Review: Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory

The Aprilia Tuono has a lot in common with its donor bike, the RSV4. It still looks a lot like the hypersport, even if it’s a naked bike. It has more body panels than other fat naked bikes on the market. Especially the windscreen is taller than what we are used to. It seems to invite you to tug yourself behind it at higher speeds. A mere sign on the horizon?

Equipment

The Tuono comes in two versions: the RR and the Factory. The Factory has everything what the RR has and adds a racy rear end, Öhlins everywhere and sportier shoes: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa’s in a wider 200/55 rear tyre are standard on the Factory, while the RR gets 190/55 Diablo Rosso III’s. The Superpole Graphics are exclusive to the Factory. Besides that both models boast a very complete equipment level.

The electronics on this bike are impressive. Don’t say “traction control”, say “Aprilia Performance Ride Control”. It doesn’t just regulate a few thingies but computes real “assistance strategies”: ATC (traction control, adjustable in 8 positions on the go through flippers on the handlebars), AWC (wheelie control, adjustable during riding and softening contacts with the road), ALC (launch control, recommended only for the track), APL (pitlimiter, very practical in city traffic) and ACC (cruise control).

There is also adjustable, lean sensitive race-ABS and three engine mappings (Sport, Track and Race). The fact that the basic setting is called “Sport” is also a mere sign on the horizon…

Dash

Setting all these goodies is done from the big cluster of buttons on the left side of the handlebars. You can read every setting on the crisp TFT screen. Besides the obvious speed and rpm’s you can also see the lean angle of the bike. Checking your lean angle in real time is quite impossible though, you simply do not have the time to look at it. Except when the bike is on its side stand: 12 degrees of lean angle!

Luckily you can connect the Tuono to your smartphone – in combination with the Aprilia Multimedia Platform – after which you can download all the data to a computer. Even better: with the smartphone app you can program all the settings of the bike should you ride it on track. And you can set them per curve! This once again shows that the pedigree of the Tuono is to be found in WSBK.

Other gimmicks on the dash, like position of the throttle and brake force, are nice to have. It also shows the maximum speed you reached since starting up this Aprilia, which leads to kind of… a challenge.

Thunder…

As soon as you start the Tuono, it lives up to its name. A first roll of thunder escapes the (oversized) end-can when you wake up the engine. Once you start it, Thor descends a whole arsenal of thunder upon you and your surroundings. The thunderous sound this beast produces make the hairs in my neck rise. And not just those hairs…

… and lightning

“The Tuono V4 Factory is the fastest and most sporty naked bike ever built”, acclaims Aprilia. And that might just as well be true. The 1100 CC V4 engine produces 175 bhp and 121 Nm of torque. Enough to rip of your arms.

The mighty engine is married to a brilliant chassis. Add to that top brakes and equally great suspension and we get to the essence of the Tuono Factory: it’s not only lightning fast, but no matter what you throw at it, it’s also incredibly stable under all circumstances.

Although the Brembo’s don’t offer the immediate bite that I’m used to of the M50 calipers, the braking force is fenomenal. They give tons of feedback making you brake deep into the corner.

In that corner you can open the throttle very early already. With traction control set on the high side this will make the warning lights on the dashboard flicker like a Christmas tree on a cold winter night. Subtlety is not in the Tuono’s dictionary. At least this way it’s visible! I put the TC on 5. That way sprints are not smothered and the electronic safety net is still big enough.

I kept the engine mapping on Sport. All three mappings provide full power, only the throttle reaction and engine braking are changed. For all I know they could have named Sport and Race respectively “Crazy” and “Are you insane!?!”. The throttle is so direct and the engine braking so low that these settings are all but useless on the street.

The quickshifter never missed a beat. Both up and down. And OMG, that bang of the blipper when you time it just right is divine! It’s reason enough to just accelerate like crazy to then brake hard while quickly tapping the quickshifter down. Bang, bang, bang. Hairs rising…

The Öhlins suspension and steering damper work like we are used to of the golden brand: sublime. Bumps in the road are filtered quite acceptably. Obviously it’ll never be as smooth as on an adv bike but I’ve ridden naked bikes that transfer the bumps much harder into your spine. I’ve never had the need to adjust the suspension, that’s how good they do their job in standard setting.

To top it all off there are the details that complete the #be a racer adagium. The seat offers plenty of support and a lot of grip so you don’t slide. The shape of the fuel tank is ideal to grab it with your knees to offer maximum feel with the bike. The handlebars are wide and the grips are set low, while the footpegs are positioned high. The most sporty naked bike ever? I would think so…

Conclusion

Driving slow is a challenge on the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory. Every speed you ride on it feels slower than it is in reality. Luckily there is traction control and the pitlimiter. Besides: everything on this Aprilia is built to go fast. The screen keeps your upper body out of the wind (your helmet will take all the wind so a good set of neck muscles are needed) and even the comfort is acceptable. Stability, speed and a thunderous sound summarise the Tuono.

The mere signs on the horizon brought mainly good news. Even so, I don’t see many of these on the streets. Could it be that the disputable reputation that Italians motorcycle producers had in the past still plays a roll? Or is it the price tag that is pretty high?

No matter the reason, it’s with a lot of regrets that I had to say goodbye to this awesome bike.

Photography: Kenny VH

Pros

+ Stability and speed in all circumstances
+ Incredibly “yummie” engine sound
+ Exclusivity

Cons

– No fuel gauge
– Clutch lever not adjustable (although you don’t need it often thanks to the brilliant quickshifter)
– Price (but you get a whole lot of bike for it)

Tech specs

Engine: Aprilia V4 65°, 4-stroke, liquid cooled, double overhead camshaft (DOHC), four valves per cylinder. Ride By Wire with 3 engine mappings (Sport, Race, Track).
Engine capacity; 1077 cc
Max Power: 173 hp (129 kW) @ 11,000 rpm*
Maximum torque at crankshaft: 89 ft-lbs (121 Nm) @ 9,000 rpm
Front suspension: Öhlins NIX upside-down fork, 43 mm fork body. Adjustable spring preload, independently rebound and compression. 120 mm wheel travel.
Rear suspension: Double-sided aluminum swingarm Öhlins STX 46 single shock absorber with remote reservoir, adjustable spring preload, independently adjustable compression and rebound APS progressive linkage. 130 mm wheel travel.
Front brake: 330 mm floating double disc with aluminum carrier. Brembo M50 4-piston mono-block radial calipers. Radial front master cylinder and steel braided brake lines.
Rear brake: 220mm disc. Brembo 32 mm 2 isolated piston caliper. Rear brake pump with integrated reservoir and steel braided lines.
ABS system: C-ABS Bosch 9.1MP, de-selectable, adjustable to 3 mappings, with RLM (Rear wheel Lift-up Mitigation) strategy
Front wheel: 3.5” x 17” cast aluminum alloy wheel with 3 double spokes.
Front tire: 120/70 ZR 17
Rear wheel: 6” x 17” cast aluminum alloy wheel, with 3 double spokes.
Rear tire: 200/55 ZR 17
Saddle height: 32.5 in (825 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 4.9 gal – 1 gal reserve (18.5 L – 4 L reserve)
Dry Weight: 408 lbs (185 kg)
Wet Weight: 461 lbs (209 kg)
Electronic management: APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) system including traction control (ATC), wheelie control (AWC), launch control (ALC), quick shift (AQS), cruise control (ACC), pit limiter (APL), cornering ABS, all independently settable and de-selectable. V4-MP 2.0 ready (install kit and V4-MP 2.0 ECU sold separately)

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