tank and the 1200’s 15 litres (4 gallons) wasn’t much better.

The Dorsoduro 1200. An absolute hoot to ride, but not perfect.

The Dorsoduro also had a bit of an image problem. Due to its heavy weight it wasn’t really hooligan enough to be a full blown motard and it didn’t have the fuel range or protection for serious touring work. The 750 models in particular suffered for a snatchy on/off fuel throttle response and low speed fuelling was poor to meet emissions. So it was a case of almost, but not quite enough from Aprilia.

The 1200 slowly disappeared from 2013 onwards and it wasn’t updated to meet Euro 4 emissions in 2016.

The Shiver GT. An extremely versatile bike with the added front fairing.

But Aprilia had another trick up their sleeve. In 2017, they released the new 900 range. In order to meet Euro 4 emissions, Aprilia bored and stroked the 750 motor to create an 896cc engine. I remember when this bike was first announced I was pumped. Peak power essentially stayed the same at 94 hp but torque increased 10% to 66ft lbs. The bike introduced a TFT dash, traction control and cut weight by using lighter 41mm forks and changed to the wheels found on the Tuono V4. I personally love the colours and look of the 900 range, they look fantastic.

But with the new Euro 5 laws coming into effect this year, a fair few bikes are not going to meet the new emissions criteria. And sadly (or not, depending how you look at it), both the Shiver and Dorsoduro 900’s don’t like they are going to be updated and aren’t listed in Aprilia’s 2021 line-up. So if you were thinking about getting one, you better get your ass down to a dealer now or pick up a second hand model.

The new 900 range was released to meet Euro 4 emissions. Nice bikes.

So why aren’t the Dorsoduro and Shiver being updated? Well the easiest answer is because it is being replaced by the new 660 range. To me, Aprilia have realised that while the 900’s are good bikes, they have been left behind recently by the likes of the Yamaha MT09 and Kawasaki Z900. Both are lighter and more power. They had a good 11 year run, but Aprilia have decided to put the Shiver and Dorsoduro out to pasture and decided to create a new 660 platform.

The new 660’s look fantastic, but there’s something unique about the Shiver and Dorsoduro. Fortunately, they are a fantastic second hand buy and you can get one for a really good price (well, a 750 at least). While they will never be a light bike, you can save a ton of weight by ditching the boat anchor stock pipes. By changing them to an aftermarket brand, you will you lose an easy 10 lbs (5kgs) and that weight is all up high on the bike so it makes a big difference. What’s great is, if you are looking at getting a second hand model, a lot of people have already done this so that will save you a bit of money.

Fitting a set of aftermarket pipes saves a TON of weight on these bikes.

The crappy fuelling on the earlier bikes was kind of fixed with mapping updates, but can be further fixed be installing a Fat Duc. What is a Fat Duc? It’s an O2 emulator that adjusts the fuel mixture, in this case adding more the mixture to solve the stupidly lean fuelling and actually improve fuel economy too.

I was actually really close to buying a Dorsoduro. I test rode a new 750 Factory and found it to be a really nice bike, the suspension was great and it was smooth. But it lacked a bit of excitement for me. I then test rode a 1200 and absolutely loved it, they are a fun point and shoot bike. I was going to trade in my Brutale 675 for it, but in the 2 hours it took for me to ride home and then have a quick think it, they’d sold to bloody someone else! Some things are just not meant to be.

Finding a good 1200 is a lot harder. There simply weren’t as many made and they hold quite a premium price for their age. The prices increased 3 to 4 years ago and they’ve held that price ever since.

Will we see a new Shiver or Dorsoduro based off the new 660 range?

So is there any future for the Shiver and Dorsoduro. I could see Aprilia creating a new 850-900cc twin based off the new 660 platform. Let’s say it puts out roughly 125hp, that’d make a mean Dorsoduro or Shiver and wedge nicely between the 175hp Tuono V4 and 100hp RS660.

So while we should mourn the fallen, we must also remember and cherish them. Like that Dorso 1200 I almost bought. Or you could just go out and buy one.

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