Bark­ing and Bril­liant

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR

NZ Autocar - - Contents - Words Peter Louis­son Pho­tos Tom Gas­nier

The former Tuono V4 R was tech­no­log­i­cally in­ter­est­ing but a bit of a hand­ful. In the lat­est re­vamp, the elec­tron­ics and in­deed the whole bike are more rounded. But that hint of Ital­ian mis­chief thank­fully re­mains.

The Tuono by Aprilia has al­ways been a naked ver­sion of the firm’s top su­per­bike with lit­tle in the way of re­tun­ing, and a touch­ing de­gree of in­san­ity re­sulted. But the orig­i­nal Tuono was un­com­pro­mis­ing, and tough to live with. Sus­pen­sion con­sisted of rigid sticks, and it was dif­fi­cult to ride at slow speeds.

Then Aprilia de­vised the V4 which would soon take them to the top step of the Su­per­bike podium and a cou­ple of fa­mous cham­pi­onships with the not es­pe­cially pop­u­lar Max Bi­aggi aboard. From the RSV4 came the Tuono V4 R, a bike we tested in 2012 and rather liked, aside from the fact that it rode too hard, and its com­pre­hen­sive elec­tron­ics pack­age had a gap­ing ABS brakes hole. A typ­i­cally crazy Ital­ian bike then.

Re­cently the up­date to the V4 R dot­ted down here, fresh with a bored out 1100cc en­gine and avail­able as an RR ver­sion, as seen here, or a Fac­tory ver­sion with Öh­lins sus­pen­sion. The ini­tial ship­ment of 50 units went quickly, per­haps no sur­prise as the price of the

RR ($25,990) is un­changed from 2012. It goes for $1000 more than its main ri­val, BMW’s S 1000 R.

With the dis­place­ment up­grade comes more power – 20 ex­tra horses at 8000rpm ev­i­dently - and an elec­tron­ics over­haul. On tap there’s 175hp, down just 26hp on the RSV4’s 201 tally, but there’s ac­tu­ally more torque over­all, 121 vs 115Nm, the peak de­vel­oped at 9000rpm. It’s also lighter than it used to be, by around 6kg ac­cord­ing to our scales, weigh­ing in at 206kg wet. That’s su­per­bike light.

And nat­u­rally enough it feels that quick, as did its pre­de­ces­sor. There’s noth­ing much be­tween the old and new Tuonos 0-100, un­sur­pris­ing as we tested them with TC and anti-wheelie on, both at their least in­ter­ven­tion­ist set­tings. All po­tent bikes just want to launch ver­ti­cally when you ap­ply full power off the line, and that’s prob­a­bly why bike man­u­fac­tur­ers are now fit­ting launch con­trol to their top per­form­ing ma­chin­ery. We couldn’t seem to get LC to co­op­er­ate so to get a bet­ter idea of what an ex­tra 15hp adds, on the 80-120 over­take the new ma­chine proved quicker by around one-tenth of a sec­ond, im­prov­ing from 1.5 to 1.4sec. And that’s some­thing you’d never sense on road; both are bal­lis­tic when you punt them through the gears, and full-bore ac­cel­er­a­tion is lit­er­ally eye wa­ter­ing. The lat­est Tuono eas­ily man­ages 100 in first gear, but not quite 120 un­for­tu­nately which slows it slightly and we there­fore tested over­tak­ing prow­ess in sec­ond gear (most other ri­vals are IL4s which rev higher so get to 120km/h in first, sub­tract­ing a tenth or two).

Any­how, it’s still ra­bidly quick. The gear­box is an ab­so­lute stun­ner. Fea­tur­ing a quick­shifter, the Tuono has one of the best ex­am­ples of an elec­tronic shift mech­a­nism I’ve en­coun­tered, light­weight, smooth, pos­i­tive. Aprilia doesn’t of­fer elec­tronic down­shift­ing like BMW. Good on the Ital­ians. It feels too ar­ti­fi­cial, with in­ad­e­quate rev match­ing so it seems like you’re forc­ing the is­sue me­chan­i­cally. A man­ual down­shift sim­ply feels bet­ter, and sounds bet­ter as well. Es­pe­cially on the Tuono V4 1100. Peo­ple buy V-twins over in­line fours be­cause of the more in­ter­est­ing ex­haust noise, and the same is the case for a V4. Is it twice as good as a V-twin? De­pends on your sense of au­ral right­ness, but it’s cer­tainly ev­ery bit as in­ter­est­ing. It seems to rev more quickly too and that’s likely a case of less re­cip­ro­cat­ing mass in each cylin­der. There’s pre­cious lit­tle in the way of vibes, so the mir­rors work, even if they are awk­wardly shaped.

