Bikers go Italian
Popular Aprilia is rising above the pack, writes Mark Hinchliffe
AUSTRALIAN riders seem to have a taste for Italian machinery. Though the total road motorcycle market is down 11.2 per cent to the end of October, sales of Italian-made Aprilia road bikes are up a whopping 25 per cent.
And while the national scooter market is down 2.1 per cent, Aprilia scooter sales are up 7.6 per cent.
Kris Matich, national manager of Aprilia and Moto Guzzi importer John Sample Automotive, expects Aprilia road bikes sales to ‘‘fall back a little over the next few months due to stock issues relating to some models being phased out and the timing of new models next year’’.
‘‘But overall Aprilia road bike sales will continue in positive territory for 2010, which is pleasing considering that Aprilia was one of only three brands that reported 2009 sales up on 2008,’’ he says.
The other two brands were Triumph (0.8 per cent) and Moto Guzzi (5.7 per cent).
‘‘While overall the market is down and in particular the premium-priced and highperformance segments are well down, the only reason the total road market is not down more is the strong result of the LAMS ( Learner Approved Motorcycle System) models across many manufacturers,’’ Matich says.
‘‘Unfortunately, apart from our RS125cc sportsbike, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi do not have LAMS suitable bikes available, which means that our overall sales performance is even stronger.
‘‘For example, the supersport segment is down more than 30 per cent so we can only be pleased with the results we are achieving in these market conditions.’’
New Aprilia models next year are the 97kW Dorsoduro 1200, arriving in February at $17,990, followed in June by the V4 Tuono and RSV4. Prices are to be confirmed.
The Tuono and RSV4 will come with Aprilia Performance Rider Control (A-PRC) similar to Ducati and BMW management systems. It includes controls for launch, traction, wheelie, brakes and throttle.
Though Moto Guzzi sales are down 11.4 per cent in line with the market, Matich believes new models will help lift the marque.
Key among Guzzi’s 2011 product range is the third variant on the 750cc V7 range. The Italian shaftdrive company has added a modified limited-edition Racer to its Classic and Cafe models.
The Racer will arrive in March at $16,500 plus on-road costs, featuring ‘‘retro mods’’ such as a chrome tank, race numbers, red frame and fork gaters. Matich says the number 7 refers to the V7 Sport race bike of the ’ 70s, not to Barry Sheene’s famed number.
‘‘But owners could easily put the European stroke through the ‘7’ to pay Barry tribute,’’ he says.
In its 90th year, Moto Guzzi will also add the gran turismo Norge GT 8V ABS in February at $23,990.
Also, the Stelvio adventure bike will finally get the large tank it requires for trans-continental touring, expanding from 18 litres to a healthy 32.
Here in March: Moto Guzzi’s V7 Racer.
Retro: Aprilia’s Dorsoduro 1200.