Aprilia gives new Shiver more cc and a stack of tasty torque
Aprilia’s bigger & better
When developing the new Shiver 900, Aprilia’s R&D team strapped a datalogger to one of the firm’s V4 Tuonos and then logged how ‘average’ riders rode the bike and how far they twisted the throttle – and the results had a big impact on the Shiver.
The data revealed that most riders seldom used more than 100bhp despite having access to over 170bhp from the V4 Tuono. What was far more important than outright peak power on the naked was the instantly accessible torque. And that’s why the new Shiver 900 makes the same 93.9bhp as the outgoing Shiver 750, but has 6.4ftlb more peak torque and a healthier mid-range thanks to its longer stroke V-twin.
At a glance the new Shiver looks a lot like the old model, but there are a few subtle upgrades. Bar an 11mm increase in stroke and some slight internal mods, the V-twin engine is pretty much the same – although it does have Euro4complying fuel maps, new injectors, new exhaust end-cans and the introduction of three-stage traction control. The lighter three-spoke wheels are new, the suspension has been tweaked with 41mm Kayaba forks, a few vents have appeared in the fairing to give it a fresh look and the Tuono’s colour dash now takes pride of place.
When you think of an Italian V-twin you may assume it will be a bit lumpy in its delivery, however the Shiver’s twin is anything but. It is really smooth and feels far more like a Suzuki SV650’S motor than a Ducati Monster 821 in its character, which is a good thing. There is constant torque right through the rev range and it responds nicely with a pleasant throttle pick-up and lovely light clutch action.
The handling reflects this easy-going outlook on life, too. Often, Italian bikes are set way too firm and jolt you around in the name of outright handling prowess. Again, not the Shiver. After I had added a bit of spring preload to the rear to get rid of a slight tendency to run wide, the Shiver revealed itself as inspiring and fun. It’s not super-agile, but it is assured and when you add the safety nets of traction control as well as strong radial Brembos, backed up with ABS, you can ride it pleasingly hard in total confidence. So it’s a shame it retains one Italian trait – a frustratingly limited turning circle.
Overall, the Shiver 900 is a really solid naked bike, but lacking a bit of sparkle compared to the competition. Where the likes of the similarlypriced Yamaha MT-09, Kawasaki Z900 and Triumph Street Triple R are real thrillers, the Shiver only operates on
‘There is easy, constant torque right through the Shiver’s rev range’
one easy-going level. Aprilia’s own Dorsoduro, which has the same motor, adds an extra bit of spice thanks to a one tooth smaller front sprocket and I reckon the Shiver would benefit from this modification. The V-twin is so smooth it didn’t feel like it was revving too hard with this gearing, so there isn’t really a downside.
So where does that place Aprilia’s latest Shiver in the premium naked bike market? The issue for the Shiver is twofold. Its price is right at a smidge over £8000, but the competition is just so impressive I fear it will get overlooked by many buyers.
However, the Shiver is certainly the best V-twin middleweight and if you are a fan of the SV650 but wish Suzuki had the balls to give it a bit more grunt, try the Shiver out for size. It has all the lovely smoothness that makes the SV such a joy to ride but with more grunt and a modern electronics package backing it up.
High-spec build and a decent price but will the Shiver be left in the cold?
The dash is taken from the V4 Tuono and can be linked to a smartphone with Aprilia’s optional extra A-MP kit
750 owners used to complain the bike would suck exhaust gas back over the rider, the new end caps stop that
Sharp looks provide bit of a sci-fi feel