A bit of a tall order
Ratios and seat height make touring a test on this brute
COMMUTING on the new Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 is like cutting butter with a chainsaw.
This is quite simply the biggest and most outrageous commuting weapon among the docile traffic pack.
The Dorsoduro has been repositioned from a ‘‘ weekend warrior’’ to a ‘‘ fun commuter’’, says Andy Pecora of Aprilia importer John Sample Automotive.
The Japanese nakeds are cheaper but the Aprilia slots in between the Triumph Speed Triple 1050 and the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 on price and exclusiveness. These bikes don’t have the electronic trickery of the new Aprilia.
The Italian stallion also has a two-year warranty.
Not sinceBMW’s HP2 hypermotard has there been such a brute in the maxi-motard class. Its 96kW/112Nm V-twin engine outmuscles all the others.
But it isn’t all brawn and no brains. The Aprilia is also the smartest in the class with switchable anti-lock brakes and sophisticated Aprilia traction control with engine mapping modes for sport, touring and rain that are easily toggled on the fly for changing conditions.
Aprilia has added two-channel Continental ABS to the full range of Dorsoduro, plus Mana GT and Shiver Sport.
Brembo supplies huge 320mm and 240mm discs and calipers, which are more than enough to safely stop this lightweight bike.
It looks like a dirt bike on steroids. Design is minimalist with small shrouds at the front that don’t quite hide some of the ugly plumbing underneath.
The height of the trail bikestyle seat is a long-legged 870mm— and the saddle itself is as hard and uncomfortable as straddling a picket fence.
It not only looks like a trail bike, it also feels as if you’re astride one when you hoist a leg over the high seat.
Riding position is sit-up-andbeg with wide bars and no wind protection. It’s great for short blasts and for seeing over the traffic, but at more than 80km/h it becomes a chore hanging on. Touring is out of the question.
Fire it up and it shudders and shakes; give it some revs and things smooth out. Let out the wet clutch and it springs away, even in ‘‘ rain’’ mode.
The styling is spartan and the performance is slick. It will get you to work in the morning with a smile on your face, but if you think it’s overkill, the 750cc version may be all you need.
$13,690 (1200 ABS, $17,990)
2 years 10,000km 55 per cent 749cc V-twin, 67kW/82Nm (1200cc, 96kW/115Nm)
Sachs43mm inverted forks (fr), aluminium alloy swing-arm, adjustable shock absorber with rebound damping and spring pre-load
Twin320mmdiscs, 4-piston calipers (fr), 240mm disc
2.2m (L), 905mm(W), 1.2m (H), 1.5m (WB) Seat height870mm
120/70ZR17 (fr), 180/55ZR17
186kg (dry) 12L
‘Fun commuter’: Hints of naked bike and a touch of trail bike on steroids