The sound from the ex­haust is ut­terly in­tox­i­cat­ing, re­mind­ing more of a race bike. This comes stan­dard with the mu­si­cally named Gian­nelli muf­fler. It’s oc­ca­sion­ally al­most too rau­cous in town. Neigh­bours who like to sleep late might have some­thing to say. There’s not that much pop and crackle ac­tion on the over­run, but un­der the pump this al­ways sounds ex­cit­ing. The en­gine is at its best above 5000rpm, equat­ing to 112 in sixth. Any­thing be­low about 3000rpm it doesn’t re­ally want to know about, and be­tween 3000 and 4000rpm in the Sport set­ting (the Road mode) this feels as though it’s build­ing up a head of steam. From 5000-7000rpm the ket­tle starts to whis­tle and be­yond that you’re too busy deal­ing with speed and gearshifts to take time to drink in the noise; it’s a bul­let. At the Hamp­ton Downs track day launch some were hit­ting 275km/h be­fore brak­ing for turn one. that’s quick and the speedo is ac­cu­rate. Slow­ing the show are M432 ra­dial-mounted Brembo monoblocs,

The ex­haust noise is just in­tox­i­cat­ing, re­mind­ing more of a race bike

four-pot­ters. They’re un­real. As part of the APRC elec­tron­ics the Tuono comes with Rear Wheel LiftUp Mit­i­ga­tion or RLM. It can’t have been ac­ti­vated be­cause the first time we tried an emer­gency stop from 100km/h the rear rose up and at­tempted to over­take the front wheel. We made a men­tal note to sit fur­ther back in the seat be­fore at­tempt­ing that again. Re­gard­less, they are won­drous stop­pers, supremely tac­tile, just like the en­tire front end of the bike. For the lat­est it­er­a­tion of the Tuono the Aprilia techs have tried to calm its ten­dency to mono over ev­ery small bump taken at speed. With so much power across the mid-band, it still does this when ac­cel­er­at­ing in top gear but noth­ing like as much, thanks to a 4mm longer swingarm and low­ered cen­tre of grav­ity. Fur­ther­more, the steer­ing used to be a touch heavy but the new bike has slightly more up­right forks (24.7 vs 25.1de­grees) and al­most 8mm less trail, so turns more nat­u­rally and ea­gerly, and with less ef­fort. It runs Pirelli Di­ablo Rosso Corsa tyres, some of the stick­i­est in the busi­ness.

Be­ing an Aprilia and race-ori­ented, the Tuono rid­ing po­si­tion is part­way be­tween su­per­bike and stan­dard up­right bike. So the seat is set lower, the pegs are higher and more rear­ward than on many, and the bars al­most flat. Most ‘naked’ bikes nowa­days get some sem­blance of a fair­ing and this fea­tures some­thing big­ger than a fly­screen, the new unit lighter than be­fore. While most of the wind­blast hits the rider, the for­ward lean coun­ter­acts the on­com­ing air nicely at speed, and the seat foam is vastly more yield­ing than that of its fore­bear. Be­ing al­most as nar­row as a V-twin your knees feel closer to­gether than nor­mal, and that com­pact mass cen­tralised en­gine place­ment helps with ease of di­rec­tion changes. You’d ex­pect some heat from the en­gine to warm your legs in sum­mer but we no­ticed noth­ing of the sort.

If you’re af­ter some­thing with a less tax­ing rid­ing po­si­tion than a su­per­bike but with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the sheer thrills, the Tuono V4 1100 RR might well fit the bill. As with April­ias of the past, high gear­ing means it’s prob­a­bly not the best com­muter you could buy but is easy enough to live with dayto-day, more so than most su­per­bikes. And the noise it makes ev­ery time you start it up or wind on the gas will be enough to con­vince you that you’ve made the right de­ci­sion. Just be warned: if you’ve trou­ble con­trol­ling the speed de­mon within this may not be the ma­chine for you.

LEFT - The ride now of­fers gen­uine bump ab­sorp­tion. We backed off damp­ing a few clicks from track set­tings and it was sorted for road use. Be­ware lim­ited steer­ing lock when pulling a U-turn.BE­LOW LEFT - Ad­justable launch, wheelie and trac­tion con­trol, along with cor­ner­ing ABS. Set and for­get. BE­LOW RIGHT - Brem­bos are so strong they’ll get a rise out of the rear.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.