Tuono Factory, Z1000R and CB650F tested
It’s not often I fail to find fault with a bike, but I’m struggling with Aprilia’s new Tuono V4 Factory. After a long day riding stunning roads in northern Italy, I can’t think of any other bike on which I’d choose to repeat the journey. A superbike may have been faster on some sections and a tourer more comfortable, but overall I’d take the new Tuono anytime. It is comfortable, usable and fast.
Aprilia didn’t have to do much to the old Tuono to impress us but while making their leading naked Euro4 compatible (without sacrificing any power or torque) they’ve also added a new TFT full colour dash and new switchgear that allows you to make the most of a selection of new riding aids. They’ve also updated the frontend with a lighter 43mm Öhlins fork, bigger 330mm discs and a Brembo radial master cylinder, while the rear shock receives a tweak.
To ensure Euro4 compliance Aprilia have bolted on a bigger exhaust with a larger catalytic converter, which has added an extra 2.5kg to the bike’s overall mass. The good news is the Tuono’s V4 still sounds intoxicating and churns out a claimed 175bhp at peak, while the redline has crept 500rpm higher.
New front end aside, the biggest change is the electronics package, which now incorporates a pitch sensor (as well as the old model’s lean and yaw). As before, it has eight-stage traction control, which can be adjusted or deactivated on the move via a simple finger and thumb paddle system on the left bar. There are still three
riding modes (Sport, Track and Race), wheelie and launch control and three levels of ABS intervention, including one that switches off cornering ABS at the front and all ABS at the rear. A new autoblipper/quickshifter takes care of shifting, while a pitlane limiter (first gear only), cruise control, are added.
To make life simple Aprilia have added a new TFT dash with Bluetooth connectivity and new switchgear. You can record your ride by connecting to your iphone then, using an app, review your data at your leisure.
These riding aids are class leading and intuitive, and allow you to tune the set-up to best suit your mood or the road (or track) ahead. The racy modes add an aggressive edge to the fuelling so I spent 75% of my ride in the softer Sport mode. There is no specific wet mode, but if you do get caught out in tricky conditions it’s easy to add more TC, which you can do on the move, or add more ABS intervention at the roadside as you throw on waterproofs.
The new front-end, brakes and chassis are class-leading. I’d argue the naked Tuono could give any pure sportsbike a run for its money on the road, or even on track. The suspension doesn’t rattle your teeth out over bumpy B roads nor does it sit like a well-trained dog when you dial in the immense torque. It’s hugely impressive. I constantly asked questions of the chassis and it always came back with the perfect answer.
On one 30-mile section of road I just couldn’t stop smiling as my knee sliders brushed unfamiliar roads and the exhaust note reverberated around the many tunnels cutting through the mountains. The new Tuono provided instant torque in any gear no matter what the rpm and the stunning headspinning looks left passers-by open mouthed with envy. And yet in town I found myself on a bike that’s as easy going and fuss free as a scooter.
This is an exceptional bike: a compliant, comfortable race bike for the road, supported by class leading electronics a soundtrack that will make you smile every time you open the throttle.
I may have fallen in love.
‘It’s exceptional. A comfortable race bike for the road. I may have fallen in love’
New TFT dash is superbly clear and functional – and can link to your iphone