A bit of a tall or­der

Ra­tios and seat height make tour­ing a test on this brute

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Two Wheels -

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.

VALUE

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.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

SAFETY

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.

DE­SIGN

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.

RID­ING

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.

VER­DICT

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.

Mark Hinch­liffe

$13,690 (1200 ABS, $17,990)

2 years 10,000km 55 per cent 749cc V-twin, 67kW/82Nm (1200cc, 96kW/115Nm)

6-speed,

chain-drive

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

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